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How to write your personal statement

Plan, plan, plan!

  1. Think of ideas for a snappy opening. You need to grab the tutors' attention from the start.

  2. Write headings for your different paragraphs and check that they flow.

  3. Ensure you've got a wide range of examples to show you love your subject.

  4. It's not impressive to just list all the museums you've been to, books you've read or talks you've attended if you can't analyse them; you need to truly engage with your subject.

  5. Get those empty statements like 'I love English' and 'I'm passionate about maths' out of your head. Instead prove your passion through examples.

  6. Justify everything - remember the catchy little phrase 'WHY? JUSTIFY!' and apply it to everything you write, e.g 'We can see Woolf's feminism in Orlando.' That is an empty statement; WHY can we see it? 'We can see Woolf's feminism in Orlando through the way in which she blurs the gender roles of the central protagonist through her descriptions of his/her exterior appearance.' This is JUSTIFIED.

  7. Don't include too much on extra-curricular, Oxford are far more interested in your academic side.

  8. End on something meaningful, you want the tutor to finish reading and be impressed.

  9. Redraft it until you are totally happy.

  10. Ensure punctuation, grammar, people’s names and the titles of texts are all correct.

  11. Get everyone and anyone to read it and give you feedback.

  12. Check the deadline and hand it in on time - 15th October 2017.

  13. The Oxford deadline is earlier than other universities – 15thOctober (2016).

  14. Make sure you re-read your personal statement before interview so it is fresh in your mind.

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