As part of your application for a sixth form place at a boarding school, you may be required to produce a personal statement. Natallia Patsaluyonak, Director of Family Services at Gabbitas, shares her top tips on what to cover and how to make yours stand out.
What to write
The purpose of the personal statement is for the boarding school to see your motivations, interests and writing skills, but it is also an opportunity to show off your talents. You should be aiming for a statement that covers 3 main points: what you love, your plan for the future and why this school.
All of your points must be backed up as much as possible with evidence of your achievements, or by showing that you have researched the matter. You should aim to write at least 500-1000 words.
A good personal statement, like an essay, will contain a basic structure which will help you present yourself in the best light possible. This can be broken down into the following sections:
2. Your main passion (academic/non-academic)
3. Your chosen subjects for A-Level or IB
4. Other interests
Of course, there will be overlap between the sections, and the end result may not completely resemble this structure, but it is a good way to help you prepare your first draft.
1. Introduction – who are you?
In your introduction, you should summarise your argument. Briefly describe where you currently study, what your aims and objectives are and why this school is the right choice for you. Remember, this is your core pitch, it should be concise, clear and individual to you.
2. Your passion – what do you love?
Here is where you get to talk about what makes you, you. You should be able to talk about your greatest achievements and plans for the future. Your greatest passion could be an academic subject, sport, hobby or musical instrument, but whatever it is, you need to be able to demonstrate how the school can help you develop this passion and why you love it.
3. Your chosen subjects
Here you need to be able to demonstrate why it is that you have chosen these subjects. You should mention what it is about the subject you love, examples of particular topics that you find interesting, and how studying this at A-level/IB will help you succeed in the future.
You may want to add something specific about how you’ve followed up on your interest in this subject outside of school. Furthermore, you should be able to describe how your other interests have helped you grow into the person you are today.
Also your A-Level/IB choices should reflect what you want to do in the future, if you can draw links between your future, your studies and your interests, this is how you create a lasting impact.
4. Other interests
You should mention here anything else about yourself that you believe will help your application. Talk about your other interests, achievements, books you have read, and your background. If you have recently read a news article recently that is relevant to your chosen subjects or yourself, say what you thought about it. Don’t be afraid to let your personality come through!
Here you should concisely reiterate your main argument of why you want to study at the school and why you are an ideal candidate for the school.
Final top tips
You should always keep in mind these 5 points when writing your personal statement to help keep it relevant, persuasive and interesting:
- Do your research
The school wants to know why you want to go there, think about why they are your number one choice and what makes this school standout for you.
- Be concise
No need to ramble on or use unnecessary language, you’ll make a bigger impact if you stick to the most important points. If you’re given a word count, make sure you stick to it.
- Think about your future
Make sure you demonstrate how this is an essential stepping stone for your future education or career. They want to see someone who has a clear idea of their future and what will be required to get there.
- Be passionate about your subjects
Have conviction in your subject choices and use examples of how you have previously shown interest or aptitude for them.
- Be yourself
Don’t be afraid to let a bit of your personality out as well.
Writing a personal statement gives you the chance to think about what you have achieved and what you want to do with your future, it will help with any interview preparation as well. Remember this is your chance to sell yourself on paper and Gabbitas consultants are always on hand to help!