We, as teachers, are always here to help students write and develop applications for post-16 further education. Below are some tips and bits of advice to help students when it comes to writing an application or personal statement.
Make sure that you are prepared for all of the standard pieces of information that you will need to complete an application:
- Date of Birth
- Contact number
- Contact email (create a professional email using Gmail or equivalent if you don’t already have one)
- Parent / Carer contact details
Your predicted grades:
- Currently working at, use your most recent grade collection (report?)
- GCSE predicted grade, use your most recent grade collection (report?)
- Have a standard personal statement ready
- Specific needs that should be included in your application
- Supporting information
The personal statement is your chance to show off you - it is an opportunity to make yourself standout from the crowd before you meet someone in person. Use your word count wisely as this will often be your first chance to sell yourself. Below are some pointers and tips to help you get the most out of your word count.
What makes you better than the next candidate? Be generous but not arrogant.
- “I have repeatedly demonstrated through my time at Matthew Arnold that I am a hard working and diligent student, my reports and feedback from teachers demonstrate this, I have a close group of friends and thrive in new and exciting environments”.
Make your strengths your strengths and your weaknesses your strengths.
- Slow on making notes or coming to decisions? No, you are meticulous and detail orientated.
- Sometimes distracted or lack concentration? No, you are an active learner.
Be specific, there are clichés that colleges and sixth forms see year in year out, avoid them.
- Instead of “I am interested in studying English Literature” try “I am passionate about reading and have a wide range of interests ranging from the classics such as Dickens through to Atwoods’, Handmaids tale.”
- Instead of “I have always liked Science” try “The principle of the scientific method is something that I strive to keep at the forefront of my mind whenever I face a new or uncertain situation.”
Ensure that you mention that you enjoy the core subjects (English and Maths), even if this is not the subject you are applying for as grade 4’s in these subjects are often course requirements.
- “I understand that having basic skills in English and Maths are required for the course, however I believe that they are also applicable to more than just my next level of education…”
Reference areas of the course that you have previous experience with and why it is that you enjoyed or excelled in these areas.
- “I have played for my local football team for the past 7 years and have found that the balance between leadership and teamwork this requires is something that I look forward to developing in Btec Physical Education Level 2.”
Speak about yourself outside of school, show yourself as someone who has more to offer than just getting grades.
- “I have been practicing Karate for the last 10 years and have demonstrated my dedication and skill by participating in international tournaments and receiving a commendation from the British Council”
- I have been a member of the Scouts organisation for 5 years and during that time have been awarded various accolades. More recently I participated in, and completed my DofE Bronze award in which I…”