how to write an AMAZING personal statement for ANY university application.

so hi guys and welcome back to my

channel my name is v for today's

video i am going to be opening up my

laptop and reading you guys my personal

statements and giving you some advice

on how to write a great personal

statement to get yourself into any


of your dreams obviously i can't give

you very specific advice in terms of

for you exactly you who's watching at

home right now you

with your socks on in your cup of tea

watching the screen right now

i don't know what degree you're applying

for i don't know what university you're

applying for

so my advice can only go so far but i

have in my time

written now a total of five personal


and all five have gotten me into the

things that i've applied for so if

you're new here's a little bit of


just in case you might be wondering is

she qualified to give this advice or not

my first personal statement was for ucas

and that is

the uk system for applying for

universities and you apply to five


and i applied for exeter east anglia

manchester queen mary i can't remember

the rest

but that personal statement was my first

one and i got into my universities so


the next one was for oxford university

for their foundation year

and i applied and i got in then the next

one was for oxford university again but

for an undergraduate degree

got in for that too and the next one was

for harvard university

for postgraduate study which i'm

starting next month and i got in for

that too

and the last one which i don't like

talking about because we didn't really

get it but

i did apply for funding for harvard and

i used i wrote a new personal statement

but we did get in to the interview stage

and we got as far as like you know

getting the interview but sadly i didn't

quite make the cup and get the funding

so i guess you can say four out of five

which is a good success rate right

well five out of five except to get into

you you decide let me know in the

comments oh and last thing

for oxford i was studying classical

archaeology and ancient history

and for harvard i'll be studying

international education policy

just in case it helps you understand

like why i'm referencing education and


within my personal statements but that's

my experience and i have all of those

personal statements loaded

on here and i'm going to read parts of

each of them out to you guys

alongside with the advice let's get

straight into it and i hope you guys


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and let's get straight into the video

okay so my first

tip is you must show and don't

tell and that sounds like such a basic

piece of advice but it's so so crucial

i think when i've read people's personal

statements because i get sent a lot

which i look over sometimes i can't do

it all the time but

i do do that sometimes with people that

i mentor and when i'm reading it i'm


i know what you mean when you say i've

been passionate about medicine since the

day i was born

you're trying to convey the notion that

you absolutely are in love with your

degree or the idea of

studying medicine and you just want to

tell them so the only way you can

articulate it is by saying

i'm so passionate about it and have been

for my entire life and that

in like a conversation will be good but

on paper it's not great because that

doesn't really tell you anything

all it says is you said you're

passionate it doesn't really show them

that you're passionate it just

tells them that you're passionate which

is not good enough in a personal

statement you've always got to

show so i'm going to give the example

and then i'll read it out from one of my

personal statements

i believe it was the oxford one where

you can say i'm really really passionate

about helping people

and education okay great

whatever but in your personal statement

you could say

in my spare time as i did alongside my a

levels and juggling a part-time job at


i also went and volunteered at my local

high school teaching history

to gcse students and that was how i

spent my time because i care so much

about my subject which is history that

i'm applying for i care so much about

helping other students

so in my spare time i went out of my way

where no one told me to

to do this volunteer work because i care

and it was a whole year

so instead of me just saying oh i'm

passionate about history and also

helping young people

my personal statement has said it

because i've given evidence for it

do you know what i mean so that's tip

number one try to not waste your words

by just saying

i'm very very passionate or i'm very

excited about this no no no you're just

telling me

i want you to back it up with some

evidence you know so

let's open up the laptop oh okay so this


my personal statement oxford i believe

it was probably one

version of it because this is definitely

not the finished version

but i said alongside my a level studies

i completed a year's work experience

as a teaching assistant at wesley high

school planning and delivering history

lessons to groups of ccsc students

this was exciting as it allowed me to

express my love for history

in an active creative and intellectual


i particularly enjoyed sharing my

knowledge about the importance of key


like hippocrates and galen in the

history of medicine

exploring why religion led people in the

middle ages to whip themselves

as a means of curing the black death was

interesting as my class challenged me to


develop and revisit my knowledge this

placement improves my willingness to

adapt in a new environment

and growing confidence while gaining

leadership skills

oh v that was one of my paragraphs just

to show

that i loved history so much and why i

was excited to study

at university level another way that i

showed it

was at school we had the chance to do an

extended project qualification and

i chose to do mine on history on slavery

and i know that that wasn't exactly what

i was applying for at university but i

managed to turn it around

and make it fit what i was applying for

also in your personal statement what you

want to do

is if you're going to talk about

personal experiences or

things that are personal to you try to

always tie

all back to the degree you're applying

for everything you say

everything must always try to tie it

back even if there's no connection so

for example if you're talking about i

don't know

that you love playing football yes that

might be not relevant to you going to

study history

but you could flip it and say as someone

who's been playing football

i was the coach and the leader in the

team and learn the skills of how to do a

b c d

which i can apply when i'm doing history

at your institution because i blah blah


so always try to find a common thread

and i really wanted the people reading

my personal statement to know that i was

from zimbabwe i don't know why

it's something that i've always wanted

to share with everyone and anyone

so i put it in my personal statement and

i'm gonna read it to you and it's been


every single one of my personal

statements the oxford one the harvard

one all of them

i don't know why um i said being born

and raised in zimbabwe has sparked my

interest in historical topics

such as chattel slavery conducting my


on the transatlantic slave trade led me

to read eric williams's capitalism and


i found william's work thought provoking

as he offered a different perspective on

the reasons

why britain abolished the trade in 1833

and then i just go on and on and on and

on and on and on and like it just

makes it sound really cool like okay

she's born and raised in zimbabwe

she's taking her personal routes to go

and find out more

about a subject that she loves outside

of the classroom so it wasn't like

someone told me to go and study this

this was what i wanted to do

in my own spare time next thing is you

must follow

the guidelines of whatever institution

you're applying for

for example oxford and harvard have very


requirements for what should be in your

personal statement with harvard they

want to teach you how to

change the world they want to teach you

to become world leaders

agents of change and how to go on to

make an impact in

the world whereas oxford there are a lot

more academic they care more about

what have you done in your spare time

that's extremely academic that's going

to contribute

to your studies when you're here so i

feel like my personal statements for

both of those institutions

were very very very different i had very


requirements so when i was looking at

oxford's website

what they wanted is just not what

harvard would have wanted and

you've got to make sure you look up what

your institution needs

my harvard one needed to be a lot more

personal a lot more about what you've

done as a person what makes you

stand out as a future world leader or as

a future

contributor to making change that's

going to last for generations to come

so now we're gonna move on to reading

some extracts from the harvard personal


and hopefully um it'll be helpful

okay right so in this

paragraph i spoke about why harvard and

why that degree

you've got to be quite clear and

unapologetic about the fact that

you want to study at that institution or

if you are doing like

a ucas application where you can't be

specific about the institution because

you're applying to like five

try to be specific about why that degree

just try to make

everything as concrete and it's like i

want this and i'm

not sorry about it i'm not like being

wishy-washy i'm being straightforward

this is what i want

and you just got to be like up front

with it and i'm making all these spaces


there's i don't know how to articulate

it but you just got to be stern with it

and just be like hello i'm here

and i want you to know i'm here so like

see me you know what i mean

so my senior paragraph

i said i am confident that studying

international education policy

will provide me with the academic

knowledge that i need for the future

when i hope to begin leading educational

reform in zimbabwe

and its neighboring nations my mission

is to work in a global community

dedicated to ensuring that all children

girls especially receive a free safe and


education i want to learn how to use

technological resources

and to combine them with the existing

local knowledge of affected communities

and create innovative solutions for

educational advancement

the practical nature of this course

strongly appeals to me as it combines

academic thinking

with practical solutions and then i just

go on and on and on my next point is

that try your best to be

quite like extra about your

extracurricular and really big yourself

up because

i'm so sure that whatever you've been

doing in your spare time is phenomenal

and a lot of people always worry

thinking oh well if i didn't pay for the

experience or

if i didn't have it all privately funded

or if it's not something extraordinary

and exceptional like i don't know

going to see the pyramids in egypt or

doing this and all that kind of crazy

stuff then they're not gonna

see you or you're not gonna stand out

and that's just not true at all like

my personal statement is full of the

most humble

things that sound amazing like in terms


how i express myself in my personal

statements about

my job at mcdonald's honestly it's i

even when i'm reading i'm like damn the

girl worked hard like

any situation that you've been in your

life any experience you've had is

actually so valuable you probably won't

even realize it and

the books you've read in your spare time

is it the lectures that you've attended


is it the summer courses that you've

taken for free online or is it

going to your local town hall and

shadowing the

local mayor or something because you

care so much about politics or

did you go and volunteer at a hospital

and like help out on the front desk

because you just were so interested in

understanding the mechanisms of a

hospital and how it operates or

were you volunteering at your local high

school teaching gcse history

for free just because you care so much

like try to dig deep and think about

everything you've been doing up until

this moment that could contribute to

showing your love for your subject and i

think people

underestimate extra curriculums because

they just think oh it's got to be

something that's so

out of this world and it's like no no no

no actually it can be quite simple and

it says a thousand words it's like

even though you had limited resources

you still went out of your way

and found a way to make it happen and i

think that's so so impressive so

if you can please try to dig deep and

don't think that any of the experiences

in life so far are wasted because

they're not and that's

that's why i wanted to do this video to

show you guys i did not pay for

any of the experience on my personal

statements and it still got me into

both oxford and harvard and i think

that's just really cool so

if you have any experience at all it'll

be worthwhile to mention

so just dig deep and like think about

everything you've done and mentioned in

power by v

in my personal statement i said i take

great pride in the network and community

i am building

and it gives me a great privilege to

mentor aspiring young people

who want to shape their own narratives

and futures in 2018 i launched

my access initiative empowered by v and

have since hosted

two academic conferences for over 300


travel to local schools to empower and

mentor students about opportunities

within their communities and beyond for

my efforts and drive to create change

within my community

i was awarded the future leaders award

by the uk prime minister

the rising stars award by members of

parliament and the diversity and

equalities champion award by oxford's

vice chancellor

the leadership and communication skills

i have developed through empowered by v

will give me the confidence to integrate

myself into american culture

and engage with many initiatives at

harvard's graduate school of education

such as the ed talk and the black

student union that helps students feel


yeah so that paragraph there was just me


this is what i do my spare time i

created an access initiative

because i care so much about what i was

doing and wanted to do my own way

and help students for the students by

the students and taking this experience

i was then awarded

by people who are really really cool and

i've managed to travel around schools

talk to teachers help make a real impact

so like you've got to really

pack every single paragraph in a way

that's like

this is me and what i've done this is

how it's helped me and how

i've gained skills that are going to be

useful and this is how i can implement

it at your institution studying

this degree and all of it falls full

circle so even if you can't see the

connection immediately you've got to dig

deep and find a way of like

feeding all of it into each other you

know what i mean

and i'm sorry if like me reading these

paragraphs is making this video a lot

longer than it needs to be but i feel


don't just keep giving us advice share

what you've actually written you know


why can't i actually tell you what's in

my personal statement

oh read it and read it out loud and read

it out loud again i can't tell you

how many drafts of my personal

statements i've written before it comes

into this like

full fleshed out thing the amount of


i had to write read it read it again

read it again then read it again so many

times so i would always say like

don't be disheartened if by the 10th

time you've written it still not

good i think i've rewritten my personal

statement for harvard

maybe like 30 times before it was good

enough for me to send off i lose track


you're editing and editing and editing

and editing again so

just remember like the first draft is

never going to be the final draft if you

can write

your personal statement in one draft

call me teach me

show me because it is difficult get

someone to read it out loud to you

because you'll hear the errors yourself

straight away make every single sentence


for being there like there's always a

word count in a word limit so make sure

every single thing you're saying

has a purpose and is there for a reason

don't waste a sentence

you just gotta like make it scream and

shout from your personal statement like

i want to be here so you've got to make

sure you show why

you why them and why that degree or why

that institution is going to be very

like unapologetic about your confidence

in your personal statement

yeah do your research oh my god okay i

think we should make this the last point


the rest of it's quite similar do your


on the thing you're applying for because

i can't express to you

how cool it is if you can say

i've done this i've done that but i

can't wait to do this at your place

obviously once again if you're using

newcastle you're applying to many


talk about um modules that are common

denominator across

all the subjects you're applying for and

all the institutions try and find

something that's quite common because

you can't be applying for five different

subjects at five different institutions

i'm assuming you're applying for the

same subject at different institutions

so try to find a module that might be

similar or a theme that's similar

but for me with harvard i was applying

for harvard and harvard only for my

master's i don't know where i got the

confidence i would

i couldn't tell you but i only applied

to one institution

so i could be very harvard centered in


well in every single paragraph to be

honest with you i was dropping in

modules that i can't wait to study when

i get there

oh okay so i said once at harvard i also

hope to engage with the works of leading


such as sarah dryson peterson and

fernando ramirez

in particular professor dryden

peterson's research on the role that

education plays in building communities

and her focus on sub-saharan africa

greatly interests me as a woman of

african descent

so i was quite specific about what


by which professor and which aspect of

it i couldn't wait to

study and you can't lie like don't just

name drop someone just because you just

fancy name dropping them

when i had an interview they asked me

they were like so you mentioned in

your work that you couldn't wait to read

this is this is this by this professor

in this module can you explain more and

if i'd been lying

i'd have been like but because i knew

what i was talking about and i

genuinely can't wait to like be in her


if i possibly can be it just it radiates

from you if you can

try and end it with something like quite


not punchy but something that's like hey

i can't wait i'm excited and i'm looking

forward to

hearing back from you with positive news

so we're gonna end with what i put in my

harvard statement since it's the latest

thing i've written and the other ones i

would have changed slightly what i put

but with this one i said quite simply i

want to study it's no let's go from

the top part i put i want to be at the

heart of decision making

to lead and form global communities

dedicated to addressing the urgent

international education crisis

quite simply i want to study

international education policy

at harvard so i can sit at the table

with other future leaders

turn my passions into solutions and

become an agent of change

for current and future generations

across the globe

and that's pretty much it like i tried

to read as many snippets as i could

from the personal statements because i

know that

personal statement writing is not easy

it's quite difficult

and i wish i'd had lots more help when i

was doing mine

so i thought i'd read you guys some of

mine so yeah my last piece of advice on


sheet that i've messed up is why you

white them and why that degree

boom bang and that's it that's the only

advice i can give you guys i hope it was

helpful i know it was quite

general and obviously i have to because

i'm talking to like

thousands of you guys and i don't know

what you're all applying for but um if

you're applying for

international education policy at

harvard university then this is very


but if you're not then i'm sorry um yeah


it i hope that was useful please comment

down below

where you're applying and what you're

applying for i'm quite nosy i love

reading the comments

so let me know and i'll be down there

with you chit chatting away

that's it i'm gonna see you guys in the

next video and please press subscribe

if you are new see you soon and bye