Writing the Perfect Personal Statement

Writing the Perfect Personal Statement

How to Write an Effective Personal Statement

The first thing you must remember is that your personal statement will probably be the only opportunity you get to “talk” directly to the admissions tutor on the programme you want to study. It is therefore vitally important that you make this statement as effective as possible! If you do apply to a programme which invites candidates to interview, your personal statement may also form the basis of your interview, for your college application.

Your personal statement is an opportunity for you to demonstrate why you think you would be a good student for the programme you are applying to and why the University should select your college application over those of other candidates. It is primarily an academic statement and you must target it very directly towards the subject in which you are interested, though a University will also want to know something about your more general interests.

We recommend that you cover three main areas in your personal statement in the following order:

1.    Why this subject?

This could be a short sentence and needs to capture the reason why you are interested in studying on the programme you are applying for. Some of the most effective personal statements start simply, for example, “I want to study History because…”. With this opening statement you are trying to communicate to the admissions tutor your enthusiasm for the programme.

You might want to think about these questions and areas:

  • Your knowledge of the subject area
  • What does the programme entail?
  • Why does it interest you?
  • What interests you the most?
  • Where could studying the programme lead?

2.    Why You?

Once you have outlined your reasons for being interested in the programme you are applying to, you need to demonstrate why you would be a good student. In this section you are trying to convey your inclination and ability to study on the programme. You need to be able to show the admissions tutor that you have the right background in terms of academic ability and the right interest or inclination, that is, that you know what the programme you want to study involves. For example, if you want to be a primary school teacher but have never worked with children of that age the admissions tutor will wonder what your inclination to study to be a teacher is! When writing this section you’ll need to think about and quote evidence from:

  • Your academic studies
  • Any voluntary work
  • Your hobbies and interests
  • Things you have learned from books, newspapers, TV programmes and so on
  • Experiences in your year out (if you are having one)
  • Any relevant work experience (e.g. medicine, physiotherapy)
  • Particular project work in your studies

3.    Are you interesting and unique?

Finally, you should write about what makes you an interesting and unique person; all those extra things you have done or experienced which will bring something extra to the community of the University you want to join. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, you need to reflect on the skills and lessons you have learned and write about that. You may want to cover:

  • What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
  • Your hobbies, leisure activities
  • Sports you participate in
  • Other sorts of extra-curricular activities
  • Significant responsibilities you hold, at home or in clubs or societies
  • Special achievements
  • What you have learned if you have had a job.

college application

Remember to mention these parts of your life, and if appropriate the skills that will help you with the course. Some common questions…

Q How can I write a personal statement about the programme I want to study when I want to apply to three (or more!) different sorts of programme?

 A You can’t! It’s possible, but harder, to write a statement that covers two different areas but three simply won’t fit. Remember, your personal statement needs to convince an admissions tutor that you are the right student for their programme and trying to do that for three or more programmes in one personal statement doesn’t work.

 

Q How far back should I go when mentioning my extra-curricular activities?

 A You should only mention those things which help support your college application; a long list of everything you’ve done is much less impressive than picking on one or two things and writing about the skills you learned through them. Remember also that recent activities may be of more significance than those a long time ago. The activities you took part in over the summer will carry more weight than the awards you won when you were six!

 

 Q I think I have achieved some truly great things in my life, should I not make sure these achievements make up the bulk of my personal statement?

 A Anything that makes you a unique and interesting individual is important but always remember that an admissions tutor is primarily interested in why you want to study their course.

 

Q I’m not interesting or unique!

 A Yes you are! Everyone has special skills, experiences or achievements to mention. We don’t have any set ideas for what we are looking for, we just want to know what makes you, you.

 

 Q Do I need to use long words and elaborate language to impress the Admissions Tutor?

 A No! An Admissions Tutor will be impressed by the use of good English; a personal statement needs to be well written, in simple English, and laid out carefully. If you try too hard to impress with clever language you will normally make your statement harder to read and your reasons for wanting to study a particular programme less clear.

Be Smart

Be Smart

Choosing the right University or College is probably the first and one of the most important choices a student will make in their adult life… so it is VERY IMPORTANT to get it right the first time, that is why it is vital to choose a professional local agent whose core business is working with Universities and who has been doing this for years…they understand which Universities suit which students.

Why Study abroad through Edulink?

  • We put the student first!
  • Universities all like to attract students and will tell you that their University or College is the best but our loyalty is to the students and their families and we realise that every student is different and therefore not every student will fit into the same University or College. That is why we analysis what a student’s programme choice is, what their life style and study destination preference is and most importantly what their budget allows and we can then offer them the right university which will suit them
  • We make sure that we have visited all our Universities, understand their ethos and culture so that we can give our students an informed insight on what to expect from their University choice
  • Pastoral and student care is paramount to EDULINK and we only work with Universities who ensure us that they take special care of our students
  • We guarantee all our student an acceptance offer based on their academic ability if they have completed their Grade 12 exam
  • We provide full orientation to our students before they leave to study abroad
  • We can proudly boast 100% visa success rate for the past six years to all the countries we work in – this is very important because it is no good receiving an offer and then your visa is declined
  • We offer our students travel discounts and help them with their travel bookings
  • Our dedicated and trained staff help our students from application stage to graduation and beyond.
  • In a nutshell …we make the entire application process hassle free, the way it should be!
25 ways to get More Work and Revision Done in Less Time

25 ways to get More Work and Revision Done in Less Time

Is it really that time of year again?

 

Create the right working environment

It’s difficult to be productive if you’re physically uncomfortable and can’t find anything when you need it. Let’s start with some tips for creating a comfortable working environment so that you can get your year off to a good start.

1. Invest in good furniture

An uncomfortable chair not only makes it harder to concentrate on your studies, but it can also do long-term damage to your back. If you can, buy a comfortable one with lumbar support so that your posture doesn’t cause problems. If you have the room (and the money), don’t make do with a tiny desk – you need enough space to spread out your study materials.

2. Declutter and tidy

Mess creates stress, and a disorganized study area does not make for a productive student. Get rid of unnecessary clutter and tidy up what’s left, as you’ll be better able to order your thoughts if your surroundings are neat and orderly as well.

3. Buy nice stationery

Invest in some nice stationery that you enjoy using – pens, pencils, notepads, folders, paper, even things like coloured paper clips or Post-It notes. You’re more likely to want to study if you have the materials you like, and there’s nothing so satisfying as a good set of stationery.

Eliminating distractions

 

4. Find some peace and quiet

You’re not going to be able to study productively if your little sister is screeching away on her violin in the room next door, or if various family members (or friends, if you’re at university) are constantly distracting you with chatter, arguing or trying to get you to help with the household chores. So lock yourself away with the door shut and put a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door. Let your family or friends know whenever you’re studying so that they can try to keep the noise down. Alternatively, go and study in the library at school or university.

5. Music might help

Not everyone can concentrate with background music on, but many people find that listening to music can help increase their productivity and concentration levels. What’s more, music can also be effective at drowning out the background noise of family members or friends elsewhere in the house. Some kinds of music are admittedly more appropriate than others; heavy metal may be less conducive to concentration than some relaxing orchestral music! If you’re really serious about boosting your productivity, you could always try listening to some Mozart, which, it is claimed by some, makes you smarter

6. Make your phone off limits

There are few things more distracting than the constant receiving of text messages or phone calls from your friends, so for the duration of each study period, your phone should be off limits. Switch it off and put it somewhere where you can’t see it. If you’re at home, you could even give it to your parents to look after for you so that you don’t succumb to the temptation of switching it on every few minutes just to check whether anyone’s tried to contact you.

7. Switch the TV off

No matter how well you might think you can work with the television on, the fact of the matter is that you will be far less productive if you try to get some homework done in front of it.

8. Stay away from Facebook

If you’re doing some work on your computer, or worse, the internet, the lure of Facebook can be irresistible. One solution is to deactivate your Facebook account for periods of intense study, but a less drastic answer to this problem is to install some software on your computer to create a distraction-free digital environment. Dark Room is one such programme, which fills the computer screen with your text document so that you can’t wander off to Facebook every five minutes. Another option is to use the Facebook Limiter to block your access to Facebook between certain times, allowing you to study.

Get organised

 

Being organised is immensely important if you want to study effectively and increase your productivity. You need to know where to find notes quickly on a particular subject and you need a sensible way of storing all your study materials – your textbooks, notes, essays and anything else you may need when it comes to revision time. What’s more, you’ll need to be organised in how you plan your study time. Here are some ideas that will help.

9. Intelligent filing

Keep your notes organised by having a folder for each of the subjects you’re studying. Within each folder, use dividers to segregate your notes and essays for each of the topics you cover. For instance, an English literature folder might contain dividers for World War I poetry, William Blake’s poetry, the Shakespeare play you’re learning about and a novel you’re studying. Organising everything in this way means that you’ll always know where everything is, and all your notes and essays on each topic are kept in the same place. You’ll be very grateful for this organisation when it comes to revising!

10. Mirror your filing system on your computer

If you do a lot of your work on the computer, it’s just as important to file things intelligently so that you can find them quickly. Mirror your offline filing system on your computer, with a folder for each subject, and within that a folder for each topic. You could even divide topic folders up further, with a folder for essays and a folder for notes, for example. Alternatively, you could use Evernote

to help you organise your computer-based notes. We’ve covered Evernote in a previous article, and using it from the word go will make it even easier to revise from.

11. To Do Lists

Stay on top of your various homework assignments by maintaining a To Do list that includes deadlines. Nothing increases productivity like the motivation of being able to tick things off a list, and it’ll mean you never miss another deadline.

12. Try a Trello board

Trello is a project management tool used extensively by businesses, but it could just as easily be used to help you manage your day-to-day studies. The way it works is that you have several columns representing different stages or areas of the project – so for example, you could have a board with columns for each of your subjects – and within each column you have cards representing tasks that need doing.

You can assign deadlines to each card and add additional information onto the card. For example, one of your columns might be Geography, with cards such as ‘Essay on rivers’ and ‘Notes on glaciers’, each with deadlines imposed by teachers and details on what exactly is required of you. Once you’ve finished each task, you can drag and drop the card into a new column marked ‘Complete’. After using Trello for a while, you’ll wonder how you managed without it!

Time management

We now move on to one of the most fundamental aspect of increasing productivity: time management. One of the secrets to productive study is to make maximum use of the time you have available, so our next set of tips covers how to manage your time effectively.

13. Set study times

Set aside certain periods of time each day during which you will focus exclusively on studying. For instance, you might decide to get up early and fit in an hour’s study before school, and then another hour when you get back from school, and another three in the evening. Draw up a daily timetable for yourself and stick rigidly to the prescribed study times, but don’t forget to schedule in breaks as well.

14. Stop procrastinating

We know it’s easier said than done, but in order to boost your productivity, you’re going to have to stop procrastinating. Don’t put off til tomorrow what could be done today; don’t think to yourself that you’ll just check Facebook one more time before you start studying. Grasp the bull by the horns, implement the Facebook Limiter we mentioned earlier, and force yourself to knuckle down to your work.

15. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Don’t try to tackle too much work at once – break work into small, manageable chunks that you can comfortably handle during a particular study session. It’s demoralising and overwhelming if you have a huge amount of work sitting in front of you, so break it down into stages – for example, rather than setting yourself an entire essay to research and write in one go, break down the work into the preliminary research and notes, then the actual essay.

16. Don’t leave everything until the last minute

Even if you work better under the pressure of a looming deadline, it’s never advisable to leave any work until the last minute. Plan to complete work with plenty of time to spare to allow for any unexpected delays, such as taking longer to read something than expected, or longer to understand it. Finishing in plenty of time also then frees up more time for working on other things.

17. Work while you’re commuting

If you have a commute to school or university, make the most of your travel time by listening to audiobooks, or reading while on the train or bus. Not only will this heighten your exposure to the things you’re studying, but it will also help you absorb more information that will be of use when you come to sit down for a proper study session.

Physiological ways to improve productivity

 

We’ve now covered organisation, time management and working environment. But there are two other important ways in which you can boost your productivity: physiological factors and psychological factors. Let’s look at biological considerations first.

18. Eat well

What you eat can have a huge impact on your productivity; for example, certain foods make you lethargic and not eating enough will affect your concentration. Start the day with a hearty breakfast, preferably something that releases its energy slowly, such as porridge. This will keep you going for the whole morning. Get your ‘five a day’ by drinking fruit juice, snacking on fresh or dried fruit and having at least one or two portions of vegetables with dinner. Try not to snack on unhealthy foods such as crisps and chocolate, and never underestimate the power of ‘brain food’ (particularly the so-called ‘super-foods’, such as fish or blueberries)!

19. Drink plenty of water

Nothing kills concentration like dehydration, which makes you sluggish and headachy. Have a bottle of water with you at all times (or take regular breaks for water if you’re in a library and can’t have a bottle with you), and sip throughout the day.

20. Get a good night’s sleep each night

Try to get at least eight hours’ sleep every night. That means not staying up too late each night studying! Sleep plays an important part in converting information from short-term to long-term memory, so it’s actually helping you to learn!

21. Exercise

Exercise boosts your well-being and releases endorphins – known as ‘happy hormones’ – the same chemical we get from eating chocolate. Experts recommend at least 20 minutes of brisk exercise each day; that’s enough to get your heart pumping and break out a sweat.

Psychological ways to improve productivity

Every bit as important as the physiological factors we’ve just discussed is psychology. In this final section, we look at some methods for improving your productivity by harnessing the power of the mind.

22. Adopt a positive mental attitude

It’s difficult to overstate the power of a positive mental attitude. Adopt a positive outlook on your studies, try to see the interest in everything and envision a favourable outcome to each bit of work (for example, imagine how pleased your teacher will be with your essay after all the hard work you’ve put in).

23. The power of routine

Getting yourself into a routine of eliminating distractions and studying at set times of day will help high levels of productivity become habit, making it less effort. If your brain expects to be studying at a particular time of day, you’ll find it easier to get into the right frame of mind for working productively.

24. Strength in numbers

From time to time, organise study groups with your friends who are studying the same subjects as you. Not only will you learn from each other by comparing notes and interpretations, but it also eases your burden because you’re not always having to motivate yourself to study alone.

25. Reward yourself

Don’t forget to reward yourself for all that hard work at regular intervals during study periods; for instance, you can have a bite to eat at the end of a chapter. This gives you something to look forward to and helps strengthen your motivation to work productively.

Hopefully these tips will help transform you into a super-productive version of yourself this year, and to keep up the momentum throughout the year. If you have any productivity tips of your own, do feel free to share them in the comments section below!

11 Career paths that are demanding skilled graduates globally

11 Career paths that are demanding skilled graduates globally

In the UK:

  1. Musicians

Given the prevalence of aspiring pop stars, it may sound surprising that the UK has an official shortage of musicians – but those in short supply are of a rather different (and, some might say, somewhat more skilful) variety. Orchestral musicians are officially in short supply – and specifically, those who are of a sufficient standard to grace the stage in the company of the country’s best orchestras, such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. In particular, it’s the stringed instruments that are in demand, especially those who are good enough to take the role of leader, principal or sub-principal. We suspect, however, that it’s not so much that there aren’t enough high-quality musicians out there, but that as far as UK immigration is concerned, the more the merrier! The pay may be poor (a minimum of around £16,700), but if you’re passionate about music, you’ll have the satisfaction of earning money from doing what you love. And, of course, orchestral playing could be supplemented with teaching your instrument and giving solo recitals. If you’re planning to head to university to study music (rather than attending a music college such as the Royal Academy of Music), pick a course that has a focus on performance if you think this might be the career for you – and work your way up the ranks of the university orchestra.

  1. 2D and 3D animators

If you’ve ever contemplated a career in video games or animation, you’re in luck: this is another area in which there is a shortage of suitably qualified individuals. Within the television, film and video games sectors, there is demand for software developers, games designers and shader writers in visual effects and 2D and 3D animation. In case you’re wondering what a “shader writer” is, these are the people who are responsible for characterising textures, colours and so on, turning virtual shapes into realistic objects and surfaces. As a new entrant to this career you can expect to earn around £22,800, while experienced animators earn a minimum of around £29,600 or more. If you’re imaginative and want to turn ideas into (virtual) reality, this could be the perfect career for you – especially if you’re already a big “gamer” or film fanatic yourself.

  1. Certain medical specialisations

When you hear scary statistics about there being eleven or more applicants for every single place to study medicine at university, it may come as a surprise to learn that there is a shortage of certain kinds of medical specialists. The main areas with skills shortages are emergency medicine (including accident and emergency specialists), haematology (the study of blood and blood-forming tissues) and old age psychiatry. These areas need more consultants, while anaesthetics, rehabilitation and psychiatry also need non-consultants. In nursing, there’s a shortage of nurses specialising in neo-natal care – that is, the specialised nurses who care for babies who have been born prematurely or with some kind of illness. Salaries vary according to whether you’re a consultant or not; doctors who specialise in a certain area will earn a minimum of around £37,000, while for consultants that minimum rises to around £75,000. Entry-level specialised neo-natal nurses start by earning around £16,200, while experienced nurses can even earn as much as consultants.

  1. Aircraft maintenance

You don’t have to be a plane spotter to get into the world of aviation, but a love of aeroplanes definitely helps. And if you’re searching for a career that involves planes, but you don’t quite fancy the lifestyle of a pilot or cabin crew, a role in aircraft maintenance might suit you down to the ground (so to speak). There’s a shortage of licensed aircraft engineers and inspectors – the people responsible for fixing aircraft faults, performing regular checks and services, and making sure that every last nut and bolt is fastened and secure, ready for a safe flight. You can expect a minimum salary ranging between around £15,500 when you start and £27,000 once you get a bit more experienced (much more than this if you move to a more senior level), and you’ll probably need a degree in aeronautical engineering to get you started. Though it’s usually a 9 to 5 job, engineers working for airlines could find themselves on call around the clock, as it’s vital for airlines to keep aircraft serviceable in order to operate to tight schedules.

  1. Nuclear waste management

The disposal of nuclear waste probably isn’t something you’ve given much thought to before, but it’s someone’s job to sort out a safe way of getting rid of radioactive material so that it can’t harm humans, animals or the environment. It may not sound like the most glamorous of jobs, but working in nuclear waste management has its advantages. There’s a shortage in director-level staff, which means that if you choose to enter this industry, you may find that you can quickly move up the ranks to a more senior (and therefore more well-paid) position, such as managing director, programme director or site director. Though starting salaries in this sector may be low (a minimum of around £15,000), more senior employees can expect to earn a minimum of £37,000.

  1. Physical scientists for oil and gas

The oil and gas industry is in need of various kinds of geoscientists, who help them identify areas in which oil and gas may be present and interpret seismic data during the exploration process (among other things). Geologists, geophysicists and geochemists are all in demand in this sector, and it’s a good career if you’re keen to jet off to some exotic locations, such as the Middle East or North Africa, where your knowledge will help support the exploration and development activities of companies such as Shell. Expect a minimum starting salary of around £21,000, and much higher than this once you’re more experienced. On the Oil Careers geologist jobs board,  there’s a senior geophysicist post going for £85,000.

  1. Social workers

Another area in the UK job market with a shortage of skills is social work, primarily within the children’s and family services as opposed to adult services. You’ll need to be a ‘people person’ and community-oriented to undertake this kind of work, as it involves supporting vulnerable families and protecting adults and children from domestic abuse and other such threats. Dealing with difficult people will likely be part of your day-to-day activities. It’s a challenging area of work, and depending on the exact nature of your position, you may be required to work some nights on a rota. Starting salaries are usually around £19,000, but this can rise to £26,000 and then as much as £40,000 with experience.

Beyond the UK

Britain isn’t the only country with a shortage of skills in certain areas; in fact, there are even more professions with skills shortages in other countries. If living abroad is one of the items on your bucket list, there are plenty of occupations that will give you the skills needed to gain a visa more easily.

  1. Australia – just about everything

There seems to be a shortage of just about every occupation in Australia. Jobs on the list of skills shortages include architects, accountants, vets, engineers, teachers of children with special educational needs, dentists, numerous other medical positions, midwives, barristers and solicitors, and many, many more. If you have skills in any of the areas on this list, but you’re finding it difficult to get work in the UK, you never know – you might have more luck if you head down under.

  1. The USA – computer programmers

The USA operates the H1-B visa scheme for those wishing to work in the USA who hold certain technical qualifications and expertise. The list includes numerous professions, including various medical professionals (including surgeons, dentists and nurses), architects, journalists, lawyers, accountants and scientists. While this list doesn’t necessarily imply a shortage of skills in these areas, the fact that US immigration takes into account certain occupations at all shows that holders of these occupations are seen as assets to the country. One area in which there is a known skills shortage in the US is IT, with computer programmers particularly sought-after. If you hold a degree involving computing and/or you’re a knowledgeable coder, you stand a better chance than many of securing a much sought-after US work permit – and a job.

  1. France – web developers

In common with many countries, France hasn’t quite caught up with the Internet boom, and it’s left the country with a shortage of IT professionals. Web developers with skills in programming languages including Oracle, PHP, SAP, Java and Linux are in hot demand, but there are also analyst jobs that need filling, such as data and systems analysts. If you have web development skills and a computer science degree, and you’re also an aficionado of fine food and wine, you could do a lot worse than seeking work in France. We should add that, as with most other places (it would seem), France is in need of engineers and nurses as well.

  1. Hong Kong – construction industry

With an increasing amount of investment pouring into mainland China and Macau, Hong Kong is now facing a skills shortage in the construction industry as it intensifies its own infrastructure development. Those with the relevant skills are being lured away from Hong Kong by higher salaries in China and Macau, but it’s thought that the resulting demand for adequately-qualified individuals in Hong Kong will push salaries up. Quantity surveyors and project managers with architectural backgrounds are two key occupations in which there is likely to be a shortfall, so if you’re about to finish a degree in architecture, there could be an opportunity awaiting you in Hong Kong if you think you can handle the culture shock.

As you can see, the job market isn’t quite as difficult to conquer as you may be imagining. While there are some professions that are over-subscribed and highly competitive, there are plenty of others in which the competition isn’t between candidates – it’s between employers. Choose your degree carefully, and you could be one of the lucky graduates over whom employers fight. If you’re interested in any of the professions on this list, select a degree accordingly and increase your chances of landing a job still further by undertaking relevant work experience and internships while you’re still at university. A combination of a sought-after degree and a strong CV should make you irresistible to employers in any profession, but to those on this list, you’ll be a dream come true.