I distinctly remember how daunting the task of summarising 17 years of hobbies, interests and skills into one piece of A4 was.
Personal statements are not easy, but the best tip I could give you about writing one, would be to start off listing all your achievements, hobbies, employment, work experience, skills.
Your hobbies are an important factor of your personal statement. But don’t let that make you feel you have to be a sporting champion or a creative genius to talk about them.
Here are some great rules to follow when writing your personal statement – follow these and you shouldn’t go far wrong!
- Use the ABC (activity, benefit, course) rule when writing your personal statement.
- Keep everything positive!
- Shout about your achievements and skills – don’t be shy
- Don’t let spelling and grammar mistakes hold you back.
- Find someone you trust to give you feedback.
Here is a small insight into how I used my hobbies within my personal statement:
Hobby One: Rugby Union
Sport is a great method of demonstrating valuable skills: teamwork, commitment, leadership. I juggled Premiership Rugby during Year 13; balancing academic work and a sporting career was a skill I perfected right through my degree. I had a real passion for sport, and this was central to my desire to study sports therapy.
Hobby Two: Part-Time Waitress
Part-time employment, even if it is totally unrelated to your course, can be a great example of motivation, efficiency and time-management. I was a waitress before I came to university, at a local pub. The extra cash I saved was ideal during fresher’s week, but specifically, I had to politely and professionally communicate with a variety of characters. This has helped me greatly in my Sports Therapy degree!
Hobby Three: Volunteer Rugby Coach
Volunteering shows your willingness to go above and beyond what might be expected of you. Personally, volunteering to coach children was a great skill to apply to my course; managing and first aiding children was something I covered during my degree. On a personal note, I really enjoyed being a role model to the young players, even if I did cringe massively when one asked for an autograph!
Hobby Four: Work Experience at a Sports Therapy Clinic
Relevant work experience to your course is a great asset to your personal statement. It demonstrates motivation and passion to study the course, and importantly, confirms your desire to study the course in more depth. Some courses, such as nursing or teaching, require recent work experience, so this might be worth checking as soon as possible with your course. Unusually, at the age of 16 following my year 10 work experience, I knew I wanted to be a sports therapist. I continued to work part time at a local clinic, which was an invaluable experience to me both academically and personally.
Hobby Five: Working on my family’s Dairy Farm
Many students believe there is a golden ticket that will be their pass into University. Thankfully that is not the case. Sharing an insight into your personality and background is something that can be subtly written into your personal statement. From my farming background, I could demonstrate other passions and interests aside from my academic or sporting achievements.
Your personal statement is your opportunity to talk directly to the admissions tutor – make it fun, positive and share an insight into your life! If you have any further questions, get to a Personal Statement clinic on a University Open Day, where someone can read through your personal statement.