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Your master's personal statement: Top writing tips

Your master's personal statement: Top writing tips

Find out how to put together a strong personal statement to support your master's degree application.

As part of your university application, you will need to submit a personal statement – a short essay or letter, written by you, explaining your reasons for applying to Plymouth Online. It’s your chance to help us get to know you and convince us to offer you a place on our course. Use your previous study, experience and interests to show us why you’ll make a great student.

We understand that you may feel anxious about writing your personal statement, particularly if it’s been some time since your last academic study. Firstly, you’re not alone – almost every applicant worries about what to include in their personal statement. That’s why we’ve pulled together the guide below. You can also contact our friendly Course Advisers to support you while you prepare your application:

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Allow plenty of time

Preparing your application – writing your personal statement and pulling together relevant information – takes time. You should be prepared to start the application process at least six months before you intend to start your course and ideally sooner. There are lots of reasons why it can benefit you to submit an early master’s application, so try not to leave it to the last minute.

Check entry requirements

Before you begin your personal statement, be sure to double-check the specific entry requirements of your chosen course around qualifications and experience. For example, our MSc Restorative Dental Science programme requires you to be actively practising dentistry, so you will need to expand on your existing work experience in your application and personal statement.

Read personal statement guidelines

Not all universities have the same personal statement guidelines, so don’t be tempted to submit a statement you used when previously making your undergraduate applications. It’s important you confirm any word count restrictions, online character limits or specific content requirements by consulting the application details once you’ve registered with the Plymouth Online portal.

Create a checklist

Your statement needs to demonstrate you possess the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, attributes, enthusiasm and commitment to study one of our part-time, online degrees. That’s a lot of information! We recommend you start by creating a checklist of why you want to apply for our course and what you hope to achieve. Next, jot down key points to include about previous study, work/voluntary experience, awards/achievements and personal interests.

Plan your structure

Once you’ve identified all the key information to include, you need to think about how best to structure it. For example, you could choose to do this chronologically, focusing first on what you did as an undergraduate, what you’ve done since and why you are now applying for a master’s degree. Alternatively, you can break up your statement by answering the key questions admissions will have – your reasons for choosing the course, your interest in the subject, any relevant education and experience, and your future career plans.

Top writing tips

  • Be concise and be authentic – write in your natural style and voice

  • Make sure you have a good structure, use paragraphs and keep sentences short

  • Use correct grammar and spelling

  • Stick to word/character limit guidelines

  • You can view sample personal statements but don’t plagiarise

  • Present a balance of both academic and non-academic activities

  • Don’t just list skills and activities, give examples and demonstrate what you’ve learned/experienced

  • Edit and re-edit – your first draft is just the beginning and it will likely need some refining

  • Draft your statement on your PC so you can spellcheck to avoid mistakes

  • Proofread your personal statement by reading it aloud

  • Ask someone else to proofread your statement with a ‘fresh’ pair of eyes before submitting it.

Find out more about applying to our part-time, online programmes If you have any questions about completing your application form, you can contact our Course Advisers by emailing onlinecourses@plymouth.ac.uk, phoning +44(0)2394 387959, or sending a WhatsApp message to +44(0)7383 200522. Alternatively, you can complete the short form below to request a call back.

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