Wondering how to end your personal statement? To help make this part of the applying to uni process a little bit more straightforward we spoke to over twenty universities to find out how much impact the end of your personal statement can have on your application and how to conclude it with a bang.
To kick us off Laura Knight, education liaison officer at Staffordshire University explained why the the end to your personal statement is so important.
“A strong conclusion gives a roundup of the evidence a student has given in their statement to show how their knowledge, skills and experiences have and will enable them to come to university and not only want to learn more but also want to succeed in the future”
Here are the eight things you must do when concluding your personal statement and why it matters. Do this and you’ll nail it.
1. Remember your personal statement could be key to you getting an offer
Paul Starkey, director of recruitment and admissions at the University of Bolton told us that “it’s one of the only opportunities to really stand out, not only talking about academic study, but also showing knowledge of the course you’re interested in and any extra-curricular activities relevant to your application”. Bangor University’s Emma Harris, added that “a strong conclusion is essential to leave no doubt in the reader's mind that you deserve an offer”.
2. Keep it simple
“A strong conclusion should pull together all of your key points” says Laura Clash from Nottingham Trent University. Ian Freedman, student recruitment officer and Simon Jenkins, the UK student recruitment manager at Keele University explained that it’s important to remember that “you will have a reason for applying to university and to your particular course; the conclusion offers a great opportunity for you to reiterate what this reason is". Rather than trying to leave a last impression by using big words and complicated expressions “keep it simple but powerful, with strong and eloquent language” says Joanna Haran, deputy head of admissions at the University of Salford.
3. Don’t waffle
Make sure your personal statement doesn’t end weakly, keep up the momentum by “using your conclusion to reinforce your commitment to the course you’ve chosen. Keeping this short and concise is better than long and vague” says Pat Watson, head of UK and EU admissions at Anglia Ruskin University. Rosie Reynolds, outreach officer at the University of Westminster agrees adding “you should use this section to clarify to the admissions tutor that you meet the criteria they are looking for”. Make sure you that you don’t waste this space by adding additional personal information reiterates Gavin May, student recruitment assistant at St George's, University of London , “keep it simple, concise and relevant!”
4. Remember that your PS could be the key to an interview
“Many of our courses shortlist applicants based on the applicant’s personal statement so a powerful conclusion to a personal statement can be the difference between getting an interview and being unsuccessful.” Says Phil Hiley, admissions team leader at University of Bradford. Gillian Woolley, pre-entry information, advice and guidance adviser at the University of East London adds that if the course you’re applying to includes an interview then it’s a good idea to conclude with “I would love to do this degree and hope you will invite me for interview”.
5. Personal is always best
Make sure you “summarise what you are most looking forward to about studying at university” says Kirsty Wilkinson, Loughborough University school and college liaison manager and “why you feel that this is the right course choice for you”. Professor Martin Coyle, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University shared “be truthful; be true to yourself; do your research before writing the PS and that way it will have substance and be convincing.”
Personal statement help on The Student Room:
How to write an excellent PS in 10 easy steps
Get the final draft of your PS reviewed by an expert TSR PS reviewer
The most common UCAS and applying to uni myths get busted!
6. Make it clear why you’ll be an asset to the university
“End with a statement about why the universities would benefit from having you as a student” says Hannah Robinson, Outreach Officer at the University of East Anglia, “share how you’ll make the most of your uni experience and how you’re looking forward to the challenge”. Shona Barrie, recruitment, admissions and marketing manager at Heriot-Watt University explains that universities are more than just a place where you’ll study, and understanding that universities are communities is important. “Tell us why you will be an asset to our university community (without it sounding like a job application) – so it's not just about getting a degree – it's about appreciating the bigger picture!
7. Show you understand the university’s values
Are you clear about the mission and values of your dream university? Have you considered how your personal values might align with them? “SOAS is unique so we want to see how unique you are” says Paul Sharp, undergraduate admissions officer at SOAS, University of London. “We want applicants who won't settle for the status quo but live and strive to learn and improve every single day that they are here with us.”
8. Explain how university fits into your life plan
“Present your long term plans and how your chosen course will help you to achieve this” suggests Ann Partington, senior admissions officer at UCLan. Kimberley Ashwell, admissions officer at Buckinghamshire New University adds that providing some information on “what you imagine yourself doing after you complete your degree” will help the admissions team to picture how you’ll fit at the university. Then "once you've drawn together your motivations for further study, your current studies and career ambitions, deliver a strong, final line about why you deserve an offer" concludes James Aitken, schools & colleges liaison manager, at Royal Holloway.
Don't feel overwhelmed
- If you have any questions about writing your personal statement, talk to our knowledgeable community who will be able to help you in our personal statement forum.
- You can also use our personal statement builder which will provide you with the perfect template to help you put together your first draft.
- You can also speak to university representatives in our university forums who will be able to answer any questions you have about applying to their university.
Article by TSR Community on Thursday 09 November 2017
The second most important part of your essay, behind only the introduction, is the conclusion. Just as the introduction had the purpose of drawing in the reader, the conclusion's foremost function should be to leave the reader with a lasting impression. This section offers guidelines on ways you can maximize the impact of that impression. These guidelines can be grouped into three categories, each of which encompasses a lesson on what not to do.
Synthesize, Don't Summarize
The chief difference between these two tactics is that the former deals with themes while the latter deals with facts/experiences, though there is some overlap. You do not need to recap the essay paragraph-by-paragraph. You do not need to remind the reader of the experiences you have discussed (except as individual experiences might be tied to certain themes you want to synthesize).
You do want to reiterate key themes, but preferably not in a way that merely repeats them. Instead, in synthesizing these key themes in your conclusion, you should ideally be adding a fresh perspective. Try to tie themes together and demonstrate how they complement each other. In doing so, you should always avoid trite and clichéd generalizations.
In this essay, this applicant uses the conclusion to synthesize the second half of the essay. It's worth noting that he does not mention the content about recovering from addiction, because he could have tied this in with his renewed interest in public policy. Nevertheless, the concluding sentences do an effective job of linking his past experiences with his career goals: "After getting my master's in public administration, I would like to work in the area of economic development in the Third World, particularly Latin America. The setting might be a private (possibly church-based) development agency, the UN, the OAS, one of the multilateral development banks, or a government agency. What I need from graduate school is the academic foundation for such a career. What I offer in return is a perspective that comes from significant involvement in policy issues at the grassroots level, where they originate and ultimately must be resolved."
Seeing how the pieces fit together leaves us with a clear point to take away. Moreover, the last sentence is key to the lasting impression he creates, as it provides a fresh interpretation of the significance of his work at the grassroots level.
If in the process of synthesizing you are able to invoke your introduction, you will add to your essay a further sense of cohesion and closure. There are a number of different ways this can be accomplished. For example, you might complete a story you started in the introduction, as in this essay, or you might show how something has changed in your present since the timeframe of the introduction.
Expand on Broader Significance—Within Reason
One way to ensure that your closing paragraph is effective is to tie your ideas to some broader implications, whether about yourself or your field. However, do not get carried away. Some applicants feel they must make reference to changing the world or derive some grand philosophical truths from their experiences. Remember to stay grounded and focused on your personal details.
This applicant's conclusion ties his goals in teaching to a broader issue about research limitations at smaller liberal arts colleges. He does not express the goal of revolutionizing education, but instead simply wants to make a contribution that has personal significance to him. The final sentence invokes the tradition of scholars before him. Such a tactic is not usually advisable, because it can sound forced and generic, but in this case, the applicant has established his focus on a specific intellectual topic—human memory—so it's not as vaguely trite as invoking Plato, Descartes, and Kant in the search for truth.
Don't Add Entirely New Information—Except to Look Ahead
We have used the word "fresh" here several times, and what we're mainly talking about is perspectives and ideas. You should avoid adding entirely new information about your experiences. In shorter essays, you may have to pack details everywhere, but in general, if it's an important experience, it should come earlier.
That said, writing about your future goals is a strong way to end. After you have established your background and qualifications in the previous paragraphs, delineating your goals can help synthesize these topics, because you are tying your themes together in the context of where you will go next.
This applicant's conclusion is a straightforward, well thought out description of her professional goals. Such an ending demonstrates to the reader that she has given much consideration to her future and the role a Ph.D. in literature can play in it. Moreover, she makes clear that while she has definite career goals in mind, she also appreciates literature for its own sake. This kind of natural affinity for her subject of study serves to make her a dedicated and genuinely engaged student, and, therefore, a more attractive candidate to the admissions committee.
Next:Lesson Six: Editing and Revising
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