Personal Statement Advice
Your Personal Statement, or Statement of Purpose, is a vital part of your MSc application to study in the WMG department at the University of Warwick.
Not only do we read it carefully, we also think about what you say and how you say it. It helps us to decide if you will succeed and be happy studying with us.
Your Personal Statement gives us an opportunity to find out more about you. You should think of it as an opportunity to tell us about yourself and to highlight your strengths. It is absolutely critical that you explain to us why you have applied for your chosen course; if you fail to do so your application will be rejected, even if you meet our other admission criteria.
If you are applying for the MSc in Management for Business Excellence the advice on this page does not apply to you. Please read this information about Personal Statements for the MBE course.
1. What you should say
Here are the themes that you should consider when writing your personal statement. This list is not complete, but they are likely to form the basis of your statement.
- Why you want to undertake postgraduate study.
- Your reasons for choosing the specific course. This is vital. Saying you are interested in "business" or "management" is not sufficient.
- Show to us that you understand the subject or purpose of the course. We want to be sure you have selected the correct degree programme.
- How your first degree and/or work experience is relevant to the course, or, if you're changing direction please tell us why and explain your decisions.
- What academic skills you have developed and how they relate to the MSc course you have chosen.
- What personal skills can you offer? Again, you must explain how these skills are relevant for your study at WMG
- Your future career goals.
2. How you should say it
Address the subject of the course. WMG do not offer general "management" or "business" courses, so be specific: how are your skills and interests related to Logistics, Project Management, e-Business etc?
Relate the things you say about yourself to the course applied for. Don't just say "I worked for two months at Company X"; explain its relevance: "At Company X I was involved in troubleshooting project overruns on a new product design. This made it clear to me how important project management and risk management is".
General statements such as "I want a better job" or "I enjoy studying" are not sufficient and will count against you.
3. Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
It is important to get these right. Incorrect grammar, spelling or punctuation can make it difficult for us to read and understand what you are trying to say. For a start, you should use the grammar and spell checker provided in your word processor, but don't rely on these alone. Print your statement and read it with a pen in hand.
We are not expecting perfect English from non-native English speakers though - it's important that your personal statement is your own!
Aim for between 500 and 1000 words. It may seem like a lot, but it will fill up quickly. Be concise and straight-forward in your writing. Keep your sentences short and get to the point. Most of the poor statements we see are too long, not too short. Although the application form states 1000 words for the SoP, we would very much prefer a more concise, to the point essay closer to 500 words.
Use full sentences, starting with a capital letter and finishing with a full-stop.
Do not use slang or informal language.
Use paragraphs – your statement should read like any other piece of written work, that is, it should have an introduction (the beginning), body (the middle), and conclusion (the end).
- Don't use your statement to tell us what we already know. For example details of your undergraduate degree will be evident from your transcripts, so you don't need to repeat this information in your statement.
- A personal statement is not a CV, so avoid just listing everything you have ever done.
- Avoid using "inspirational quotes" from business leaders or other public figures. They do not add to your statement because they don't tell us anything about you.
- Donʼt submit the same generic statement for many different courses. You must tailor the statement for each specific course.
- You can include information about your hobbies / voluntary work etc, but you must explain how these relate to the course you have applied for or prepared you for study.
- Donʼt tell us about other people (e.g. your parents), they aren't the ones who will be studying at WMG.
- Avoid vague statements such as "I have always wanted to go to your University because I have a passion for study".
- Your statement must be written by you and must be original. We will reject your application if you have copied from an internet source or another applicant. We submit personal statements to a plagiarism-checking tool.
- Do not use "effective personal statement" type websites or forums.