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. It allows the Course Selector to understand how well your goals and objectives align with those of the course, and helps them to determine whether you will be a good fit for the course. It is therefore crucial that you explain clearly your motivations for applying to your chosen course.
Your Personal Statement also gives us an opportunity to find out more about you. Think of it as an opportunity to tell us about yourself and to highlight your strengths, and how you will contribute to your course, the department, and the University of Warwick.
1. What you should say
Here are the themes that you should consider when writing your personal statement. This list is not comprehensive, but can 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 the subject area is not sufficient - you need to demonstrate a solid rationale.
- Show to us that you understand the subject and purpose of the course and how it's going to help you towards achieving your longer term goals.
- Show us 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.
- Discuss the 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
- What is your motivation for studying this course and how does it fit with 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". Go on to qualify that statement further.
General statements such as "I want a better job" or "I enjoy studying" 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. Be concise and straight-forward in your writing. Keep your sentences short and get to the point. Although the application form states 1000 words for the SoP, we would very much prefer a more concise and focused 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 listing what you have already 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 your statement for the specific course you are applying to with us - demonstrate to us that you have done your research and you understand our course in WMG and why it is particularly suitable for you and your goals.
- You can include information about your hobbies / voluntary work etc, but you must explain how these either relate to the course you have applied to, have prepared you for study, or have impacted you in some way.
- Donʼt tell us about other people (e.g. your parents), they aren't the ones who will be studying at WMG.
- Avoid vague and sweeping 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.