If you’ve made the excellent decision to #ChooseGeography at university, then you've got just 4,000 characters to prove to your five favourite universities that you are the right fit for their course. Here are our top tips for writing your UCAS personal statement:
Write first, edit later.
When you're working with strict word and character limits, it is best to get everything out onto the page first and then edit it down later. Doing this will help you see which parts are more important than others. On the flip side, if you're able to keep your statement concise, then don't worry about filling out the maximum number of characters - try not to waffle!
Make sure you answer the question 'why do you want to study geography?'.
What is it about geography that you are passionate about? Do you want to help find solutions that mitigate against climate change? Do you want to learn the tools to track population movements? Are you interested in large-scale conflict resolution? Do you want to help in the conservation of a specific animal or habitat? Explain what it is about studying geography that will bring you closer to your ambitions and interests!
Show don’t tell.
Don’t just say you are ‘passionate’ and ‘enthusiastic’ about geography - show it! Make sure you explain how your personal experiences so far (work experience, volunteering, extracurricular activities or academic work) relate to geography. If you're including a statement like ‘I’ve always wanted to be a geographer’, make sure you have an example or two that explain why. The same goes for showing how your experiences relate to your personal skills (problem-solving, leadership, analytical skills, time management, motivation, organisation, etc).
Divide your statement into five or six parts.
Structure can be a good way of prioritising what you want to say.
Think about what you might contribute to the course.
Geography as a subject is ever-changing and adapting, with new discussions and new ideas brought forward all the time. Try to explain what it is that you could bring to the course - what new perspectives and ideas can you contribute?
Check it again (and again and again and again).
You’ve probably heard this one by now, but a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ really can help to catch mistakes you've not noticed. If at all possible, see if you can find a geography undergraduate to look over your statement.
We know this year has been unlike any other, and that the disruptions to teaching and learning are continuing. So we wish you the best of luck in your application. Thank you for choosing geography!
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