Top 6 Personal Statement Turnoffs!

Your personal statement is a crucial component of any university or job application. It’s the first opportunity for the admissions team or recruiter to get a good sense of who you are (their first impression of you so to speak!) so it’s absolutely vital that your statement is up to scratch.

Even if you truly do meet all the requirements you won’t make it to Interview if your personal statement doesn’t have the ‘wow factor’ which makes you stand out from the other applicants.

We’re passionate about helping aspiring midwives brush up their application skills. To help you out we’ve listed some of the top errors we see again and again in Personal Statements in our Review Service, ones that you might not even be aware are there!


1. Spelling Mistakes

We don’t just mean spelling mistakes in your Personal Statement here – any spelling mistakes in any section of the UCAS form are a bit of a no-no for the admissions team.

Some of the most common errors we’ve seen are in the educational and employment history sections, with errors like ‘college’ spelled with only one ‘l’.

If you’re applying online or (as we would recommend) writing your statement in a word document (or similar) to copy and paste, your computer or word processing software’s spellcheck will usually do a pretty good job of correcting basic errors.

However, it’s best not to rely on it completely!

Also be aware that your spellcheck might be set to ‘American English’ spelling and could automatically correct words like ‘recognise’ or ‘colour’ to their American counterparts.

2. Grammatical Errors

Similarly don’t rely on your device’s grammar checker – it’s not always 100% accurate.

If you’re not sure then CHECK, and make sure you know the difference between the uses of words that sound the same like there, they’re and their or to and too – these are some of the areas where we see errors coming up again and again!

3. Too Much Information

Remember that your personal statement should be concise –and not include irrelevant information.

It’s better to just mention the most relevant work and life experiences you’ve had – in effect tailoring your description of your experiences to the course requirements.

Brainstorm on a separate piece of people, look at the requirements and have a good think about what might be the most suitable things to mention.

4. Over-Inflated Claims

While we would advise you to tailor the experiences you mention to the requirements of the course we can’t emphasise enough the danger of lying or over-exaggerating claims!

If something doesn’t ring true it will immediately flag up –

for example saying that you had an unrealistic amount of responsibility for a previous job position you’ve put down, or that you solved a problem that you clearly wouldn’t have had the authority to deal with in that role.

5. Generic Phrases

The language in your personal statement should be professional but try to avoid using generic or ‘buzz’ phrases, especially without any evidence to back them up.

Saying you’re a ‘dynamic and adaptable’ student doesn’t mean much on its own – the admissions team will want to know WHY you consider yourself to be like this, and to read proof from previous experiences to back this up.

Other generic phrases we see a lot of include ‘I work well individually and as part of a team’ and ‘I consider myself a team player’.

A much better way to put this would be to say something like ‘I have strong teamworking skills as seen in my employment with xxx’ then to give details of the most relevant team-working experience you had in this position, effectively backing your claim up.

6. Gaps in employment

If you are applying later in life and have any large gaps in your employment history put in a brief sentence to explain why, and what you did or achieved during this time.

Unexplained gaps are a huge red flag to an admissions team, as a steady employment history marks you as a reliable candidate.

Of course it’s not a problem if you took a year off to go travelling, or to go back to college, or even to have children – but make sure you fill in all the gaps!

The Midwifery application process is more competitive than ever, with hundreds of applicants for each position. So it’s so, so important that your application and personal statement reflects your true potential!

After all your personal statement will be one of the first impressions the admissions team get of you – so make sure this impression is a good one!

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Hannah Vallance

Hannah is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist specialising in recruitment, selection and assessment. This means she designs and assesses at selection days just like the ones used for Midwifes, which is pretty handy experience for Midwife Career!

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