Writing your personal statement can be a tedious task, as it essentially is an essay you have to write about yourself, which is something most people struggle with. This essay will provide you with ways in which you can conclude your personal statement effectively, as well as things that you shouldn’t do and what would be more effective instead.
Disclaimer: The ideas expressed in this article are from one student writer. Not all of the ideas may be effective, however the aim of this article is to provide you with some ideas you could include in your personal statement.
Read on for 25 great tips on how to conclude your personal statement.
For writing most personal statements you must ensure that there is a good ratio of academic work as well as extra-curriculars and other things about you. The ratio that works for most people is 70:30, with the 70 being academic. However, prospective students for the most competitive courses and universities, will tend to write less about extra curriculars and instead they will have the ratio 80:20, the 80 being academic work.
Collectively, students write more about their academic work and therefore they tend to leave their extra-curriculars and more personal notes to the end. This means that most students conclude with extra-curriculars, particularly Oxbridge applicants as those students want the majority of their personal statement to be academic.
This ratio is something you should keep in mind when writing a personal statement as it is crucial you have the structure that suits you with the course and university that you are applying to.
This article from UCAS will support you in structuring the best possible personal statement.
2. Personal experiences
When writing a personal statement, you want to ensure that your writing is palpable and provides any reader with authenticity regarding who you are and about what you want to achieve. A common technique that is used is referencing a personal experience you have had, which has led to you wanting to pursue a particular course.
For instance, a prospective medicine applicant may write – “since, volunteering at my local GP, it has sparked my interest in medicine as I have enjoyed discussing health with patients and practitioners – this then led me to apply for this course as I seek to pursue medicine in order to support communities and to promote having a good health.”
This personal experience illustrates passion for this course and highlights the types of things that this student would want to achieve in pursing this course. It is vital that when using this technique that you specific exactly what you have done and then what this has led to want to do. This will allow you to give an insight about who you are and what you would like to do.
This is effective as it conveys why you want to do the course, which is crucial to include, if you haven’t already included this in your personal statement.
3. Rhetorical questions
Another technique you can use as a rhetorical question. It is crucial that if you do use a rhetorical question to end your personal statement, that you don’t just use it for the sake of using it and that it is actually something that is of interest to you.
A rhetorical-question, can be ineffective if it is something that doesn’t genuinely interest you. If you use this technique and have an interview at a university, this question is likely to come up, so it must be something that you are willing to talk about.
For instance, if you are wanting to study English literature at university and are writing about ambiguity within texts throughout, you may end with “How is the element of ambiguity presented in modern literature?”
This is effective as it demonstrates your curiosity for the subjects and therefore it highlights your fascination and your desire to learn and further your understanding.
Another technique that can be used when concluding your personal statement is by using a quote. This tends to be used by students who want to study essay-based subjects like English or history; however, it can be used by anyone, applying to study any subject.
When using this it is important that you use a quote from a book/text that you properly understand and that you are genuinely curious about. As there is a limited amount, of characters that you can use, you must ensure the length of your quote is suitable. Obviously, you shouldn’t cut out parts of the quote that are most meaningful, but you should be wary of the limited word count, as when you are concluding your personal statement, students tend to run out of characters
For instance, if you want to study biology and you are interested in evolution you may use Charles Darwin’s quote “it is not the strongest of the species that survive, but the ones that are responsive to change”. Now, whilst students can use this quote and quotes likes this, it is important that it is contextualised, and it is clear what the student is trying to convey.
5. Refer back to a common theme
Some students end with an explanation of a common theme used throughout. For instance, a student may use the theme knowledge is power and how it links to the activities they have done and their courses and then may end with a textual reference/experience, which links to how knowledge is power.
It is important that certain themes are uncovered in your personal statement – by referring back to a common theme in the end, it ensures that your personal statement is coherent and thus is an effective concluding point.
6. Cyclical structure
A cyclical-structure, is a structure in which you link back to the initial point you made in your personal statement. This can be effective if the initial point you made is something worth coming back to. Using, this structure will ensure that your essay is clear; however, you may not want to reinforce the point made at the beginning – you should be careful with your implementation of this structure, as only then will this be effective.
For instance, you may begin your personal statement writing about your interest in communication and wanting to study Spanish. When concluding you can again make mention of a different experience that you have encountered with communication. In this scenario, it would be effective to use a cyclical structure as communication links to Spanish and making mention of it twice reinforces passion for the subject.
7. Plans for the future
Writing about plans for the future at some point in your personal statement is fundamental in displaying why you want to study the course that you have selected – if you haven’t mentioned this before (you don’t want to repeat yourself!), mentioning plans for the future in your concluding lines is important.
For instance, you can write about wanting to become a paediatrician and wanting to improve the health of children etc. This will illustrate your suitability for certain courses, as you have mentioned your career prospects, confirming that the course you want to study is the right course for you.
8. What the course will allow you to do
When concluding your personal statement, you can make mention of what the course will allow you to do. For instance, you could write about how your degree in politics will allow you to have a career in consultancy/civil service. Writing about what the course will allow you to do will evince your passion to study the course at university.
To conclude, you may decide to end with an anecdote conveying why you want to study a particular course or what has inspired you. Conveying inspiration is important as it reveals when you started to become Intrigued by your course.
For instance, you could state that a specific topic in a geography lesson sparked your enthusiasm for geography and thus it is something you wish to pursue.
When including an anecdote, it is important that you show integrity, as otherwise it won’t resonate with you and demonstrate the type of person you are.
10. Conclude what’s been stated
Whilst you don’t want to repeat yourself in your personal statement, you may want to leave the end to summarise all of the points you have made. For instance, you may state the key points to enforce the message you are trying to present.
You must be careful when doing this as you don’t want to repeat yourself, as when using this you only want to reinforce your point.
As stated previously, students tend to put their non-academic work towards the end, usually in their concluding lines. Students tend to do this using a list as they aren’t using up as many characters. Obviously, even when using a list stating activities that you have done, you must still explain why you have done them, so it shouldn’t appear clustered.
For instance, you could say “Through doing Duke of Edinburgh, being netball captain and chair of the music committee, I have been able to develop my team working and leadership skills”
12. Skills you will gain
You can conclude by stating the skills that this course will enable you to develop. For instance, if you wanted to study Religious Education, you could state that the course will enable you to further your critical analysis of contemporary religious contexts.
This is an effective technique as you are displaying what you believe the course will enable you to do, in terms of practical skills you will gain.
You may want to conclude your personal statement with hobbies and activities you like to do outside of your academic work – you could talk about how your hobbies indirectly link to the course you want to study, which will ensure you have a clear line of argument.
For instance, you can write about how you participate with film club and drama society and then how it progresses your interests of the interpretation and varied forms of literature.
14. What you’re looking forward to
You can also conclude by stating what you are looking forward to by progressing with further education. For instance, you can talk about how you’re looking forward to learning at university.
This is important as if you can explain what you are looking forward to when going to university and studying a course, you can palpably express your desire you’re learning.
15. Don’t repeat yourself
Repeating what you have stated previously, in your concluding points is ineffective. When writing your personal statement, you want to ensure that everything that you have stated isn’t repeated in any way as you don’t want to repeat any messages.
For instance, if you have stated your work experience and what it has taught you, don’t continue to bring up this same work experience. Instead, you can bring up other work experience you have done or would like to do as this would be more effective, especially when concluding.
16. Don’t be too specific
When writing your personal statement, especially if you have applied for a joint-honours and a single honours degree at different universities – ensure that when you are talking about studying you are not too specific so that it is conveyed that you have wider interests.
For instance, if you have applied to study politics at some universities and politics and history at other universities – be sure to talk about both politics and history but don’t use separate sections when you are only discussing one topic as it may indicate to a university you don’t want to do their course or are confused.
As politics and history are heavily linked, you should be able to bring both of them up without separating them too much and revealing that you have applied for two types of degrees. Particularly, when ending you should write about both, whilst not making it apparent that you have applied for different types of degrees.
17. Make mention of university values
If you haven’t made mention of university values anywhere else in your personal statement, be sure to include this in your concluding points. You may make mention of independent work, maturity, curiosity etc. which directly links to university.
This is important as it conveys that you acknowledge and understand university values and you are prepared to work in the university environment. You don’t need to be particularly specific with these values as university values are shared. However, if you are a prospective Oxbridge student you may want to emphasise your commitment to excel academically.
18. University fitting your life plan
Your personal statement in a sense should convey your educational journey. Obviously, not in such detail, but it should convey how your passions have unravelled. This should continue when making mention of university as you should convey how it will fit in with what you want to do.
If you have done you A-Levels, the usual pathway is taking a degree; however, in your personal statement, you can make this more specific to your life experience and how university fits in with what you want to achieve in life. This is an effective concluding point as it will mean your educational journey is translated.
19. Show your yearning for a challenge
To study at university, you will be faced with difficult and demanding work. Therefore, in your personal statement, you should show that you are ready, prepared and even excited for this challenge.
If you want to study a particular course, you can write about how your A-Levels don’t allow you to access the complexities of the course and your interests, which has led you to undertake further reading. Conveying your yearning for a challenge, especially at the end is effective as it leaves the reader with the impression that you are prepared for your university course.
20. Don’t copy
When concluding, it can be difficult so some student, decide to copy or rephrase things that have been said by other student or things that they have found online. Whilst, it is understandable to feel pressure when coming to the end copying others doesn’t work in your favour as it doesn’t provide authenticity.
Instead, convey through your own personal experience what you want to achieve, as this will allow you to properly represent yourself.
21. Use evidence
In your personal statement throughout should be a plethora of evidence as to why the course is suitable for you and why you want to study it. Although, we must make sure that we explain the evidence we have used and to select the evidence meticulously.
Particularly when concluding evidence is vital as the last message you leave is what you have done and through that your passion is expressed. For instance, you can say through volunteering at an animal shelter you know you want to pursue veterinary science.
22. Relate to the topic
Ensure that when you are writing your personal statement, everything you write links back to the topic you are talking about. This is especially relevant in the ending, as some students forget to ensure that everything links together and relates to what they are trying to convey.
For instance, if you are discussing your passion for engineering and structures it must be clear throughout your essay as it will mean you have a coherent essay.
Students struggle with rambling throughout their personal statements as it is often an essay that students struggle with. However, particularly towards the end students ramble as they don’t know how to end. To ensure that the ending of your personal statement is effective and to prevent rambling ensure that your essay is progressive and that it conveys your educational journey.
23. Why are you motivated?
In the end you want to ensure that it is clear why you are motivated to study the course you want to do. To ensure that this is apparent when writing your personal statement, you should ask yourself why it is that you are motivated to study the course you want to do as this will allow you to express yourself convincingly.
24. Take a break
If you have written everything in your personal statement apart from your conclusion, you should take a break as usually when looking back at the essay after a while, you will be able to detect mistakes that you have made.
You can reflect on everything you have written thus far, which will then prepare you to write your final points in your personal statement.
25. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Writing a personal statement is daunting as it can have a huge impact on your university prospects, making it a nerve-wracking essay to write. If you feel like you are struggling to write your final lines, asking someone to read over it will be helpful as they will be able to identify things you have missed or not explained in enough detail etc.
Personal statements certainly take a while to get right, so be sure to ask for people to read it and give you feedback as it will direct you in completing the best possible version of your personal statement.
You may find this Think Student article, helpful when writing a personal statement.