University Personal Statement Changes

I remember the agonising over mine.

A general purpose mini-essay every person must submit. On why that course alone for which you apply is not merely an interest, but your burning passion. And without it you cannot possibly hope to fulfil your destiny.

Its current format is evidently a block of text, 47 lines long, of a max 4,000 characters (including spaces).

Yet times they are finally a-changing.

From 2024/5 degree applicants in the UK will face a new format.

The as yet unannounced replacement is of a vibe that moves away from uninterrupted lengthy prose to shorter form question responses.

You'd think we'd arrived at this yonks ago.

On that consequent course of mine - leading to a career of my dreams natch - the tutors asking for assignments completed in essay form were even then considered outmoded, outdated and surely set be outcast.

And that's from someone who rates highly the ability to write not just a few hundred words as a flowing coherent analysis, but at least over a thousand as a well argued essay.

I could never quite understand how simple, humble headings were frowned upon. Given 'academic' articles on recommend reading lists had them in droves. As well as all manner of graphic and summary mechanisms to keep readers engaged and enlightened.

Surely even the classic, 1,000 word, 'five para' template for a student essay lends itself unobtrusively yet helpfully to five headings.

Crafting longer form business communications is a skill I see sadly underused today. It is definitely in decline. I understand how come.

Twenty years ago sellers were bemoaning that prospects were failing to read pdf docs they toiled over.

With screen sizes now reduced to that of your palm, making an impact for a solution-shifting point is certainly a challenge.

But it can be done.

Just as the imminent update to aspirant undergraduate scrutiny breaks down the singular broad into specific smaller morsels, our messaging should follow suit.

I've also long been in the habit of building on what I noticed online journalism usefully adopt. By placing at the start of my email message text [in greyed parantheses] the '5 Min Read' marker. Often accompanied by the number of sentences and/or words contained.

With what follows featuring optimal headings, bullets and symbols.

Crucially, these all aid both construction and comprehension.

One recent example in my current selling involved being determined to convey my thoughts in no more than nine sentences. Three of which were bullets, illustrating a central thrust. The tightness of brief definitely added to the gravity of meaning for my 250 words. And well worth the (slightly) extra time and effort to create.

The next undergrad candidate upgrade swaps in certain questions. Not any old qus, mind. But those focused on areas assessors are actually looking for.

Ones that single out; motivation, academic potential, evidence of learning from work experience & participation in extracurricular activities.

In other words, the new questions will drill down into what is being looked for. The same must follow for our 'section headings' in our written submissions to prospects.

Subscribe to Salespodder

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.