The tricky opening statement
I recently came across the most overused first lines in personal statements, and I just had to share! The article was published with data gathered from the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), which is an organization that manages applications for undergraduate courses at universities in the United Kingdom.
Here are some of the most overused opening sentences as reported by the UCAS:
1. From a young age I have (always) been [interested in/fascinated by]… (used 1,779 times)
2. For as long as I can remember I have… (used 1,451 times)
3. I am applying for this course because… (used 1,370 times)
4. I have always been interested in… (used 927 times)
5. Throughout my life I have always enjoyed… (used 310 times)
6. Reflecting on my educational experiences… (used 257 times)
7. Nursing is a very challenging and demanding [career/profession/course]… (used 211 times)
8. Academically, I have always been… (used 168 times)
9. I have always wanted to pursue a career in… (used 160 times)
10. I have always been passionate about… (used 160 times)
11. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world… (used 148 times)
Do you currently have one of these lines in your personal statement? That’s ok. Opening statements can be tricky since there is bound to be overlap when thousands of students answer the same prompt. By sharing these opening lines, I am not telling you to avoid them, but think about why you are using them and if there is a better way to construct the sentence. Also, when writing your statement, it’s crucial that you share personal growth. Many applicants will experience similar struggles; however, their response to those struggles will vastly differ. It is important to share your growth with the reviewer and how that growth will contribute to your success at the school.