Some of the key ingredients you need to try and demonstrate include:
- why you want to become a midwife
- your insight and awareness of the role of a midwife and the work they do
- evidence that you've got the necessary skills like communication, time management, teamwork, organisation and empathy — and why you think they are appropriate to the role
- an understanding of diversity and a capacity for being non-judgmental — you'll be dealing with people from the whole spectrum of society
Remember that midwives enable, support, and empower women — it's not just about babies. As an admissions tutor at Anglia Ruskin University described it: 'Can you evidence strong motivation based on a realistic understanding of the nature of midwifery?'.
With so many applicants chasing every place, the best personal statements will demonstrate what the University of York calls 'a real insight and current awareness that goes beyond the obvious aspects of the role or how it's conveyed on television'.
In fact, more than one university has told us, 'if you write about “One Born Every Minute”, you'll be rejected'. They're not joking either.
- Be natural: you're likely to be interviewed for a midwifery place, so make sure your personality shines through in your statement — and you can back up claims you've made with evidence.
- Avoid being too generic: as the University of Nottingham puts it, 'we need more information than "I like caring for babies".'
- Evidence everything: don't just list the things you've done without explaining why they're relevant.
- Talk about what you would bring to the profession: not what the profession would do for you.
- Show awareness of maternity care issues: the University of Cumbria asks applicants to 'demonstrate that they have thought carefully about the influences on women's health and the nature of midwifery in the UK in the 21st century'.
- Ensure your spelling and grammar is spot on: many universities won't consider any applications containing errors.
Standing out as a midwifery applicant requires thorough preparation and research.
As University of York's web page explains, you will then need to articulate your thoughts and opinions in a clear and concise way in your personal statement and convey something about who you are as a person, 'as this makes your statement unique and hopefully makes you stand out'.
You can also research which birth centres and labour wards you may like to do your placements on if you're accepted onto a course.
Use your statement to reflect on any experience you've had of shadowing, working with, or just talking to a midwife about the role.
Reflecting on other kinds of care experience may also be relevant, especially in such settings as an antenatal or breastfeeding group, or any insights you've gained into current practice from midwifery journals, books, websites or open days.
Think about what transferable skills you have that would apply to midwifery situations. These could be demonstrated in lots of ways — whether it's the diplomacy you've needed as a customer service assistant, the empathy you've shown through volunteering, the teamwork that got you through your Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition, or the way you've balanced the demands of being a parent yourself.
Make sure your enthusiasm for the subject and vocation is backed up with an understanding of the demands of the course too.
We spoke to some inspirational midwifery students from Bournemouth University who told us what it's really like:
- And as a male student said, 'It's not babies I like, it's the being there for someone who needs my help’.
- 'The biggest shock is the workload.'
- 'Delivering babies is about 1% of what we do.'
- 'Communication skills are crucial – you must be able to listen.'
- 'Time management is vital, as there's so much to juggle.'
- 'Before you apply, you must do your research.'
- 'It's a baptism of fire, but we love it!'
For all degree courses that involve training within an NHS setting, there is likely to be some emphasis on values based selection, and how applicants' own values and behaviours align with the seven core values of the NHS Constitution.
Familiarise yourself with this while writing your personal statement.
Check out our guide on what to include in your personal statement, which covers how you should approach it, how to structure it, and more.