Tutors like to see personal statements where your enthusiasm for the subject and your own voice come across in an interesting and spontaneous way.
Try and view the statement as a way to introduce yourself and establish a personal relationship with the universities you’re applying to, not just as a way of 'selling yourself'. Remember, provided you are a suitable applicant, then some, if not all the unis you apply to, will invite you to an applicants’ open day, which often includes an informal, friendly interview where your personal statement will be discussed.
There’s a subtle balance to be struck here. Your personal statement needs to be well structured, carefully written, grammatically correct, and should avoid sounding too quirky. But at the same time it should also retain a personal touch. What turned you on to environmental science in the first place,’ and what does that also reveal about you as a person and what makes you tick?
Like many others, environmental science divides into pathways which means you can specialise in topics that interest you while still gaining a broad overview. So, it's good to be clear in your personal statement about where your environmental interests lie.
- More about you: tutors also want to hear more about you as a person. As Dr Shaw puts it, 'Do include something about your extracurricular interests too. It’s good to see what you get up to in your spare time'. Sure, universities want to recruit the best students they can, but it’s equally important to them that you also make the right choice.
- Subject knowledge: Bournemouth University wants to know what it is that appeals to you about the 'interdisciplinary nature of environmental science' or the mixture of 'private study and field-based practical skills' involved in the course.
- How your current studies relate: Queen Mary University of London suggests writing about your current studies and the skills you’ve developed, explaining what you gained from any relevant experience or showing your understanding of one or two topical issues.
- Environmental engagement: you should also evidence 'how you relate with the environmental problems of our times' or your 'enthusiasm for investigating complex environmental systems', according to Bournemouth.
- What you can offer: Queen Mary wants more about any skills, interests or achievements you can bring to both the degree and the broader life of the university itself, 'something we cannot get just from your qualifications or your reference'.