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Engineering's list of "Dos and Don'ts"

Your standard application form to potential universities shows in black and white the subjects you study and the grades you've achieved (or are predicted), but your personal statement is your chance to:

  • Sell yourself in the areas the standard application form doesn't explicitly tell you to
  • Explain why you want to do the course
  • Prove why out of all the other applicants, you would be an ideal candidate
  • Wow the reader who is going through thousands of applications

Hence why it's important to really get your personal statement on point.

Your personal statement will be (or should be) very different to anybody else's, but we can still offer you our tips on the Dos and Don'ts of writing an excellent personal statement to study Engineering at Swansea.

Do tell your story

Remember that you are telling the reader about yourself. We know personal statements can feel like an essay, but try to think of it as your story, and you're trying to keep the Admissions Tutors engaged by giving them something that's a delight and interesting to read.

Don't hold back

If there is something unique and special about you, and really worth shouting about, tell us! Just remember to keep it PG-13 (appropriate) and relevant. 

Don't over exaggerate

On the other hand, we definitely don't want you to lie. And trust us, lies will be exposed in the long-run.

Do give evidence

Always use real examples to support your claims. Did you do work experience in a relevant industry? Or volunteer work to demonstrate your ability to work in a team? Have you ever entered any creative competitions and won or made a great impression? All of these things are worth bragging about.

Don't use clichés

We're sorry if anyone gets upset by this, but if you were planning to write about how you loved playing with and building stuff using Lego as a kid - just don't. Not to undermine that this might be true and a very valid reason why you've chosen to study Engineering, but sadly, our Admissions Tutors receive thousands of personal statements that say the same thing. 

Do ask someone knowledgeable 

It never hurts to ask for the second opinion of a trustworthy friend or family member, especially if they've been to university or are an engineer themselves. Never underestimate the advice of someone who was once in the same boat as you. Even if you don't know any engineers personally, having someone with a fresh pair of eyes to check your personal statement for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is very helpful. And if it's someone who knows you well, they might even be able to remind you of impressive things that you've done that you hadn't considered.

Do try again 

For most people, the first draft is never the one. It's worth writing a few versions, approaching it differently each time, experimenting with different opening and closing statements. It will feel like a lot of work, but when you feel happy with what you've produced and ready to submit, it will all feel worth it in the end knowing you've written it to the best of your ability.


Written by Garbo Lim, Marketing Officer, College of Engineering.