Writing a winning personal statement is crucial if you want to make your application stand out and sell your suitability for teaching. With a strict character limit, you have to make every word count. We asked Ark Teacher Training to tell us what they look for in a personal statement as well as how to avoid common mistakes, so you can give your personal statement the best chance of success.
What qualities are you looking for when reading a personal statement?
A lot of the time it’s a case of making sure your application stands out and that your passion for educating young people is clear. Teacher training providers receive thousands of applications. When we’re looking at applications, we want people’s passion to shine through – not just reams of facts.
What are the common pitfalls when applicants write their personal statement?
A candidate’s spelling, grammar and punctuation can really let them down. There’s nothing worse when an applicant can’t spell their own subject correctly. Remember, your quality of writing will be under scrutiny, because after all, you will be teaching these things to young people.
What should candidates remember to include?
All teaching training courses will be looking for people who have experience with young people, even if not in the classroom. Experience can range from being a teaching assistant in your local school to running a children’s 11-a-side team – or even teaching English in Vietnam.
Still, nothing can match the experience of being in a classroom. If you can, get some classroom experience: this not only enables you to strengthen your statement, but also gives you the chance to check if being around 30 young people all day is the right choice for you.
What are your tips to make a personal statement stand out?
Passion for education, your subject and a degree of experience are vital, but positivity is often forgotten as an important factor. While being serious and showing your passion, try to come across as positive too. Who wants to hire a negative teacher? Let’s face it: we all remember dreading particular lessons because of an unenthusiastic teacher.
If you’re changing career, don’t say that you’re bored of your current job, or you don’t see eye to eye with your boss. Instead, be positive about what you’ve learned about your experiences so far, and why now is the right time to become a teacher. Also, passion for your subject will stand you in good stead.
Your personal statement is the heart and core of the application, so it is important to take the time and effort to research and prepare. The word count is tight: the space on the form is limited to 4,000 characters, split across a maximum of 47 lines, including spaces and line breaks – so use it wisely, and good luck!
UCAS Teacher Training applications are open now, so why not get started today?