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23 May 2024

7 minutes read

How To Write A Personal Statement Example If You Take A Gap Year

Key Takeaways

  • Highlight how your gap year experiences, volunteering and internships, have prepared you for your chosen course.
  • Focus on personal growth and development to show admissions tutors your readiness for university.
  • Clearly reflect your experiences to keep the reader engaged and demonstrate your commitment.
  • Regularly review your personal statement to ensure clarity and alignment with your career aspirations.
  • Use real-life examples to make your personal statement relatable, showcasing your unique journey.

Taking a gap year can be an experience of a lot of ups and downs but it will allow you to gain valuable skills and perspectives that can enhance your personal statement. Many students find that a well-spent gap year can make their application stand out to admissions tutors. Whether you choose to volunteer, travel, or gain work experience, these activities can provide rich content for your personal statement.

Writing a personal statement after a gap year involves highlighting how your experiences have prepared you for your chosen subject. Admissions tutors look for insightful reflections and relevant qualifications, so it’s crucial to re-read your statement multiple times to ensure it aligns with your UCAS application and coursework. With the right approach, your personal statement can effectively convey your enthusiasm for the next step in your academic journey.

In this guide, we have shared expert tips for writing a good personal statement that can help you in your application process and even in your placements.

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4 Benefits if you take a gap year 

Taking a gap year can offer numerous advantages, not only for your personal growth but also for your academic and career prospects. Here are four key benefits that can make your personal statement stand out and enhance your overall application:

Enhanced Personal Statement

Believe it when you write your statement, you’ll be surprised at how your experiences outside the classroom can impress admissions tutors. Make sure to include everything you’ve done that’s related to the course you’re applying for. Reflecting on how you’ve gained work experience and developed key skills will keep the admission officers engaged and demonstrate your commitment to your chosen career.

Career Prospects

Taking a gap year in your personal statement can show that you’ve entered this phase with a plan. Don’t go into your gap year without considering your future career path. By gaining relevant work experience or volunteering in health and social care, for example, you’re looking to develop skills that will benefit you at the degree level and beyond. These experiences can highlight your career aspirations and make you a more attractive candidate in the application process.

Personal Growth

You’ve taken the initiative to step outside the traditional school or college path, which can be a significant talking point in your personal statement. Discussing how you’ve encountered different cultures or developed interpersonal skills can make your statement not just a list of qualifications but a narrative of personal development. This approach can help you go into more detail about your interest in the course and show how your gap year has prepared you for study at university.

Fresh Perspective

Returning from a gap year with fresh eyes allows you to read your personal statement more critically. It’s best to re-read your statement to ensure it aligns with your career aspirations and includes all relevant skills and experiences. Don’t write your personal statement in a rush; take the time to review spelling and grammar meticulously. This careful attention to detail can be the difference in convincing admissions tutors to offer you a place.

Must Read  Crafting an Impactful Clinical Psychology Personal Statement

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Expert tips to write a personal statement

gap year personal statement example 1

When it comes to applying to universities, it is advisable to listen to the experts first because they have been in the industry for a while and it is likely that at some point they also had the same problem. Here are five expert tips to help make your statement stand out and reflect your unique experiences and aspirations.

Highlight Relevant Experiences

When you write your statement, it’s best to include everything you’ve done that’s pertinent to the course you’re applying for. Whether you’ve gained work experience in health and social care or developed interpersonal skills through volunteering, showcasing these activities can demonstrate your commitment and readiness for study at university. This approach keeps the reader engaged and highlights your suitability for the chosen career.

Reflect on Your Gap Year

If you’ve taken a gap year, make sure to mention it in your personal statement. A gap year could provide a wealth of experiences that can enhance your application. Discuss how you’ve entered different cultures, developed key skills, and taken the initiative to pursue relevant work experience. These insights can go into more detail about your career aspirations and show that your gap year was spent productively.

Showcase Personal Growth

Your personal statement isn’t just a list of qualifications; it should reflect your personal growth. Discussing experiences outside the classroom, such as extracurricular activities or travel, can make your statement more relatable and engaging. You’ll be surprised how demonstrating personal development can keep the reader interested and showcase your readiness for degree-level study.

Be Clear and Concise

It’s crucial to write your personal statement clearly and concisely. Don’t write lengthy paragraphs, instead, try to include relevant personal experiences and skills in a structured manner. Admissions tutors often have many statements to read, so a well-organized statement with a clear line count is going to help you stand out.

Review and Revise

After writing your personal statement, read it with fresh eyes. Re-read your statement to check for spelling and grammar errors and ensure it aligns with your future career path. Don’t go overboard, but make sure your statement answers the following questions:

Why are you interested in the course? What have you done to prepare? How does this fit into your career aspirations? This thorough review can convince admissions tutors to offer you a place.

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2 personal statement examples for students with a gap year

Here are two strong and useful personal statement templates that you would want to try in your application:

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Personal statement sample for students without experience

During my gap year, I took the opportunity to reflect on my future and prepare for the challenges of university. Although I did not gain experience of work or travel, I used this time to focus on my personal growth and academic interests. I dedicated myself to self-study, reading extensively about my chosen subject of psychology, which deepened my understanding and passion for the field.

Additionally, I spent time volunteering at my local library, where I helped organise events and assisted with community programs. This experience allowed me to develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills. It also reinforced my desire to pursue a career in psychology, as I saw firsthand the impact of community support and engagement.

My gap year has made me more mature and focused, ready to take on the academic challenges ahead. I am eager to bring my dedication and enthusiasm to my university studies and continue growing both personally and academically.

Personal statement sample for students with experience and internships

Taking a gap year was one of the best decisions I’ve made. During this time, I was able to volunteer at a local animal shelter, which provided me with invaluable hands-on experience in animal care and welfare. Working closely with veterinarians and animal behaviourists, I learned about the various aspects of animal health and the importance of compassion and patience in this field.

In addition to volunteering, I also took a part-time job at a community centre, where I assisted in organizing events and activities for children. This role helped me develop strong organisational and leadership skills, as I was often responsible for coordinating schedules, managing resources, and leading group activities. These experiences have not only improved my ability to work effectively in a team but also strengthened my communication and problem-solving skills.

Furthermore, I traveled to several countries during my gap year, immersing myself in different cultures and broadening my perspective. These travels have made me more adaptable and open-minded, qualities that I believe are essential for success in any academic or professional setting.

My gap year has been a period of significant personal and professional growth. It has reaffirmed my commitment to studying veterinary science, as I have seen the direct impact that skilled and compassionate care can have on animal welfare. I am eager to bring the knowledge and skills I’ve gained during my gap year to my university studies and contribute positively to the academic community.

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Conclusion

Taking a gap year can be a great experience that helps make your personal statement stronger and your university application stand out. By talking about what you did during your gap year, showing how you learned new skills, and explaining how these experiences have prepared you for college, you can write a statement that grabs the attention of admissions tutors.

Make sure to review and edit your personal statement carefully so it’s clear and easy to read. This careful attention will show that you are ready for the next step in your education and serious about your future career. With these tips, you can write a personal statement that really shines.

Must Read  A Comprehensive Guide to GRE AWA Essays: Tips and Sample Essays

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FAQs

How do I explain my gap year in my personal statement?

When explaining your gap year in your personal statement, be honest and provide context. You can mention the reasons why you took a gap year, what you did during that time (e.g., work, travel, volunteer), and how those experiences have helped you grow and prepare for college. Highlight any skills or insights you gained that are relevant to your academic pursuits.

Should I apologize for taking a gap year in my personal statement?

No, you shouldn’t apologize for taking a gap year. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your experience and how it has contributed to your personal growth and readiness for college. Show the admissions committee that you used your gap year productively and that it has made you a stronger candidate.

How do I connect my gap year experiences to my academic goals?

To connect your gap year experiences to your academic goals, think about how the skills or insights you gained during your gap year can be applied to your chosen field of study. For example, if you worked in a related industry, highlight the skills you developed and how they will help you succeed in your program. If you traveled, discuss how your experiences broadened your perspective and prepared you for a diverse academic environment.

What if I didn’t do anything “impressive” during my gap year?

You don’t need to have done something “impressive” during your gap year to write a strong personal statement. Focus on what you learned about yourself, how you grew as a person, and what you’re bringing to the table as a result of your gap year. Even if you simply worked to save money or took care of family obligations, you can discuss how those experiences taught you responsibility, time management, and other valuable skills.

How much space should I dedicate to my gap year in my personal statement?

The amount of space you dedicate to your gap year in your personal statement will depend on the specific prompt and the word count. Generally, aim to devote about 1-2 paragraphs to your gap year, depending on its relevance to your academic goals and the rest of your application. Make sure to balance your discussion of your gap year with other important aspects of your application, such as your academic achievements and career aspirations.

Can I use my gap year as a way to address any weaknesses in my application?

Yes, you can use your gap year as an opportunity to address any weaknesses in your application. For example, if your grades weren’t strong, you can discuss how you used your gap year to take additional courses or prepare for standardized tests.

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