How to write a personal statement

Much like a cover letter, your personal statement should be relevant, well-written and uniquely about you. It's your opportunity to explain or expand upon the other documents you submit as part of your application. Here are our top tips to ensure you give yourself the best chance possible.

If you're applying through VTAC, please visit their website for more information specific to VTAC requirements.

Focus on your experience

Your personal statement could be the difference between you getting a place at Deakin or missing out. If you don't quite meet your course entry requirements or criteria, it's an alternative way for our admissions team to assess your application and learn more about you and your strengths. So don't be afraid to gloat!

You should list your achievements, work experience, skills and any obstacles you've overcome. Talk about what you're good at and what you're proud of. Include any voluntary work or activities, as these are a great reflection of who you are as a person and what you believe in.

This is your chance to let us know why you would make a great Deakin student or why you may not have previously performed as well as you know you could.

Keep in mind that your statement should be relevant to and demonstrate your commitment and interest in the course or study area you're applying for.

Allow yourself plenty of time

Draft and re-draft your personal statement. If you leave it to the last minute and write it in a hurry, it will show. Allow yourself time to revise and refine, getting rid of any information that's superfluous or repeated.

It may also be a good idea to get a friend, family member or colleague to look over it. Someone with fresh eyes to pick up any errors or inconsistencies you may have missed.

Check your spelling and grammar

It may seem obvious, but getting your spelling and grammar right is important. Choose a tense and stick with it. Watch out for spelling mistakes (spellcheck isn't always your friend – especially if your default language is American English). Make sure you aren't missing words, that capital letters are only used where they're supposed to be, and try not to repeat words, especially adjectives.

Make sure your verbs agree with your nouns (for example the team was, not the team were). Keep date formats the same throughout. Use words to express numbers from one to nine and numerals for numbers 10 and over.

Consistency and accuracy is key.

Stick to the format

Your personal statement must be submitted as a PDF so be sure to check your spacing and layout doesn't change when you convert your document. Keep margins and fonts consistent. Using lots of colours can be distracting so keep it simple and in a format that's easy to read.

If your course application requirements state a maximum character or word limit, please don't exceed that limit. Going over a specified limit may make you ineligible.

If no limit has been specified it's best to keep your statement as concise as possible. Aim for one page of writing, though this may not always be possible depending on the application requirements and/or your personal situation. Either way, avoid padding it out with generic or unrelated information. Keep it sharp, to-the-point and relevant.

Don't copy anyone else's work

This is an important one. Don't lose what makes you unique and don't be tempted to let someone else write your personal statement for you. Only you can express what you're passionate about and why.

Be creative with your language, but not overly verbose. A personal statement should be well-written and in straightforward English.