15 Too long; didn’t read

If you couldn’t be bothered to read the six thousand or so words in the previous chapters, here’s what you missed.

Your personal statement should be honest.

Your personal statement should give a clear picture of who you really are, so that admissions tutors can find a reason to specifically admit you, as opposed to all the other candidates they have.

Your UCAS form as a whole should address the admissions tutor’s principal concerns:

1. You’re clever enough to pass the course

Your actual exam results should convince them of this. If you think they won’t, you’ll need to explain why your past does not adequately describe your present and your future. You’ve learned from your mistakes.

2. You’re mature enough to handle university

Specific achievements that take sustained commitment – like Duke of Edinburgh Gold and Grade 8 violin – can demonstrate this. If you don’t have these things, use your personal statement to show that you really are an independent learner who knows what they want and is prepared to work hard to get it.

3. You have the motivation and commitment to finish the course

Three years studying one subject is a long time to do something you don’t really love. Prove that you do by writing with sincere enthusiasm about your passion for the subject and – if you know – what you hope to do with it after you graduate.

Write your personal statement yourself and once you’ve written it, check it. Have someone you trust read it. But don’t overwhelm yourself with dozens of opinions. And don’t spend months writing dozens of drafts – it’s really not that clear how important the personal statement really is.

What is important is money . . .

NEXT: 16 Stop stressing out