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Accounting and Finance Personal Statement

Updated on July 29, 2014

Before you even start writing your accounting and finance personal statement, you need to have committed to detailed appropriate prep & planning beforehand. This will be vital to ensure that your personal statement comes across in a clear & coherent manner and to represent yourself in the best possible light to the accountancy & finance admission tutor reviewing your application (it also makes the writing stage a whole lot easier). And this is what this article aims to be, a sort of "battle plan" on how to approach writing your A & F personal statement.

Structure is Key

Before you even start thinking of ideas (and especially the writing phase) you need to get down a structure for your personal statement and these can vary from statement to statement, but I think the following has a nice clear flow to it.

Section One: this is where you talk about how you 'got interested' in accounting and finance, a unique and an original experience that is specific (not vague). So this would be essentially your opening paragraph, perhaps a few sentences.

Section Two: the secondary and potentially third paragraph is showing evidence that you are keen to study this degree, you have proactively backed up your interest. Demonstrating your hard skill set. So what extra courses you have undertaken (don't ever mention your A Levels in your personal statement), related coursework (perhaps you did a related EPQ project), work experience (you have shadowed an accountant), specific non-cliche readings (e.g. do not mention The Economist or The Financial Times) and so on.

Section Three: provide evidence for your soft skill set, this is with regards to your personality -- that you are a hard working, social and generally likeable human being. That you will be a good student for the university to have. So showing that you are involved in Youth Enterprise schemes, captain of your local football team and so on.

Bonus Tip

Read around universities that offer advice on your specific area, even to ones you aren't applying too.

Get Some Ideas Noted

Under each section I would then have a deep think about what could possibly go here. So for section one you could have been inspired by a documentary (e.g. million dollar traders), your Business teacher, your Uncle who runs his own finance business and so on.

The more you have the better however as with all things quality trumps quantity (as you can only go with one route anyway), then look for possible links between all the sections and start to think about how you'd phrase it in a sentence & structure.

For example, in your first paragraph you can say you were originally inspired when you came across X documentary so then to investigate further you asked to take up a three work work experience placement with Y company and did A, B and C with them. You then asked what should be a route to explore to further your interest and they suggest Z course (could be with the OU or some independent financial body, there is quite a few knocking about).

This then inspired you to read the Intelligent Investor and so on which gave you a greater understanding of a certain financial component (Black Scholes investment theory, financial and capital markets and so on). You could then relate that back to some of the previous work experience you did (although the Scholes theory might be a bit of a stretch) you brought some of your skills from the above to the Youth Enterprise scheme and vice versa. Hopefully, you can see a natural progression from one thing to the next and so the only next possible step to take is to undertake a degree in Accounting and Finance.

Of course the more you actually do, the better you will understand the terminology and vocabulary being used -- which you can then use appropriately in your personal statement -- at least than your next competing applicant, this then gives you an edge as the admission tutor will see you have at least some understanding already and that you are committed to the course.

Look Up Some Finance & Accounting Personal Statement Examples & Samples

As they are relatively few examples around on the internet (and the ones that are out there, most are quire poor). Read up any related personal statement that has been proven to be successful, where you know they got into LSE and the like (who place a particularly high value on the quality of your personal statement). There are some dedicated UCAS personal statement books than you can invest in that offer some stellar practical advice as well as successful personal statements and not so good ones (so you know what you should and should not be doing). Then you will see what a good personal statement looks like and you can try to emulate some of those factors.

Watch the Video Above

If you do anything -- make sure you watch the video above by an Imperial College London admission tutor who does an epic coverage on what a personal statement should be about. Granted, it is not specific to the degree in topic, but you will learn a few key elements that will give you that edge in beating out your competition & getting you to your dream university.

About Writing

Now for probably the most difficult 47 lines you will have ever written in your life. Make sure everything is 'punchy' like your a boxer and you're trying to score a point with every punch, you should treat every sentence the same. Every single word (even character to some extent) has to earn its way on to your personal statement. Try and score single points, combo points and points within points to try and convince the admission tutor you are ideal. So forget most flowery adjectives, analogies and metaphors, you want hard hitting points about you.

Make it unique & specific -- not vague in anyway, actual examples of doing something are 100 times better than listing what you did. Saying that you did work experience in an abc accountancy firm for two weeks inspired greater confidence in my ability to comprehend finance is incredibly poor compared to During my ABC accountancy placement I undertook responsibility for X client to produce Y document by having learned to navigate Z software.

Not the best example, but instead of telling the admission tutor that you gained greater confidence in finance, the admission tutor knows & sees that you will have done by carrying out those intense tasks & from what you have learned. Hopefully that makes sense.

You aren't listing what you have achieved, you are providing a narrative and with each point made you are gaining points. However, even in the linkages you need to be aiming to get points. For instance, saying that you reflected from the book you read back on the work experience you had, another lesson learned at the time you didn't realise Another could be the initiative to self start on a course to learn an aspect to aid you in being more useful in a work experience placement or the YE scheme. Both reflection and initiative are aspects valued by an admission tutor, yet all you have done is used words that combine points being made.

Of course expect your personal statement to undergo re-draft after re-draft, re-write after re-write, put yourself in the shoes of an admission tutor. Ask someone else to put themselves in the shoes of an admission tutor and don't ask "do you think it is any good?", ask for "how can it be improved?" that way even if it is good, you can improve it more so. Plus, it puts less pressure on the person reading it and they are more likely to give you an honest answer.

Hopefully you have at least gained some aspect or piece of advice that you feel that you can take forward and place in your accounting and finance personal statement. Good luck with your application. Moreover, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to make them in the comments below.


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