What should be in a Personal Statement?
In your personal statement, you need to demonstrate three things ultimately:
1) Demonstrate your interest, along with how adept you are in the subject you wish to read.
2) Demonstrate an example of a subject idea/topic and your reaction towards it.
3) Demonstrate your experiences in detail in order to give an example of your personal skills.
Create a Mindmap
A mindmap will allow you to get your ideas out on to paper (or on screen).
I would personally create a mindmap by hand, but there is free mindmap software available.
Don't have to focus on the detail or how you are going about to express it. Just the idea.
Then once all your ideas are out, this will then allow you to form them into a structure into the three sections above.
By structuring them, it gives the personal statement some shape and more balance ( e.g. you don't go too heavily into a subjecet idea and too little on demonstrating you personal skills).
Also if you don't provide shape it appears that you can't write in a well structured manner and this could have a reflection on your ability to carry out a degree.
The numbered sections below, to me is in the best order that I would structure the personal statement.
Where section one shows how your life experiences have edged you towards wanting to study your degree, then section two shows your current ability in the subject, then the final section supporting your application as a student.
However, the most important issue is that they have a structure, and not just a random mess.
The First Section
Here you need to provide your background. Demonstrating that this isn't a decision on the whim (like you suddenly just chose to do your subject).
By doing this degree, is simply a natural continuation of your academic education.
This section should also show evidence of skills that you are good at your subject, so if your degree requires a lot of analysis, you should be showing this, in this section.
The Second Section
Showing the admission tutor, how adept you are in the field of study you wish to read.
For example if you want to study an Economics degree, take an idea from a book by a famous Economist, then in a sentence or two explain the concept, and then present your feelings towards it in a sentence or two and finally your thoughts in another sentence or two.
So the more books you read around your subject the more likely you are to find a concept that appeals to you.
This section is where you can really differentiate yourself and be orginal compared to that of other applicants, and demonstrates your comprehension and ability in your subject.
The Third Section
Here you are presenting your personal skills that are needed to do a degree at university.
Don't just give a list of activities and skills.
Provide detailed and specific examples.
So simply stating that you did something isn't good, how you did something is what is wanted.
However, remember to stay punchy (as throughout the personal statement) you only have limited, valuable space.
Hence this is showing that you have personal skills which show that you are a good student.