Business and management studies degrees are among the most oversubscribed subjects at university. The highest ranking universities demand three As at A-level to be considered for a place. For these programmes, the personal statement is your chance to show admission tutors your potential beyond your grades.
In your personal statement you should talk about what you have learnt through your A-level studies. Courses with a specialist focus on accountancy or finance will ask for maths A-level, so if you studied maths do mention the skills you gained.
Peter Corvi, associate dean at the University of Warwicks' business school, says: "We're looking for strong quantitative skills."
Critically reflective essay writing skills are also important for a business studies student, says Corvi, so if you studied an essay based subject like English, history or economics, do mention your knowledge in this area.
The University of Warwick wants to see that students are able to formulate a rational argument and write it to length. Corvi says: "Some of our strong applicants are missing this skill."
So make sure that your personal statement is fluent, articulate and well structured.
Corvi says that each year he has more qualified applicants than he has places. One way for candidates to distinguish themselves is through their extra curricular work. But Corvi says he doesn't want to see descriptions of these skills without examples – make sure you explain why your extra curriculur activities are relevant, and give concrete examples of what you did and how this makes you a suitable candidate.
This sentiment is echoed at the University of Bath's school of management. Nick Kinnie, associate dean of undergraduate taught studies, advises students not to underestimate the importance of activities such as Young Enterprise, Duke of Edinburgh and sporting positions, but to explain why you undertook them.
Kinnie says: "We want to see why they did it, what they learned and why it's relevant."
Intellectual curiosity and a strong work ethic are the core skills the London School of Economics (LSE) are looking for on their management programme. Will Breare-Hall, student recruitment and study abroad manager, says the LSE is looking for "the abilities to think and work independently, follow complex lines of reasoning, demonstrate logical thought processes, solve problems and communicate accurately and succinctly".
At Bath, the business programmes are concerned with linking theory to practice, so candidates need to demonstrate their ability to reflect on their experiences and explain how the skills they learned are applicable to higher education.
Once the admissions tutors have looked at grades to determine if an applicant meets its minimum requirements they turn their attention to the personal statement.
It's important to try and stand out, but extravagant stories won't impress an admissions team.
"It's an extreme example, but one year I had an application from someone who said that their mother knew when she was carrying the child that they were going to be an accountant," says Corvi.
Corvi recommends applicants have their statements read back to them, so they can hear how they sound to others reading it.
He says: "Describe yourself in a positive light without going overboard."
Bath's programmes, like many other institutions offering similar courses, have a strong emphasis on the global nature of business and management. Kinnie says he wants to see applicants not only express an interest in working in multinational environments, but also an awareness that they will be working with students from various cultures and backgrounds.
Although it's advisable for students to seek advice from their school when writing their statements, admission tutors want to hear the students' voice in their application.
Kinnie says: "The clue is in the title. The personal statement should read in an authentic and real way and in their own language.
"This is the first step in university life: taking responsibility for your own learning and development."
I come from a background where my family has been in the retail trade for the last hundred years. Whist I was growing up I have been actively taking part in the running of the business. My family has given me the opportunity to further myself in achieving my goals. I believe studying at university will give me the opportunity to progress in the understanding I currently have in Business Studies and ICT. I believe that I can combine my interest in Business Studies and Accounts to excel in Business Management
At my secondary school I was handed the privilege and the responsibility of being head prefect. My responsibilities included attending meetings with the school principal and school staff. I believe these installed essential characteristics such as leadership
I was also the school football captain and represented the school at many inter-schools sports activities. Furthermore I represented the Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia, which is a charitable organisationfor the protection of wildlife in Zambian Game Parks. Part of my duties included giving talks to other students concerning conservation and wildlife. I thoroughly enjoyed this particular segment of my work because conservation is an issue close to my heart
I am presently enrolled at Redbridge College in Romford where I am studying three A2 courses in Mathematics, ICT and Business Studies, and one AS-Level in Accounts. I do take part in several sports activities not only to remain in good physical shape but also meet new people. I did not achieve all my targets but I am confident that with extra effort and help from my tutors I will push past my predicted grades. I have drawn up a plan of what needs to be done over the next few months in achieving this. Over the last year I have developed at a personnel level. I understand that the onus is on me to push myself to achieve my ambitions
Outside of college I have a passion for sports both for enjoyment purposes and maintaining fitness. Football is at the centre of my love for sport, but I also enjoy and participate in other sporting activities such as cricket, squash, badminton, tennis, table tennis and long distance running. I am hoping to carry on these activities whilst conducting my studies at university. I believe sports play an important role in providing a balance between education and physical wellbeing
It has long been my ambition to complete my studies at a British university. As it is well established Britain has the finest reputation for higher education around the world. A degree from a British university will assist me in my future career. I am very much looking forward to educational challenges that university has in store for me. I am also looking forward to meeting the different cultures and backgrounds that will exist of any university. But most importantly I believe I have the prerequisites not only to achieve a good degree but to progress at a personal level. This would act as a foundation for any future success in the business world.