Ever wondered what successful midwifery applicants do to make their UCAS statements shine? If so, this post will be such a treat.
I gave Rosy a hand with her personal statement a few months ago. She's allowed me to post two versions of her midwifery personal statement: before and after polishing.
I've dug back through my emails and included her first draft just as she sent it, and the copy she finally sent to her university choices.
Rosy is an impressive candidate - she is so passionate about wanting to be a midwife!
However she needed to redraft her personal statement several times to get it just right.
I hope you’ll be able to use some of her techniques to help you write your own.
A Few Techniques To Get You Started...
Don’t worry about writing a perfect personal statement straight off, I don’t know anyone who can do this.
Just let some ideas flowing, get stuff down on paper, and you’ll be able to shape it.
It’s easy to get tense and feel everything you write is rubbish, but just keep writing and your subconscious mind will start to help you.
This sounds like a load of fluff - but lots of great authors try to have this mindset when they are writing, to excellent effect.
Aim to show the admissions tutors all those characteristics and skills you have which will make you an excellent midwife, and therefore mean you should be offered an interview.
(If you need some help with your statement now, if you've gone a bit blank, or are struggling to express yourself, check out Midwife Diaries Personal Statement School. You can get instant access to me on video taking you step by step through writing.)
Anyway, onto Rosy’s example UCAS midwifery personal statement.
I have broken her personal statement into paragraphs, pre-edit and post edit, and I’ll show you what she changed to make an excellent personal statement.
From an early age I have been fascinated with biology, and as I'm from a large family with many children, I have been fascinated with pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. These interests came together when I was 14 and I heard about the career of Midwivery.
Since then I have devoured information on the subject from textbooks, blogs, forums and academic journals.
It is unusual in this day and age to have 8 siblings, but this is my background. I have therefore come into contact with Midwives from a young age! My fascination with pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period started with my family, progressed to my teenage years when I considered Midwifery, and has now developed into me passionately pursuing the career. Midwifery offers individualised care for childbearing women in a way very different from medical care; I believe it has an essential role in supporting mothers to be the best they can be.
Rosy is an excellent candidate and I'm sure she will be a wonderful midwife - but she managed to spell midwifery wrong in her first paragraph! If she hadn't got someone to read her statement through, and she hadn't corrected it, this one small mistake might well have caused her application to be unsuccessful.
Many personal statements start with ‘From an early age, I have been fascinated with..’. or something similar. It’s best to stay away from this phrase and variants of it.
Admissions tutors have to read thousands upon thousands of personal statements - it’s best to aim for something intriguing in your first paragraph.
One of the most interesting things about Rosy is the size of her family - most people find this interesting, and she’s now linked this into her statement nicely. It also starts to get her personality across which is hard to do but very beneficial to make your statement stand out.
Rosy initially thought it was best to explain that her interest in midwifery had begun with biology. This is all very well and good but she has very little space to demonstrate why midwifery is the career for her; her admissions tutor might have wondered if a biology degree might suit her better...
In Rosy’s final version, she includes a very mature and developed opinion of midwifery being ‘very different from medical care’ - which is excellent as it demonstrates her passion for midwifery, and that she has considered the career deeply.
I am currently studying Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths, and Sociology at A-level. These were chosen with Midwifery as my focus; biology is helpful for an understanding of physiology; chemistry will be helpful in terms of pharmacokinetics; maths will be useful for interpreting statistics and research; and sociology gives me an understanding of why people behave the way they do. I have found all of these subjects very rewarding and I'm predicted the high grades necessary to apply as a student midwife.
I am currently studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths, and Sociology at A-level. These were chosen with Midwifery as my focus; Biology is helpful for an understanding of physiology, Chemistry will be helpful in understanding the pharmacology of the drugs used in midwifery; Maths will be useful for interpreting statistics and research, and will help me become a safe practitioner when working with medications. Sociology is one of my favourite subjects and I believe having an insight into the way society behaves, and individual people act based on their personal background would be very useful as a midwife.
Academic Experience Analysis
Rosy capitalised her A-level subjects to begin with, but dropped the capitalisation in the next line. It’s more professional to stick to what you’ve chosen to capitalise all the way through your statement.
Rosy went on to use a very impressive word: pharmacokinetics. However, when I asked her about it, she couldn’t quite pronounce it!
Try not to put anything in your personal statement that you wouldn’t be happy to discuss at your interview.
It’s also best to stick to simple language. In her final edit, she settled on ‘Chemistry will be helpful in understanding the pharmacology of the drugs used in midwifery’ which states clearly what she means. It's just as impressive as using the word ‘pharmacokinetics’. Adding that maths will help her be a safe practitioner around drugs is music to any midwifery tutor’s ears!
In her first copy, Rosy stated she gained understanding of people from studying sociology. In her final edit, Rosy wrote sociology gave her transferable skills of insight and understanding, and comments this is important for a midwife. This is beneficial because it shows she has skills that make her suitable to become a midwifery student.
It also shows developed insight into what kind of skills a midwife might need, which is something admissions tutors will be looking for.
In terms of experience, I have completed a small placement observing and helping Midwives in Surat in North West India, and surrounding villages. This was beneficial to confirm I really did want to be a Midwife; I was helping with basics like cleaning and was allowed to observe, and I saw a fair amount of social problems and obstetric emergencies. It made me glad of the resources I know are available in the UK. It confirmed that I would find being a midwife rewarding; in the life affirming, joyful occasions, and in the darker moments like newborn death.
In terms of experience, I was very lucky to spend two weeks observing and helping Midwives in Surat, North West India, and surrounding villages. This was beneficial to confirm I really did want to be a Midwife! I was helping with basics like cleaning and was allowed to observe if women consented, and I saw a fair amount of social problems and obstetric emergencies. I talked with and observed financially secure women who were offered highly medicalised care; many Indian women prefer medical intervention like caesarean section even when not strictly needed. I also engaged with women from very poor backgrounds attending for free care, who had chronic illnesses or disabilities, and on one very sad occasion, a woman whose baby was stillborn. It made me glad of the resources I know are available in the UK. I strongly believe I would find being a midwife rewarding; in the life affirming, joyful occasions, and in the darker moments.
Practical Experience Analysis
Rosy’s experience in India makes her a very strong candidate so she expanded this paragraph in her final edit.
The fact Rosy demonstrated she has taken time and effort to establish midwifery is really for her is very impressive.
The exclamation mark in her final copy at the end of ‘I really did want to be a Midwife!’ draws attention to this important fact.
Rosy’s final copy makes it clear that she had permission from the women in India to be there at their labours and births - this is important as it shows she is acting professionally even before she has started the midwifery course.
Rosy comments on ‘highly medicalised’ care and ‘intervention’. This lets the admissions tutor know she is aware of current obstetric and midwifery research suggesting the medicalisation of childbirth can be detrimental to women.
This shows she is up to date with current midwifery thinking, and she uses the correct professional language, further showing her understanding.
Rosy has not shied away from talking about the sad, unexpected outcomes which are a part of being a midwife. She has experienced being with one woman who had a stillbirth and has been in situations with ill or disabled women, and still concludes midwifery would be a rewarding career. Many candidates find it hard to talk about these issues but they are worth touching on in your personal statement to show you have a realistic idea of midwifery. Rosy’s description of working with women from a range of socio-economic backgrounds is also encouraging, as she will have to do this if she is accepted onto a course.
I also work in a carehome for disabled adults at the weekend. It made me consider a career as a nurse. I can now meditate (sic) patient and family difficulties, and appreciate how hard NHS staff work. I have enjoyed meeting many families from around the world, and learnt some basics of patients care like helping to feed people, helping with baths, on occasion helping give drugs, and the importance of documentation in a care setting.
To gain further care experience, I work part time in a carehome for disabled adults at the weekend. I feel this experience has taught me to listen, to mediate patient and family difficulties, and to appreciate how much effort goes into a job with the NHS. I have enjoyed meeting many families from around the world, and learnt some basics of patients care like helping to feed people, helping with baths, on occasion helping give drugs. I also understand importance of documentation in a care setting.
Career Experience Analysis
Rosy has changed first sentence has been changed to be a bit more formal. I have also picked up a spelling mistake: ‘meditate’ should be ‘mediate’.
The second sentence however shows a grave error; she mentions she has been considering nursing as a career.
Mentioning nursing is listed by many universities as an error that comes up every year. Midwifery is a very popular course, and any indication that you would be happy nursing or doing another course will be distinctly not in your favour.
Mentioning a multicultural approach to healthcare, and the importance of documentation, shows insight into what a midwife’s day to day role is like, and is a very strong point to make.
The amount of experience Rosy has is very commendable and knowing basics of patients care will be in her favour. Referring to the importance of documentation shows insight into the responsibilities midwives have.
Personal Insights Into Midwifery
As a half English, half Indian woman, I am particularly interested in how ethnic minorities receive midwifery care. I know the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries reports always list ethnic minority groups as having more stillbirths. I feel this should be improved if possible. I speak Hindi, and feel I could be very useful in my local community as a midwife. However I would be committed to giving excellent care to every woman; every culture impacts on the way pregnancy and birth is viewed. I if were accepted onto the course, being educated about such topics and working with a wide range of women from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds would be a big motivation for me.
As a half English, half Indian woman, I am particularly interested in how ethnic minorities receive midwifery care. I know the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries reports always list ethnic minority groups as at higher risk of morbidity and mortality. I am very interested in ethnographic research conducted by Christine McCourt which suggest case-load midwifery models may be of high benefit to ethnic minorities. Of course, every woman and baby deserve good care but the case-loading model appears to be beneficial to many. I speak Hindi, and feel I could be very useful in my local community as a midwife. However I would be committed to giving excellent care to every woman; every culture impacts on the way pregnancy and birth is viewed. I if were accepted onto the course, being educated about such topics and working with a wide range of women from different cultures, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds would be a big motivation for me.
Personal Insights Into Midwifery Analysis
It’s great Rosy has a particular interest, i.e.. ethnic minority midwifery care.
Having a specialist interest subject you zoom in on in your personal statement can show a level of academic and personal suitability for midwifery that isn't possible if you just gloss over many topics.
Rosy also mentions ‘Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries’ (CEMACE) reports, which is advanced data for a prospective midwifery student to be looking at (please see more information here on maternity mortality reports, as CEMACE has been replaced by 'MBRRACE'.)
Her passion for this topic comes across well.
However, in the post edit she refers to ‘mortality and morbidity’ instead of ‘stillbirths’, which is more accurate and comprehensive.
She also goes on to refer to some up to date research, which is very impressive and shows she has been reading around the subject.
In her first draft, she says ‘I feel this (stillbirth rates) should be improved if possible’. It’s a commendable sentiment, but is much better expressed in her edited version, which suggests a ‘case-loading model’ might benefit ethnic minorities. It is also important to demonstrate you can work with women from lots of different backgrounds - in her edited copy Rosy mentions that case-loading model would be beneficial for all groups of women.
Speaking another language is of course useful, especially a language like Hindi which is spoken by many Indian women in the UK, and is a brilliant point to mention.
Rosy’s enthusiasm shines through when she mentions women from different ‘cultures, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds’.
It’s important to remember ‘the spark’ is something admissions tutors look for - write about what makes you passionate!
Conclusion + Work/Life Balance
I spend a lot of quality time with my family; they are excellent at supporting me in my studies and think midwifery or nursing would be a very good career for me. We enjoy walking, watching bollywood movies, dancing, and I also like to spend time with my friends. I believe it is important to maintain a good /life balance to stay motivated. I truly think midwifery is my calling and I would be honoured at the incredible privilege of being invited onto a course.
I spend a lot of quality time with my family; they are excellent at supporting me in my studies and think midwifery would be a very good career for me. We enjoy walking, watching bollywood movies, dancing, and I also like to spend time with my friends. I believe it is important to maintain a good work/life balance to stay motivated. I truly think midwifery is my calling and I would be honoured at the incredible privilege of being invited onto a course.
Conclusion + Work/Life Balance Analysis:
Rosy’s last section addresses her excellent family support and how maintains a good work/life balance, both crucial points to include in a midwifery personal statement.
However, in her first edit she again mentions ‘nursing’ which would be better left out for reasons explored above. She also has an error: ‘good/life balance’, which she corrects to ‘work/life balance’ - this again shows the importance of having someone proofread for you.
Rosy has done well to mention she does some exercise as midwifery is a full on job which requires good physical health.
Her final line reiterates her passion and motivation to be a midwife - which after all is what a personal statement is be all about!
I really hope you found that useful, and gained some techniques and writing ability to capture the specific, special set of skills, qualities, experiences and insights that only you have.
It almost goes without saying, but anyone else submitting any part of Rosy's personal statement would be recognised (as admission tutors have sophisticated personal statement plagurism checking software). This would make it hard for whoever submitted it to be offered a place at any university as midwives must be 'of good character' (according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council).
Would you like some extra help in writing authentically, from the heart, and in a way which shows your midwifery skills at their best?
Then you might find Midwife Diaries Personal Statement School helpful. I have four years' experience working with successful applicants like Rosy which I have made into video training, which will take you through writing your personal statement - and checking it will stand up to the competition.
Do leave me a comment or drop me an email to email@example.com with any questions or if I can help,