Writing a midwifery personal statement isn't easy, especially when it means a great deal to you.
This post covers the most important things I've learnt about midwifery personal statement writing, from successful applicants.
The acclaimed author Anne Lamott talks about 'rubbish first drafts' - well actually she says 'sh***y first drafts'. She thinks this is an essential part of the writing process and I agree.
There are candidates out there who can knock out a midwifery personal statement in one evening, proof-read it, hit send and be successful on their first try. If this is you, awesome.
But that's very rare and you don't get to choose to be in that position.
I think about writing as dragging a kite along the ground behind you. Eventually, the wind will come and you'll get it up into the air but until then you have to keep trying.
Don’t beat yourself up, just continue typing knowing that your 'writing zone' is like the wind. It'll turn up only when it decides.
This is all a bit poetic and I'm not saying that slogging through, doing lots of midwifery reading and getting the basics right won't help. It definitely will.
I can give you some tips and techniques that will help no end. It's just best to keep calm and relaxed while you do the slog and it'll all come together when it wants to. You can easily end up exhausted and panicky and that's really not good for writing about yourself with confidence and insight.
Concentrate on getting your structure right as a priority.
Otherwise, you can end up with a confusing statement with transferable skills and experiences repeated and some not well explained. This makes it hard for admissions tutors to wade through. A tired admissions tutor who has read many personal statements will greatly appreciate writing that's simple to navigate.
My favourite way of making a statement easy to read is to put sections into simple>complex order.
For example, many of us have a simple enough academic background to explain. So after a short introduction perhaps explain how your academic background will help you train as a midwife successfully.
Then you may want to move onto your career experience. Perhaps that's reasonably straightforward too, you can list transferable skills and relate them back to midwifery. Then you may want to discuss your volunteer experience, if you have any. Then perhaps comment on any midwifery reading or study days you've been doing.
Life experience is often something that's best left to the end of a statement in my opinion. This tends to be the most complicated part to describe.
Round off with a quick conclusion.
It doesn't take much to put some structure into your statement but it can make the process a lot easier for you writing and the admissions tutor reading.
In my book, I mention a 'Specialist Interest Subject' and this can make for a much better statement too.
I wrote about it as a formal technique, the idea being you concentrate on one idea that makes you really excited and interested. For instance, many students are interested in Optimal Cord Clamping. Researching this topic in detail may well give you a depth of knowledge into the midwifery model, which will make your writing richer and more insightful.
And you can include a specific few lines on the topic to really impress your admissions tutors.
In reality, this 'technique' is something that happens quite naturally for many midwifery candidates. It's just that using a specific interest to your advantage as part of your statement may not have occurred to you.
When writing about your Specialist Interest Subject I'd suggest not using statistics unless you have an exceptional point to make. You can of course if you want, there are no hard and fast rules, but by the time you've cited your statistic, where it's from, what it means, and shown how this insight helps you be a wonderful candidate, you'll have used a lot of your precious character count.
For this reason, I'd also avoid proper Havard referencing. I would say you can often get away with putting '(Birthplace Study, 2011)' or whatever, just to hint at your academic ability and depth of reading.
Keep your statement easy to read. Have it flow.
Keep it women-centered and full of your skills.
Did you find this helpful?! I hope so!
Leave me a comment letting me know what you find most challenging about midwifery personal statement writing, and if you have found a solution.
And much love to anyone writing a midwifery personal statement, or any other kind of application, it's flippin' hard!
Free Help: Got a specific question? I'm running a Q and A Facebook chat on Friday 6-7pm on midwifery personal statement writing. Come and ask me any questions - join The Secret Comunity For Midwives In The Making here.
If you have a draft, I offer a limited amount of personal statement one-to-one coaching via email, for more information, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org