Supporting students at The Eastbourne Academy

Throughout October and November 2021 our HR Manager, Paula Sanders, visited The Eastbourne Academy to help students apply for college. Drawing on her experience as a lecturer and recruitment specialist, Paula ran 4 sessions which drew parallels between writing a personal statement for applications and putting together a CV.

While most young people will be able to get onto their desired course, some can easily get over subscribed. So, the aim of the exercise was to write a personal statement that was sure to stand out.

The opening line of a personal statement is crucial as it can be the difference between a recruiter deciding to read the entirety of a statement or just skip past it. As well as banning overused statements like “I want to do this course because…”, Paula also encouraged course attendees to think about:

  • Skills identification
  • Similarities between personal statements and CVs
  • What drives students to choose the courses they do
  • Why having a back-up plan demonstrates resilience
  • How skills and hobbies support a college application

“My favourite murderer is…” was how one Year 11 opened her personal statement for a Criminology course application. The class understood how this was an eye-catching opening and one that the reader would want to continue reading!

The student went on to describe how much she enjoyed crime documentaries, particularly those with a focus on serial killers. On further discussion, she was asked to identify what element of the documentaries interested her; Was it the process police used to track them down? The psychology of the killer? Or perhaps the psychology used to identify them?

Another suggestion of Paula’s was that students hoping to take creative courses could create online portfolios to showcase evidence their skills. Teachers were particularly keen to put this into action as they had never used a technique of that kind.

A CV template and basic tips on writing a personal statement can be found here.