for midwifery applicants
do your research beforehand
before you begin to write your personal statement and send off your UCAS application, make sure that you do your research! It sounds so obvious, but so many people don't realise important details that might have made a difference to their choices had they researched more thoroughly.
spending enough time browsing university websites and attending university open days so that you can really get a feel for the university and the course type is incredibly important. Just because a particular university is closer to you doesn't mean that it's the university for you!
there are some factors that limit the universities and courses that we can choose from - for example, due to my family commitments at the time that I applied to study, there was no way that I could have moved away to study. But that didn't necessarily limit my study options - I just had to consider factors such as travel times and methods as well as the different placement trusts that each university had to offer.
it's also really important that you look into the different entry requirements that each university wants - although many are similar, they do differ per university - as well as what work experience each university wants you to have before applying. Again, this varies per university.
another thing I would stress is to make sure that you look at the resources that are available at different universities, particularly the clinical skills labs - although practising on fake abdomen's and plastic arms will never be as good as 'the real deal', clinical skills labs are a fantastic environment to get to grips with your skills in a safe way. The amazing, modern facilities available at Salford are one of the main reasons why I picked studying there over Manchester - don't overlook them!
read Ellie Durants 'Becoming a Student Midwife: The Survival Guide for Passionate Applicants'
trust me, this book is well worth the (approximately £20) investment. Ellie Durant covers how to get qualifications and experience as well as the UCAS process, personal statements, interview questions and answers, and maths & english exam question. The book also covers techniques that will help you to be confident and manage your nerves during the application and interview process.
really think about your transferable skills
transferable skills are the skills that you are able to apply to the role of being a (student) midwife, and they make up a key part of your personal statement.
you really are limited in terms of what you can include in your personal statement due to the character and line count available, therefore it's really important that you spend time analysing your skills and thinking about how you can apply them to midwifery.
basically, it's not enough to just say what your skill is - you need to apply it to the role of the midwife. This is what will really make you stand out to those who read your personal statement.
you can read more about transferable skills here, in my personal statement guide.
create lists or mindmaps
it sounds so obvious and simple, but many people don't do it!
I found it incredibly useful to create lists and mindmaps whilst I drafted up my personal statement in order to encourage my thought process, and I also found it easier to physically see what it was that I was thinking over.
you can find useful templates and ideas for this in my personal statement guide.
be prepared to re-write your personal statement
I'm sure that everyone would love to write one version of their personal statement and for it to be absolutely perfect, but unfortunately, life very rarely works out that way!
it's important to recognise that you may need to re-write your personal statement - possibly several times - before it's ready for you to send to your chosen universities, but please don't be disheartened! You may find that your teachers or tutors practically rip your work to pieces so that you are near enough starting over from scratch, and whilst this can be really upsetting, it often results in better pieces of work.
if you are applying to study midwifery independently - that is, you're not currently studying at college or via an access course and therefore do not have any tutors available to look at your personal statement - then ask close friends and family to read it for you and see what they think. Whilst they may not be able to critique it in the same way an academic tutor would, they may still notice spelling and grammar mistakes that you had missed, and they may also be able to give you a general opinion about whether some paragraphs seem to wordy, or don't quite make sense.
show off your knowledge of current issues in midwifery
that's not to say to just throw them in for the fun of it!
you may think that 'buzzwords' like continuity of care, saving babies lives, better births and 2020 midwives will look good in your personal statement without really understanding what they are, but it's important to remember that if you do have an interview, your interviewer may have a copy of your personal statement in front of them and ask you to expand on what you have spoken about within it.
interviewers may also ask you what you know about current issues within midwifery at the moment.
Topics such as staff shortages within the NHS & the NMC pay deal are naturally current, but you may be more passionate about other topics such as mental health, optimal cord clamping, bedside resuscitation, breastfeeding & immediate skin-to-skin. So long as you talk about something relevant to midwifery, there's really no right or wrong with what you can talk about, but make sure that you really understand your topic.