Firstly, don’t try to start at the beginning. It is easy to waste hours trying to craft a gripping opening paragraph but your opening paragraph is bound not to be the bit that gets you into university. Also, invariably, when you’ve gone over the 4000 character limit, your first paragraph will be where you look to trim down the length.
To get into university you need to prove to an admissions tutor whom you’ve never met, that you are knowledgable (without being arrogant) about their subject, that you are passionate (without going over the top), that you still have much to learn (without appearing ignorant) and that you’ve taken some steps towards understanding what it is you’ll be studying.
My advice here is PROVE IT!
So you say you are intruiged – prove it! What have read, seen or researched?
You claim to have read ‘the man who mistook his wife for a hat’ or ‘the selfish gene’ or ‘the economist’ every week for the last six months. Well write about something you read. Demonstrate that you have read what you claim to have read and, by the way, what is your opinion on it?
You say you did work experience – ok, so what did you learn, what do you know now that you didn’t know then?
You claim to love art – which artist? What do you know about him or her? What is it about their work that impresses you?
You say you want to be an engineer, but what engineering projects do you know about and have impressed you?
Treat this part of your personal statement like a piece of academic writing. Ditch the vacuous platitudes. Anyone can claim to be ‘passionate’ ‘determined’ ‘creative’ ‘intruiged’ ‘committed’ but fewer people can prove it.
Once you’ve written this section – the real ‘meat’ of your personal statement, it is easy to top-and-tail it with paragraphs about your initial interest in a subject and your overall commitment to studying.