Writing your personal statement
Your personal statement should show your passion for the subject and demonstrate your skills and abilities.
It should set you apart from applicants who have similar qualifications. If you're interviewed, the personal statement can help set the agenda for the interview discussion.
To help you write a persuasive personal statement we've prepared some guidance to help you understand what we are looking for.
Be specific and give examples
If you have a record of achievement or an up-to-date CV, it can remind you which activities to include, but the key is being selective about what you write. Don't just put a list of your skills or attributes; make sure what you write is relevant to the courses and universities you’re applying to.
As a rough guide you should only refer to current or recent activities.
Be clear about why you're applying to the course
This is especially important if you are applying for something you haven't studied before.
- Why have you applied for these courses?
- Why do you want to study the subject?
- How has your interest for the subject developed or how you have pursued it?
Give evidence of commitment beyond the curriculum
For competitive courses this is vital.
- How do you stand out from the crowd?
- Have you shown that you're prepared for the breadth and depth of a university degree
Describe any work experience, especially if relevant to the course. For some courses – such as medicine, and nursing – work experience is essential.
Your statement should give information about extracurricular involvements and activities such as sporting achievements or volunteer work. If you're not in school or college, you should talk about life experience and previous employment.
These can help to show that you are enthusiastic and have the ability to set priorities and manage your time. They may also be relevant to the course applied for.
You should point out the relevance of your experience even if the bare facts are mentioned elsewhere on the form:
- mention any career plans or gap year plans
- give information about yourself, in greater detail than what you have already supplied on the UCAS application.
Leave some white space by skipping a line between paragraphs – this will make it easier for admissions tutors to read. You will still find you can produce a text of about 450–500 words in the space available.
Allow time for proofreading and editing and ask other people to read it; they may spot problems or opportunities.
Remember to ensure that this is all your own work. UCAS uses the Similarity Detection Service which means they will scan through your personal statement to spot anything which has been submitted before.
Download the guide
If you wish you can also download our printable guide which includes a space for your to write some notes about your statement.