Your personal statement should show your interest in the subject and demonstrate your skills and abilities.
It should set you apart from applicants who have similar qualifications. If you're interviewed, your personal statement can help set the agenda for the interview discussion.
To help you write a persuasive personal statement, we've prepared some top tips to help you understand what we're 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. Make sure what you write is relevant to the courses and universities you're applying to, rather than writing a list of your skills or attributes.
As a rough guide, you should only refer to current or recent activities.
Personal Statement Top Tips
Student Recruitment Officer Vicki gives some top tips on how best to approach writing your personal statement. From how to begin writing, to what you should do once you think you've finished, you can help make sure your personal statement stands out from the rest.
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 have you 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 you have, especially if it's relevant to the course. For some courses, such as Medicine or Nursing, work experience may be essential. You may also wish to consider other online opportunities, such as MOOCs or online work experience.
Your statement should give information about extracurricular involvements, such as sporting achievements, voluntary work or additional activities, such as listening to relevant podcasts or reading journals. 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 you're applying for.
You should point out the relevance of your experience, even if the bare facts are mentioned elsewhere on the form:
- maybe 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
Allow time for proofreading and editing your personal statement, 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 that has been submitted before.
Consider your presentation
Leave some space by skipping a line between paragraphs – this will make it easier for admissions selectors to read. You will still find you can produce a text of about 450-500 words in the space available.
Download the guide
If you wish, you can also download our printable guide, which includes a space for you to write some notes about your statement.