How to write your personal statement
If you are applying to university, you will need to write a personal statement as part of your application. A personal statement is a short essay that showcases your skills, achievements, interests and ambitions. It is your chance to tell the admissions tutors why you are a suitable candidate for the course and what you can bring to the university.
But how do you write a good personal statement? Here are some tips and advice from UCAS, the organisation that processes all applications for full-time undergraduate courses in the UK.
Start with some research
Before you start writing, you need to do some research on the course and the university you are applying to. You should find out:
What are the entry requirements and selection criteria for the course?
What are the main topics and skills covered by the course?
What are the learning outcomes and career prospects of the course?
What are the values and mission of the university?
What are the facilities and opportunities available at the university?
This will help you to tailor your personal statement to the specific course and university, and show that you have done your homework and have a genuine interest in studying there.
Plan your structure
A personal statement should be no longer than 4,000 characters (including spaces) or 47 lines (whichever comes first). This means you have to be concise and clear in your writing. A good way to organise your personal statement is to use a simple structure:
Introduction: This is where you grab the attention of the reader and explain why you want to study the course. You can start with a catchy opening sentence, such as a question, a quote, a statistic or an anecdote. You should also mention what sparked your interest in the subject and how it relates to your future goals.
Main body: This is where you provide evidence of your suitability for the course. You should focus on your academic achievements, skills, work experience, extracurricular activities and hobbies that are relevant to the course. You should use specific examples and reflect on what you have learned from them. You should also demonstrate your enthusiasm and passion for the subject, and how it connects to your wider interests and values.
Conclusion: This is where you summarise your main points and restate your motivation for applying. You should also mention any other reasons why you want to study at that particular university, such as location, reputation, facilities or opportunities. You should end with a positive and confident statement that shows your commitment and readiness for higher education.
Write in your own voice
A personal statement is a personal document, so you should write it in your own voice and style. You should avoid copying or paraphrasing from other sources, such as websites, books or sample statements. This could be seen as plagiarism and could jeopardise your application. You should also avoid using clichés, jargon or slang, as they could make your statement sound generic or unprofessional. Instead, you should use clear, simple and formal language that expresses your personality and individuality.
Proofread and edit
Once you have written your first draft, you should proofread and edit it carefully. You should check for:
Spelling, grammar and punctuation errors
Sentence structure and flow
Word choice and tone
Relevance and clarity of content
Length and format
You can use online tools such as Grammarly or Hemingway to help you with this process. You should also ask someone else to read your personal statement and give you feedback, such as a teacher, a friend or a family member. They can help you spot any mistakes or areas for improvement that you might have missed.
Submit your application
When you are happy with your final version of your personal statement, you can submit it along with the rest of your application through UCAS Apply. You can only submit one personal statement for all the courses and universities you apply to, so make sure it is relevant and suitable for all of them. You should also keep a copy of your personal statement for future reference, as you might need it for interviews or other stages of the application process.
Writing a personal statement can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your achievements, skills and personality, and to convince the admissions tutors that you are a great fit for their course and university. By following these tips and advice from UCAS, you can write a personal statement that stands out from the crowd and helps you secure a place at your chosen university.