Personal Statement – Advice & Tips

The personal statement is an integral part of the university application process, this is your opportunity to showcase to Admissions Tutors your drive and enthusiasm for your chosen subject area and to demonstrate to them the skills you have that will help you to become a successful student. There isn’t one set formula for writing the perfect statement, it will depend on the individual and the kind of course that they are applying for, but there are some general areas that can be followed as an initial starting framework. Firstly, you could begin by detailing your motivation for choosing that particular course.

It may be that you have studied it before, that you have had related work experience in this or a similar field or that you simply have an interest for the subject that stems from your hobbies. The admissions staff that review your application are likely to teach on the course, so they will be looking to offer places to students who share the same passion for the subject as they do. Make sure that this is evident in your statement. One of the key things that the universities will be looking for is evidence of your skills and how you have developed these throughout your time at school or college. Remember that you cannot simply list skills that you claim you have, you need to provide examples.

For instance, you might say how a group research project has helped you to expand on your team work, communication and analytical skills. Don’t forget to draw in activities that take place outside of the classroom to demonstrate further attributes, for example, a part time job or voluntary work is often an excellent way of showing time management, responsibility and organisation. If you are applying for a professional course, that leads directly into a specific career, then it is often imperative that you can demonstrate related work experience as part of your application. For courses such as teaching, nursing or pharmacy Admissions Tutors will be looking for a thorough understanding of the job, alongside evidence that the applicant has the necessary skill set to be successful at it.

Being able to talk in detail about relevant situations that you have witnessed first hand through shadowing or work experience can prove that you are aware of and understand the profession that you are signing up for, and that you are still fully committed to it. It may also be worth detailing information relating to your extra curricular hobbies, activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh award, playing a musical instrument or belonging to a team can also show universities additional skills such as leadership, as well as giving them an insight into your personality.

Ensure that you don’t make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on this part of your statement the main focus should always be on the course and your enthusiasm for it. Under no circumstances should you be tempted to borrow sentences from existing personal statements those that you may have been shown by your teachers or that can be found on the internet. Each personal statement is checked by UCAS’ similarity detection software, if you are found to be copying text from other statements then your university choices will be notified and this can seriously affect whether or not they will accept your application.

The easiest way to ensure that you avoid accidentally plagiarising your statement with common sentences is to steer clear of clichés and make sure any examples or points you make relate back to your own experiences as these are unique to you. Once you have written a first draft it will be time to review your work. Make sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, that you provide lots of examples to back up what you are saying and that your statement is no longer than 47 lines once placed into size 12 Times New Roman font. This is the default setting on the UCAS form and all the space that they allow.

Remember just how important the personal statement is, it is a key part of the Admissions Tutor’s decision and therefore you need to be prepared to redraft your work several times until you are completely happy with it.