Personal statement - our guide

So you need to write a personal statement. Stuck? Maybe we can help.

The personal statement is a tricky one. It's got to be personal to you - that's the part we can't help with, but we have some great pointers to get you started.

The difficulty with personal statements is that there is no correct way to write one.

Basically the more personality and ambition you show, the better it will be.

Before you start writing a personal statement you should have already chosen what course you want to study at university. This is because universities suggest that around 60% of each personal statement (and up to 80% if you are applying to a top university or competitive course) needs to be about the subject you are applying for.

The best way to prepare for this is to do work experience, read books and visit places of interest. Just try and learn as much about your subject as possible and try to show this knowledge in your personal statement.

The key thing that universities are looking for when reading your personal statement is that you are a knowledgeable, enthusiastic student who is passionate about the course, and that you know what you are signing up for.

Key points you want to include:

  • Why you have chosen the course – the aspects you are interested in and why.
  • Experience or skills you have in the subject, what you have read etc.
  • Demonstrate you are a dedicated and reliable person.
  • What you plan to do with the skills you gain from university / what your goals are.
  • Your hobbies and interests (probably less important).

Remember to keep it concise and relevant to you – it’s a personal statement, and try not to make it sound arrogant or over the top.

Most people recommend making multiple drafts and getting them marked by teachers and friends. Don’t forget to check spelling and grammar.

Finally make sure your personal statement is less than 47 lines – including blank lines – (or 4000 characters) to fit in the UCAS submission box. Remember UCAS doesn’t accept some foreign (special) characters such as € ­- “ ” ’ ’ `