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How to write a personal statement

The personal statement is a mandatory part of your UCAS application and it is about your personal and educational achievements linked to what you want to study and why. 

The maximum length of a personal statement is around 47 lines, 4000 characters or one side of A4 typed up in size 12. It might seem long, but it needs to include a number of different points about you so you will have to think carefully about the key points to put across. The first draft you produce is unlikely to be the final draft. Make sure you type out the first draft on a document you can save and edit before uploading onto your UCAS application. 

business a-b-c method peronal statementWhen writing your personal statement, use the A-B-C (activity - benefit - cause) method. Write about what you have done, the skills and experience you gained and how this links to the course you're applying for.
Avoid repetition on the same things. Structure your statement with an introduction and conclusion and then the remaining 75% of your statement should focus on how you meet the desired qualities. Try also to avoid using complicated language when writing. Before you complete your application, check your spelling and grammar and ask others to proofread for minor errors before submitting.

 

Aspects to consider:

  • About the course:
    • Why are you interested in applying for the course? Where did your passion start? How has it encouraged you to get to where you are now?
    • Do your current or previous studies relate to the course you're applying for? If so, how?
    • How can you demonstrate motivation and enthusiasm for a subject? If you have done for example any outside reading, field trips, work shadowing, visited lectures, masterclasses, taster days, do include these in your personal statement
  • Personal achievements and skills:
    • List any relevant skills you have gained from the studies that will help you on your course. What words describe you the most? How can you incorporate these into your personal statement?
    • List any achievements you have gained in or out of school that help you to stand out compared others, e.g. prefect, head boy/girl, awards, competitions.
    • Do you have any hobbies that have helped you to demonstrate any particular skills you can link to the course?
  • Work experience:
    • Describe any work experience, part-time job or voluntary role you have undertaken and link any experiences or skills to the course
  • Future plans:
    • What would you like to achieve once you have completed the course?
    • How will the knowledge you have gained relate to what you want to do in the future? 

Practical advice

Do…

  • be positive
  • always link back to your course
  • keep it neutral
  • research the courses
  • sell yourself
  • make several drafts
  • proofread

Don’t…

  • lie
  • plagiarise
  • use fancy formatting
  • repeat information elsewhere on the form
  • make lists
  • use humour or jokes
  • use quotes
female students working on laptop in the 1966 coffree shop at Brunel University London

How to apply for undergraduate courses