UCAS Personal Statement Advice
A personal statement can make or break your university application; it’s the only part of the process that gives you a chance to show off your personality rather than just presenting yourself as a set of grades and targets. In the past, students have missed out on a place at university because their personal statement didn’t strongly support their course choice, so make sure it doesn’t happen to you by following a few of our best tips.
General things to remember are;
- Write a few drafts and edit it until it’s perfect.
- Get someone else to proof read it, in case you’ve missed any errors in spelling or grammar.
- Check the prospectus; they often mention what they want from a student.
- A medical, dental or veterinary course has an earlier deadline than most. Make sure you don’t miss it!
- Don’t babble, you haven’t got that many characters to play with (the limit is 4000 characters or 47 lines, whichever comes first). Get the important bits in.
- Write your statement in a word processor first and then paste it. The application form times out after 35 minutes, and if you haven’t pressed save your statement will be gone.
Things to include when writing your statement;
- Why do you want to do the course? To be committing to a university degree, there must be something about the subject that inspires you. There’s no perfect answer to this, but do show passion and enthusiasm for the subject, and include evidence that you fully understand the course.
- What do you love to do? Here’s your chance to tell the universities about your hobbies, interests and achievements. Try to include the skills you’ve learned from these things and even how they could relate to your studies. If you’ve spent years at a club of some sort, explain how it taught you about commitment and focus; if you’ve achieved something you’re proud of say how your determination helped you see success. It reflects well on your personality to have a developed skill set.
- Do you have any work experience? Even if it doesn’t seem much, include it. Every little helps when it comes to experience. Universities aren’t expecting you to have years of relevant work experience, but showing you’ve held a position of responsibility of any sort shows maturity, and that you’re ready for the responsibilities of university. Similarly to the hobbies section, try to provide context in this section by mentioning what you’ve learned from these roles.
- What are your plans for the future? Once you’ve completed your degree, what are you aiming to achieve? You can also mention personal goals you may have, an ambition to run a marathon or pass grade 8 piano shows a depth to your personality.
- Be yourself – but not too much. It’s difficult to write about yourself and it’s something that many struggle with, but you have to keep it positive and relevant. You might be the funniest person you know, but don’t tell them that (let them find out in the interview…), and avoid mentioning things you’re not so good at. Stay away from using any slang terms, but also don’t go overboard and use words you’re not comfortable with. Be honest, as lies can come back to haunt you if you’re asked about it in an interview; there’s a difference between a lie and an exaggerated truth! Finally, make sure you’ve told the university why you’re the perfect candidate by explaining your skills and experience that will help you succeed with your application.
We can check your personal statement for you!