How to write a university personal statement
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The Personal Statement section of the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application form is the only part where you have a chance to say something about yourself. It is an important part of the application that course tutors read to compare different applicants and could be the deciding factor in whether you get an offer for a place on the course. It is therefore worth putting the time and effort into ensuring it as good as it can be.
Your personal statement should be unique to you (the word personal is the clue!)
The toughest part is turning your ideas, ambitions and achievements into a succinct, flowing personal statement, often within a strict word or line limit (47 lines or 4000 characters is common).
Your suitability for the course should be the largest part of the statement so start by looking at the course entry criteria and gathering evidence and matching your skills, interests and experiences to these. Use spider diagrams, mind-maps, bullet points or whatever you are comfortable with to help you get something down on paper. Don’t worry too much about word or line limits at this stage.
It doesn’t have to be a masterclass in English literature but it does need to be in a good standard of English and free of grammatical errors, typos, etc. Consider it as your first piece of assessed coursework.
Some personal statement dos and don’ts
Be specific from the very first line and be honest – it’s your voice that admissions tutors want to hear.
Be enthusiastic about the course. Admissions tutors almost certainly love their subject and they will want to teach students who share their enthusiasm.
Explain why you want to study the course.
What motivates you to want to take this course at university? You should mention how your interest has developed, what you have done to pursue that interest and what inspiration you have got from your current studies. Show your genuine enthusiasm and engagement with the subject. Talking about specific things – e.g. a project you did, the experiences you have had or a book that changed your views – will help to get the tutor’s attention.