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How to write a university personal statement

  • Explain how you are right for the course

This is where you provide evidence that you are right for the course or subject area. It’s not just about meeting the selection criteria – you need to demonstrate that you have researched what the course involves (and the relevant profession if it is a vocational qualification), have an understanding of what studying at university level will entail and that you are prepared. The real aim here is to show that you have done your research and have considered your suitability for the course(s) in question.


  • Talk about what you have done outside of your studies

Ideally, outline how you have pursued your interest in your chosen subject outside of your current study. You could talk about further reading you’ve done and provide a critical view or reflective opinion. University is all about thinking critically and analytically so if you can show how something you have done has helped you to develop this skill, you will be on the right track.


  • Show how it’s relevant to your course and career

Show how what you’ve learned has helped to develop your interest in the subject. Things you could draw upon include work experience; volunteering; museum, gallery or theatre visits; summer school; travel or competitions you have entered. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, as long as you can link it to the course and your interests. 


If you are applying for a vocational qualification (leading directly to a specific profession) talk about what you have learned from your experience and how it relates to your chosen career path. This might include skills that you have observed or acquired during work experience. Show how it has improved your understanding of the profession and increased your enthusiasm for going into it. Aim to relate what you have done to the skills the profession needs.


A good guide here is ABC:

Action – explain what you have done, achieved, read or experienced

Benefit – what have you learned or gained from it or what did you think of it?

Course relevance – why does this make you a good applicant for the course? (You don’t have to spell it out with every example but you do need to show how what you have done relates to the course.)

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