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Top tips: Personal Statements

Monday, November 20, 2017
Writing your personal statement

We’re sure you’ve had a lot going on this term and applying for uni has probably been weighing on your mind recently. As part of your application you’ll need to write a tip-top personal statement. If you find writing down your personal qualities, interests, academic achievements and work experience a bit tricky - don’t worry! Personal statements can certainly be difficult, but they are essential when trying to convince others that you’re as great as you know you are.

Before you hit the ‘apply’ button on your UCAS form, here are a few simple techniques on what to do when writing that all-important statement.

1. Make a list

First things first, write down absolutely everything you want to include in your personal statement on a scrap bit of paper. That way you won’t have to worry about missing anything out.

2. Work under headings

Grouping the points you want to cover under subheadings will break your personal statement into manageable chunks. Try the following headings to get you started:

  • Personal interests
  • Personal qualities, academic skills, why you want to study this course
  • Career hopes, work experience
  • Other relevant information

3. Do your research

If the courses you want to study refer to personal qualities such as adaptability and critical thinking, subject specific skills and areas of interest – it’s easy – just mention them in your personal statement.

4. Write drafts

It’s unlikely that your first attempt will be the version you use on your application. Working digitally whilst drafting allows you to edit, remove and add information easily.

5. Be yourself

When you’re making the transition to Higher Education, it’s tempting to write in a stiff and formal way. Although it’s important to write clearly and appropriately you should, ultimately, sound like yourself.

6. Stay positive

Your personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd and secure a place at university. It can be tempting to apologise for skills or experience that you don’t have but universities are only interested in what you do have, so emphasise that!

7. Don’t repeat yourself

It’s very easy to cover the same information more than once, however a good rule of thumb is that if you’ve mentioned something once, you don’t need to refer to it again. If like most people your personal statement starts off being too long, avoiding repetition will also cut down the word count.

8. Share

You may work on your personal statement for several weeks, by which point your eyes are crossing and mistakes are difficult to spot. Asking tutors, friends and family members to read your statement can provide some useful input. Reading your personal statement out loud can also help you to tell whether it makes sense and flows effectively.

9. Take a break

You need to give yourself time to write and edit your personal statement. If possible, give yourself a day or two between drafts as this will give you a fresh take on your work and will help you to spot mistakes. Once you think you’ve finished, revisit the information you have for your chosen courses and your original list, and double-check that you haven’t left anything out.

10. Don’t panic!

As you may have noticed, UCAS put a strict character limit (just 4,000 words) on your personal statement, which means they are looking for a short outline of your personal attributes, skills and reasons for wanting to study at university. Keep calm and remember all of the points above, and you shouldn’t go too far wrong.


Finally, good luck! We look forward to reading your application if you choose to apply to us.