Writing a personal statement to apply for university can be a daunting task, it might feel similar to when you first had to write a CV. It can be difficult to get the tone of your statement right so it doesn’t sound like you’re showing off but still including everything you have achieved and explaining why you are a great fit for the university and course!
It's important to put effort into your personal statement to help you stand out amongst all the other applicants. Keeping your statement concise, genuine and interesting while following a checklist to make sure you don’t miss any crucial information may sound tough, but it will help in the long run.
In an effort to help you streamline this process and make the task of assessing whether your personal statement is suitable for your UCAS form we’ve put together a checklist of ten tips! Answer these questions to make sure your personal statement is as good as it can be to give you the best chance of securing the uni place you want.
Top 10 tips for your personal statement:
Ask yourself these questions before submitting your personal statement. If you and your careers advisor/tutor can honestly answer ‘yes’ to all of them, we think your statement is ready to submit :)
- Does your introduction hold the reader’s attention? Don’t start your statement with “I...” or “from a young age” or overuse the word ‘passionate’! Can the reader see clearly why you have chosen that course?
- Do you sound like you understand what the course involves? Be careful to avoid coming across like you’re telling the admissions tutor what the course is about as they already know this! But show them that you’ve done your research and you’re excited about what you’re going to learn.
- Have you shown that you have researched around the subject and understood what you’ve read? In most cases there are usually some well-known books to read that aim to introduce you to the topic and it’s never bad to have read these. But a great way to differentiate yourself is to read some lesser known books in the field and show you’ve gone the extra mile.
- Have you detailed any extra-curricular activities that back up your choice of course? (summer schools, virtual work experience, degree tasters etc).
- Have you reflected on what you’ve done and not just listed activities/interests? It’s important to show how these things either demonstrate an interest in the course or have improved your world view or even taught you new skills.
- Have you talked about relevant work experience and what you gained from it? Have you related it to your course choice? Work experience is a big one to include to demonstrate your interest in a subject; if the pandemic has left you struggling to get in-person work experience then we offer many virtual work experience programmes.
- Have you said what your future plans are? You don’t have to if you don’t know, but if you are fairly certain of the direction you’re heading it’s never a bad idea to include it in your personal statement. (Although avoid framing your choice to go to university as one that you are taking purely to get a job, universities want students who will actually enjoy the course).
- Are your sentences a good length? Not too short or too long? Does your statement read easily? You need to make all the key information and most impressive features easily accessible and not buried under a lot of waffle!
- Is your spelling and grammar ok? While your personal statement should have a more formal tone, it’s supposed to be a genuine reflection of you so try not to come across as pompous or pretentious. Make sure to get several different people to proofread your statement including a careers advisor and a teacher whose subject you want to study; they’ll be on your side and might even give you some extra tips to help you stand out!
- Have you concluded your statement positively? End on a high note so that the admissions tutor feels good after having read your statement and recognises that you would be a great addition to their university. Avoid saying your time at University will fuel you with desire and self-fulfilment - find a way to end that isn’t too cheesy!