What to include in your personal statement

What to include in your personal statement

Many of our courses have no formal interview requirements, so the decision on whether to offer you a place are based on the strength of your UCAS application form, particularly your personal statement.

Writing about yourself is one of the most difficult things to do though, so to help you put pen to paper, here's our four key areas to make sure you include.

1. Your course choice

Admissions tutors want to see that you are enthusiastic and passionate about your chosen subject, and that you have the right skills and experience to succeed on the course. Discuss why you have chosen to apply for the course concerned; what motivates you to take this course at a university level? Mention how your interest developed, what you have done to pursue it or how you’ve drawn inspiration from your current studies.

2. School and college life

Include details of what you studied at school or college, as well as any extra-curricular activities, or positions of responsibility (for example prefect, student ambassador), that highlight the necessary skills needed for your chosen course. It’s vital that you provide examples to support your claims and relate everything back to your course or university life in general.

3. Experience

It could be work experience, volunteering, or a university masterclass/taster session; relevant experience is an essential requirement for many courses and will help to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment in wanting to study the course. Reflect on your experiences, explaining what you’ve learned from them or how they’ve helped develop your interest in the subject.

4. Your future plans

Think about what you want to do in the future – whether you have a specific job in mind or just a general idea of the type of field you want to work in. If you’re not sure yet, just talk about what you’re looking forward to at university and what you want to gain from your course or from university life.

If you are taking, or have taken, a year out, it is useful to state your reasons why and what you achieved or hope to achieve.

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Other things to remember

Don’t panic! It can be difficult to get going with your statement so start off by creating a mind map with all of your ideas. Remember that you want to stand out from the crowd so ensure you play on your key strengths and achievements.

The UCAS system doesn’t have any spelling or grammar checks so you need to check your statement is perfect before submitting your application. Ask as many people as possible (teacher, careers adviser, family member or friend) to look over it and give you some feedback.

The clue is in the title – make sure your statement is personal to you. Don’t be tempted to copy parts of someone else’s statement or lift ideas from the web – UCAS operates a Plagiarism Detection Service, which checks forms against a statement library and web sources to ensure all statements are personally written.

Make sure you keep a copy of what you’ve written as it may be referred to at your interview (if you have one) – or the information may be useful when applying for jobs in the future.

Key dates: UCAS application timeline for 2022

 6 September 2022
Opening date for 2022 UCAS applications
 25 January 2023
Main UCAS deadline for most undergraduate courses

You can still apply via UCAS after this up until 30 June, however some of our courses may be full. Some schools/colleges have their own internal deadline so make sure you check with your teacher/careers adviser for when this is.

23 February 2023
UCAS extra opens for applicants without an offer to make an additional application.
8 June 2023
Deadline for applicants to accept one firm and one insurance offer.
30 June 2023
Deadline for all applications via UCAS.
4 July 2023
Last date for applicants to add an Extra choice for 2022 UCAS applications
21 September 2023
Final deadline for 2022 applications
17 October 2023
Deadline for adding Clearing choices for 2022 applications

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Personal Statements Guide 2019/20

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