Writing a Personal Statement
Making sure your personal statement is near perfect will only increase the chances of securing that all important offer. The personal statement is where you get to brag about yourself and your achievements, both within and outside of academia.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is needed when applying to study at university. It’s used as a chance for applicants to express why they would like to study the course, and what experiences and skills they have gained which demonstrate their passion for the specific field.
Make sure there is a good structure to your personal statement through clear paragraphing and punctuation – the application needs to be easy to read.
Remember you can only write one personal statement, so make sure not to include a university by name.
Check out our Resources page to get a hold of personal statements written by our mentors!
Remember to write about YOU! You are informing the admissions department why you are best suited for the course.
If you have selected similar courses, mention the subject in general instead of the specifics and course titles. Otherwise if you have selected a diverse range of courses, mentioned common themes within the personal statement, such as communication and problem-solving skills.
Include your skills, work experience and other experiences other than in academia to strengthen your application. Also mention awards and volunteering if applicable!
Personal statements can be up to a maximum of 4,700 characters, or 47 lines of text.
Mention any personal circumstances that have impacted your educational performance within your personal statement. Personal circumstances range from a mental or physical health condition to caring for a family member.
If you have faced financial difficulties, you can also make the university aware by mentioning the hardship within the personal statement.
Below is a template for a personal statement, including descriptions on all necessary sections.
- Mention a brief overview of the course/subject you are applying to, why it interests you and your career path.
Hint: This should only be 3-4 sentences.
- Why are you applying for the course?
- Why does this course/subject interest you?
Make sure to mention that you have understood what the expectations and requirements of the course are.
- Elaborate on why you are a suitable candidate for the course.
- Have your previous studies related to the course?
Mention what you have studied during college/ A-levels and how that has positively impacted your decision to study the course.
- Have your previous experiences outside of academia sparked your interest in this field? It can help to mention any relevant work experience.
- As briefly touched upon in the section above, it is vital to have a work experience section. This shows universities that you have been proactive in learning more about your chosen career path. Include details of any jobs, work experience, insight days, placements, voluntary work etc that is relevant to your selected course
Skills and Achievements
- Mention your skillset and how it is relevant to the course and how it will help you prosper at university
- Write about your achievements or positions of responsibility, such as being a prefect or head boy/girl. These attributes make you interesting and a more well-rounded individual!
Hobbies and Activities
- List any activities or interests, making sure you write about how they demonstrate your ability and skills for this course or university life.
Hint: Only include those which are going to add value.
- Conclude by mentioning a brief overview of your plans post university, explaining how you hope to use the skills and knowledge learnt within the degree
N.B: If you are a mature or international student, a section on what you have achieved since leaving education or what has attracted you to the UK is useful to include!
OUR TOP TIPS
TO WRITE A SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL STATEMENT
Do not solely write about academia - also mention extra curricular activities and positions of responsibility to show you are a rounded individual.
Check thoroughly for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes by using a spellchecker or asking someone else to proofread your personal statement.
Include all work experience and extra curricular activities to boost your chances of securing the offer, but remember the more relevant the better!
Try avoid overused clichés and buzzwords such as creative, passionate and hardworking.
Instead use powerful words when describing your experiences and achievements such as
launched, co-ordinated and orchestrated.
BACK UP YOUR EXAMPLES WITH FIGURES
Adding measurable accomplishments to sounds more impressive since figures have a big impact.
For example, do not just write that you increased sales; say that you increased sales by 80% over a four-month period.
Do not try to come across as casual or funny in your personal statement especially as it is a professional document. Also, explain abbreviations if and when using them.