Personal statements

Why is your personal statement important?

The personal statement is a vital part of your UCAS application, designed to show Admissions Tutors that you are suitable for your chosen course. Not all applicants will be asked to attend an interview so this may be your first and only opportunity to really sell yourself to the Admissions Tutor and the University.

Personal statement springboard

Looking to talk about how you’ve engaged in wider reading and looked deeper into your subject area? Dive into our pool of personal statement activities for Year 12 students to give your statement that additional boost it needs to score a 10 on the judges’ scorecard.

Sell your enthusiasm and your passion for the subject

Admissions Tutors are looking for students who will be keen to study and succeed on their course. Demonstrate a genuine interest and passion for the subject and show how you have pursued your interest outside the school/college syllabus.

Explain why you want to dedicate yourself to the study of your chosen subject. Tutors want to know if you would be a valuable addition to their classroom.

Our Admission Tutors tell us:

  • “We like to know what interests and excites you about mathematics, and why you want to study it.” (Mathematics)
  • "When reading personal statements I’m interested in why you want to become a registered healthcare professional and how you demonstrate the values needed." (Operating Department Practice)

Show you have the right character

It takes a certain calibre of student to succeed on a course, so make sure to show how you have the determination and focus for the course.

Our Admission Tutors tell us:

  • “We want students who are passionate and hardworking.” (Criminology)
  • “Some of the best personal statements I've read have been quite straightforward in their language, but show genuine commitment towards reading as a worthwhile, stimulating and intellectually challenging activity.” (English)

Use your past experience

What have you done that gives you the edge in your subject? Think about things you’ve done in the past that might be relevant to your course. Admissions Tutors want to hear your story and why you want to dedicate yourself to their course.

Our Admission Tutors tell us:

  • “When reading personal statements I’m interested in why you want to study psychology – what led to your decision? Do you already have any skills or experience? It doesn’t have to be formal work experience – perhaps it relates to your relationship with family and friends.” (Psychology)
  • “If a student can provide evidence this makes their statement very much stronger. For example, things like volunteering work in schools, relevant work experience, perhaps science or astronomy clubs, or work with the Institute of Physics would all be impressive evidence of passion and motivation for physics.” (Physics and Astronomy)

Be confident, stand out from the crowd

This is your chance to sell yourself, so it’s no time to be timid. Admissions Tutors want to be impressed, and showing them that you believe in yourself and your own success can make all the difference.

Use specific examples from your own personal experiences to illustrate your skills. You may be asked about your examples if you are interviewed.

Our Admission Tutors tell us:

  • “Impress us with your positivity and work ethic.” (Criminology)
  • “We’re interested in interests and achievements outside of the curriculum - so things like Duke of Edinburgh awards, membership of sports clubs, or involvement in plays, bands etc. tend to read well.” (Physics and Astronomy)

Talk about your aspiration

What is it that makes you focused on your degree? Admissions Tutors want to see that you’ve thought about what happens beyond graduation and what you want to achieve.

Our Admission Tutors tell us:

  • “Why is it that you really want to study sociology?” (Sociology)
  • “How do you see your future and career after finishing your course? Any dreams?” (Mathematics)

Pay attention to detail

Ensure your statement is well written with correct grammar and spelling. Create a clear structure to your work to enable the reader to easily follow your argument. Get someone else to check what you have written.

Our Admission Tutors tell us:

  • “You should take as much care over your personal statement as you would over a job application.” (Journalism) Tor Clark
  • "A careless approach to writing a personal statement doesn’t give me hope for three years of recording and reporting scientific data" (Chemistry)

How to write a killer personal statement

Things to avoid

  • Plagiarism. UCAS screen all personal statements through a similarity detection system. Universities will be alerted if plagiarism is suspected and have the right to reject your application.
  • Don’t refer to particular universities or courses by name as each institution you are applying to will receive the same copy of your statement.
  • You shouldn’t define the subject. Instead, show what you understand and find interesting about it.
  • Rather than submitting a single block of text, ensure your work is well laid out and easy to read.