How to Write a Personal Statement
What is a personal statement?
Your university personal statement is an important part of your undergraduate application. This is your chance to tell universities why you're the right student for them. Tell us about your skills, experiences and extracurricular activities, what excites you about your chosen field of study and what your ambitions are for the future.
Applicant services officers Lydia and Phoebe are here to help you write your university personal statement. You'll find out what a personal statement is and what it should include.
Our top tips
Show us that you're...
Committed. Throughout your personal statement you should show that you’re committed to the course you’re applying for and that you have the maturity, skills and experience to thrive at university.
Inquisitive. Tell us about your interests and activities beyond the realms of your chosen study area.
Attentive. Make sure your personal statement is clearly structured and easy to read. Don't worry about using elaborate language and keep sentences short. Remember to proofread your personal statement for spelling and grammar mistakes and ask friends or family to check it for you too.
What should a personal statement include?
Personal statements with a clearly defined structure are not only more understandable and compelling but also easier to write. Use the following three section approach to structure your personal statement:
Explain why you are making the application (30-50%)
Start your personal statement by telling us why you're applying to study your chosen subject at degree level. We want to see your enthusiasm for the subject and evidence that you've thought deeply about your choices. You might refer to personal experiences in your life, courses you've attended, or how your own character traits would make you a suitable applicant. You could also mention your career goals, particularly if they are relevant to the subject you're applying for.
Highlight your academic experience, knowledge and abilities (25-35%)
Here you should highlight which areas of your academic studies you find especially interesting and that are relevant to your application. Tell us about any wider reading or experiences that go beyond your regular studies. Describe any work placements within your field of interest as this demonstrates real commitment and initiative.
Summarise your extracurricular interests and skills (20-30%)
The final few paragraphs of your personal statement should focus on your activities beyond academic study. Here you can indicate valued skills and qualities you have to offer, e.g. time management, organisation, leadership, communication skills or teamwork.
End your personal statement by summarising the key points you've already written about and remind the reader why you should be offered a place on your chosen course.
How long should a personal statement be?
UCAS personal statements are a maximum length of 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text. That’s approximately two pages and about four to five paragraphs.
How should it look?
UCAS will strip out all fancy formatting like bold, indents and tabs so don’t worry about doing those things. All you need is blank lines in between paragraphs to make it easy to read.
Remember what you've written
Anything you say in your personal statement is likely to be brought up if you have an interview, so it's important to be honest and not exaggerate. And remember to keep a copy of your statement to re-read beforehand.