Personal Statement

How to write an undergraduate personal statement

Uni Compare  · Jun 6th 2024  · 5 min

Writing your personal statement can feel like a big task. Let’s break it down into some simple steps so you can tackle it section by section!


What is an undergraduate personal statement?

Your personal statement is your chance to tell the universities you're applying to who you are and why you'll be a great addition to the university. Alongside your predicted grades, this is your chance to share your academic achievements and motivations for applying to the course.

In the UK, it is required that you submit one of these with your UCAS application for any undergraduate courses. The personal statement has a 4000-character limit so you'll want to make sure you use every word wisely!

So where do you start? Use this article as your guide, going through each step to write an outstanding personal statement that stands out from the rest!

1. Plan your personal statement

With a limit of 4000 characters, you'll want to make sure you know exactly what you want to say. When thinking about what to include in your personal statement, use these pointers to get you started:

  • What interests you about the course?
  • What existing experience do you have of the subject or specific topics it covers?
  • What excites you about the course?
  • Do you have any key academic or personal achievements?
  • Are there any life experiences that have taught you valuable lessons or skills that can be used in your studies?

Think about your answers to the questions and jot them down as you go. You'll now have the ingredients to write your undergraduate personal statement. Next, let's bring it all together in an essay that the university will enjoy reading. In need of some inspiration? Our personal statement examples from past students can help!

UCAS how to write a personal statement

2. Start with a strong introduction

Knowing how to start your personal statement can be tricky if you don't know who's reading it. There are thousands of students submitting their personal statements each year and it's the uni admissions office who will read these, and it's long work!

Your introduction is how you grab their attention and keep them interested in you and your application. To do this, show your enthusiasm for applying and that you understand the subject you're applying to. But don't overthink it or do anything too out of the ordinary. Be sure to avoid clichés or quotes from other people - the admissions team wants to hear from you and only you!

3. Share your motivations for applying

It's now time to build out the points you mentioned in your intro. Dig deeper into why you're applying and call out specific areas of the subject you enjoy. It's great to also link it back to the subjects you're already studying - are there similarities between the current topics you study and modules the course covers?

If you aren't studying something directly related to the degree you're applying to, you can bring in your hobbies or any experiences that relate to the skills and your understanding of the subject. For example, if you're looking to study sports science, do you play football outside of school?

Your personal statement is your chance to shine and demonstrate why you're the perfect fit for your chosen course

4. Show your personal skills and achievements

Universities are looking for students who have the skills needed for success in the course and beyond. Write about key academic skills you have that you see the university is looking for in students on their course e.g. critical thinking, research methods, source analysis as well as any key personal skills that will come in handy e.g. organisation, written communication, teamwork. With each skill, provide evidence of where you've shown this and any achievements you hold that demonstrate this too.

This is a good time to share any positions you may hold in and out of school such as captain of the football team or head girl. Remember, link this back to key skills and how this achievement helped you improve those skills.

5. Do you have any relevant work experience?

If you have a part-time job or have done some work experience or voluntary work, write about this in your personal statement and link it back to the skills you have developed or how this supports your course decision. Are you looking to study veterinary medicine and did your work experience at a vets? Are you applying for a psychology course and previously volunteered in a care home?

When including volunteer or work experience, make sure it's relevant to the subject you're applying to.

UCAS how to write a personal statement

6. Tell them about your future plans

Universities want to understand what you want to do after university. They'll be looking for students who show ambition and have a clear understanding of what they want to do. If you already have a clear idea, great! Explain why you need the degree to get you to where you want to be and any specific skills or experiences that will help launch your career.

If you're unsure where you want to go, this is the perfect time to have a think. Understand why it is you want to go to university and what exactly this course will give you to help with that. Talk to your teachers, research different careers and subjects and take our degree course quiz.

7. How to end your personal statement with an impact

Your conclusion is there to round off your personal statement and drive home the main messages. Summarise the main reasons you want to study the subject and why you are the perfect student for their university!

7. Time to proofread!

Once you've finished your first draft, take some time to review what you've written. Check that your points are clear and you're not waffling too much (we all do it!). Remember that every sentence should offer something unique - if you think you're repeating an earlier point, don't be afraid to remove it.

If you have a teacher or a family member who can check over your personal statement, great! They'll likely catch things you missed. If you're worried about grammar, run it through spellcheck to pick up any errors.

Don't leave it too late to start your personal statement. The quicker you start to write, the more time you have to tweak and make sure it's perfect before the UCAS deadline. It's always good to write your personal statement and leave it to one side so you can come back with fresh eyes and make any changes later!

Don't forget that your personal statement is your chance to shine and demonstrate why you're the perfect fit for your chosen course. Be authentic, showcase your unique qualities, and let your passion shine through. Good luck!

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