What is a personal statement?
When applying to university in the UK, for undergraduate and postgraduate study, you must write a personal statement. This is then shared with universities. Alongside predicted grades, it's a chance to showcase your academic achievements, your motivations for applying to a course and your suitability for the uni and course. There's a lot you may feel you want to include in the 4,000-character limit, or you're struggling to know what to include. This guide should help learn how to write your personal statement for university.
Planning your personal statement
Preparation is key to ensure you're using the 4,000 character count effectively. When considering what to include in your personal statement, think about why you're interested in the course, your experience of the topics and what excites you about it. Jot down any key achievements, both academic and personal, as well as life experiences that have shaped who you are.
You now have all the ingredients to write your undergraduate personal statement. If you're in need of some inspiration, our personal statement examples from former successful students will give you a better idea.
How to start your own personal statement
There are hundreds of thousands of students submitting their personal statements each year. Admissions offices will have seen every kind of statement you can imagine! With your introduction, it's important to grab the attention of the admissions tutor reading your application but try not to overthink this and do anything too out of the ordinary.
Your opening should showcase your enthusiasm for applying and that you understand the subject you're applying to. It can be tempting to open with a quote from your favourite author or singer, but avoid clichés - the admissions tutors want to hear from you!
Your motivations for applying
You'll have touched on this in the intro. Build on your point by telling the admissions tutor why you're interested in this course and how your current studies relate to this. Draw on some of the specific areas you currently enjoy studying and how you'll build on this knowledge at university. This could also be how your hobbies relate to your course. Your aim is to share how passionate you are about the subject and why you'll be a successful student.
Your personal statement is your chance to shine and demonstrate why you're the perfect fit for your chosen course
Personal skills and achievements
Universities are looking for students who have the skills needed for success in the course and beyond, as well as achievements that reflect your suitability. Here, you should talk about these and remember to include evidence to support why they matter. Relate your skills back to the course and how you'll apply them to your studies. This is also a good place to add any positions you may hold in and out of school, for example, captain of the football team or head girl.
Work experience and future plans
Universities also want to understand your plans after university. They're looking for students who show ambition and drive to use the learnings of their course beyond their studies. If you already have a clear idea of what you'd like to do after graduation, explain how you plan to use the knowledge and experience gained in your studies to launch your career.
If you have a part-time job, have undertaken any work experience or voluntary work, this is an opportunity to share this with admissions tutors, especially if it's relevant to the course you're applying to.
How to end your personal statement with an impact
Your conclusion should reinforce the points you've already made in your personal statement and leave a lasting impression. Link your ending back to your opening statement to creative a cohesive narrative and summarise the main reasons that make you a strong candidate.
Don't forget to proofread!
Once you've written the first draft of your personal statement, go through it again and ensure that you've hit the main points. And, of course, make sure you haven't exceeded the character limit! If you have, check your points are concise and cut out any waffle. Remember that every sentence should offer something unique - if you think you're repeating an earlier point, don't be afraid to remove it.
Don't forget, 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!