Your personal statement is the opportunity to show universities who you are, your ambitions and why you’re passionate about the course you’re applying for. Before you dive into writing, it’s good to understand what you should include in your personal statement to make the most of the 4000-character count.
The purpose of your personal statement
Your personal statement is there to show admissions tutors why you’d be a good student for the course you’re applying for and what sets you apart from other candidates.
University admissions tutors tend to look for similar things in your personal statement: a bit about yourself, information about your aspirations and how they link to your chosen course, why you’re interested in the course, and specific skills you already have that will support you in your studies.
What to include in your personal statement
Before diving into writing your personal statement, create a plan of what you want to include and a breakdown of the topics you want to cover. This will help you write more concisely and confidently.
A bit about you, your hobbies and interests
This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself – share information about yourself, your background and any life experiences that have shaped your interest in your course. It’s great to include information that isn’t just education-related too! Tell them a bit about your hobbies and interests beyond your studies.
This is also a great way to flex more of your skills! Many of these could relate back to your subject. For example, keen readers, you could discuss your love for a book you enjoyed recently – a great way for prospective English Literature students to show that they look at the subject beyond the classroom.
Express your passion for the subject
Of course, they want to understand why you want to apply to the specific subject and also see that you are passionate about it too. If there are any areas of the subject that sparked your interest, and you’re looking forward to exploring more, this is the perfect chance to share!
Show off your key skills
Admissions tutors aren’t only interested in your academic achievements, but also other skills you have gained that could be applied to your studies. Give examples of where you’ve used organisational skills, solved a problem or effectively communicated with someone. This will help admissions tutors see how you’d fit in among the other students on campus.
This is also a subtle way of showing your hobbies and interests. If your key skills have been best communicated in a football match, a swimming meet or in a debating society, then show how your passion for these hobbies has manifested in the use of key skills.
Share your achievements
The admissions tutor will receive your predicted grades and recommendation letters alongside your application, so don’t feel you need to share this with them in your personal statement too. Instead, focus on expanding on specific areas of your studies that you have excelled in and the different skills they’ve given you and can be applied to your chosen course.
You can also talk about any achievements. This could be educational awards you’ve won, as well as achievements outside of school.
Now you have all the ingredients, it’s time to get writing! The structure of your statement is just like any essay. Start with a compelling introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and gives an overview of what you’ll be talking about. The majority of your personal statement with then be made up of paragraphs that discuss the specific topics outlined in your plan. To finish, round off your statement with a conclusion. Summarise the key points and show, again, your enthusiasm for applying to the subject.
Some students find that it's easier to write the introduction last. This is a better way of summarising information you already know will pop up later.
With careful thought and planning of what to include and making sure the essential areas are included will be the start of you crafting a fantastic personal statement. If you’re looking for a helping hand, our personal statement examples can help you visualise what your personal statement can look like.