CVs, Personal Statements and Interviews

Personal statements for university applications

An important part of your UCAS application is the personal statement. The purpose of a personal statement is to show a university why you want to study a subject at the higher education level, how you will handle the demands of a university degree and to tell them a little about yourself.

It is effectively trying to answer the question “why should we pick you to study at our university?” The personal statement will be looked at by admissions tutors so it is important to get it right and showcase the best side of you. A personal statement will be unique to you but there are some things that you will want to include (and other things to avoid).

Addressing this point will form a large part of your personal statement. Admission tutors want to see a genuine interest in the subject and evidence of how you try to expand your knowledge in the subject.

You can show this through relevant work experience or through further reading. Furthermore, if you have carried out a project through schemes such as the British Science Association CREST Award, or a more formal Extended Project Qualification (AQAEdexcelOCR), be sure to mention this as it shows you have actively pursued to increase your knowledge of the area.

The key is to be specific and give relevant examples.

A degree requires independent working, analytical thinking and working to deadlines, to name a few key skills.

It is likely that you have gained skills through your studies, through working and through extra-curricular activities that you can transfer to successfully completing a degree.

Use specific examples of how you have developed these skills and how they are relevant to completing a degree.

Take a look at our table of skills you may have developed during school on our transferable skills page

Your personal statement it is a way to show admission tutors who you are so make sure it stands out.

Provide some information about how you intend to use your degree in the future (such as a career path) and also what you hope to gain from the degree in addition to the specialist knowledge.

You can also mention your hobbies and what you enjoy about them. 

It is important to be clear and concise. Avoid adding irrelevant information that does not answer why you should be given a place to study.

Proofread your statement (and get others to read it too) and ensure you haven’t made any spelling or grammar errors.

The structure of your personal statement is important. It should have a good flow and the information should follow a logical order, which will make it far easier to read. 

It should be written in a formal style, but still allow your personal voice to come through. Be sure to understand any new vocabulary that you use but also understand that being clear and concise, is more important than sounding like a thesaurus!

Finally, don’t copy someone else’s statement as universities can detect when work has been replicated, and it can severely affect your chance of securing a place.

student in a library removing books from the shelves student in a library removing books from the shelves

Further resources

  • Help and advice from The Uni Guide

  • How to write a UCAS personal statement from UCAS

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