How to write a personal statement for a university application
How to stand out
The personal statement is an important part of the Higher Education application process. Admissions tutors use the statement to help them identify the applicants most suited for each course.
Your son or daughter will need to demonstrate a genuine interest and passion for the chosen subject and skills that will benefit them while at university. The personal statement is a chance to make an impression and to stand out from the crowd.
Where to start
Before drafting, writing and rewriting the statement, your son or daughter is advised to:
- research their course and university choices.
- think which of their interests, abilities, transferable and extra-curricular skills best match the entry requirements of their chosen course. They should explain when, where and how they have put these traits into practice.
- think of their future career aspirations.
Please note, the same statement will be submitted to all the universities that your son or daughter apply to so avoid specific university names, staff details and course references.
What to include
A personal statement should be:
- full of enthusiasm for the course/subject.
- focused on skills, achievements, work experience, ambitions and personal interests.
- written in plain English without jargon.
- free of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
- max 4,000 characters long.
- max 47 lines of text when you paste it in UCAS Apply (including blank lines).
- submitted by pasting the text into the Apply section on UCAS website.
The statement must not:
- include any text that has been copied from another source as UCAS use software to identify plagiarism.
How to support your son or daughter
Getting started is the hardest part. Suggest that your son or daughter make lists of all the things they like, know and aspire to with regard to their chosen course subject. With the list at hand, it will be easier to start drafting the personal statement text.
Offer to review the draft at regular intervals and provide constructive feedback on how to improve the text. Suggest they show it to a teacher who knows them well, to get additional feedback.
Your son or daughter may need to refer to the personal statement if they are invited to an interview at their chosen university, so, remind them to save a copy of the final version before it is submitted.