Writing a personal statement
Tips for students
This tool provides you with a one-off personal statement check from an expert adviser. To ensure you make the most of this tool we recommend that you only submit your statement to us once you have spent a considerable amount of time composing it.
Please remember this is not a proofing service, but a tool designed to give you constructive feedback, enabling you to refine what you already have written.
There is lots of support available online, and through your college, to help you with your personal statement, but we have selected a few pointers to help you get started:
Structuring your statement
It’s important to make sure that your statement flows well, so think about organising your statement into themed paragraphs. Look at the example below for guidance.
Paragraph 1: Introduction to your course
Why are you interested in your selected subject? Why do you want to study it at degree level?
Paragraph 2: What academic activities have you undertaken related to your course, which are not already mentioned on other parts of your UCAS form?
Paragraph 3: What work experience and extra curricula activities have you participated in within your college? Remember to link this back to your course.
Paragraph 4: Interests outside of college. Explain the key skills you have learned and how they will help you at university.
Paragraph 5: Goal of going to university, and a closing comment.
How to approach your personal statement
You need to make sure you avoid just describing your academic and non-academic experience, but actually reflect on what you have learnt and how this relates to the course you are applying for.
The ABC approach is a good starting point to use:
Action - explain the action - what have you done?
Benefit - highlight how this action had benefited you.
Course - link it back to the course you are applying to.
What to include
Below are some suggestions of what you should include in a personal statement:
- Why you have chosen the course(s): you need to show enthusiasm for your chosen subject.
- The reasons why that subject area interests you, and evidence of your interest: e.g. relevant books, articles, journals read, conferences, workshops attended, relevant people spoken to, relevant work experience gained etc.
- Evidence that you understand what is required to study the course, e.g. if applying for Nursing courses, showing that you know how scientific the subject is.
- Where applicable, demonstrating an understanding of the profession you are applying to train towards (e.g. Nursing, Physiotherapy, Social Work, Law, Architecture).
- How your current or previous studies relate to the course(s) that you have chosen.
- How you are developing effective study skills.
- Why you want to progress to Higher Education, e.g. how completing this course will help you achieve your long term career plans.
- Details of jobs, placements, work experience or voluntary work, particularly if relevant to the chosen course(s), and what you have gained from these experiences that is relevant to your application.
- Hobbies, interests and social activities that demonstrate relevant skills and abilities.
UCAS have a lot of information and guidance on their website. Take a look a look at their personal statement support here.
Below we have put a few UCAS resources you can download.