A personal statement is a reflective essay created to sell yourself to your chosen universities. It aims to promote your hobbies and interests, motivational goals and why you feel that you’re the perfect candidate for your undergraduate course. With over 600,000 UK sixth form students applying to universities every year, a UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) personal statement is key for institutions to select the right students for their undergraduate courses. Therefore, distinguishing yourself from the pack is key and this is the perspective you should hold when writing your personal statement.
The UCAS personal statement is probably one of the most important documents that you will create during your undergraduate journey. It can validate a place at your chosen university and leave a great first impression with the institution. Though a daunting task, it presents an opportunity to showcase your skills, qualities, work experience and how all these elements will add value to your chosen course and institution. Given the pressure that comes with writing a good personal statement, it’s important to note that it’s not that hard once you’ve grasped the main tips and tricks. This guide will give you the necessary advice you need on how to write a personal statement and most importantly, stand out from the competition.
There are specific requirements in writing a personal statement that must be followed. For example, you cannot exceed 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text. You should pick a structure that will seamlessly formulate your argument in a logical order. This will impress admission staff as it shows them that you’re able to organise your points in an effective way. Additionally, these skills will come in handy when you’ll write up your future coursework and exams.
Use paragraphs for easier scanning
There’s nothing more off-putting than coming across a bunch of bulky text, especially if you’re the admission tutor reading the 100th personal statement of the day. Incorporating a fair number of paragraphs will help illustrate your arguments in a clear and welcoming way. Bear in mind that paragraphs will eat into your 47 line limit, so use them wisely!
Have a beginning, middle and end
Think of it as if you are telling a convincing story, starting off with a whopping opener, feeding the details throughout the middle, and confidently signing it off, leaving the admissions counsellor yearning for more! If this is easier said than done, then you should at least ensure that you convey a sense of passion and enthusiasm in the opening in order to grab your reader's attention.
Try the ABC method
Action - Benefit - Course. This is a very important part of linking your extracurricular activities to your chosen university course. When writing up your experience, make sure that you use this structure to convey the value that it has with the degree subject you're looking to study.
As you build out the contents of your personal university statement, try to think of it in four sections.
Section 1: Why do you want to study the course?
Let the admission tutors and counsellors know why you want to study this course at university. Why does it intrigue you and what have you learned so far? What are you most excited to learn next?
Section 2: Academics & Experience
According to career experts, 75% of your personal statement should be about your studies and 25% should be about your extracurricular activities. Discuss subjects that relate to the degree programme you want to pursue and include any activities or work experience gained that adds further value to your arguments.
Section 3: Hobbies & Interests
This is the part where the admission staff want to know more about you, outside of the academics. They want to know what makes you an interesting, well-round person. Ensure that your points are relevant to your university course and highlight skills gained from your hobbies or volunteer activities, as those skills will help you thrive at a higher education institution in the UK.
Section 4: Conclusion
Use this section to reiterate the key points you made previously and close it off with a confident outlook on the progression of your career. Alternatively, if you’re still unsure of your career path, end your essay by stating the invaluable skills and experience you hope to gain by going to university in the UK.
Have some questions? No sweat - you aren't the only one. Here are some common questions we receive.
Need a little more help? We’ve got you covered! Below is a list of personal statement examples that you can use for inspiration. Remember, these personal statements are not to be copied; they are meant to share different structures and writing styles to help you with your own personal statement.
Voila! There are the key tips you need on how to write a strong university personal statement. Good luck!
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