How to write a great personal statement

Explore our tips and advice for writing a personal statement that ensures your skills, experience and enthusiasm stand out.

General advice

We’ve put together some useful guidance to help you write a great personal statement that highlights your skillset.  Remember, your personal statement is the only place for you to focus on any relevant skills, experience, attributes and work experience if you’re not being interviewed for a place at university.  

We may look at your personal statement to consider your application if you narrowly missed out on achieving the necessary entry requirements. It might also be read by different university staff such as our Admissions team and academics. You’ll also need to remember that one personal statement will be sent to all your university choices, so it’s really important that you make sure it makes sense for all the courses you’ve selected.

Writing a personal statement

Your personal statement could be used to shortlist you for an interview, so it is extremely important that you evidence in your statement:

  • Why you want to study on the course you are applying for, and
  • Why you think you should be offered a place on the course. 

Ensure you include details of any key skills you have in areas such as:

  • Communication  
  • Research  
  • Time management
  • Motivation
  • Enthusiasm  
  • Essay writing 

Write positively about yourself and your skills, but please be honest! For courses where you will be required to attend an interview, your personal statement will have been scrutinised and the interview panel may have prepared a list of questions based on what you have written. 

How to structure your personal statement

Why do you want to study the course?

This is your opportunity to tell us what you find interesting about the course you are applying for. It could be because you’re studying it at the moment, or that it’s a new subject area that you would like to gain a deeper understanding of. 

Think about how your current studies relate to the course you are applying for. You might already be studying psychology and are applying for a psychology degree, but what other skills have you gained from non-related subjects? For example, the research skills you’ve gained from studying biology could be transferred to a psychology degree where you may have to complete research projects, and this will apply to a host of other study options.  

Academic Interests

Here you can talk about what you’ve done within School or College (or even any gap years) to further your interest in the subject you’re applying for.  

Are there any clubs that you’ve been part of, or have current affairs influenced your interest in a subject, e.g. Brexit or climate change? But make sure to tell us the why and focus on the skills you’ve developed and specifically what it is that you’ve learnt that makes you a great student for university study. 

You could also demonstrate how your life, work, skills and experiences have provided you with transferable skills. Have you undertaken any volunteering, been on a National Citizen Service adventure or completed a Duke of Edinburgh award? Do you work part-time, play sports or have any hobbies? 

Don't forget

The maximum you can write is 4,000 characters or 47 lines, whichever you meet first. There’s also a minimum character count of 1,000 characters. 

Writing a personal statement is never an easy task, so it’s best to start early and give yourself plenty of time. Use people around you who know you well, such as teachers, relatives, even friends from school or college who can sense check it for you and make sure that you haven’t forgotten anything important. 

And don’t forget to check your spelling! UCAS won’t do it for you. 

Good luck!