How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement | Examples and Advice

When it comes to your application process for university or other elements of higher education, you’ll need to complete a personal statement. This is a form of cover letter in your application which will preface your qualifications – a primer on who you are as a person, and why you think you’d be suitable for the course and institution you’re applying for. For this reason, you need to know how to write a UCAS personal statement. Here, we’re going to look at ten tips for writing the best personal statement possible to improve your chances of getting to your dream university.

Keep it Snappy – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

The first thing to remember when writing your personal statement is that you only have 4,000 characters to work with. So far, this article is almost 1,000 characters long, which should give you an idea of how limited you are in the length of your personal statement. This means that you need to cut to the chase. Is there something in your persona statement that isn’t entirely necessary? Get rid of it. Think carefully about every sentence and every word in your personal statement, and keep fine-tuning it until you have a well-sculpted piece of writing.

Structure it Properly – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

A strong, clear structure to your personal statement will make you appear more sophisticated than a messy piece of writing will. Divide your personal statement into paragraphs, with each covering a different area. For example, if paragraph 2 covers why you want to study the subject you’re applying for, then paragraph 3 should be about your academic achievements. After that, paragraph 4 could discuss relevant extra-curricular activities. By organising into paragraphs, you can prioritise the most important information such as showing enthusiasm for the course. Then, you can move into other areas such as extra-curricular activities.

Here’s an example structure you could use:

Paragraph 1 – Introduce self by showing enthusiasm.
Paragraph 2 – Discuss academic achievements in relation to your chosen course.
Paragraph 3 – Link extra-curricular accomplishments to your chosen course.

You will probably want to include more paragraphs than shown here. However, use this as the basis for the rest of your personal statement.

Avoid Clichés – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

Clichés are the bane of many a personal statement, and should be avoided at all times. Try not to include quotes from your favourite celebrity or philosopher, since they’re usually irrelevant, waste space, and make you look less intelligent than you actually are. Likewise, sweeping statements are a waste of space and don’t add anything to your personal statement:

“Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to study Economics…”

Even if this is the case, you’re better off leaving it out and saying something more meaningful.

Another common cliché is overuse of the word ‘passion’. Of course, you need to have a passion for the course you want to study, but the word is used so frequently that admissions officers will be tired of them by the time they come to your personal statement. Spend some time thinking of alternatives to ‘passion’ so that you can keep your statement interesting and informative.

Show Your Enthusiasm – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

Enthusiasm is a key part of a successful personal statement because admissions officers don’t want to accept students who aren’t excited about the subject they’ll be studying. Make sure you that show how enthusiastic you are by demonstrating some research that you’ve done about the subject you’re applying for. For example, if you’re hoping to study Physics, you might want to mention a cutting-edge area that you’ve found interesting. Be sure to show your enthusiasm as early as possible in your personal statement, since this is a vital element of making your application successful.

Show Your Relevant Extra-Curricular and Academic Accomplishments – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

When writing your personal statement, the admissions officers want to know what you’ve achieved so far. You don’t need to list every grade and result you’ve ever received – the rest of the UCAS application will cover that – but be sure to highlight key areas which are relevant to your studies. Extra-curricular activities aren’t vital, but they do help convey who you are as a person, which might be a game-changer under certain circumstances. Extra-curricular achievements are best left for later in the personal statement since they aren’t as important as your academic successes.

Explain Yourself – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

When you bring up anything about yourself in your personal statement, always explain how it links to the course for which you’re applying. This way, you’re showing the admissions officer that you’ve taken all of your accomplishments into consideration, and only chosen the ones which are most relevant to the application.

Make it ‘Personal’ – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

Your personal statement is supposed to be ‘personal’, so give it a bit of flair. Try not to take risks with humour, and avoid slang, but still try to give your writing a bit of an edge so that it stands out to the admissions officer. This is only something that can come with practice, so take time to write multiple copies of your personal statement until your personality shines through.

Be Positive – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

Try to focus only on your own positives, as well as the positives of the course you want to study. The admissions officer doesn’t care about what things you’ve done wrong, or where you need to improve. What they want is for you to sell yourself as a candidate.

Be Specific – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

Admissions officers do not want you to waffle in your personal statement, or waste their time with vague, meaningless statements. Be specific in your accomplishments and how they make you a more desirable candidate, and give evidence for any claims you make. For example, if you say that you’re a hard worker, demonstrate this with evidence, such as good grades or the fact that you’ve been able to juggle lots of different tasks.

Do Multiple Drafts – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

Finally, one of the best ways to write an excellent personal statement is to write multiple drafts. If possible, write it once and then give it to someone to read. Take their feedback on board, then make changes to your personal statement. Repeat this process to the point where you think you’ve ironed out any faults in it. This will make it as fine-tuned as possible and ready for submission!

Conclusion – UCAS Personal Statement Tips

Now you should have a good idea about how to craft an excellent UCAS personal statement. Find out more about passing your A-Levels with A*s here. You can also discover how to get a first-class degree at university here.