Personal Statement Tips

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The personal statement is an important part of your UCAS application. It’s your chance to describe your ambitions, skills, and experience to university and college admissions staff.

A good personal statement is one that is written at the end of an exhaustive research process. Therefore, it may be the most important piece of writing that you will complete outside of the examination hall.

You must use this opportunity to sell yourself, by being persuasive, emphasising your strengths, mentioning your experiences and listing your achievements.

Please note, the tips and views provided are those which we have found helpful here at hecom and we hope that you find them helpful too when doing your own research into how to write personal statement!

The 50/30/20 Framework...

Subject Choice
(50% of Personal Statement)

Think about the following questions and note down your answers.

Why have you chosen to learn the subject at university?

What is the background to your interest in the subject?

For how long have you had this interest?

What particular areas of your studies appeal to you most and why?

What evidence of wider reading or experience beyond the syllabus can you produce particularly within the subjects directly relevant to your chosen subject?

Hot Tip: Don’t forget to also mention any relevant work experience, summer employment, voluntary work, or courses that supports your application.

Current Subjects & Skills
(30% of Personal Statement)

Think about the following questions and note down your answers.

What particular interests do you have within your current subjects – A level or equivalent?

How have they helped you choose the course you are applying for?

Hot Tip: Briefly mention all of your subjects and explain which parts of the course you have found most interesting and why. However, greater emphasis must be given where a subject is directly relevant to the subject you are hoping to read. Mention the enjoyment the subject gave and skills you have learnt.

Extra-Curricular Pursuits
(20% of Personal Statement)

The final paragraphs should give evidence of leadership, initiative & inter-personal skills:

The subjects you are studying outside of the curriculum

Other achievements: these should be substantive and show that you are both able and dedicated.

Leadership potential: give evidence of your leadership potential, how you were selected, or elected, and what you learnt from leading your team.

Inside school: have you held positions of significant responsibility

Other successes: details of significant other successes you have enjoyed

Gap year: mention any gap year plans you have, accentuating the positive advantages of such a gap year for your future vocation.

Important Notes

Registration & Formatting

UK students use the UCAS online application system, registering through their school or college. Mature students can also register as lone applicants. You enter your personal statement onto the online application.

Write your personal statement using Microsoft Word or an equivalent software. Once it has been thoroughly checked for spelling, punctuation and grammar, you can copy it into the application.

Limitations

You cannot write more than 4,000 characters (including spaces), or 47 lines of text, in a standard font. You cannot use italics, bold or underlined words, as these will not be transferred into the online package; neither will accents.

Don’t waste your time on fancy formatting, the online application system will not allow indented lines or coloured fonts. It does allow all the common punctuation marks.

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Starting Early...

Starting early allows you time to research and make informed decisions about what to study. Research is vital to avoid poor choices in the long term. A good place to start is to ask yourself the following questions:

What subject/subjects do you want to study at university?

What evidence do you have to show your interest in this subject?

Who or what has influenced you the most to study your subject?

What wider reading have you done to support this application?

Can you list the skills that you have developed that support your application?

What subjects have you studied so far that support this application?

What extra-curricular accomplishments do you think are important to note?

What are your future intentions and plans (after school and university)?

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