What is a personal statement?
Your personal statement is your chance to show the universities you apply to who you really are. The rest of the application is faceless statistics – the personal statement gives the admissions tutor the opportunity to look beyond those statistics and focus on the real you, the person they may spend at least three years teaching their subject to.
This Personal Statement cheat sheet will tell you everything you need to know to craft the perfect personal statement on one easy-to-use sheet!
Do I need to write a personal statement?
Every single UCAS applicant needs to write an Personal Statement to support their university application.
What is the personal statement deadline?
The final deadline is the 15th of January. For medicine, dentistry and Oxbridge, be aware there is an earlier deadline date of the 15th of October.
The Introduction – why do you want to study this subject?
What subject are you applying for?
- Use a short, sharp, strong opening
- Avoid cliches like “from a young age, I’ve always been interested in ..”
What motivated you to apply for this subject?
- Make it memorable, personal and most importantly, honest!
- Avoid using overused words such as “passionate, devotion etc”
The Main Body – broken up into paragraphs.
PARAGRAPH #1 – Why are you suited for the subject?
This should have a hard focus on the academic arguments to answer this question. Talk about future ambitions relevant to the degree, what makes the course right for you.
PARAGRAPH #2 – Still why are you suited for the subject?
This can be less academic – think: work experience, personal motivations, relevant awards and competitions.
PARAGRAPH #3 – What extra curricular activities do you have?
- Long, complicated sentences
- Lack of reflection
- Listing things off
Show you’re a well rounded person but also apply these activities to your chosen course. Don’t get carried away here – this should be the shortest paragraph in the main body.
THINGS TO AVOID
- Generic/stereotypical statements
- Irrelevant/out of date examples – keep it recent
- Negative connotations – keep it positive
- Dragging out one example for too long
The Conclusion – all about leaving a good final impression.
You should put into context what you have already written and leave a good final impression!
- You shouldn’t bring any new information into the conclusion – anything worth saying should be brought up much earlier!
- You should avoid repeating what you’ve already said. You only have 47 lines so keep it short.
- Draw on themes from the rest of the statement to close; the tutor is likely to remember your statement by the introduction and conclusion.