As the application deadline to British universities looms, make sure your personal statement shows off the best you have to offer.
Aside from the list of marks and skills, UCAS also wants to hear from you (in 4000 characters), about why you want to apply and why they should accept your application. It’s your opportunity to explain your interests and show what you’re like, as well as speak about why you have chosen a particular course.
UCAS gives no prompt as to what you should say in your personal statement, which is often daunting for applicants, but it is also an opportunity to use your writing skills to demonstrate whatever you like, both about yourself and what makes you an outstanding candidate.
The UCAS website itself is a perfect resource to help you get started, either through their Personal Statement planning worksheet , personal statement mind map, as the guidance videos.
The advice from UCAS is to breakdown what you should be writing about into two sections: firstly, your goals and ambitions and secondly, the skills, qualities and experience that demonstrate you will work towards this goal.
To get started, answer the following questions as succinctly as you can.
Why are you applying for your chosen course?
Explain what has compelled you take your interest in the subject further, for example, if you’re applying for medicine: ‘I would like to take my interest in medicine further as I am compassionate and caring, I think that healthcare is a human right and would like work in a field that benefits people.’ This can be something as simple as ‘I have always loved reading and learning from literature’ to ‘I dream of one day running my own advertising agency’.
Why does this course interest you?
In other words: What do you want to learn about specifically on the course? In order to find this out, do your research and look at the modules and topics covered on the course page of your chosen university and make sure they align with your interests. For instance, if you want to study ancient history, make sure you’re not applying to a university that specialises in modern history.
Why are you suitable for this course?
This is your section to show off your best qualities and detail the skills you have that will help you succeed on the course. For example. if you’re an avid reader, volunteer regularly, have done work experience or have a part-time job, this shows a well rounded person with commitment and responsibility so make sure you mention them.
How do your current studies relate to the course you have chosen?
You spend enough time at school, make sure that the reader of your personal statement sees how your GCSEs, A-Levels or IB has benefited you. Explain what you find interesting, what aspects of your course has made you want to study a university course and what you’re good at.
Why have you chosen the UK as a place to study?
Students who are applying from abroad should explain why it is that they want to study in the UK, whether it’s that the British culture and higher education system is appealing to you, that you want to study in English or that being an international student would be a positive experience. Note: be careful not to mention wanting to study in specific towns and cities, as the same personal statement is seen by every university.
- Before you start, make a list of the things you definitely want to include in the statement, skills and achievements, hobbies and interests and work history should all be in this list. Then narrow down the list to include only the things that make your application stronger, if it doesn’t seem relevant, leave it out, as you don’t have the space.
- Make sure you use your best English, always have a teacher or parent read through your statement to see if you can word anything better.
- Be enthusiastic: make sure your interest in the course shines through.
- Tell the truth: don’t exaggerate on the statement, you might be asked to go into more detail about something you’ve written during an interview or by a course provider.
- Plan: Make sure you give yourself a good few weeks to write the personal statement, gets lots of feedback and write multiple drafts.
If you are in need of additional support regarding course decisions, applications or want personal statement help, please get in touch with Tutor Connection, we’d love to hear from you.