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Personal statement

What is the personal statement? Why do we need to see it? Does it matter?

The personal statement on the UCAS application form gives you an opportunity to convince an admissions tutor of your suitability for the chosen degree programme. The information below is intended to help you prepare for writing your personal statement. For further information on personal statements, please visit the UCAS website.

Since many students are offered a place at university without attending an interview, the personal statement is an ideal way to show what personal attributes and skills you have to help you secure a place on a course. In essence, it can help you to stand out from the many other students. If you are invited to an interview, the personal statement may form the basis to some of the questions asked, so remember to keep a copy for reference.

Therefore, the personal statement can be a vital part of the admissions process in deciding whether or not we offer a student a place.

The personal statement can also make a difference later in the application process if you narrowly miss the required grades for the course. In these instances, we are likely to look at your personal statement again to see if your interests and experience demonstrate any extra skills that could help you succeed on the course.

Dos and don'ts: a basic guide to follow when writing your personal statement

  • Do thorough research into your chosen degree courses to ensure the course content and entry requirements match your interests/abilities.
  • Do take time over your application, structure your application well and be prepared to write at least three drafts before submitting your form to your tutor.
  • Do take time to check for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Do print out a copy to check for errors and ask a friend/relative/teacher for their feedback.
  • Do be positive - about the course and all you have to offer.
  • Don't give excuses - always be positive about what you have done and achieved.
  • Don't waffle - make sure that all information noted is relevant and you show how skills learnt from hobbies/outside interests are transferable to your chosen degree.
  • Don't tell lies - you might get caught out, especially if asked to elaborate on your personal statement at an interview. Remember that UCAS uses a similarity detection service to detect copied work.