The information below is guidance from UCAS
How to write a UCAS Undergraduate personal statement
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.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement supports your application to study at a university or college. It’s a chance for you to articulate why you’d like to study a particular course or subject, and what skills and experience you possess that show your passion for your chosen field.
What to write about
You’re telling admissions staff why you’re suitable to study at their university or college.
It’s important to remember you can only write one personal statement – it’s the same for each course you apply for. So, avoid mentioning any universities or colleges by name.
If you’ve chosen similar subjects, talk about the subject in general, and try not to mention courses titles. If you’ve chosen a variety of subjects, just write about common themes, like problem solving or creativity.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Look at course descriptions and identify the qualities, skills, and experience it requires – you can use these to help you decide what to write about.
- Tell the reader why you’re applying – include your ambitions, as well as what interests you about the subject, the course provider, and higher education.
- Think about what makes you suitable – this could be relevant experience, skills, or achievements you’ve gained from education, work, or other activities.
- Include any clubs or societies you belong to – sporting, creative, or musical.
- Mention any relevant employment experience or volunteering you’ve done, such as vInspired Awards, Step Together, or Project Trust.
- If you’ve developed skills through Duke of Edinburgh, ASDAN, National Citizen Service, the Crest Awards scheme, or young enterprise, tell them.
- If you took part in a higher education taster course, placement, or summer school, or something similar, include it.
International and EU students
As an international student, there are a few extra things you should mention:
- Why you want to study in the UK.
- Your English language skills, and any English courses or tests you’ve taken.
- Why you want to be an international student, rather than study in your own country.
How to write it
Your personal statement should be unique, so there’s no definite format for you to follow here – just take your time. Here are some guidelines for you to follow, but remember your personal statement needs to be ‘personal’.
- Write in an enthusiastic, concise, and natural style – nothing too complex.
- Try to stand out, but be careful with humour, quotes, or anything unusual – just in case the admissions tutor doesn’t have the same sense of humour as you.
- Structure your info to reflect the skills and qualities the unis and colleges value most – use the course descriptions to help you.
- Check the character and line limit – you have 4,000 characters and 47 lines. Some word processors get different values if they don’t count tabs and paragraph spacing as individual characters.
- Proofread aloud, and get your teachers, advisers, and family to check. Then redraft it until you’re happy with it, and the spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct.
We recommend you write your personal statement first, then copy and paste it into your online application once you’re happy with it. Make sure you save it regularly, as it times out after 35 minutes of inactivity.
What happens to personal statements that have been copied?
Every personal statement received by UCAS is added to our personal statement library, which means we’re able to quickly identify if your personal statement is similar to someone else’s.
Once we receive your application, your personal statement is scanned by our Copycatch system – if your statement shows a similarity of 10% or more, it will be flagged.
Where similarities are confirmed, the universities, colleges, and applicant are notified at the same time. The university and college admissions staff will then decide what action to take.
Your personal statement will not be compared to your earlier applications if you have applied in previous cycles or schemes.