How to Write a Personal Statement That Stands Out

It is that time of the year when most students apply to universities. But what is an essential part of every university application in the UK? It’s a UCAS personal statement. Sometimes can be a difficult task, however, it’s important to learn how to write a personal statement to stand out.

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is an essential part of your UCAS application for university. It is 4000 characters long, including spaces and punctuation.

The purpose of your personal statement is to showcase your abilities, skills, and experience, as well as your interest in your chosen field.

In this guide, you will learn more about how to write an excellent personal statement for a university.

Why do I need a good personal statement?

An important part of your UCAS application is your personal statement. You will be considered for a place at a university based on the statement you submit when applying. It is also important to consider your predicted grades and teacher references, but your personal statement provides an opportunity to expand upon those aspects.

During your application, you have no other opportunity to discuss your skills and experience, so the statement is a great place to do so. To ensure your UCAS application is as strong as possible, it is important to demonstrate what you have done.

Personal statements should be well-written, without any grammatical or spelling errors, and should have a logical and thoughtful structure.

As a result, your UCAS application will be strengthened by demonstrating your communication and writing abilities to your university.

What things should I include in a personal statement?

Motivation

It is essential to demonstrate your interest in the subject you are applying for, and hence your motivation.

Take time to consider which aspects of the course you like most, why they appeal to you, and how this course will aid you in your future studies or career.

Reading

You should do reading into your subject or a sub-topic of your subject.

This will demonstrate you have a genuine interest in the topic, evidenced by spending extracurricular time researching the subject.

You should discuss the key things that interest you from what you have read, and use this opportunity to showcase your subject-related skillset.

Experience

Having completed work experience, extracurricular courses, or similar activities allows you to further demonstrate your interests and commitment to the course, and also allows you to discuss the skills you’ve gained!

You should briefly mention what your role was or what interested you most from the experience, and subsequently talk about how this will advantage you when studying at university.

Should I include extracurricular interests?

The best personal statements employ an 80:20 ratio, whereby 80% of content is academic-focused, and the other 20% is extracurricular-based.

Firstly, extracurricular interests, such as sporting or musical achievements, can demonstrate transferrable skills that will benefit you in your degree, and subsequently strengthen your application. For example, teamwork, self-discipline and commitment.

Secondly, when you apply for university, you are applying for more than just your course – you are also applying to be a member of that community! Therefore, if you have the ability or desire to join a university team, club, or society, noting this in your application can also strengthen your application holistically.

Personal statement framework I can use

A successful personal statement will be personalized to you, your interests, and your experience. Based on this, there is no ‘one-fits-all’ structure that can or should be used when writing your personal statement. Additionally, you can check our personal statement tips.

However, a useful personal statement framework can be considered:

  1. What do I want to study and why? (motivation)
  2. What extra reading have I done to demonstrate this interest?
  3. What work experience/courses have I taken to ensure this is for me?
  4. What other work experiences / voluntary experience do I have that has developed relevant skills for my degree?
  5. What extracurricular activities do I do that would appeal to the universities I’m applying for?