Find out how to write the perfect personal statement in our quick video guide
The personal statement is an integral element of the UCAS application form and inevitably the section that can prove to be the most challenging.
It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate to Admissions Tutors their passion and enthusiasm for their chosen course and to highlight the transferable skills that they have that will make them successful when studying.
There isn’t one set formula for writing the perfect personal statement, each will require time, patience and several redrafts to ensure that the finished piece really is the best representation of a student’s capabilities.
It is recommended that student’s include a variety of examples to illustrate what fuels their ambition, where they have acquired their skills from and how their current studies will complement their Higher Education choices.
Wherever possible a personal statement should be structured through key paragraphs, the first should always outline the motivation behind an application – whether it is based on previous study in a related field, work experience or an extra-curricular interest the reasoning should be clear.
Other paragraphs may include details surrounding current studies, part time and/or voluntary work and wider reading and research around the subject. If student’s wish to discuss hobbies and interests this should be towards the end of their statement and shouldn’t dominate too much space.
A strong statement is often one that can draw additional skills from these activities, for example, if a student is the captain of a sports team they can use this to showcase skills in leadership, motivation and team work.
How you can support students
As a teacher or Careers Advisor there are several ways in which you can support students with their statements.
Firstly, encouraging them to emphasise their strengths and to structure their sentences to incorporate examples as evidence. Secondly, ensuring the statement is free of any spelling or grammar errors and slang terminology. First impressions can make a real impact with Admissions teams.
Finally, students should be actively discouraged from “borrowing” sentences from any existing personal statements – including those that have been previously submitted or that can be found on the internet.
UCAS run each application through Similarity Detection Software and alert universities to any plagiarism that may have taken place. In order to reduce the risk of accidental plagiarism students should avoid including clichés and include content that reflects their own individual circumstances and ambitions as this is unique to them.
For further advice and guidance regarding personal statements please download our PowerPoint and handout.