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Writing a UCAS personal statement

Your personal statement should provide the reader with a pen picture of you. However, be aware that each university you have applied to will read the same personal statement, so do not mention any particular university or course title.

Where competition for a certain course is fierce you can really use your personal statement to stand out from the crowd.

How do I write a personal statement?

You should use positive language and wherever you talk about having experience or a particular skill, you should always back it up with an example and explain how it is relevant.

You should write in a text document first, such as ‘Microsoft Word’ before transferring it to your UCAS application online. This is for two reasons: firstly, it will give you the opportunity to let others read it before you add it to your online form and you can check for spelling and grammar mistakes; and secondly, the online form will automatically time out after thirty five minutes of inactivity, so you don’t want to get half way through and then lose your work.

You are only allowed 47 lines of text or 4000 characters so it is essential to make every sentence count.

Ideally your personal statement should include the following:

  • An enthusiastic explanation of why you want to study the course
  • Your career aspirations and how the course will help you to fulfil these
  • A description of your current studies and how they will help you to progress
  • Examples of any work experience relative to the course you have applied for
  • Any relevant skills that are appropriate to your studies
  • Why you should be offered a place on this course
  • What interests you about your chosen subject
  • Clear confirmation that you have the commitment and ability to achieve your programme
  • What skills and qualities you can use to support your studies
  • Any extracurricular activities you have taken part in


Paragraph 1
Introduction to your subject and why you want to study that course.

Paragraph 2
What have you done related to your course.

Paragraphs 3 and 4
Work experience and extra-curricular activities.

Paragraph 5
Interests outside of school or college.

Paragraph 6
Your overall goal of going to university closing comment.

Things to remember

  • You are only allowed 47 lines of text or 4000 characters including spaces
  • Don’t write your statement directly into the online form as it will time out after thirty five minutes of inactivity and you will lose your work
  • Write your personal statement in a word document and copy and paste it into your online form when it is complete
  • Don’t lie, there is no need to, and you will be caught out
  • Don’t copy or use statements from the internet, UCAS run all statements through similarity checking software
  • Check the spelling and grammar, and then check it again
  • You can copy and paste it into your online form at any time and click the preview button to check layout and number of lines used
  • Don’t mention particular course titles or universities as the statement will be sent to all of your choices
  • Ask someone else to read through it
  • Save a copy for future reference.

Useful links

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If you need any further help or advice, please contact the careers and employability team.

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