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Firstly, what is a personal statement?
A personal statement is an extended essay about yourself and a key part of your Ucas application.
While many candidates may apply with the same grades as you, they aren’t you as a person, with your passions, experiences and thoughts. You need to stand out as a real person to an admissions tutor, as opposed to one of the many applicant numbers that will pass before their eyes!
Your personal statement is where you can distinguish yourself from other candidates; fill in the picture a tutor has of you in their head; and leave a real impression that makes them want to meet you or offer you a place!
What to write about
- Why you are applying – your ambitions and what interests you about the subject, course providers and higher education.
- What makes you suitable – any relevant skills, experience or achievements gained from education, work or other activities.
So what should go in a personal statement?
- Explain your reasons for wanting to study the course.
- Explain how you’re right for the course.
- Say what you’ve done outside the classroom.
- Why it’s relevant to your course…
- … And relevant to your chosen career
- Can you demonstrate transferable skills?
- Expand on the most relevant ones
- Show that you’re a critical thinker
- What’s the long-term plan?
- Keep it positive
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
- There’s no definite formula to follow – just take your time and follow these guidelines.
- Structure your info to reflect the skills and qualities the universities and colleges value most.
Some other tips:
- 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.
- Proofread aloud and get your teachers, advisers, and family to check – then redraft until you’re happy with it and the grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct.
- We recommend you write your personal statement first, and then copy and paste it into your online application when you’re done.
- Check the 4,000 character and 47 line limits though – some word processors get different values if they don’t count tabs and paragraph spacing as individual characters.
- When you do add it to your application, save it regularly as it times out after 35 minutes of inactivity.
- You can use some European characters in your personal details, personal statement, employment and referee details. Some of these will be substituted with UK equivalent characters.