What To Include In Your University Personal Statement
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What To Include In Your University Personal Statement

Jasmyne Jeffery January 13, 2023

It’s time to show your potential universities who you are. You want to stand out, and be a little different, but still interesting professional. It’s a hard line to balance, but it can be done and it will give you the best chance of pleasing your reader. Not sure how to get going? Here’s what to include in your UCAS university personal statement and how to start it.

Sure, you can work hard, study and revise to get good A Level results to get into university, but that’s not all you need to do. Plus, grades are really just statistics and data and don’t get across who you really are. That’s where your UCAS university personal statement comes in.

What To Include In Your University Personal Statement

What you don’t want to do is go into writing it without having done any planning. Just winging it as you go along isn’t how you want to start your university journey. You need to show that you’re passionate, determined and have a strong will to succeed.

So, before you open the document, bullet points some answers to the following questions.

  • Why this subject?
  • Why this university?
  • What experience do you have that’s relevant to the course?
  • Your ambitions for the future.
  • Your achievements.

You don’t need to flesh these notes out at all, but having a general idea of your response will help guide your university personal statement. They don’t even have to be in that order, but these are the things your assessor will be looking out for.

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Remember, UCAS only give you 4000 characters — not words— so you don’t want to waffle on with unnecessary information. Try to dedicate no more than 300 words or less to the above points, whilst still conveying your passion. It sounds like a difficult task, but editing after edit will get your word count down. Particularly if you have friends and family to go over it with you as well.

It’s tempting to include lots of quotes in your personal statement from professionals related to your course of interest. However, it’s not Shakespeare or Stephen Hawking applying for university — it’s you. Your assessor doesn’t what established people have to say about your subject, they care what you think. Use those precious characters to offer your own insight and evidence of interest which is more likely to get you a place.

How To Order Your Personal Statement

Structurally, your UCAS personal statement is not like a CV. You’ll want to pad out paragraphs instead of bullet points to show off your achievements and interests. Whilst, of course, you have some creative liberties over what’s included, the most effective personal statements will consider this order:

  • A very brief introduction of yourself.
  • What appeals to you about that course/university.
  • Why you are the perfect candidate for that course/university.
  • How your current studies are relevant.
  • Relevant skills and achievements.
  • Relevant extracurricular hobbies and interests.

In achievements, don’t waffle on about your current grades as your assessor will already know this. Think about projects you’ve worked on or anything that has been published. This is the time to distinguish yourself away from your grades.

How To Start A Personal Statement For University

Starting your UCAS personal statement is the hardest part. You might know everything else that you want to include but those first words are stopping you.

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The key thing is to not overthink it and just give a really brief introduction of yourself through why you want to study that course. Do not open it with ‘the dictionary defines…’ or ‘Charles Dickens once said…’ they are massive cliches that assessors have seen hundreds of times before and don’t give any information about you.

Begin with how your interest developed in that subject area and how that’s grown over the years until it’s shaped what you want to do with the rest of your life. You don’t need to include your name, age or where you’re from, introduce yourself through your passions. Not only does that save on characters and get straight to the point, but it will be a lot more interesting to your assessor.

The beginning is always tricky, but once you get started you will be flying. It doesn’t matter if it takes you a few attempts to get right or a few days (or more!) to finish. What matters is that you come across as irresistible on the page and that you are happy with it.

The deadline for UCAS university applications is January 25. If you haven’t already started, it’s probably time to get a shift on and at least start your planning. Now you know what to include in your university personal statement, there’s nothing stopping you.

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Jasmyne Jeffery is a full-time Entertainment and News Writer on university-themed website Freshered and HITC, and joined the company having previously worked in a freelance role. She attended the University of South Wales where she was also a student blogger and graduated in 2022 with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing. Now, she puts her creativity to use reviewing university bars, Love Island episodes and the latest apps any 18-25-year-old is using.