Your UCAS Personal Statement is easily the most crucial part of your university application, it allows you to show off a bit and show why you stand out from other candidates! A UCAS Personal Statement gives you 4,000 characters to tell everyone what you’re like, what you can do, and how passionate you are about the course that you’re applying for. Mentioning your A-Levels and GCSE results (or predicted results) is helpful, but the university want to know about you! What makes you tick? Why have you got an interest in the subject you’re applying for? What about the subject interests you and why?
These are all the questions that you’ll need to answer in your UCAS Personal Statement.
What is a Personal Statement?
A Personal Statement is an essay that you write about yourself that explains why you’d be a good student for a university and why you’re interested in your course. But more than that, this is a chance for you to display your passion for the subject. Your UCAS Personal Statement will fit the bill of “One size fits all”. This basically means that your Personal Statement should not be specific to one university. Your Personal Statement needs to show your passion for the course you’re looking to study rather than the university itself, don’t make the mistake of tailoring your UCAS Personal Statement to a university, rather than a course.
How long should I spend on my Personal Statement?
A Personal Statement should not be rushed! Plenty of students believe that you can write a Personal Statement the night before the deadline and just upload it to UCAS from there! Do not rush your Personal Statement. The more you rush it, the more the quality will suffer as a result.
A Personal Statement is a document that shows how passionate you are, so why not look up some quotes and see if you can incorporate these into your statement or see if you can make a connection between a certain hobby you have and how it can help you in your studies?
How do I write a Personal Statement?
Writing anything comes under the label of “Different strokes for different folks”. Whatever works for you is best. It is not uncommon for a student to go through several different drafts of a Personal Statement before coming to a final decision on which one to use. Your Personal Statement will most likely go through several different iterations before you settle on the finished product.
When does my Personal Statement need to be completed?
Personal Statements all need to be handed into UCAS around January 15th. Some institutions may have their own separate, internal deadlines to allow faculty members to evaluate your Personal Statement and see if there is anything that needs improvement as well, so check beforehand.
Is there anyone who can help me with my Personal Statement?
Yes, there are! You can speak to careers advisors, look up advice online, check out previous UCAS Personal Statement examples or Personal Statement templates or even use a Personal Statement Editor, to help you with your Personal Statement. Taking your Personal Statement to a tutor or teacher to have them check the work is a good idea too. Tutors and teachers will have seen many different Personal Statements over their time and they will all know the pitfalls and clichés that come with writing student Personal Statements.
Most universities will list Personal Statement guides on their websites as well, just to give you an idea of what they’re looking for.
Should I embellish anything on my Personal Statement?
Absolutely not! As with everything in life, the truth will always come out in the end, and lying on your Personal Statement is no different. Saying that you can speak five different languages when you can’t, is going to land you in a whole heap of trouble.
Universities have a way of finding things out about students and discover if they’re lying or not. This may be through simple background checks (routine phone calls to your previous schools or colleges) or simply asking you to prove yourself at interview stage if you are invited to one, and then the house of cards will come clattering down. It’s best, to be honest, and truthful, there will no doubt be enough for you to boast about without having to lie!
Where do I send off my Personal Statement?
Your Personal Statement will need to be sent off to UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). You will need to log onto your UCAS Portal and upload your Personal Statement onto the internal system. This will submit your Personal Statement to your university choices and your university application will have begun.
What should I do when I’ve sent my Personal Statement off to UCAS?
Stop. All you need to do is just stop. The more you think about your Personal Statement after you’ve sent it off, the more you’ll start to drive yourself mad! We recommend that once your Personal Statement has been sent off, you just relax and focus on everything else you’ve got going on. Constantly checking your UCAS Personal Statement means that you will end up never being happy with it, be confident in yourself and your abilities and it will all be fine!
The personal statement is an important part of the UCAS application. It's your chance to describe your ambitions, skills, and experience.
Our personal statement tool
You can write up to 4,000 characters of text that show you’d make a great student – so it might take a few redrafts until you’re happy with it.
This tool will help you think about what to include in your personal statement, and how to structure it. It also counts how many characters you’ve used, so it’s easy to see when you’re close to that 4,000 character limit.
Write your personal statement now
- Course descriptions mention the qualities, skills and experience it’s useful to have for each subject – take note of these to help you decide what to write about.
- Remember it’s the same personal statement for all the courses you apply to, so avoid mentioning unis and colleges by name. Most students choose similar subjects, but if you’ve chosen a variety, just write about common themes – like problem solving or creativity.
- If you've got a question about writing your personal statement, don't worry you're not alone. Check out our blogs:
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.
These are great ways to prepare for higher education.
If you do or have done any of these before, they could be ideal things to mention in your personal statement. Or you might be able to organise or start a new activity before you send your application.
International and EU students
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
Here’s where you can mention any alternative entry requirements you’ve used – like an Access course or APL – demonstrating the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through your previous experiences.
How to write it
Feel free to use our personal statement mind map and personal statement worksheet for planning your personal statement.
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.
- 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.
If you're applying to study Teacher Education in Scotland, you'll need to make your application through the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. Read dedicated personal statement advice from Scottish training providers about what to include in your personal statement.
European characters and other languages
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. Check our Extended character sets substitutions for more details.
It’s not possible to apply in an alternative language, unless you’re applying to Welsh course providers and you’d like to make your application entirely in Welsh.
- To register in Welsh, when you go to the application service ‘Apply’, you can select ‘Cymraeg’.
- When you’re logged in to your application you can change the language to English or Welsh on the ‘Options’ page.
- The help text in Apply is available in Welsh too.
- In Apply you can choose to receive correspondence from course providers and from us in Welsh.
Sut i ymgeisio
What happens to personal statements that have been copied?
We screen all personal statements across Copycatch our Similarity Detection system – so make sure your personal statement is all your own work. Don’t copy from anyone else or from the internet and don't share your personal statement with other applicants.
If we find any similarity in your personal statement, your application will be flagged. Then we’ll email an alert to you and your university or college choices and this could have serious consequences for your application.
Want to say more?
You can only submit one personal statement – the same one for all the courses you apply to – and you can’t change it after your application has been submitted.
If you want to send any more information you can ask your university and college choices if they’ll accept further details.
- If they agree, you should send it to them, rather than us.
- After we receive your application, we’ll send you a welcome email that includes your Personal ID – quote your Personal ID along with the further information you send to the unis and colleges, so they can link it to your UCAS application.
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