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UCAS personal statement

The personal statement is a crucial part of a UCAS application. It’s an opportunity for you to explain why you want to study a particular subject and ultimately highlight why you merit the offer of a place or call to interview. As admissions tutors may read through hundreds of applications, the presentation and content of your personal statement is critical.

You only have 4,000 characters of text for your personal statement. It is important that you mention all of the key information necessary to make a good first impression and do yourself justice. Be concise and don’t repeat information that you may have included elsewhere in the application.

Before you begin, make a few notes to focus your thoughts and allow yourself a couple of weeks to fine tune your statement before finally submitting it. Show it to your friends and family, be prepared for constructive criticism and use a spell check facility to ensure your spelling and grammar are accurate.

Remember that you are applying for highly competitive programmes of study so don’t be afraid to sell yourself and outline your achievements.

Things to include in your personal statement

Outlining the reasons why you want to study a particular subject is possibly the most important part of a UCAS personal statement. You need to explain why you are applying and what makes you a suitable applicant.

You should highlight:

  • your suitability and enthusiasm for the subject(s) you wish to study
  • transferable skills
  • work experience(s) relevant to the subject area
  • your career aspirations, academic interests and the reasons why you want to go to university
  • personal qualities and other interests that make you stand out from the crowd

It’s not only important what you write in your personal statement but how you write it. You need to use language that makes you sound enthusiastic about your courses and portrays you as a strong candidate. Spelling, accuracy of grammar and diversity of vocabulary are important in creating the right impression.

Things to avoid in your personal statement

As well as being aware of what you should cover in your personal statement, it’s equally important to ensure you don’t make common mistakes.

Things to avoid include:

  • Copying content directly from personal statement websites or publications. Your application will be passed through plagiarism detection software and any significant similarities could result in your application being excluded.
  • Outlining negative experiences. Turn anything negative to your advantage, outlining how you overcame obstacles to succeed.
  • Relisting information, including qualifications, submitted elsewhere in the application.
  • Using slang, abbreviations or text speak. Attempts at humour should also be considered carefully and used very sparingly or preferably not at all.
  • Providing irrelevant information that fails to enhance your application or making fabricated or unsubstantiated claims. You need to provide supportive detail to back up any assertions.

Whilst reading through a list of do’s and don’ts can make writing a personal statement seem quite daunting, with sufficient planning and preparation you can build a clear, concise portrayal of your suitability for a particular subject and ensure you submit a strong application.

Further advice

If you are applying to Edge Hill University and would like any additional advice about writing a UCAS personal statement, please contact Course Enquiries on (+44) 01695 657000 or complete our online enquiry form.

Further information is also available on the UCAS website.