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Posted 18.12.19

Our top tips for easy personal statement writing

By Millie Cresswell

We know that applying to uni can be a stressful process, so we've gathered together our top tips and advice to help you write an excellent personal statement for your UCAS application.

From all the essential things to remember, to a list of do’s and don’ts when writing your personal statement, you can’t go wrong by utilising our guidance before the UCAS application deadline on Wednesday 15 January 2020.

For our five step plan to help kickstart your personal statement writing, click here.

Your personal statement - things to remember:

  • Though you can apply for up to five courses, you only write one personal statement. It’s important to ensure that your personal statement is suitable for all of your applications, so if your degree choices are varied, include transferable skills and experiences that apply to all of them.
  • Schools, colleges and sixth forms often provide personal writing support, so make sure you ask for their help. Keep in mind that they will get busier the closer you get to the UCAS application deadline on Wednesday 15 January, so be organised and get your first draft written early.
  • The universities you're applying to aren't expecting you to be perfectly polished. Remember that you're applying to study a degree to continue learning and develop further in a specific field, so use this to your advantage and specifically discuss the things you’re eager to continue learning about.
  • Be bold and confident in yourself, as your enthusiasm will show in your writing, and will make you stand out from other applicants. You’re about to start a new, inspiring journey into Higher Education - you have so much to be excited about!
  • You only have 4000 characters to write your personal statement, so make them count by being concise and smart with your writing. Use professional language and don’t waste characters on unneccessary fluffy text.
  • Stay positive! It can sometimes feel a bit embarrassing writing about all the amazing things you've achieved, but remember it's important to be your own cheerleader. If you don't believe in yourself, how can you expect other people to?
  • Have other people read your drafts as fresh eyes always spot mistakes you might’ve missed.

Our top tips:

  • If you’re struggling to find the words that describe you best, ask your best friend, parent or sibling to describe you in three words and then use these adjectives within your personal statement.
  • Spend time researching your chosen degree to see if there are any skills that are necessary for the course. You can then include these key skills in your personal statement, ensuring you back them up with specific examples as evidence.
  • Once you've submitted your UCAS application, don't re-read your personal statement. There's no point worrying about something you can't change.

Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do check your spelling and grammar, as your personal statement should show you in a professional light.
  • Don't make a long list of your experiences without explaining how they've developed your skills or character.
  • Do have other people read your drafts as fresh eyes always spot mistakes you might’ve missed. Reach out to student support at your school or ask your parents and friends.
  • Don't include any experiences, hobbies or interests that aren't relevant to your chosen degree(s). Remember, you only have 4000 characters - use them effectively.
  • Do highlight your best skills and discuss your character in a positive way, but don't overexaggerate, as you could be asked about this during an interview.
  • Do use specific examples to make your statement personal to you, and back-up your claims. Don't use vague or generic language.
  • Don't leave your personal statement writing until the last minute. To write a successful personal statement it’s important to take your time, so don’t rush it.

You've got this!