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Quick Guide on How to Write a Personal Statement

Time:2020-06-22 15:07:29


From the UK undergraduate UCAS to postgraduate application, we have it all covered for some quick and useful tips on how to write a personal statement.

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What is a Personal Statement?

Applying to a UK university can be daunting experience having to navigate through the whole application process and various documents required. One of the biggest challenges voiced by our students is the writing of a personal statement.

So, what exactly is a personal statement and why do you need to write one?

Personal statements form an important part of your university application. It gives whoever is assessing your application an opportunity to form a mental picture of you.

It is a 450-600-word piece of writing that explains your intention in applying to a particular university, the course of your choice, your experience and why the university should offer you a place.

The critical question then for most students is:

‘How do I make an impression and stand out from among thousands of other applicants that I should be offered a place?’

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As an applicant, you have this opportunity to share with the admissions tutor (the person reading your personal statement to decide if you should be offered a place) what you want to include in your personal statement.

It is your only opportunity at this initial stage to make an impression on why you should be offered a place to study with them.

So, WHAT do you have to write in your personal statement?

Though you may include details to demonstrate your academic ability and achievement, it is equally important to demonstrate your engagement with the subject.

A good place to start is to share what motivates or inspires you to pursue the subject, which you can use to elaborate to demonstrate your understanding and engagement with the subject, and how it relates to your future plan.

Different Requirements for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Applications

There are some different requirements when it comes to writing a personal statement for Undergraduate and Postgraduate application.

For the Undergraduate application, you will only write ONE personal statement (of no more than 4,000 characters; approx 500-550 words) to apply to all your 5  choices.

Remember, since it is the same personal statement the admissions tutors of your 5 choices are going to read, don’t mention a specific university’s name in your personal statement.

Most students would choose similar courses within one subject area for their 5 choices but if you have choices that cover two or more subject areas, you can focus more on a common topic and your transferrable skills such as problem-solving, communication, leadership etc.

Postgraduate Direct Application

On the other hand, you get to write a dedicated personal statement for each of your Postgraduate applications.

This means you can tailor your personal statement to match the course and the university since Postgraduate courses generally cover more depth than Undergraduate courses and the same course title offered at different universities may have very different scopes of focus.

It is the level of intention and personalisation that admission tutors look for to identify prospective students.


How should I go about Writing my Personal Statement?

- Before you begin, list down your strengths – academic and non-academic.

- Research on the university and course that you’re interested in.

- Think about how this course will help you in the future

- Structure your information well the universities and colleges value most


What should you include in your personal statement? 

Try asking the following:

1. Why do you like this subject? (What do you find interesting about the subject?)

2. What aspects of the course interest you? (Which part of the course you are looking forward to learn?)

3. Do your current or previous studies relate to the course? (Subjects that you are currently studying and how they relate to your course)

4. Do you have any experience that shows commitment to the course?

- Work experience

- Extra-curricular activities/workshops

- Other activities that you feel are relevant to the course

5. Do you have any achievements or soft skills gained from previous experience?


The KEY to Success

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1. Be specific

2. Show that you’ve done your research

3. Evaluate your learning experience to demonstrate what you have learnt

4. Keep it positive

5. Show enthusiasm but keep it concise and natural

6. Draft until you’re happy with it

7. Make sure you proofread, get the team at UKEC to check before sending it out!

8. Be original. Don’t copy from your friend or the internet! It is after all your personal statement, not someone else’s. If you get caught, your application will be flagged and you could face some serious consequences!


Start Strong, Finish Strong!

The last paragraph of your personal statement is your final chance to “sell” yourself to the university of your choice.

Be sure to use this paragraph to make that final impact.

You can also opt to sum up your personal statement and reiterate why you should be offered a place to study.

This is only a small guide to writing your personal statement. Remember, the team at UKEC will assist you in preparing your personal statement and revising them accordingly if necessary.

This way, you can be at ease when you apply for the course and university of your choice with us!


Got a question about writing your personal statement?

Speak to us today!