5 top tips for a successful UCAS personal statement
by Media, PR and Journalism student Gabriela
Your personal statement is a key part of your university application. It’s your chance to show your passion for the subject and get across your skills and experience in a way that will appeal to your top choice of university. Writing about yourself can also be one of the most difficult things to do, so here’s my top tips to help you along the way.
1. Be concise
When you write your UCAS personal statement you have to make sure that you have checked your chosen course's description. You can find that on the UCAS website or you can directly check it on the university’s own website. Make sure that you carefully read what skills and qualities you need in order to make your application relevant and strong. Reading specific course requirements will help you to know what to include without giving any extra unnecessary information and help your application stand out.
2. One statement for all courses
When you make your application through UCAS, you have to be aware that you will apply for all universities with one personal statement. If you are applying for one specific course or for similar courses, it will be easier for you as most universities require the same qualities. However, if you apply for different courses which require different skills and qualities, you will need to describe yourself in a more general way.
3. Focus on yourself and your strengths
When you have a blank sheet in front of you, it can be difficult to describe all your strengths and achievements. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd you have to highlight your qualities. If you were involved in extracurricular activities through your school years, choose to mention those which are most relevant to the courses that you want to apply for.
Try to analyse what your motivation was for choosing to be involved, and how the skills that you gained will help you to demonstrate your commitment and will make you a great student. If you are an international student, you will have to include what your motivation to come and study in the UK is and what attracts you to the idea of studying abroad. Feel free to write about why British culture intrigues you or why you want to study specifically in a British university (you may mention the quality of studying or the international environment, for example.)
4. Don't rush and check the important details
Lots of students do not know how to start or how to structure their personal statements. If you get stuck, you can use the UCAS roadmap, the personal statement mind map or the personal statement worksheet which will help you to prepare and plan your statement before starting to write it. The personal statement is important because it is your main place to show your passion and determination, and it can prove that you are the right candidate. However, do not worry too much – just be sincere and think about all the great opportunities that are waiting for you.
Another important detail which you should think about is to check the formatting required, otherwise your statement may not be accepted. The character limit is 4000 (this includes spaces), the line limit is 47 lines (which is around 500 words), while the font size is 12. You can use the UCAS personal statement tool in order to make sure that you follow all format requirements.
5. Proofread and get feedback
Once you are ready with the more difficult part of writing about your skills and motivation, do not forget about your writing style. Before submitting your work, make sure that you proofread it several times in order to avoid any grammar, punctuation or stylistic mistakes. If you think that after proofreading there might still be some misspelled words or inaccurate sentences, you can always give your work to your friends or family members to check. A close person is always ready to give you the best advice and feedback, so do not miss your chance to get help.
You can find more information in our other articles