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How to write a personal statement

Writing a personal statement is one of the hardest parts of the application process, because it requires you to really think creatively about how you present yourself to a host of people who have never met you before.

You need to make it stand out in all the right ways and, of course, showcase your skills to all of the universities you’re applying to.

Top tip #1: You only have one personal statement

You’re probably relieved that you only have to write your personal statement once, but remember that this means all the universities you apply to will see the same thing. Avoid referencing a specific course or university in your statement and make sure that what you write is applicable to all of the courses you’re applying for.

If you are applying for courses across more than one subject area, you may want to talk about more general skills, such as your ability to communicate, problem-solve or be creative. 

Top tip #2: Focus on experience

Your application will tell the universities you’re applying to a lot about your academic abilities, so make sure you highlight your other attributes in your personal statement. Relevant work experience, personal achievements and hobbies are all great things to include. 

Top tip #3: Plan your personal statement

To make sure that your personal statement doesn’t leave anything out - and is written in a logical way - sit down and make a plan before you put pen to paper. Make a list of all the things you’d like to mention in your personal statement and then prioritise them in terms of how they will help on your chosen course. 

Refer back to the universities’ websites to see what they think the most important skills and attributes for applicants are.

Top tip #4: Relate experiences to the subject you’re interested in

Your personal statement needs to show why you’re such a great candidate for the courses you’re applying for. The best way to do that successfully is to link your experiences, achievements and passions back to the subject area you’re interested in.

For example, take some time to think about why being a good communicator could help you on a business-related degree, or why your attention to detail is a brilliant attribute for a scientist. 

Top tip #5: Check it for mistakes

As well as showcasing your varied talents and achievements, your personal statement is also an opportunity to highlight your English language skills. It’s important to make sure you don’t have spelling and grammatical errors littering your personal statement, so take plenty of time to check it before you hit submit. 

Remember that you can’t rework it once you’ve sent your application.

It’s best to write your personal statement and leave it for a few days before you re-read it to check for errors, as you’re more likely to notice mistakes if you’ve had some time away from it. Ask a friend or member of your family to read it over as well, not just for mistakes, but also to check that it is structured in a logical way.