The main UCAS deadline for equal consideration (15th January) is fast approaching and many of you will have whittled down your university options to just five choices. You now have the important task of summing up why you are applying to study your chosen degree programme and what makes you the ideal student in your UCAS personal statement.
Although the personal statement can seem like the most daunting part of your UCAS application, it is your opportunity to make your application really pop and showcase your personality, interests & studies.
You should treat writing your personal statement like any piece of academic work and ensure that you have a clear structure and plan before writing it. It is important to present yourself as a versatile individual so we would suggest the following, but not exclusive, content structure:
(approx. 10% of the content) – Why do you want to study your chosen degree programme?
- What is your personal trigger?
- How does your chosen subject relate to society or current affairs?
- Which aspects of the subject are you most interested in and why?
(approx. 70% of the content) – How do your current studies make you an ideal student for this degree programme?
- What are you currently studying? What have you particularly enjoyed within these subjects?
- How do your current subjects relate to your chosen degree programme?
- Have you read any relevant books?
- Have you undertaken any relevant project or research work?
- Outside your A level (or equivalent) studies, have you done any relevant independent study such as online courses?
(approx. 10- 15% of the content) - What else do you do that would contribute to university life?
- Give an account of your non-academic achievements e.g. work experience / volunteering
- Demonstrate the skills you have acquired. How are these skills transferable?
- Have you received any prizes and or awards?
- Avoid a boring list of hobbies, e.g. ‘reading’, ‘socialising with friends’, ‘watching films’.
- Are you part of any clubs? Has your engagement in these clubs taught you anything?
- If you mention hobbies- try to make it relevant that says something about you.
(approx. 5-10% of the content)
- Try to sum up your personal statement in a couple of sentences and finish with a positive outlook.
The dos and don'ts of how to write a personal statement
- Write in the first person- remember this is a PERSONAL statement
- Draft and redraft
- Check your spelling & grammar, ask a Parent/Guardian/Teacher to proof read
- If you mention a skill ensure that this is backed up with evidence (give examples)
- Show your enthusiasm through your writing
- Repeat information
- Use lists
- Refer to experiences prior to GCSE level
- Copy anyone else- this is YOUR personal statement
- Use humour, waffle or bluffing!
Finally, just remember that this is your time to shine so stay positive and this will be reflected in your writing. Good luck!
- Daniella Peluso-White is the Undergraduate Programme Manager for The London Institute of Banking & Finance.