Top tips for nailing your UCAS personal statement

11 December, 2020Renika Klair

With the deadline for UCAS applications approaching, many of you will have decided on your top university choices. One way to make your application as solid as possible is to get your personal statement right. Your UCAS personal statement should sum up why you’re applying for a particular degree and what makes you the ideal student. It’s also a great way to show universities your personality, interests and studies.

Here are some tips to help you write and structure your personal statement.

Young-women-in-the-classroom1. Writing the introduction

The introduction should account for roughly 10% of the content. The main theme of this area is ‘why do you want to study your chosen degree programme?’ Think of questions that will help you write your answer, such as:

  • what aspects of this subject are you most interested in and why?
  • what are your personal reasons, if any, for choosing this subject?
  • how does your chosen subject relate to society or current affairs?

2. The academic side of your UCAS personal statement

The academic section should make up around 70% of the content. When writing this section, it is important to talk about your current studies and how they would make you an ideal student for your chosen degree programme – and possibly your chosen university. Good topics to cover in this area include:

  • what you are currently studying
  • what aspects of these subjects you particularly enjoy
  • how your current subjects relate to your chosen degree programme
  • any relevant books you've read
  • any relevant project or research work you've undertaken
  • any relevant, independent study, eg, online courses, that you've done outside of your studies

3. Wider skills

The wider skills area should be 10–15% of your personal statement. This area should include things you can talk about relating to university life, whilst still being relevant. You should consider:

  • non-academic achievements or relevant extra curricula activities, such as work experience or volunteering
  • how to demonstrate that the skills you’ve acquired are transferable
  • any prizes or awards you may have received
  • any clubs you’re part of
  • anything you have learned from these experiences.

You can talk about your hobbies but try to include them in a way that says something about you.

4. Conclusion

The conclusion should make up the remaining 5–10% of your content. This section should be a summary of your personal statement in a few sentences, ending on a positive note.

5. Use this checklist – what to do and what not to do

  • Remember to write in the first person – this is from you, after all
  • Draft, redraft, re-read and edit – small mistakes, bad spelling and grammar can happen, and proofreading is essential to avoid these being sent out in your final copy
  • Make sure that, if mentioning skills, you are able to back up what you say with evidence and examples
  • Try not to repeat information or waffle – keep it relevant and to the point
  • Remember this is your time to showcase everything you can do, so stay positive and enthusiastic in your writing!

Good luck!

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