ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to write a UCAS personal statement

Updated on August 3, 2015
Write a successful personal statement and this will be you in a few years time!
Write a successful personal statement and this will be you in a few years time! | Source

Your Personal Statement

When you apply to university in the UK, you are required to fill in an online application which includes a personal statement. This is a maximum of 4000 characters (47 lines in font size 12), all about you, your skills, knowledge and experience and what makes YOU an ideal candidate for the degree you are applying for, at each of the 5 universities you apply to (5 is the maximum).

The first thing to note is that this part of your application is misnamed. It is not in fact a PERSONAL statement , it is an ACADEMIC statement.You will not go on at length about your hobbies, your favourite celebrity and all the awards you have won since age 5. You will have to include what makes you a good academic: what academic skills do you have (e.g. you are excellent at problem solving, as demonstrated by your high grades in Maths), what academic experiences have you taken on outside of the curriculum (e.g. have you attended any free public lectures or attended summer school?), and what parts of your academic studies do you most enjoy, and why?

Imagine you are applying for a job as a student for the next 3 years - just as when applying for a job as a teacher, or architect, or designer etc, you would have to demonstrate all the skills and experience you have that make you suitable for that job, as a prospective undergraduate, you are being asked to demonstrate what skills you already have that make you suitable for this role. You wouldn't tell an interviewer seeing you for a job as a computer programmer, that you loved riding your bike and socialising with friends. Do not put this into your personal statement either!

So, what do you include?

Firstly, I will start with the structure for A level students.

First: A great introduction.

State exactly why you are interested in studying this degree. Be as specific as possible.What has sparked your interest? Why? Don't make statements, e.g. 'I love English Literature', say WHY, e.g " Reading Marvel's poem 'To His Coy Mistress' fuelled my interest in studying Creative Writing as a degree when I realised his use of imagery created an impending feeling of time passing quickly and death nearing, whilst the poem itself on first reading seems light and appealing. This clever use of language has inspired me to want to learn how to conjure thoughts and feelings with words and create my own complex images."

A busy admissions officer might speed-read applications to help sort out the best ones. If you have a great introduction, you will grab his/her interest straight away and get your application put on the 'Maybe' or 'Yes' pile.

***Please be aware that if you are applying for a vocational degree e.g. teaching, medicine, nursing etc, you will have to demonstrate extensive work experience and say what you have learnt from it. This should go here, after your intro, at the beginning of your statement**

Second paragraph:Talk about the most relevant subject you have studied at A level.

Whatever subject you are applying to study at university, there will be one of your A level subjects which is much more relevant to it than the other two. (You rarely mention the 4th subject you may have done as an AS level).For example, if you are applying for a degree in Psychology, then your A level in Psychology is the most relevant subject. You will talk about this in more depth than your other subjects.

Here is your opportunity to show how accomplished you are in the subject. Talk about what topics/modules you have enjoyed most and WHY.Discuss the subject-specific skills you have developed from this subject. For example, for Psychology it could be the handling of statistics.(Tip: to help with this read the course details of your chosen degree - it will mention areas/skills that are covered in the degree - if you mention these same areas/skills in your personal statement it will demonstrate that you are a good candidate).Include any wider reading you have done (outside the syllabus). What did you learn from it?Include any extra-curricular activities you have participated in that have deepened your knowledge and understanding and say how and why these were interesting or developed your skills.

Third Paragraph: Talk about the next most relevant subject you have studied at A level.

(Don't worry if you feel neither of the other 2 subjects are directly relevant - in that case the order will not matter)


What topics/modules you have enjoyed studying in this subject

Why you enjoyed them.

What skills you developed from this subject (now you can start to me more generic in your skills and include academic skills such as essay writing, meeting deadlines, team working etc)

Fourth Paragraph: Least relevant A level subject.

Content as above paragraph.

Fifth paragraph: Extra curricular.

This is the least relevant paragraph to your application and should be concise and relevant, not long and waffly. Ensure that for everything you mention, you say what skills you have developed. For example 'I work part time as a checkout operator at Tesco and this has taught me to communicate with people of all ages and backgrounds'.You can include achievements in this paragraph which showcase your excellent personal qualities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award (resilience and commitment), or leading a group of Brownies (leadership skills).Examples of what you can/should include are:

Part time work

Voluntary work

Achievements (such as Head Boy/Girl, captaining a sports team)

Evidence of your commitment to your school college, e.g. being a Prefect, Student Ambassador or Peer Mentor.

Participation in something which requires your time and dedication, e.g. you are in a choir or orchestra, you are a member of the Youth Parliament etc.

Conclusion:the final word.

This should be a short paragraph (it can be just a couple of lines). Reiterate your interest in and enthusiasm for your degree subject and say something about valuing opportunities ahead.


So, what if you are a Vocational student. Lucky you! Your course relates directly to your degree and you are going to have lots of relevant knowledge and experience, as well as skills, which you can talk about. Follow the same structure as above, but pick out your 3 to 5 favourite (and most relevant to the degree you have chosen) topics/modules and discuss them as above. Remember the key is always to include the WHY? Why did you enjoy something? What skills did it develop?

If you have relevant work experience, make sure you include this is the opening paragraphs. Don't just say what it was, say what you LEARNT from it and what SKILLS you developed.


And finally - Remember:

Spellcheck your statement - when you are an undergraduate you will have to write 10,000 word dissertations. You don't want to spell anything incorrectly in a short personal statement, it implies you don't have the care and attention to detail necessary for degree study.

Read your statement out loud: can you read it comfortably without gasping for breath? If not,shorten your sentences. No-one likes to read a sentence that's 4 lines long. Also this should catch any places where what you have said doesn't make sense because you've phrased it badly or left out a word.

Use terminology from all your subjects, but most importantly, from the one you want to purse at university. It makes you sound academic.It also proves you have taken some notice of what you have studied.

Get your tutor to proofread for you: have you used the correct terminology, or used it in the correct context?

Don't boast: your statement will possibly be read by someone who is a professor in your subject and has 30 years of knowledge of it. They won't be impressed by you saying you will be the best thing that ever happened to the study of Medicine etc.You will just end up sounding arrogant.

Don't make jokes! You don't know that the person reading your statement has the same (or any) sense of humour. You don't want to appear crass, rude or just lame.

Good Luck!!

Good Luck!
Good Luck! | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)