Tackling the UCAS Personal Statement

So you are considering or wanting to apply to University but not sure of where to start with your personal statement. The personal statement is the section that takes the longest and requires research and time to get this completed. It is unlikely that you will get this completed in the first sitting and you may want to approach the statement and write across several days.


Your personal statement has 3 main purposes:

  • Grab the attention of the Admissions Tutor
  • Give an accurate picture of who you are and what you have done so far
  • Persuade the Admission Tutor that you are worth a place on the course and will make good use of it


The Admissions Tutor is looking for you to demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for the subject and what you are looking forward to the most about studying that particular course. You may want to include the following information about yourself:

  • Who had influenced you to study the subject?
  • How have you learnt about your subject?
  • What experiences have you had?
  • What are your future intentions and goals?

What are your accomplishments?

It’s important to remember to not just list things you have done, but most importantly what you got out of it.


  • It can be useful to remember the acronym STAR when talking about an experience. STAR stands for: Situation, Task, Action and Result.

If you have limited work experience you may want to look at the following:

  • Work experiences / positions of responsibility / summer jobs
  • Web site work-developed your own website?
  • Temporary work
  • Volunteer work
  • School experiences: essays, assignments, presentations, student exchanges and group work
  • Social clubs
  • Hobbies/interests
  • Sports
  • Family or social responsibilities (childcare, caring for other members of family and community)



From any experiences it’s important to list what you have learnt from the experience, what skills it has given you and how this has made you more self-aware and competent and how this will benefit your course/career long term.

When you talk about experiences you can talk about negative experiences but again focus on what you learnt from this. For example, you received a grade or did lower than expected in your course. From this you realised that you needed to manage your time more effectively so you could meet course work deadlines.


When writing your personal statement you may want to consider the following which will help you structure the statement:


Maturity: Show you are ready for higher education and learning at a higher level. Have you considered what it will be like to move away from home, manage both studying with extracurricular, and part time work?


Ability: Show that you understand the demands of the course. Admissions tutors for teaching, nursing and medicine related courses especially look for you to demonstrate this. For example, I have completed a placement and from this/I found that my experience will be useful for my degree in nursing because…….


Commitment: Demonstrate that you will see the course through to the end. You could talk about your long term career plans and by completing the degree it will allow you to do the following. What you are looking to get out of the degree/skills you would develop?


Knowledge: Show you know what the course is about and what you are looking forward to studying.  Demonstrate your knowledge about that specific course/industry by showing you have done your research. Look into publications and news updates. Demonstrate that you read around your subject and keep up to date with any changes.

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