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Writing your UCAS personal statement

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The purpose of the personal statement is to show course providers why you want to study the course and why you would make a great student. The aim is to outline your skills, knowledge, achievements and experience and link them to your proposed course of study. It is a competitive situation and you are trying to persuade the admissions tutor to offer you a place on the course.

Plan your statement

Find out when you need to complete your UCAS application. The UCAS closing date is the 15 January (15 October for medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science) but your school or college will have their own target date for forms to be completed. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and write your statement and do this offline using a word processing program.

Make a list of the information you want to include. A useful starting point is the Personal Statement Mind Map or Personal Statement Worksheet, both available on the UCAS website. These will help you plan your personal statement. Don’t worry about the length at first; at this early stage, it is important to get your ideas down on paper. However, make sure the final statement is your own work because UCAS will check this with similarity software.

UCAS have an online tool to help you create your personal statement. Alternatively, you can use the Which? University website's personal statement builder tool.

Back up your course choice

Explain why you are applying for the courses you’ve selected. Outline the reasons why the subjects are of interest to you and include examples which demonstrate that you understand what is involved in the study of the course.

You are aiming to get across your commitment for the course, so try to share your enthusiasm and passion for it.

Why should a university choose you?

Think about yourself and identify your strengths academically. What do your interests say about you? Are you creative, reliable, practical, ambitious? What makes you special, interesting or unique?

Writing about yourself is not something you do very often so you will require to complete a few versions before you are entirely happy.

Try to link your skills and work experience to the courses that interest you.

Think about your hobbies and achievements, which demonstrate your strongest skills and personality. Link your statement to the courses you are applying for as much as possible and explain why particular skills would make you a strong candidate for the course. The personal statement is your personal reflection on what it is that interests you about the subject.

Checks

It is one personal statement for all the courses you apply for so do not mention universities by name and try to select similar courses. If the courses you apply for are varied then write about common skills and experience like problem solving, communication, working in science, working with and caring for people.

Write a draft and ask your friends, family or teachers to read it, they may think of other information to include. You can enter up to 4,000 characters (this includes spaces) or 47 lines of text (this includes blank lines). You cannot use italics, bold, underlining, tables or bullet points.

Finally, check spelling, grammar and punctuation and ask someone you trust to check it again. Remember the competitive element to the application process. You are competing for a place against other applicants and your use of English and grammar should be at a standard appropriate for entry to Higher Education.

When you are satisfied with your statement, copy and paste it into the online system.

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