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How to Write a Personal Statement

What is a Personal Statement?

A key part of your UK university application, a personal statement is a written document that explains why you are applying to study, and why the university should accept you. Undergraduate personal statements have a limit of 4,000 characters, which usually amounts to around 500 words. So, you will likely need to create a couple of drafts, and practice to ensure you can fit all the essential information in!

Therefore, you need to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to perfect your personal statement. This is something your UKEC education consultant will help with, proof-reading before you submit your application. But, do check out UCAS’ Personal Statement Timeline for a useful guide to when to plan, write, and edit your personal statement.

 

What to Write

  • Why you are applying – why the course subject interests you, why you want to study an undergraduate degree, what your future ambitions are and why a degree will help with them.
  • Why the university should accept you – what relevant skills, achievements, and experiences have you gained from your previous education, work or extra-curricular activities, and why there would benefit you, and the university, in completing the course.

Extra-curricular activities are seen as great ways to prepare for higher education, so mention any clubs or societies you are a member of, if you have previously done any volunteering or charity work, or if you have undertaken any additional academic courses or qualifications outside of school.

As an international student, you will also be expected to mention:

  • Why you want to study in the UK.
  • Your English language skills, and any English language courses or tests you have taken.
  • Why you are choosing to be an international student, over studying in your home country.

 

How to Write Your Personal Statement

There’s no definitive formula to writing a personal statement, but UCAS have a really useful Personal Statement Worksheet that can help when planning the content and structure.

Some key guidelines to follow;

  • Structure your content to emphasise and reflect the skills and qualities that universities value most, and are most relevant to your chosen area of study.
  • Write in a concise and natural style; you haven’t got loads of space, so keep it to the point, but make sure it reads well.
  • Be enthusiastic, but be careful with humour or anything unusual. You want to stand out and be memorable, but it can be risky if the admissions tutor doesn’t have the same sense of humour as you!
  • Proof read aloud, and write a couple of drafts until you are happy with your spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style.

Your UKEC education consultant will do a final check on your personal statement before submission to make sure there are no errors, and that it is of the quality required by your chosen universities.

 

Final Things to Remember

The course descriptions on either the UCAS or university websites tend to have clues as to the key skills or qualities are looking for. Make a note of these as they are useful when writing your personal statement.

For your undergraduate application, you only submit one personal statement, which then goes to all the universities you have applied to. Therefore, you should avoid mention specific universities. If you have also chosen to apply for a variety of different subjects, emphasise common themes such as creativity and problem-solving.

 

For more information on writing your personal statement, UCAS is a fantastic resource. Visit their dedicated webpage, How to Write a UCAS Undergraduate Personal Statement, or take a look at their video on Writing a personal statement.

 

If you have any further questions, or want to know a bit more about UKEC could help you with your personal statement, contact us on international@ukec.com, or speak to your UKEC education consultant directly.

 

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