Writing Personal Statements

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UCAS Personal Statement Guidance for Students and Teachers

Universities build a picture of you as a student from all the different information you provide, to help decide whether or not to offer you a place. The picture is made up of several different pieces: your personal statement, academic record, predicted grades, and a reference from your teacher. 

Consider your personal statement to be a short reflective essay on why you are the perfect candidate for the degree couse you are applying to. Admissions tutors and officers reading your application don't know you in person, and so they do not just know that you'd be a great student - you need to tell them everything they need to know to make the right decision. 

Our guide to writing a personal statement

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Download our Personal Statement Worksheet

This worksheet is designed to help you think about what information you could include in your personal statement. Print it out and use it to make notes on which to base your personal statement.

Download the Worksheet (PDF)

Hints and Tips

Ask yourself these questions to help you decide what information to include:

  • Why are you applying to study this subject area?
  • What makes you suitable?
  • What are your future career aims and how are these relevant to the course?
  • Which of your skills and experiences are most relevant?

Remember it's the same personal statement for all courses you apply to. Avoid mentioning Universities or colleges by name, and ideally choose similar subjects. If they're varied then write about common themes – like problem solving or creativity.

You can use up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including spaces and blank lines).

Do not be tempted to copy anyone else's statement, your personal statement should be all your own work. All statements are screened by UCAS using Copycatch software. 

You can only submit one personal statement and this cannot be changed after your application has been sent.

Personal Statement Do's and Don'ts


  • Use your best English and don’t let spelling and grammatical errors spoil your statement.
  • Show that you know your strengths and can outline your ideas clearly. Use words you know will be understood by the person reading your statement.
  • Be enthusiastic. If you show your interest in the course, it may help you get a place.
  • Expect to produce several drafts of your personal statement before being totally happy with it.
  • Ask people you trust for their feedback.


  • Don’t exaggerate. If you do you may get caught out at interview when asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement.
  • Don’t rely on a spellchecker as it will not pick up everything. Proofread as many times as possible.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute; your statement will seem rushed and important information could be left out. 

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Book a Personal Statement Workshop

Our Education Liaison Team run Personal Statement Workshops in Schools and Colleges as well as on our campus in Lincoln. To find out more about this and the other workshops and presentations we can offer your students, please visit our Activities for Schools page.

Activities for Schools