Personal Statement Guidance

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UCAS Personal Statement Guidance

Universities build a picture of your students from all the different information they provide, to help decide whether or not to offer a place. This picture is made up of several different pieces: the personal statement, academic record, predicted grades, and a teacher reference. Students should consider the personal statement to be a short reflective essay on why they are the perfect candidate for the degree couse they are applying to.

Writing the Personal Statement

When writing their UCAS Personal Statement, students should ask themselves several questions to help decide what information to include: Why are they applying to study this subject area? What makes them suitable? What are their future career aims and how are these relevant to the course? Which of their skills and experiences are most relevant?

Remember, the same personal statement is used for all courses on the application form, so avoid mentioning universities or colleges by name, and ideally choose similar or related subjects. If the selected courses are very varied then write about common themes and transferable skills like problem-solving or creativity. Students can only submit one personal statement and this cannot be changed after the application has been submitted.

Ten Tips to Consider

  1. Don’t let spelling and grammatical errors spoil your personal statement. They're easy to correct, so difficult to justify.
  2. Be yourself. It's a personal statement. Tutors will want a sense of what motivates you to study your chosen subject and any skills or experiences that are relevant.
  3. Try to demonstrate that you know your own strengths and can articulate ideas clearly. Self-reflection isn't always easy, so ask a friend, teacher or family member to help you get started.
  4. You're not expected to be a subject expert yet. Just try to show your interest in the subject area and enthusiasm for developing knowledge or skills further.
  5. If you've always dreamed of joining a particular profession, say so and why. Future ambitions can be important to understanding why a person wants to study a certain subject, although they shouldn't be the only motivating factor. 
  6. Think beyond the classroom. What do you do that makes you and your loved-ones proud of you? Perhaps you volunteer in your community, help to organise a local sports club, or balance your studies around part-time work or caring duties? Think about the personal qualities and attributes these activities demonstrate.
  7. Students should expect to produce several drafts of a personal statement. This is normal. Don't worry if the first attempt isn't perfect. Make a start, ask a friend to read it and give feedback, then re-draft it. 
  8. Be confident but don’t exaggerate achievements. If your course requires an interview, you might be asked to elaborate!
  9. Don’t leave it to the last minute. It will show. Proof-read it several times, and ask someone else to give it a final check too.
  10. Always save a back-up of the latest version, just in case.

You may wish to download our Personal Statement Worksheet. This is designed to help students think about what information they could include in their personal statement.

Personal Statement Workshops

Our Education Liaison team runs free Personal Statement Workshops in schools and colleges across the UK as well as on our campus in Lincoln.

To find out more about this and the other workshops we can offer your students, please visit our Activities for Schools page.

Contact Us

Education Liaison
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool

T: +44 (0)1522 886644