@ 2014 UVIC

Article Categories

How to Write a Good Personal Statement

How to Write a Good Personal Statement

The personal statement is an important part of your university application. Many universities do not interview students, so the personal statement may be your only chance to show your individuality to admissions staff. For highly competitive courses that receive lots of applicants with top grades, the personal statement may be the one thing that sets your application apart.

When should you start writing your personal statement?

As early as possible! This will give you plenty of time to prepare what you want to write and finish a draft with enough time to get feedback from others. Your goal should be to produce a personal statement that is articulate and well-thought out; don’t procrastinate and end up having to rush through it.

How should you go about writing your personal statement?

First, it’s a good idea to think about the purpose of the personal statement, which is to show the university why they should want you as a student on your chosen course. So, while it’s beneficial to demonstrate that you have some knowledge of the university, you don’t want to endlessly regurgitate information that anyone can find on their website. The admissions officers already know that you want to apply to their university. What they want to learn about in your personal statement is what makes you an ideal candidate. So keep flattery to a minimum, and when you do want to pay them a compliment, make sure it’s specific and relevant.


It’s important to structure your personal statement well. It should be easy to read and have a logical flow. Writing a strong introduction to grip the reader is a fantastic way to help your personal statement stand out.

Questions you should answer in your personal statement:

  • Why would you be an ideal candidate for this particular university/course? Why are you interested in it? (Demonstrate your interest with concrete examples.)
  • What are your future goals, and how can this course help? (If you haven’t quite decided on your career goals, focus instead on what you hope to learn during your studies.)
  • What makes you a good student? (Cite your academic achievements and any previous work or volunteer experience that you think is relevant. If you’ve held any positions of responsibility, make sure to mention them.)
  • Why do you want to study in the UK? (If you’re a non-native English speaker, it could be useful to provide a real-life example of your English communication skills, if you have one. Don’t mention your IELTS scores here, since you’ve already included that in your application.)



  • Be truthful, specific and concise.
  • Check your grammar and spelling for mistakes.
  • Stay positive – negativity is a turn-off. Admissions officers are looking for your enthusiasm and motivation to shine through.
  • Don’t start every sentence with “I”.
  • Avoid any attempts at humour.
  • Avoid using a quotation, unless it has really, truly transformed your life and you have evidence to back it.
  • Be yourself. Don’t use fancy or difficult language.
  • Don’t repeat things from other areas of your application. Personal statement word counts are usually limited, so don’t waste space through repetition.


What makes a UCAS personal statement different?

UCAS personal statements go through strict plagiarism tests, so make sure that the personal statement you submit is 100 percent original.

UCAS personal statements are limited to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (approximately 600 words).

On UCAS, you use one personal statement for all of your university applications. This means that it needs to be general enough to cover all of your individual applications. For that reason, it’s best not to name the specific university or course title you’re applying for in a UCAS personal statement.