Those three words – UCAS personal statement – can strike fear into students’ hearts.

Stuart Balnaves, Head of Learner Experience at UCAS

The whole point of a personal statement is to get into the best university you can. It is easy to lose sight of this with all the conflicting advice and rumours flying around. Just try to focus on your audience and what they are looking for.

We are experienced teachers and university tutors who understand how the system works. We are frustrated with the poor, and often ill-informed advice, students get – from schools, parents and online companies – about how to write a personal statement for university.

We have combined our decades of knowledge and experience to bring you this straightforward, transparent guide on writing a university personal statement. Follow this, and you will do all you can possible to convince the admissions officer that you are the best match for the course.

When universities consider you as a potential candidate, they base their decisions on three vital pieces of information:

  • Your GCSE/Highers and possible AS level grades
  • Your current school's reference letter
  • Your personal statement

The first two, you have no control over – in fact, barely any of the top universities take notice of the second one. The third, you can tailor specifically to your desired course and its admissions tutors.

The importance of the personal statement

The best statements will show that a student is interested in the subject:
that they’ve studied it, that they’ve developed an interest in it outside school and that they’re developing their skills and abilities outside academia.

Liz Hunt, Undergraduate Admissions Manager at the University of Sheffield

Most candidates have similar grades and school references, so your personal statement is the best way to catch the admissions tutor’s attention. The admissions tutor is the gatekeeper of the university, and your personal statement is, in many cases, all they have to make a decision.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all way to create a stand-out personal statement that will get into the university of your choice, there is a clear strategy that will help.

WHY IS THERE SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON WRITING A GREAT PERSONAL STATEMENT FOR UNIVERSITY?

The personal statement gives the admissions team a reasonably detailed insight into who you are as a candidate. Using a clear set of criteria, they search it for evidence that shows how well you will fit on the course. So when you are writing your university personal statement, keep in mind your key reasons and motivation for pursuing your chosen programme. Also highlight your commitment to the subject and any goals you hope will come from being accepted to that specific course.

It feels daunting, doesn’t it? We know that feeling. Unlike your form tutor and parents, we see hundreds of pupils every year go through the agony of writing their personal statement. On this site, we aim to debunk the myths, not make any ridiculous promises and not write the thing for you. You are the best person to write about you – we will give you the tools to do this.

Admissions tutors are looking to see that you have an understanding about the course you are applying for. Content of courses will be different at different universities, so we don’t look for applicants to be too specific, but candidates should look for common topics and address these.

James Williams, lecturer in education at the University of Sussex

The cornerstone of an excellent UCAS personal statement is showing the admissions tutor three things:

  • Your interest in the course is heartfelt and genuine
  • You possess the resilience and maturity to complete the course (and not just abandon it halfway if you find it too challenging)
  • You have a reasonable amount of academic experience in the field (which goes far beyond just studying it at school)

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

Our site is set up as an interactive workbook, designed to help you plan and write your UCAS personal statement. Simply click on ‘the process’ and follow the instructions to get started. Writing your personal statement may take a week – bookmark our site now so you can get back here easily. The personal statement writing help process is an extension of the UCAS worksheet and will make sure you include all the necessary information. We have developed it over the years, using feedback and our real-life experience, to make it easy and straightforward to use. If you want peace of mind after completing your personal statement, forward it to us – we will proofread it and send it back to you within 48 hours, along with any suggestions for improvement.

What is UCAS?

UCAS is the centralised university-application service that standardises communication between universities and prospective students. Anyone interested in pursuing a UK undergraduate degree needs to submit their application and well-crafted personal statement through UCAS.