Personal Statements – Dos and Don’ts

Personal Statements – Top Tips


Explain why you’re applying for your chosen subject and how it fits in with your career aspirations. Make it clear that the subject excites you. Use positive words like commitment, enthusiasm, developed, discovered

Don’t: Just say you’re interested in a subject, say what it is about the subject that interests you.


Give examples of any related academic or work experience…

Don’t: Say anything if it isn’t relevant. Apply a rule of ‘so what’ – how significant is it?


Show your understanding of the course and mention any specific areas you’re interested in.

Don’t: Make something up, or go into some depth on an area you don’t understand.


Broaden their idea of you as a person by giving information on any positions you’ve held, memberships of teams or societies and interests and hobbies.

Don’t: List your interests. Instead, demonstrate them, by saying both what they entailed and what skills you learned.


Use your own voice

Don’t: Use clichés or plaigarise! The UCAS system is very sophisticated and can tell when something’s been written before. Don’t use famous quotations as this is very obvious. Try not to say you’re passionate about everything. And finally, don’t make grand, sweeping statements about yourself which are hard to prove!


Use paragraphs and make sure all your spelling and grammar are perfect

Don’t: Compromise on paragraphs to fit in more information. You need to show you can write succinctly and legibly.


Your statement should be approximately 47 lines/4000 characters and should comprise approximately 80% on your studies and experience, and 20% on any extra-curricular pursuits.