How to write a personal statement

  • Write a personal statement that shows you be a great student – to persuade unis and colleges to accept you on their course.
  • Course tutors use personal statements to compare applicants, so try to make yours stand out.
  • Remember it’s the same personal statement for all courses you apply to – so 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.

Where to start

Most applicants havent had to write a personal statement before, so weve got plenty of advice to help.

First of all plan when you need to start researching and writing – download the personal statement timeline in the related documents.

Then ask yourself questions like the ones below to decide what information to include.

Have a look at our personal statement mind map for more ideas, or use our personal statement worksheet to write down answers to these questions and more.

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

  • Why are you applying?
    For example why you want to study at higher education level.
    Why that subject interests you.
    What your ambitions are when you finish your course.
  • What makes you suitable?
    Skills, knowledge, achievements and experience you have that will help you do well.These could be from education, employment or work experience, or from hobbies, interests and social activities.Take a look at the activities on the Planning your future page to see some of the things it could be useful to mention.
  • Which of your skills and experiences are most relevant?
    Check course listings to see what level of understanding you need to have and what qualifications or skills they’re looking for.This way you can link your experiences to the skills and qualities they mention, and you can put them into a structure that’s most relevant to the course providers.

How to write it

Theres no right answer for how to write it, or any definite formula you should follow – just take your time and don’t worry if it doesn’t sound right on your first attempt. Even the best writers in the world redraft their work!

1. Structure

In the course listings see which skills and qualities the universities or colleges value most.

Then structure your info into an order that’s most relevant to them.

2. Style

Write in English (or Welsh if you’re only applying to Welsh providers), and avoid italics, bold or underlining.

Use an enthusiastic and concise tone of voice – nothing too complex – just what comes naturally.

Be careful with humour, quotes or anything unusual – you do want to be individual, but if the admissions tutor doesn’t have the same sense of humour as you, it might not work.

Get the grammar, spelling and punctuation right, and redraft your statement until you’re happy with it.

Proofread and read it aloud to hear what it sounds like. Ask advisers/family members to check it too.

3. Format

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

We recommend you write your statement first and then copy and paste into your online application (but watch out for the character and line count – the processor might get different values because it doesn’t count tabs or paragraphs).

When you add to your online application click ‘save’ regularly because it will time out after 35 minutes of inactivity.

If you want to send any more information you can ask unis and colleges if they’ll accept further details – if they say yes you should send it direct to them (not us) once we’ve sent you your Welcome letter (so you can include your Personal ID).

4. Dont copy!

Don’t copy anyone else’s personal statement or from personal statements posted on the internet. Make sure your personal statement is all your own work.

We screen all personal statements across our Copycatch similarity detection system. If you are found to have similarity in your personal statement, your application will be flagged, you, together with your choices will receive an email alert and this could have serious consequences for your application.