Writing a great personal statement

The personal statement is your chance to convince admissions tutors to offer you a place. The admissions tutor needs to be persuaded that you have a genuine interest in your chosen subject and that you have the motivation to succeed.

How to write a great personal statement

At a glance

  • Make sure your personal statement is relevant to the course you're applying to
  • Show your genuine interest in the course and that you have taken the time to properly find out what's involved
  • Analyse your reading, activities, and work experience, don't just say what you've done and that you enjoyed it

Structuring your statement

Everybody's statement should be different, so while it might be helpful to find templates on the internet or at school to get you started you should make sure that you make it your own. However, here are a few tips to keep your statement structured and to the point.

At least 75% of your personal statement should be related to what you want to study, and why you want to study that subject.

  • You need to tell us what it is about your chosen subject that interests you so much that you have chosen it above everything else. Show your passion, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity.
  • We need to see evidence that your interest is genuine. For example:
    • That you have read more widely than just the set texts at school
    • If your degree is related to a particular line of work, that you have work experience in a relevant setting or can otherwise demonstrate that you understand what that job involves
    • That you have taken the time to find out what the course you’ve applied for actually involves
    • That you have an idea of what you want to do after you have graduated (this is less important for degrees which are not vocational in nature, but can be useful for Admissions Tutors)
  • When you write about your experiences or activities that are related to the subject or course (eg, work experience, extra reading, drama or societies), don’t just tell us what you did or read, but analyse what you got out of those activities and how this has increased your knowledge or interest in the subject you are applying to study at university.

The remaining 25% of your statement should be about your other achievements. We do not want to see a list of everything you have done at school but are interested to see if you have taken full advantage of the chances that have been available to you. For example:

  • If you have held positions of responsibility
  • If you have been in school or higher level sports teams
  • If you have taken part in school drama productions or debates
  • If you have helped to run school societies or clubs
  • If you have any community involvement or volunteering
  • If you have had a part-time job

Thinking about a Joint Honours course?

How to write a Joint Honours personal statement