How to write a personal statement

Julia Marolt on 30 January 2024
How to write a personal statement

Personal statements can seem like the most stressful thing ever, but fear not! We're here to help.

A personal statement is unique to each person, it is a direct reflection of you and what you have achieved, so don’t get shy, own your achievements. No matter the grades or the course a personal statement is crucial, and in the end it can make all the difference. 

Now I present to you, as a personal statement veteran, my top tips and tricks on how to nail your personal statement.

1. Write down some notes, mind map or bullet point whatever works best for you. Make a list of your hobbies, experiences, skills and inspirations that you want to explore and discuss within your statement. This will help aid that brain fog that inevitably comes when you have to write something important.

2. Starting your personal statement can be tricky, as well as knowing how to structure it. You should always include these main key points : why you choose the course, hobbies and interests, future career aspirations, work experience/volunteering, and anything that might set you apart from other students.

If you’re still unsure where to start, getting advice from a teacher is a great resource. Another great resource, which personally helped me massively is the UCAS personal statement builder which simply outlines the main components in a personal statement.

3. Talk about your achievements, in simpler words just brag about yourself. Whether that's something you achieved in a sports group or at work, anything that you are proud of and that has made you grow as a person is worth mentioning. Examples will be your best friend here, as well as linking each experience back with why you’re so passionate about the course.

4. Your personal statement should involve a section where you discuss your appreciation for the course subject and how you take it upon yourself to explore and research it out of college time. Like a particular author, artist, article etc. anything that you took inspiration from and helped fuel your interest in the subject, show your curiosity and eagerness to learn.

5. Universities will read hundreds of students' personal statements per course, so staying away from cliches is a great way to ensure your personal statement doesn’t get lost in the bunch and sticks out. Avoid phrases like: from a young age… I am applying for this course because… Ever since I was… Additionally try not to overuse the word “Passion” and look for alternative synonyms. 

6. Make sure to create an even balance between your academic achievements and your other personal achievements. Don’t let one overpower the other, showing an equal balance of both will best highlight your capabilities and skills as a student.

7. Keep the deadlines in your mind as well as character and line count, both things that through the stress of writing a personal statement can be forgotten or mistaken. 

If you hit over or under the character count, the first step is to not panic, although it may seem like the world is not ending. Take a break from your personal statement for a few days, and then come back to it to make those cuts and edits. Taking a small break will give you some much needed fresh perspective.

8. Create a sense of voice and personality, show them who you are through your words, in an academic way of course, so steer clear of any slang or jokes. Let your passion and drive show, be your genuine self.

9. CHECK IT! Not only once, not twice but multiple times. Check for grammar and spelling and anything that may not be right and get overlooked when writing. Get someone else to read and check it for any errors as they might spot something that you could’ve missed.

Julia Marolt on 30 January 2024