The UCAS Personal Statement

The UCAS personal statement is a short deliberated essay that you write explaining why you’re the ideal candidate for the university and course. It is considered the key to the application which is why framing the perfect personal statement is a demanding yet unavoidable process. So before you start, think carefully about the line of thought you would want to follow while structuring your statement. You will know that you are on the right track when the argument starts to flow naturally.

Basic personal statement structure tips

  • Using paragraphs

This not only makes it easy for your admissions tutor to read what you have written, it also allows you to give your writing a structure and make easier story transitions. It may seem tricky as you have to do it within a word limit. 

  • Form a clear introduction, body and conclusion

This format gives a clean structure to your statement and helps stem erratic sentences. It will help you form a skeleton to base your essay. 

  • Use the ABC method

Using an action, benefit and course structure helps to convey the activity you are trying to talk about, the skills or lessons you have learnt from it and how it relates to the course you have applied to. 

  • Keep it brief

There is a character limit of four thousand words. Remember to edit. A word of advice, use short sentences.

  • Structure your statement in a way that best encapsulates the experience:

There is no one particular method to structure your statement. However, it is better to use the most relevant and unique examples of your experience, in the beginning.  Remember that even if you apply to multiple courses, you will still get to write just one personal statement. Find a way to create a unique piece that you are comfortable with and the admission committee appreciates.

  • The three-section approach for your statement
    Are you still unsure about what to write in your statement? Why don’t you use the three-section method to find out! Essentially, your statement letter should be able to answer three questions: 
  1. Why do you want to study the course?
  2. What have you done that makes you suitable for the course?
  3. What else have you done that makes you somebody who will contribute to the course and to the university?

Why do you want to study the course?

You should be able to validate your reasons for wanting to study a particular subject to the admissions committee. You can talk about your passion for that particular subject. For example, for a vocational course, such as nursing you can talk about volunteer work. For an academic degree, like mathematics, you can write about how you can make permutations and combinations out of a simple game of chess. Think about what you love about the subject and what more you would like to learn about it. 

What have you done that makes you suitable for this course?

Treat this part like the backbone of your application. All the reasons that make you the perfect candidate among the rest come here. If done right, it can speak volumes for you and your skills.
For vocational courses, explain what you have done to show your engagement and mention work experience along with volunteer work. For example, if you’re applying for a hospitality course, you can mention events that you associated with.
For creative courses like drama and music, you can tell the committee about extra courses that you have taken outside the classroom.

You need to get creative with academic courses as it is tricky to talk about them. For example, if you are interested in geography, you can talk about physical landmarks and places you saw while you went on your family trip.

Write, edit, rewrite, do whatever it takes to strengthen this fraction of your application.

Section three: what else have you done?

As a norm, you can use two-third of your application for your academic achievements, interests and justifications. The remaining one third should cover the extracurricular activities. This section may or may not relate to the course, but it should enunciate how it has helped you to become a better version of yourself. It would help your application even further if you can explain how these skills are relevant to your application rather than just aimlessly listing them.