How to write a personal statement for university Thursday, 05 October 2023

Applying to a university can be both an exciting and incredibly nerve-wracking experience. 

As you take on this new journey and start the application process, one of the most crucial and potentially stressful aspects of your UCAS application is writing a personal statement. 

What is a personal statement?

When it comes to a university application, a personal statement is essentially one of the biggest opportunities for an applicant to showcase their qualities, experiences, and aspirations to the admissions department of the university.

The personal statement, when done well, should give the university a great insight into who the applicant is as an individual and what makes them unique when finalising who will be granted a university place.

How to write a personal statement

If you are currently applying to university, you may be feeling a huge sense of pressure around trying to make your personal statement stand out. So, how do you start a personal statement and make it sound impressive?

Here are some tips:

  • Be reflective

When starting your personal statement, taking some time to self-reflect can be a great way to inspire some ideas of what to mention throughout your statement. Thinking about your interests, passions and goals will give you a better idea of what you want to share about yourself as a person and what makes you unique.

Self-reflection will help you decide how you want to be represented within your statement and how to share your authenticity with the university admissions department. 

  • Make a great first impression

It’s important to keep in mind that universities receive an overwhelming amount of applications each year. This means that first impressions are well worth considering when writing your personal statement. 

Is your opening sentence engaging? Does it stand out from other applicants? Does it excite the reader to want to find out more?

Instead of simply saying why you are applying to this particular university, why not start with a quote or question that sparks inspiration in you? 

  • What motivates you

It’s almost obvious that your personal statement should include details on what motivated you to apply to this particular course or university. It may seem like a typical feature mentioned by the majority of applicants, but keep in mind that admission departments genuinely want to know what drives you and why their university could be the right fit for you. 

Don’t hold back from being genuine and showing your passions.

Don’t be afraid to shout about how excited you are about a course or subject. What is it you love and why do you want to study it? What impact do you think you could have when you’re armed with more knowledge? UCAS

  • Make the most of your achievements

Much like writing a CV and trying to impress a potential employer, when writing your personal statement, your achievements, relevant experience and extracurricular activities can give great insight into not only your work ethic and interests but also who you are as an individual.

  • Address your challenges

No one claimed that life as a university student is easy. 

Because of this, universities appreciate your honesty when sharing your challenges and how you have overcome them. Sharing your challenges and how they were dealt with gives the reader a great understanding of how you will cope with any future challenges that may occur throughout your university experience when dealing with assignments, essays, deadlines etc.

  • Mention your future goals

Where do you see yourself after finishing university?

Universities appreciate and take interest in students who demonstrate clear goals. Don’t hold back from sharing your aspirations and how the course you are applying for will help you achieve them.

  • Tailor your personal statement

Just as each university and course is unique, so should your personal statement be. Tailor your personal statement to align with the university’s specific requirements and values. 

Discuss why you are interested in studying at that particular university and what you feel you can bring to their community.

  • Proofread

As writing a personal statement takes time and can at moments feel overwhelming, you may be eager to click the send button when you have reached the finish line. You want to make the best impression, especially after putting in so much effort, so take a step back and re-read the statement with refreshed eyes.

Complete your initial draft and take a moment to re-read and make changes where needed. Check for grammar, punctuation, and make sure all of your personal statement makes perfect sense. 

It can also be beneficial to ask a friend, family member or academic professional to read your statement to not only check for errors, but to see if your statement best reflects you from an outsider’s perspective. 


Writing a personal statement for university doesn’t have to be an overwhelming and daunting task. Keep in mind that your personal statement is an exciting opportunity to introduce yourself to your desired university and demonstrate why you are a perfect fit for their community. 

Try to embrace the process and stay true to yourself. Remember what makes you unique and you could soon be on your way to achieving your university place. Good luck!


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