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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps

Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.

Step 2: Research Your Topic

Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.

Step 3: Formulate Your Argument

Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.

Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement

Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.

Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement

The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.

Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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How to write a personal statement? It's difficult to know where to begin. Get hints and tips on structure, content and what not to write from a university expert.

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Structuring and preparing your personal statement

What to write in a personal statement, examples to avoid, an insider’s view .

Personal statements may seem formulaic, but they can be critical to the decision-making process, and admissions tutors do read them.

If you’re applying for a high-demand course, your personal statement could be the deciding factor on whether or not you get an interview.

The Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment at the University of Gloucestershire , James Seymour, shares some top tips on how to write a personal statement.

What makes a good personal statement?

This is your chance to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment and show us what value you can add to a university. In the vast majority of cases, universities are finding ways to make you an offer, not reject you – the personal statement is your chance to make this decision easier for them!

First, you need to explain why you want a place on a course. Take a look at James’ tips on what you should include:

  • Explain the reason for your choice and how it fits in with your aspirations for the future
  • Give examples of any related academic or work experience
  • Show you know what the course will involve and mention any special subjects you’re interested in
  • Demonstrate who you are by listing any positions you’ve held, memberships of teams or societies, and interests and hobbies
  • Show consistency in your five UCAS choices. It may be difficult for an admissions tutor to take you seriously if your other choices, and references to them, are totally different. If your choices are different, you should explain this in your statement. The UCAS form is blind. Admissions tutors don’t know the other universities you’ve applied to, or your priorities, but you should still be consistent
  • Keep it clear and concise – UCAS admissions are increasingly paperless – so most admissions tutors/officers will read your statement onscreen
Explain what you can bring to a course and try not to just list experiences, but describe how they have given you skills that will help you at university.

Don’t just say: I am a member of the college chess club. I also play the clarinet in the orchestra.

When you could say: I have developed my problem-solving skills through playing chess for the college; this requires concentration and analytical thought. I am used to working as part of a team as I play clarinet in the college orchestra and cooperate with others to achieve a finished production.

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What will admissions tutors look for in your personal statement?

To decide if you’re the right fit, universities and colleges are interested in how you express your academic record and potential. This should be backed up by your reference.

Those working in admissions look for evidence of:

  • Motivation and commitment
  • Leadership, teamwork and communication
  • Research into your chosen subject
  • Any relevant key skills

Admissions tutors aren't seeking Nobel laureates. They’re looking for enthusiasm for the course being applied for, and self-reflection into why you’d be suitable to study it. What value could you add to the course? Where would you like to go once you graduate?

Ben, the Admissions Manager for Law at the University of Birmingham , shared with us what he expects applicants to tell him in their personal statement:

The personal statement is not only an excellent opportunity to showcase applicants individual skills, knowledge, and achievements, but it also provides us with an insight into the type of student they aspire to be and how they could fit into the academic community. Ben Atkins, Law Admissions Manager at University of Birmingham

Real-life example: the good

Good personal statement

Real-life example: the not-so-good

Not so good personal statement

  • How to make your personal statement stand out

You could have excellent experiences, but if they’re arranged in a poorly-written statement then the impact will be reduced. So, it’s important to plan your statement well.

A well-written personal statement with a clearly planned and refined structure will not only make the information stand out, but it’ll demonstrate you have an aptitude for structuring written pieces of work – a crucial skill needed for many university courses.

You can use it for other things too, such as gap year applications, jobs, internships, apprenticeships and keep it on file for future applications.

There's no one ‘correct’ way to structure your personal statement. But it’s a good idea to include the following:

  • A clear introduction, explaining why you want to study the course
  • Around 75% can focus on your academic achievements, to prove how you’re qualified to study it
  • Around 25% can be about any extracurricular activity, to show what else makes you suitable
  • A clear conclusion
  • How to start a personal statement

Your personal statement is your chance to really show why you deserve a place on your chosen course. 

Remember to keep these in mind:

  • Be clear and concise – the more concentrated the points and facts, the more powerful
  • Use positive words such as achieved, developed, learned, discovered, enthusiasm, commitment, energy, fascination…
  • Avoid contrived or grandiose language. Instead use short, simple sentences in plain English
  • Insert a personal touch if possible, but be careful with humour and chatty approaches
  • Use evidence of your learning and growth (wherever possible) to support claims and statements
  • Plan the statement as you would an essay or letter of application for a job/scholarship
  • Consider dividing the statement into five or six paragraphs, with headings if appropriate
  • Spelling and grammar DO matter – draft and redraft as many times as you must and ask others to proofread and provide feedback
  • For 2022 – 23 applications, refer to the challenges you've faced during the pandemic in a positive way


  • Over-exaggerate
  • Come across as pretentious
  • Try to include your life history
  • Start with: "I’ve always wanted to be a..."
  • Use gimmicks or quotations, unless they're very relevant and you deal with them in a way that shows your qualities
  • Be tempted to buy or copy a personal statement – plagiarism software is now very sophisticated and if you're caught out you won’t get a place
  • Make excuses about not being able to undertake activities/gain experience – focus on what you were able to do positively, e.g. as a result of coronavirus

For further details, read our detailed guide on  what to include in a personal statement  and the best things to avoid.

Note that if you decide to reapply for university the following year, it's a good idea to consider making some changes to your personal statement. Mention why you took a year off and talk about what skills you've learnt. If you're applying for a completely different subject, you'll need to make more changes.

James gives us real-life examples of things to avoid:

I enjoy the theatre and used to go a couple of times a year. (Drama)
I am a keen reader and am committed to the study of human behaviour through TV soaps!
I have led a full life over the last 18 years and it is a tradition I intend to continue.
I describe myself in the following two words: 'TO ODIN!' the ancient Viking war cry. (Law)
My favourite hobby is bee-keeping and I want to be an engineer.
My interest in Medicine stems from my enjoyment of Casualty and other related TV series.
I have always had a passion to study Medicine, failing that, Pharmacy. (A student putting Pharmacy as her fifth choice after four medical school choices – Pharmacy can be just as popular and high status as Medicine.)

Some final advice

Above all, remember that a personal statement is your opportunity to convince a university why it should offer you a place. So, make it compelling and there’s a much higher chance they will.

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Top tips for writing an original personal statement

A student advisor offers some top tips for ensuring your personal statement and your university application stands out and avoids the common mistakes.

Hannah Morrish's avatar

Hannah Morrish

Student celebrating

A personal statement is an essay about yourself that is usually included in a university application. Writing a personal statement can seem like a daunting task, but the main thing to remember is that you should aim to show why you want to study at your chosen university, what experiences you have in the subject you have chosen and any extracurricular activities you’ve taken part in. 

Many students worry about writing their personal statement because it is the first time they will have to write something about themselves with the aim of conveying their personality and drive to a stranger. 

What is a personal statement?

A personal statement is an essay that is part of the application process when applying to university in the UK. The personal statement is your opportunity to showcase why you would be a good fit for your university, why you have chosen your university and why you want to study your chosen course. 

It is an opportunity to showcase what makes you unique, what skills and experience you have and why you would be an asset to the university. 

Personal statement reforms

Personal statements will soon be scrapped in Ucas applications , and replaced by a series of questions that applicants will have to fill out. These will be introduced in 2024 for the 2025 academic year start. 

How to write a good personal statement

The main thing to remember when writing a personal statement is that it should be unique to you. It might feel strange to write down all of your achievements and ambitions, but this is your opportunity to show your university of choice why they should accept you. 

Talk about your reasons for choosing your university, why you want to study the course you have chosen, any related work experience or hobbies you might have, and what your future goals are in relation to your course. 

It’s best not to leave writing your personal statement until the last minute – a great personal statement is one that is well written and well structured and this can take some time to put together. 

There are some more detailed tips on how to put your personal statement together below. 

Here are some more detailed tips on how to write a postgraduate personal statement here . 

Create two lists

Write down one list detailing what you know about the course you would like to study and why you know it is the correct degree choice for you, including any career aspirations you might have or if you have plans to continue into postgraduate study. The second list should focus on why you are the ideal student for that course and university, including things such as extracurricular activities and related work placements you have done. 

Thoroughly research your subject choice

Admission tutors will read your personal statement to help them evaluate whether you are right for the course. By attending open days, reviewing the course and module content and having researched the university’s values you will have far more confidence in sharing why you want to dedicate the next three years to your chosen course.

Promote the knowledge you already have and why you would fit in 

Make it clear you have thoroughly researched the course and explain why you have made the decision to study it at university. Highlight the relevant skills and subject knowledge you already have and outline any relevant work experience that you have too, which will help to round out your personal statement. 

Show how capable you are

Your personal statement needs to convince universities that you have the study skills to motivate yourself and work hard. Give relevant examples of how you have developed your independent learning skills and what motivates you.

Be original

You know why you got excited about the degree when you read the course information or when you attended a Q&A with one of the lecturers during an open day. Use your personal statement as an opportunity to share your enthusiasm.

Outline any life experience you’ve had that relates to your course, any transferable skills, voluntary work, work experience and goals and aspirations to support your application. 

Don’t use unsupported clichés

It’s a good idea to try to stay away from clichés as a rule, but if you do think that one will work in your favour make sure it’s supported. If it is the truth that you have wanted to study something from a young age then you may want to include this kind of statement.

What is more important is that you explain how this has inspired you to study supporting subjects and dedicate time to hobbies or interests that relate directly to what you would like to study at university and how this will help you.

Some phrases and words to try to avoid include:

1. Mentioning your work experience at your “father’s company” 2. Using the phrase “quenched my thirst for…” 3. Any metaphors using fire, such as “sparked my interest” or “burning desire” 4. Starting the statement with “ever since I was a child” or “from a young age” 5. Using any of the following words:

  • passion/passionate
  • furthermore
  • ground-breaking
  • thought-provoking

Ask for feedback

Don’t be shy about asking people to proofread for you. When you have been working on something for a while it can be hard to spot any mistakes or tweaks you should make. Ask friends, family or a teacher to proofread it and give their honest opinion.

They should feed back on whether your personal statement is well structured, do a spell check for any spelling or grammar mistakes and check whether it portrays your academic achievements and academic interests. 

How long should a personal statement be?

Your personal statement can be up to 4,000 characters long, which is around two sides of A4 paper. 

How to start a personal statement

The introduction of the personal statement is the most important part as this is what will draw the attention of the admission tutor reading it. 

Consider your main reasons for choosing your course and lead with that. There are some more tips below on how to structure your personal statement. 

And if possible try to avoid these common opening lines for your Ucas personal statement. 

How to structure a personal statement

Admissions tutors will read a lot of personal statements, so you'll want to grab their attention from the beginning. A rough structure would include an introduction of yourself, your reasons for choosing your subject, the subjects you are studying now and how they relate to your chosen degree, any experiences you’ve had that relate to your chosen subject, interests and hobbies that relate to your chosen subject, your career goals after you leave university and why you would make a good addition to the university. 

If you are writing a personal statement for a postgraduate degree , there are many more tips here. 

Can I use ChatGPT to write a personal statement?

While ChatGPT or any other kind of generative AI technology can be a useful tool to write your personal statement, it is important that they are used with the right guidance. 

Ucas does not necessarily ban the use of ChatGPT for writing a personal statement, however applications are run through anti-plagiarism software so if it does detect that whole paragraphs are plagiarised, Ucas will notify any universities that you have applied to and any offers might be revoked. 

Some universities and colleges may also consider the use of ChatGPT as cheating so it might be better to avoid using these programs in case your universities take a stricter approach. 

The main thing to remember is that admissions tutors will want to see your character and personality so using a program like this would remove any kind of personality from your personal statement. 

More information on using AI for your personal statement can be found here . 

This article was updated by THE Student Editor Seeta Bhardwa in July 2023. This article was originally published in December 2015. 

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York University

10 Tips for Writing a Strong Personal Statement

1. read the instructions carefully.

This is especially important when you are applying to multiple programs. Pay particular attention to length limits and content/questions you are supposed to address.

When you attend a Post Grad Application Support appointment, it can be very helpful to bring these instructions with your drafts (in hardcopy!)

2. Focus on yourself

Avoid getting into long explanations of the courses you took, or places you volunteered. The selection committee will be more interested in how these experiences influenced your perspective, your intellectual development and motivated you to pursue further education. YOU are the main focus of the personal statement.

3. Demonstrate your genuine interest and enthusiasm

Post graduate education can be very challenging and stressful. The committee will be looking for evidence that you are truly motivated and excited about what you want to study since such students make more positive peers and are more likely to successfully complete the program.

4. Start early

Although personal statements aren’t usually very long, you will need to write multiple drafts to get your statement to the level you want it to be.

This is a different kind of writing than you are used to, and it can take much longer than you expect to figure out what you are trying to say, and how to say it in the most effective way. Beginning 2-3 months before your deadline is a good rule of thumb.

5. Explain any discrepancies in your application in your personal statement

Be sure to address any grades on your transcripts that do not reflect your academic ability, especially if they occurred in the last two years of your degree, and are in courses related to the programs to which you are applying.

Your explanation should be concise, and focused on assuring the committee that whatever the problem was, it is in the past and will not impact your ability to do well in the future. You can discuss strategies for doing this in a Post Grad Application Support session.

6. Review good sentence and paragraph structure

A personal statement requires you to put a lot of information in very few words, so the structure of your sentences and paragraphs is key. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an excellent resource to review these elements of good writing before you get started.

7. Use the active voice

This means put “I” in the subject position of your sentences and avoiding terms like ‘allowed’ and ‘gave'; with you as the receiver rather than the initiator of the action.

For example, instead of “This course gave me a new understanding of...” use “Through this course, I gained a new understanding of...”.

8. Give explicit reasons for selecting the program for which you are applying

The selection committee will select qualified candidates who can give rational, persuasive reasons why that program is a good fit for them.

Compelling reasons for selecting a program could include the fact that there are several professors who are experts in your particular area of interest in a particular program, or that the structure of the program will enable you to focus on a particular topic.

Maybe the location is near an important resource, or there are courses specifically focused in your area of interest. Make sure you clearly articulate why these aspects of the program appeal to you.

9. Indicate what your goals are once you’ve graduated from the program

Committees like to get a sense of how you see their program supporting your goals to make sure you have realistic expectations and to ensure you are not making erroneous assumptions as to the purpose of the program

10. Revise, revise, revise!

Check for problems with the structure and flow of your statement. Look for awkward phrases, jarring transitions, ambiguous statements and, of course, grammar and spelling errors. Get feedback from as many people as possible. The Personal Statement Peer Review is an excellent resource to help you do this.


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11 tips for writing a stellar personal statement

personal statement university tips

The planning stage is a crucial first step.

The application process for an advanced degree program is often multifaceted . You will likely have to sit for a standardized examination such as the Graduate Entrance Exam or Graduate Management Admission Test , as well as seek out recommendations from trusted professors and colleagues and present examples of your undergraduate work. One of the most important components of this process, however, is writing your personal statement. Typically no more than two pages, personal statements are, according to Carnegie Mellon University , your opportunity to demonstrate to an admissions committee why you feel that for the program in question.

Given that the expected length of the personal statement is typically short, it can be a challenge writing everything that you wish to say. After all, this is your time to make a case for your candidacy, and the impulse to write more will likely be strong. Writing an engaging and concise personal statement need not be such a challenge, however. By following the simple tips below, you can write a stellar personal statement that really sets you apart from the crowd:

1. Plan As with any good essay or paper, planning is a key first step. Make sure you develop a detailed framework of everything you want to discuss, and what you want the statement to achieve. 

2. Outline your academic or professional ambitions The focus of your personal statement should be your academic ambitions and the reasons why you wish to enter graduate school. It’s not enough to simply give a vague answer such as “this program will help open career doors upon graduation.” While this may well be your motivation, the admissions committee is looking for candidates who are passionate about their subject of study and have a clear idea of how the advanced degree program will help them both deepen their knowledge and progress, either academically or professionally. State in no uncertain terms how and why the advanced degree course will help you move forward.

3. Use plenty of examples According to USA Today, providing concrete examples is a more effective strategy than talking in abstract generalizations. For example, list academics or scholars who inspire you, mention essays that received high praise, outline details of past research projects, and so on. Put another way, the more examples you offer to strengthen your case, the more likely an admissions officer will be impressed. 

4. Make your qualifications clear The personal statement is no time to be coy. It’s important that you speak to your accomplishments and stress why you believe you are a deserving candidate. This involves discussing past research projects in depth and the critical reception the work received. As Carnegie Mellon University pointed out, the admissions committee is typically composed of academics in your field, all of whom need to see that you are capable of the work that lies ahead. Of course, keep an eye on your tone: It is possible to list your many achievements without coming across as arrogant. 

“The personal statement is no time to be coy.”

5. Offer praise in moderation As USA Today detailed, it is important to explain what attracted you to the university and program of study in question. However, it is important not to praise the establishment and faculty too much. Such a strategy will make it appear as though you are trying to ingratiate yourself with the faculty, which many find distasteful. Moderation is key: Outline some of the strengths of the school and the program and then relate those positive aspects back to how it will help you in your academic and/or professional pursuits.

6. Arrive at your main point early Admissions officers will be tasked with reading hundreds of personal statements. As you can imagine, such an assignment can be tiring, and the committee will likely grow increasingly less patient with every paper. That’s why it’s imperative to arrive at your main point early on , the University of California Berkeley argued. Grab the attention of the reader within the first paragraph, and then expand your argument from there. As the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign advised, ensure that your opening paragraph is the strongest and most engaging. 

7. Use positive language Try to eschew mentioning anything negative about your academic past unless it is absolutely unavoidable, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stated. The goal of the statement is to leave a positive impression in the mind of the reader. If you decide to discuss a personal challenge, for example, be sure to find a way to reflect how the experience lead to positive change. In essence, although negative discussion is unavoidable in some circumstances, be sure to make the overall theme of the paper an uplifting and positive one. 

8. Write multiple drafts Remember that the personal statement is also your opportunity to showcase your writing skills. Indeed, most higher education programs require at least a moderate ability in extended writing. That’s why it’s so important to complete at least several drafts of your paper. Have a professor or writing professional review the statement for errors and argument structure, to ensure that the whole piece comes together and flows well. If you are applying to a sciences degree, for example, and your experience with essay writing is minimal, strongly consider enlisting the help of a writing professional. Your alma mater will no doubt have a writing center on campus that you can use. 

9. Keep an eye on language Ensure that the language you utilize is professional. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign stressed avoiding colloquial terms such as “like,” as well as cliches and stock phrases – think “I’m a go-getter” or “since a child I’ve always wanted to be.” Also eschew any language that is overly emotive, such as “love,” “incredibly,” “extremely” and so on. 

10. Avoid anything too risky Although we live in the digital age and video job applications and résumés are becoming increasingly common, when it comes to your graduate school application, the conservative approach is the safest option. Keep the formatting conventional and tone professional. For example, as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign advised, don’t include humor or other tactics that could prove distracting from your central message.

11. Follow instructions This may seem like an obvious step, but it’s surprising how many people will dive into a task without reviewing the instructions. Each institution will likely have a slightly different idea of what they want from the personal statement. Some may want longer pieces, while others may prefer more condensed essays. Many schools will likely provide questions and prompts for you to answer and follow. It’s crucial, therefore, to review the instructions in detail before you even begin the writing process. After all, a surefire way to receive a rejection notice is to disobey the requirements of the task. 

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Tips for writing a UCAS personal statement

A personal statement is a short, reflective piece of writing that you submit as part of your UCAS application to universities. We use it during the admissions process to decide if you're suitable for the course you're applying for - and so we can understand why you want to study your chosen subject.

Alternatively, you can see our advice for writing a Masters personal statement .

Your personal statement

A good personal statement can mean the difference between receiving an offer and being unsuccessful, so it's important you take the time to consider what you want to include in it.

Your personal statement is where you highlight you have what it takes to study on one of our undergraduate courses.

The personal statement is one of the most important parts of your UCAS application and gives you the chance to tell us how you stand out from other candidates.

For some of our courses you may be invited for interview, but for the majority the personal statement is the only opportunity that you will have to sell yourself.

Plan your personal statement

You can only submit one personal statement for the five courses and universities you apply for, so it is a good idea to plan out what you want to say before writing your personal statement.

There is no one-size fits all method when you are writing your personal statement, so try to be original and engaging.

We are looking for evidence of your interest in, enthusiasm for, and understanding of your chosen course. 

Think about:

  • why you are interested in the subject
  • your ambitions and how taking the course will help you achieve them
  • why you are interested in progressing on to higher education. 

It is also important to tell us about: 

  • your reasons for choosing the course (this is the most important part of the statement)
  • your skills (and their relevance to your chosen subject)
  • wider reading you've undertaken 
  • work experience (especially where this is relevant to the subject)
  • any achievements or prizes you have won during your study or work 
  • your wider interests and hobbies (providing they are relevant)
  • any career plans you might have.

You may want to apply for a variety of different courses - if this is the case, write about common themes relevant to all courses.

If you are a mature student you can use your personal statement to talk about your wider experience and the skills and knowledge you have gained; as well as why you are now thinking about returning to education. 

Be sure to include any personal circumstances that may have affected your education. For example, a physical or mental health condition, caring for a family member or changing schools due to being from an Armed Forces family. You can also let us know about any financial hardships you may have experienced during your studies.

Structure your personal statement:

Use a clear structure in your personal statement and make sure each paragraph logically follows on from the one before. You are limited to 4,000 characters (and 47 lines).

Start and end your personal statement by highlighting your positivity and passion for the course and your future career options (if you have any at this stage). 

When writing your personal statement, you should: 

  • be honest and write in your own words - the best statements are always the most genuine
  • use clear language and avoid extravagant claims
  • be analytical rather than just descriptive - don't just tell us what you've read or what you've done, we want to see what you gained from this, or how it changed your perception of your chosen subject
  • explain your motivations in choosing the degree you’re applying for and demonstrate your existing passion for the subject (whether that’s from studies you’ve already undertaken in school or college or wider reading you’ve pursued)
  • where you are applying to courses linked to a particular profession (such as Teaching or Social Work), also reflect on your understanding of that vocation. For example, this may be reflections on what you gained from relevant work experience or it could be other research you’ve undertaken which has given you an insight into that profession
  • draw on your other experiences - for example, are you a member of a society, have you won any awards, scholarships or prizes?
  • provide evidence of your transferable skills, including research, critical thinking, communication, organisation, planning and time-management
  • highlight any career aspirations you might have and show how the course will help you achieve them
  • use accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling 
  • proofread your statement and ask a friend or relative to read it.

Make sure you allow enough time to plan and structure your personal statement, ensuring you include everything you want to say. You may need to redraft your statement a number of times. 

If you are invited to interview, go back to your statement so that you can familiarise yourself with the information you have given us.

For more advice, see the UCAS tips for writing a personal statement  

Use our UCAS personal statement checklist to make sure you haven't missed anything.

You might also be interested in:

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  • student support
  • your offer and confirming your place
  • transferring from other universities .

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Tips and tricks for writing your personal statement

Person writing in a notepad with a pencil, pencil sharpenings on the paper

A personal statement is a great way to show the admissions team who you are, beyond your grades. With so much competition for university places, it’s your opportunity to set yourself apart from other applicants and showcase your ambition, skills and passion for your chosen degree course. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to go about writing a personal statement. It should be personal, engaging, and most importantly, written by you. Take a look at our top tips below.

Work(sheet) it out

The Future Students team, who are our resident experts in delivering presentations on how to write a personal statement, have prepared a brilliant Personal Statement Worksheet for you. This worksheet has lots of tips and exercises to help you create a personal statement that showcases your skills and achievements. Once you’ve finished reading this blog, we’d recommend you take a look at the worksheet.

Here’s a really good way to structure it

Personal statement structure

Why University?

You definitely want to show off your knowledge, skills and past experiences that make you a great candidate for your subject or career. However, you want to demonstrate that you are not a finished product. You’re keen to learn more, push yourself further and develop your skills. Make sure you communicate how your experience at university can help you to achieve your career dreams or engage in an academic community you are passionate about.

Getting the right information in there

If you’re unsure what to write, use the websites for the universities you’re applying to and look at what modules or topics you’re going to be studying. On our website you will be able to find a drop-down menu of modules with descriptions on the course pages. Talking about one or two of the modules you find can really help to show your understanding of the course.

Don’t edit yourself as you write. Own the fact that you are not producing the best thing ever for your first draft, just write. The power of the personal statement is in the next stage of editing and polishing. You’re likely to do that a lot before you’re happy with it, so remember to draft your personal statement in Word rather than straight into the UCAS application system as it times out and you’ll lose your work.

Read it out loud

It’s a great idea to do this. You will spot spelling and grammar mistakes, be able to trim those lengthy sentences that have no clear purpose, and you are more likely to notice if you have repeated the same word too often. It’s also always handy to get a family member to proofread your final version before you submit. If you are invited for an interview, make sure to re-read your personal statement beforehand to refresh your memory of your main points.

You can do it!

Have confidence in yourself. This applies to both the substance of what you are writing and the very act of writing your personal statement. Remember the bigger picture; you are doing this to achieve the next remarkable step in your life.

Nitty gritty FAQs

What is the word limit? Just to keep it interesting, there’s not a word limit but rather a character and lines limit. You only have 4,000 characters and 47 lines to play with. If you’re trying to get those characters down think of each sentence individually and ask if it’s telling us something about you and what you know about the course or career. If it is, that’s great, but if it isn’t then consider leaving it out.

What font should I use? Don’t waste your time on selecting a font. UCAS will turn it into a generic serif font when you paste it into your application anyway.

I’m a mature/international/part-time student. What do I do? Exactly the same as above. Fundamentally, you’re a student first. Talk about what makes you unique, whether that’s skills you gained from the workforce, or the perspective you have coming from a different country and culture.

Is it really a problem if I copy a personal statement or use a service to write one for me? Yes, this is a problem. UCAS checks every personal statement and a plagiarised one will be flagged. Believe in yourself - you can write this thing and you do have plenty to write about.

Have some questions?

Feel free to get in touch with us on Live Chat, we’re always happy to hear from you. You can ask for contact details for the Future Students team if you want advice on writing your personal statement.

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Writing a UCAS Personal Statement

How to write a ucas personal statement.

A personal statement is part of your application to study at a UK university . In a personal statement, the student writes about what they hope to achieve on a UK university course , what they hope to do after it, and why they are applying to this particular university. It is your first chance to show a demonstrable passion and understanding of your chosen subject away from exam results.

SI-UK will edit your personal statement and ensure the English is clear and grammatically correct. Arrange a free consultation with SI-UK London  to learn more.

What do I include in my Personal Statement?

  • Your career aspirations
  • How did you become interested in studying the subject
  • What, if any, relevant work experience you have undertaken that is related to the course or subject
  • What aspects of your previous education you have found the most interesting
  • What attracted you to the particular university
  • Other relevant academic interests and passions which display positive character and personality

Genuine experiences of extra-curricular clubs, work experience or knowledge around a subject are much more likely to make your personal statement stand out, while admissions officers are also looking for positive evidence of your character, which will make you a productive member of the university.

How long should my Personal Statement be?

The length of a personal statement varies depending on the university, but generally, the average length for an undergraduate application is between 400-600 words, around one side of A4 paper or a maximum of 47 lines. Certain  postgraduate programmes  may require a 1000 word personal statement, but this will be clearly specified.

Try not to go over the given character limit as admissions officers have many personal statements to go through, and a clearly written and concise personal statement is more likely to stand out.

What are common Personal Statement errors?

  • The personal statement is too short/long
  • The personal statement does not include important information/includes negative information
  • The personal statement has a confusing structure

It is also important to not lie about any aspect of your personal life and education history, or even exaggerate. Admissions officers will question you about almost all aspects of your application and will be able to see through any lies.

Tips for writing a Personal Statement

  • Express a passion for your subject
  • Start the statement strongly to grab attention
  • Link outside interests and passions to your course
  • Be honest, but don’t include negative information
  • Don’t attempt to sound too clever
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute; prepare ahead of the deadline
  • Have friends and family proofread it
  • Don’t duplicate material from your  CV/resume

In terms of presentation, attempt to create five clear paragraphs of text in a clear font such as Arial or Times New Roman, with a maximum size of 12.

Personal Statement Editing with SI-UK

Once you have completed your personal statement, arrange a free consultation with SI-UK London. We can edit your personal statement and ensure the English is clear and grammatically correct. Once this process is complete, we will return your personal statement within 1-3 working days.

Contact SI-UK about your application

Personal Statement FAQ

What should you avoid in a ucas personal statement.

Applicants should avoid misspellings and grammar errors and discuss topics unrelated to their application and character.

Do universities read personal statements?

Yes, universities read UCAS personal statements, and they play a major factor when shortlisting candidates.

What happens if you lie in your personal statement?

If you lie on your UCAS personal statement, your application will be rejected, and any offers will be revoked.

What happens if UCAS detects similarities in your personal statement?

If UCAS detects similarities in your personal statement, it will be flagged for review, and your university choices will be notified while it is under review.

Does UCAS tell you if you've been rejected?

UCAS will notify you if your UCAS application has been rejected. You may also receive an email from the university stating why your application has been rejected.

What happens if you make a mistake on your UCAS application?

Once your UCAS application has been submitted, it cannot be changed. So, before submitting, make sure you proofread your application or get it proofread by someone else to make it error-free.

Personal Statement Example

Please see below for an example of a personal statement to a Development Studies course.

International Student Example of a Personal Statement

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