I’m feeling nostalgic at the moment. This time, 9 years ago, I was filling out my UCAS application form and toiling over my personal statement

Like many A Level students, it was the first time I had ever written anything like it. I felt woefully unprepared and a little out of my depth. Fortunately, I had a few excellent tutors (and some smart friends) to help me through it.

Nearly a decade later and it seems like very little has changed. The personal statement is as important as ever. 

After ensuring you meet the entry requirements, the personal statement is what many admissions officers use to firmly decide whether to give you a place. It’s your one and only opportunity to impress, so it’s vital you get it right.

How can you do that? By making sure you include these four things.

1. Give your reasons for wanting to study the course

Show the admissions tutors that you have a real passion for your subject from the first line. 

You can talk about how your interest developed and demonstrate that you are committed and enthusiastic. Talk about the wider reading and related extra-curricular activities you do too. If you’re hoping to study computer sciences and you make video games in your spare time, let it be known!

2. Show that you’re a good fit 

Having the right grades isn’t enough (though it’s definitely a great start). There are thousands of students with similar grades competing for the same course. How do you stand out? Why should the university pick you?

Use your personal statement to show what skills, knowledge and experience you can bring to the course and university in general. Demonstrate that you’re prepared to get stuck in to all areas of university life. 

But most importantly, let them know that you are ready and willing to learn and that you understand what studying at university will involve. 

3. Talk about your interests outside of academia

Your hobbies, interests and extra-curricular activities are a big part of who you are, so include them in your personal statement. Don’t simply list them off though; explain how they have made you a more rounded person. 

For example, does being part of a football team require you to learn how to manage your time better? Did volunteering at the local homeless shelter teach you anything? Does your Saturday job make you more responsible?

You don’t need to write about all your hobbies; just those that you feel will add something to your application

4. Let your personality shine

Don’t be quirky for the sake of being quirky or drop inappropriate jokes, but do let your personality shine through. 

Be honest, open and original. Let the personal statement be a reflection of who you are as an individual. 

If you have any unusual interests, talk about them! If you have a unique perspective on your subject, include it! Admissions officers read hundreds of personal statements every year, make yours the one they remember.

Further information

For more tips and advice on writing your personal statement, check out these resources at Studential.com:

You may also find my eBook guides useful, all available on Amazon Kindle:

If you have any comments, questions or feedback on my post, please pop them below!