Female student writing her personal statement on a computer

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Our tips and inspiration to help you make your personal statement perfect

Writing your personal statement

It's time to start writing your personal statement using your notes. It's best to draft it on a computer, so you can check for spelling and grammar errors, and save it regularly.

You can copy and paste it into your UCAS application when you're happy with your work.

Your opening paragraph

The first line of your personal statement is the very first impression the university gets of you. So it's key to ensure your opener is original and reflects yourself as an individual.

Things to keep in mind

1. Write what comes naturally

2. Reflect your personality and motivation for the subject

3. Don’t just state that you’re interested in the subject, give evidence to show you are

4. Talk about what has inspired you to study this subject

5. Consider where your passion came from – was it a particular topic, time period or experience you had?

6. Start with a short sentence

Clichés to avoid

‘Even as a young child, I was always interested in Nursing...’

‘Physics has always been a passion of mine, ever since I was young...’

‘For as long as I can remember...’

‘Reflecting on my educational experiences...’

‘I have always enjoyed Musical Theatre and therefore want to study it at university...’ 

The ABC method

Need some help finding the link between your experiences, skills and the course you like? You can use the ABC method.

  • Activity – What have you done?
  • Benefit – What skills/experience has it given you?
  • Course/Career – How does this relate to the course (or your future career)?

Using the ABC method

Activity

'I played an integral part in the school debating team for two years, debating in inter-school competitions....'

Benefit

'This has helped me to develop into a confident speaker…'

Course/career

'…which will ensure that I positively contribute in mooting sessions.'

Examples of the ABC method in action

Student 1

'I currently undertake work experience at my local nursing home, allowing me to communicate and empathise with the residents, especially those is difficult situations. This has given me a great base for practicing my listening skills, which will help aid my career as a social worker.'

Student 2

'I am in the process of conducting an independent research project on the environmental implications of face coverings in my local river. This has helped me expand my knowledge further and I hope my findings will provide a great base for studying a degree in Environmental science.'

Student 3

'Being a dedicated member of my local amateur dramatics society has allowed me to perform in front of large audiences many times. This has helped with my confidence and creative skills and helped develop my love for musical theatre further.'

Why are these good examples?

These examples show the ABC method being used effectively. Students are drawing on their experiences and highlighting the skills they've developed. They emphasise how this will help them with their future careers/courses.

Student using their laptop

Need help getting in the zone?

It's normal to get writer's block. If you feel like you're staring at a blank screen, try these 3 things:

1. Find your space

Set aside some time in a place where you're comfortable and won't be disturbed. Grab a notepad or computer.

2. Remember why you're doing this

What has influenced your decision to go to university? Look through your existing notes, or go to our planning your personal statement page and try the planning exercise.

3. Come back to it

Still stuck? That's ok. Take a breather and come back when you're feeling fresh. You can also check out our video presentation below to get more advice.

Watch our short presentation

Take a look at this short presentation for more information on how to write your personal statement.

Writing a UCAS personal Statement
Get all the guidance and information you need to write an impressive personal statement

Your UCAS personal statement is uniquely yours. It's the story you tell when you apply to uni. But writing it can be tricky. There are things it needs to include and common mistakes to avoid. We go through those in this video.

Further dos and don'ts

Dos

  • Use information on university websites and the UCAS website. This often includes the skills and qualities universities are looking for in applicants
  • Ask friends, family and teachers to remind you of activities you've participated in. They might remember your successes better than you
  • Explain and evidence everything. It’s easy to say you have a skill, but it's better to demonstrate it with an example of when and how you’ve used it
  • Proofread your personal statement by reading it out loud and ask friends, family or a teacher to check it for you
  • Give equal time to each area and try to find common aspects that show their similarities, especially if you’re applying for a joint degree or different subjects

Don'ts

  • Include lists in your application, like a list of all your hobbies. Focus on 1 or 2 points and talk about them in depth to show their relevance to your application
  • Use clichéd lines such as ‘I've always wanted to be a teacher’, as it says nothing about your motivations or experiences
  • Lie or plagiarise another statement – you'll be caught and it could result in your application being automatically rejected
  • Use complicated language or make things up to sound impressive

Finished your personal statement?

Hopefully you've got some great ideas flowing from the hub.

If you're ready to send us your draft, we'd love to read it and give you feedback.

We'll aim to get it back to you within 5 working days.

If you have any trouble sending it or require help with anything, you can contact us at personalstatement@port.ac.uk.

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