Writing Your UCAS Personal Statement

Applying to university can be a complicated procedure. Firstly, there’s the online application and the dreaded personal statement. Then there’s picking the right course and university. Then there may be interviews to attend and portfolios to be assembled. This might seem a daunting prospect, but don’t fear, the university application procedure is actually not as bad as it seems.

All the information about the application procedure can be found on the UCAS website. The registration process is something that your school and college are most likely to guide you through. The most daunting aspect for many is the dreaded personal statement but it’s only 4,000 characters, little more than a page of text. A question that runs through many a students’ mind is what should I write about?

Relevant interest and experience

From my own experience, an integral part of your personal statement is extra-curricular activities that are relevant to your proposed course. Some things to consider are achievements outside of the classroom such as the Duke of Edinburgh award, along with hobbies and any clubs you belong to. A key element is any work experience that you might have in the field of study to which you are applying. For example if you’re applying for a journalism course, write about your own blog if you have one, it will make your application stand out from the rest.

An important part of the application is writing about why you’ve chosen your particular course. Do you have a personal ambition, or particular interest in the programme of study? This would be the time to write about and highlight it. There could be relevant skills that you’ve already developed, or if you’ve thought that far ahead, a related career that you have in mind.

Proof-reading is key

Now that you’ve got the content sorted, the next thing to consider is your style and writing approach. This is not the time to use informal language or overcomplicated sentences. Be confident and show your enthusiasm for the course. Teachers moan about it continuously throughout the year, but check and check again for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors. Just remember your application will be read by academics of the highest level, they know how to write and write properly; mistakes are possible but your personal statement needs to be near-perfect. To ensure this it’s integral that you proof-read it, also ask a friend to read it, along with your teacher and anyone else who can catch any errors or mistakes.

No formatting and no copying

One more thing, I wouldn’t bother using italics, bold or other font styles, because when you paste your personal statement into the UCAS standardised system any formatting will disappear. Finally, under no circumstances should you copy any other personal statement that may have been posted on the internet. All personal statements are screened through UCAS’s CopyCatch detection system. If your personal statement is detected as a copy of someone else’s, your application will be flagged up, an investigation started, and there would be serious consequences for your application- it’s not worth it, so just don’t do it.

Just remember when writing to be yourself, write naturally, highlight your best attributes, check it and you’ll be fine. From all of us at Scape good luck and we hope to see you at one of our London student accommodations one day. Watch out for our upcoming blog post on university interview tips.

Where next?