Writing your personal statement for UCAS applications is your opportunity to demonstrate what makes you the perfect fit for a university. With over 60,000 students applying for university places each year, you need to stand out from the crowd - and your personal statement is key.
When you choose Leeds Trinity University, you choose a university renowned for its outstanding approach to personalised student support. This support starts as soon as you start applying, so our Admissions team (which reviews hundreds of applications every day) has put together its top tips on how to craft a good personal statement.
1. Be specific
- Write why you are interested in the subject, making sure you mention a specific aspect of the subject you are interested in. For example, don't just write: 'I want to study sport' or 'I am interested in a career in sport' - write which part of sport you are interested in, such as PE, sports coaching, sports science.
- UCAS only lets you submit one personal statement on an application, so if you are applying for more than one course, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with a second personal statement relevant to the second course.
2. Be enthusiastic
- Don't just write: 'I'm applying for the… course because I get good grades in this subject'.
- Mention any wider reading you have done around the subject and reflect on any relevant news stories/current affairs related to the subject. If you are subscribed to a relevant professional subscription or journal, mention it. If you are a member of a professional group, or have attended any relevant conferences, make sure you highlight this.
- Mention your interests that are relevant to the subject you're wanting to study in. We're looking for a keen interest in coding, technology trends and gaming for Computer Science, for example.
- If you are applying for a Journalism, Media or English-related course, we look for examples of content you have created such as blogs, videos, school newspaper articles, or creative writing. Add links to any online content you have created.
- Don't just talk about your academic achievements. Mention any extracurricular activities you are involved in, any sports you play, or any volunteering you do. Show how you have gained transferable skills through these activities, such as dedication or commitment, and explain how these skills will also be of use at university.
3. Be career-minded
- Talk about the career you want and why doing this degree will help you in that career. This shows you have thought about coming to university and are not just applying for a course because all your friends are, or because a teacher has told you to apply because you are good at that subject.
- Talk about any relevant work experience you have done.
- We get a lot of applicants for our Business courses who mention their interest in the subject area was sparked by watching The Apprentice – be unique and talk about your experience and inspirations.
- For Primary Education with QTS applications, you must mention any work experience you have done in a primary school (we require a minimum of two weeks in a primary school for entry to the course). Mention the kind of things you did on your work experience and how long this lasted. Remember, you need to show that you understand the role of a teacher.
- If you are applying for Early Childhood Studies/Education Studies/Working with Children, Young People and Families, and want to become a teacher, show awareness of the need for a PGCE after your degree to gain QTS. This shows you have researched your future career and the path you need to take to get there.
4. Be sure
- We are looking for a good standard of written English and a statement that flows logically. Our tutors want to know you will be able to write essays at university.
- Make sure your spelling and grammar is correct - triple check everything and don't rely on a spellchecker to pick up every mistake.
- Show your teachers or parents your first draft as a few extra pairs of eyes may pick up something you've missed.
- The Admissions team and tutors read hundreds of applications per day, so make yours stand out – have an interesting opening statement.
- Make sure your personal statement is concise - you only have 4,000 characters (around 500 words) to sell yourself, so avoid rambling and needless statements.
- A lot of applicants for courses that involve working with children say they were inspired by a specific teacher and mention them by name. As nice as that is, it's a little irrelevant for us reading your Personal Statement.
Personal Statement dos and don'ts
- Do be sincere with your enthusiasm - and don't exaggerate, as you may get caught out.
- Don't copy a friend's or family member's personal statement - you could get caught and risk having your application rejected.
- Do have a good understanding of the universities you want to apply to - attend an open day and talk to lecturers to get an idea of what they're looking for.
- Don't name-drop one particular university in your personal statement - remember, you're only sending one statement to multiple universities.
- Don't use inspirational quotes to back up any details in your personal statement - universities want to read your words and thoughts, not somebody else's.
- Don't leave it until the last minute - a post-Christmas rush is not be the best way to tackle your personal statement.
- Don't try and be funny. Yes, it's great to get your personality across, but it's a risky move and you can't gauge the sense of humour of those reading your personal statement.
- Do take your time and don't panic. You've got this.
Facebook Live Personal Statement Q&A
We held a Facebook Live Personal Statement Q&A with Lindsay and Danny answering some questions and giving some sound advice. You can watch it over on our Facebook Page.