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- How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples
How to Write Your Personal Statement | Strategies & Examples
Published on February 12, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 1, 2023.
A personal statement is a short essay of around 500–1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you’re applying.
To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application , don’t just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice. Aim to demonstrate three things:
- Your personality: what are your interests, values, and motivations?
- Your talents: what can you bring to the program?
- Your goals: what do you hope the program will do for you?
This article guides you through some winning strategies to build a strong, well-structured personal statement for a master’s or PhD application. You can download the full examples below.
Urban Planning Psychology History
Attend one of our upcoming livestreams and have your draft reviewed by an admissions essay coach. We’ll tell you if you’re on the right track and explain how you can strengthen your case.
Want some extra inspiration? Watch recordings of past grad school essay livestreams.
Table of contents
Getting started with your personal statement, the introduction: start with an attention-grabbing opening, the main body: craft your narrative, the conclusion: look ahead, revising, editing, and proofreading your personal statement, frequently asked questions, want some extra inspiration, other interesting articles.
Before you start writing, the first step is to understand exactly what’s expected of you. If the application gives you a question or prompt for your personal statement, the most important thing is to respond to it directly.
For example, you might be asked to focus on the development of your personal identity; challenges you have faced in your life; or your career motivations. This will shape your focus and emphasis—but you still need to find your own unique approach to answering it.
There’s no universal template for a personal statement; it’s your chance to be creative and let your own voice shine through. But there are strategies you can use to build a compelling, well-structured story.
The first paragraph of your personal statement should set the tone and lead smoothly into the story you want to tell.
Strategy 1: Open with a concrete scene
An effective way to catch the reader’s attention is to set up a scene that illustrates something about your character and interests. If you’re stuck, try thinking about:
- A personal experience that changed your perspective
- A story from your family’s history
- A memorable teacher or learning experience
- An unusual or unexpected encounter
To write an effective scene, try to go beyond straightforward description; start with an intriguing sentence that pulls the reader in, and give concrete details to create a convincing atmosphere.
Strategy 2: Open with your motivations
To emphasize your enthusiasm and commitment, you can start by explaining your interest in the subject you want to study or the career path you want to follow.
Just stating that it interests you isn’t enough: first, you need to figure out why you’re interested in this field:
- Is it a longstanding passion or a recent discovery?
- Does it come naturally or have you had to work hard at it?
- How does it fit into the rest of your life?
- What do you think it contributes to society?
Tips for the introduction
- Don’t start on a cliche: avoid phrases like “Ever since I was a child…” or “For as long as I can remember…”
- Do save the introduction for last. If you’re struggling to come up with a strong opening, leave it aside, and note down any interesting ideas that occur to you as you write the rest of the personal statement.
Once you’ve set up the main themes of your personal statement, you’ll delve into more detail about your experiences and motivations.
To structure the body of your personal statement, there are various strategies you can use.
Strategy 1: Describe your development over time
One of the simplest strategies is to give a chronological overview of key experiences that have led you to apply for graduate school.
- What first sparked your interest in the field?
- Which classes, assignments, classmates, internships, or other activities helped you develop your knowledge and skills?
- Where do you want to go next? How does this program fit into your future plans?
Don’t try to include absolutely everything you’ve done—pick out highlights that are relevant to your application. Aim to craft a compelling narrative that shows how you’ve changed and actively developed yourself.
My interest in psychology was first sparked early in my high school career. Though somewhat scientifically inclined, I found that what interested me most was not the equations we learned about in physics and chemistry, but the motivations and perceptions of my fellow students, and the subtle social dynamics that I observed inside and outside the classroom. I wanted to learn how our identities, beliefs, and behaviours are shaped through our interactions with others, so I decided to major in Social Psychology. My undergraduate studies deepened my understanding of, and fascination with, the interplay between an individual mind and its social context.During my studies, I acquired a solid foundation of knowledge about concepts like social influence and group dynamics, but I also took classes on various topics not strictly related to my major. I was particularly interested in how other fields intersect with psychology—the classes I took on media studies, biology, and literature all enhanced my understanding of psychological concepts by providing different lenses through which to look at the issues involved.
Strategy 2: Own your challenges and obstacles
If your path to graduate school hasn’t been easy or straightforward, you can turn this into a strength, and structure your personal statement as a story of overcoming obstacles.
- Is your social, cultural or economic background underrepresented in the field? Show how your experiences will contribute a unique perspective.
- Do you have gaps in your resume or lower-than-ideal grades? Explain the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.
Don’t focus too heavily on negatives, but use them to highlight your positive qualities. Resilience, resourcefulness and perseverance make you a promising graduate school candidate.
Growing up working class, urban decay becomes depressingly familiar. The sight of a row of abandoned houses does not surprise me, but it continues to bother me. Since high school, I have been determined to pursue a career in urban planning. While people of my background experience the consequences of urban planning decisions first-hand, we are underrepresented in the field itself. Ironically, given my motivation, my economic background has made my studies challenging. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for my undergraduate studies, but after graduation I took jobs in unrelated fields to help support my parents. In the three years since, I have not lost my ambition. Now I am keen to resume my studies, and I believe I can bring an invaluable perspective to the table: that of the people most impacted by the decisions of urban planners.
Strategy 3: Demonstrate your knowledge of the field
Especially if you’re applying for a PhD or another research-focused program, it’s a good idea to show your familiarity with the subject and the department. Your personal statement can focus on the area you want to specialize in and reflect on why it matters to you.
- Reflect on the topics or themes that you’ve focused on in your studies. What draws you to them?
- Discuss any academic achievements, influential teachers, or other highlights of your education.
- Talk about the questions you’d like to explore in your research and why you think they’re important.
The personal statement isn’t a research proposal , so don’t go overboard on detail—but it’s a great opportunity to show your enthusiasm for the field and your capacity for original thinking.
In applying for this research program, my intention is to build on the multidisciplinary approach I have taken in my studies so far, combining knowledge from disparate fields of study to better understand psychological concepts and issues. The Media Psychology program stands out to me as the perfect environment for this kind of research, given its researchers’ openness to collaboration across diverse fields. I am impressed by the department’s innovative interdisciplinary projects that focus on the shifting landscape of media and technology, and I hope that my own work can follow a similarly trailblazing approach. More specifically, I want to develop my understanding of the intersection of psychology and media studies, and explore how media psychology theories and methods might be applied to neurodivergent minds. I am interested not only in media psychology but also in psychological disorders, and how the two interact. This is something I touched on during my undergraduate studies and that I’m excited to delve into further.
Strategy 4: Discuss your professional ambitions
Especially if you’re applying for a more professionally-oriented program (such as an MBA), it’s a good idea to focus on concrete goals and how the program will help you achieve them.
- If your career is just getting started, show how your character is suited to the field, and explain how graduate school will help you develop your talents.
- If you have already worked in the profession, show what you’ve achieved so far, and explain how the program will allow you to take the next step.
- If you are planning a career change, explain what has driven this decision and how your existing experience will help you succeed.
Don’t just state the position you want to achieve. You should demonstrate that you’ve put plenty of thought into your career plans and show why you’re well-suited to this profession.
One thing that fascinated me about the field during my undergraduate studies was the sheer number of different elements whose interactions constitute a person’s experience of an urban environment. Any number of factors could transform the scene I described at the beginning: What if there were no bus route? Better community outreach in the neighborhood? Worse law enforcement? More or fewer jobs available in the area? Some of these factors are out of the hands of an urban planner, but without taking them all into consideration, the planner has an incomplete picture of their task. Through further study I hope to develop my understanding of how these disparate elements combine and interact to create the urban environment. I am interested in the social, psychological and political effects our surroundings have on our lives. My studies will allow me to work on projects directly affecting the kinds of working-class urban communities I know well. I believe I can bring my own experiences, as well as my education, to bear upon the problem of improving infrastructure and quality of life in these communities.
Tips for the main body
- Don’t rehash your resume by trying to summarize everything you’ve done so far; the personal statement isn’t about listing your academic or professional experience, but about reflecting, evaluating, and relating it to broader themes.
- Do make your statements into stories: Instead of saying you’re hard-working and self-motivated, write about your internship where you took the initiative to start a new project. Instead of saying you’ve always loved reading, reflect on a novel or poem that changed your perspective.
Your conclusion should bring the focus back to the program and what you hope to get out of it, whether that’s developing practical skills, exploring intellectual questions, or both.
Emphasize the fit with your specific interests, showing why this program would be the best way to achieve your aims.
Strategy 1: What do you want to know?
If you’re applying for a more academic or research-focused program, end on a note of curiosity: what do you hope to learn, and why do you think this is the best place to learn it?
If there are specific classes or faculty members that you’re excited to learn from, this is the place to express your enthusiasm.
Strategy 2: What do you want to do?
If you’re applying for a program that focuses more on professional training, your conclusion can look to your career aspirations: what role do you want to play in society, and why is this program the best choice to help you get there?
Tips for the conclusion
- Don’t summarize what you’ve already said. You have limited space in a personal statement, so use it wisely!
- Do think bigger than yourself: try to express how your individual aspirations relate to your local community, your academic field, or society more broadly. It’s not just about what you’ll get out of graduate school, but about what you’ll be able to give back.
You’ll be expected to do a lot of writing in graduate school, so make a good first impression: leave yourself plenty of time to revise and polish the text.
Your style doesn’t have to be as formal as other kinds of academic writing, but it should be clear, direct and coherent. Make sure that each paragraph flows smoothly from the last, using topic sentences and transitions to create clear connections between each part.
Don’t be afraid to rewrite and restructure as much as necessary. Since you have a lot of freedom in the structure of a personal statement, you can experiment and move information around to see what works best.
Finally, it’s essential to carefully proofread your personal statement and fix any language errors. Before you submit your application, consider investing in professional personal statement editing . For $150, you have the peace of mind that your personal statement is grammatically correct, strong in term of your arguments, and free of awkward mistakes.
A statement of purpose is usually more formal, focusing on your academic or professional goals. It shouldn’t include anything that isn’t directly relevant to the application.
A personal statement can often be more creative. It might tell a story that isn’t directly related to the application, but that shows something about your personality, values, and motivations.
However, both types of document have the same overall goal: to demonstrate your potential as a graduate student and s how why you’re a great match for the program.
The typical length of a personal statement for graduate school applications is between 500 and 1,000 words.
Different programs have different requirements, so always check if there’s a minimum or maximum length and stick to the guidelines. If there is no recommended word count, aim for no more than 1-2 pages.
If you’re applying to multiple graduate school programs, you should tailor your personal statement to each application.
Some applications provide a prompt or question. In this case, you might have to write a new personal statement from scratch: the most important task is to respond to what you have been asked.
If there’s no prompt or guidelines, you can re-use the same idea for your personal statement – but change the details wherever relevant, making sure to emphasize why you’re applying to this specific program.
If the application also includes other essays, such as a statement of purpose , you might have to revise your personal statement to avoid repeating the same information.
During our livestream sessions, we invite students to submit their personal statement drafts and receive live feedback from our essay coaches. Check out recordings of our past sessions:
If you want to know more about college essays , academic writing , and AI tools , make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.
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Writing Personal Statements for Graduate School
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Preparing a well-written and effective personal statement (sometimes referred to as statements of purpose or personal essays) that clearly articulates your preparation, goals, and motivation for pursuing that specific graduate degree is critically important. You will need to spend a considerable amount of time and effort in crafting these statements. The focus, structure, and length of personal statements vary from program to program. Some will have prompts or questions you need to answer, while others will leave the topic open-ended. The length varies widely as well. Read instructions carefully and make sure to adhere to all parameters laid out in the application guidelines.
Clear writing is the result of clear thinking. The first and most important task is to decide on a message. Consider carefully which two or three points you wish to impress upon the reader, remembering that your audience is composed of academics who are experts in their fields. Your statement should show that you are able to think logically and express your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Remember that the reader already has a record of your activities and your transcript; avoid simply restating your resume and transcript. Writing your statement will take time; start early and give yourself more than enough time for revisions. If no prompts are given, you can use the questions below to begin brainstorming content to include in your statement; for more information, see our Writing Personal Statement presentation Prezi and our three-minute video on Writing Personal Statements .
- What experiences and academic preparation do you have that are relevant to the degree you’re seeking?
- Why are you choosing to pursue a graduate degree at this time?
- Why do you want to pursue this particular degree and how will this degree and the specific program fit into your career plans and your long-term goals?
- What specific topics are you aiming to explore and what does the current literature say about those topics?
After you’ve written a first draft, start the work of editing, refining, simplifying, and polishing. Provide specific examples that will help illustrate your points and convey your interests, intentions, and motivations. Is any section, sentence, or word superfluous, ambiguous, apologetic, or awkward? Are your verbs strong and active? Have you removed most of the qualifiers? Are you sure that each activity or interest you mention supports one of your main ideas? Spelling and grammatical errors are inexcusable. Don’t rely on spell-check to catch all errors; read your statement aloud and have it reviewed by multiple people whose opinion you trust. If possible, have your statement reviewed by a writing tutor. For individual assistance with writing your personal statement, consult with the writing tutor in your residential college or the Writing Center within the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning .
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You will need to submit a personal statement of around 500 words, outlining your academic history and relevant experience.
Your personal statement is an important part of your application: it will help selectors to decide whether you are a good match for the programme you have applied for and, just as importantly, whether the programme is right for you.
Areas to cover
Your personal statement gives you the opportunity to outline your academic history and relevant experience in order to demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate for the programme you have applied for.
You should also use your personal statement to outline your motivation for your chosen area of study. Try to answer questions such as:
- Why are you interested in studying at Edinburgh?
- Why have you chosen this particular programme?
- If you are studying for career development, what are your career plans and how will your studies support these?
If you have any other relevant experience, for example paid or voluntary work experience or additional qualifications not stated elsewhere, then please include this information in your personal statement, or you can add it to the “Relevant knowledge/training skills” field in the application form.
If you are applying for more than one programme you should write a tailored personal statement for each of your applications. This enables you to refer to the specific programme you are applying for and to highlight how your academic background and skills make you suitable for this particular programme.
Length and writing style
Your personal statement should be no more than 3,500 characters (approximately 500 words) in length and should be written in formal English, using appropriate grammar and punctuation.
It is a good idea to ask a friend to proofread your statement for you before you submit your application.
Personal statement tips
The personal statement is an important part of your UCAS application.
It helps admissions staff at the University decide whether to make you an offer. Some courses have many more applicants than places and there may be many students with good grades applying for the same course as you.
What is it?
Your personal statement is a short written piece about you. It gives evidence of your skills, knowledge and experience. It’s your chance to tell us why you want to study a particular course and why you would make a great student. Read about:
How to write a UCAS undergraduate personal statement (UCAS website)
Top tips for writing the perfect personal statement (The Complete University Guide)
47 lines or 4,000 characters maximum – whichever comes first.
What to include
Your personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd. It is unique and individual to you, but some things to include are:
- Enthusiasm and motivation – your passion for the course should be clear and relate to you and your experiences (eg projects, field trips or experiences at school that sparked your interest in your subject).
- Understanding of the subject – you need to show you have some knowledge and understanding, even if you have not studied the subject at high school or college. If you have done some reading about the subject, outside of school, mention this.
- Academic prizes or scholarships – this will help you stand out and show evidence of your potential.
- Career aspirations – even if you do not have clear career plans yet, you can show you have thought about your future career and how your chosen degree could help you achieve this.
- Relevant work experience/voluntary activities – explain what skills you have gained from the experience, including skills that would be useful in your university studies.
- Non-academic interests – your hobbies (such as sports, baking or reading) show your personality and can be a chance to demonstrate different skills.
- What you will contribute to the university community – we want to know what you can bring to Leeds, as well as what you want to get out of university life.
International and EU students
If you are a non-UK student, you should also mention:
- Why you want to study in the UK.
- Why you want to be an international student, rather than study in your own country.
What to avoid
- Plagiarism (copying) – all statements will be checked for plagiarism. Your statement must be your own work so do not use templates. If you have applied before, check your personal statement is completely up to date and relevant to your current application.
- Skills without examples – show how you have developed the skills you think you will need, don't just list them.
- Listing subject knowledge – explain how your knowledge has helped you build career aspirations, choose your degree, or prepare for coming to university.
- Repeating qualifications – don't repeat information covered elsewhere on the application. This uses up valuable space in your personal statement.
- Short personal statement – make the most of the space you have. A short statement suggests you lack of passion or commitment to the course you are applying for.
Our top tips
- Write your personal statement in MS Word (or similar) first, so you can check your spelling and grammar before you add it into your application.
- Get someone else, like your tutor, family or friends, to read your statement to check for any errors and make suggestions before you submit it. You may need a few drafts before you are happy with the final version.
- If English is not your first language you could mention any opportunities you have had to use English (eg an English-speaking school or work with a company that uses English).
- Use plain, clear English. Be careful with humour, quotes or anything unusual. The admissions tutor might not have the same sense of humour as you!
- Don’t exaggerate. If you get an interview you might be asked for more detail about what you have written.
- Check the faculty or school website of your chosen course for guidance on your personal statement - especially important if you are applying for a course in medicine or dentistry. See eg Leeds University Business School's 8 ways to perfect your UK university application .
- Application closing date – check UCAS application deadlines . For courses in medicine and dentistry this is earlier than many other courses.
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How Long Should a Personal Statement Be?
EssayEdge > Blog > How Long Should a Personal Statement Be?
Entering the university of your dream, you are required to write the personal statement essay, and while doing it, you may come up with the question: how long should a personal statement be to become the greatest one. Achieving an ideal college personal statement length can make the difference between a personal statement that is read in its entirety, one that is skimmed, or one that is quickly dismissed. This is something that many applicants struggle with as they work to create their personal statements. And it is completely understandable. In an effort to fully convey a story or to explain complicated situations, people often end up with a college personal statement that is significantly longer than what is allowed for the application process.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for applicants to write out their entire essay, only to realize that they will need to cut one-third or more of the essay to bring it within the personal statement word or character count limits.
However, this situation can be avoided through careful planning so that you can keep your college personal statement the right length.
The most amazing anecdote, the story of your above-and-beyond most significant accomplishment, or the explanation of the most challenging experience will not work in your favor if it does not fit into the length of the essay. Therefore, brainstorming your essay ideas and creating a basic outline will prove helpful in the creation of your college personal statement. If you know you only have 500 words to work with, decide in advance how much space to devote to each average paragraph length and stick to it when you are in the actual writing process.
Table of Contents:
Create the plan of your ideas that are worth sharing
The hardest part of any piece of writing is the moment when you try to start. The most helpful decision, in such a case, would be to use a template or a format that can help you quickly create a roadmap of how the finished application essay should look like. It is always a good idea to get a starting point and define the general direction of your writing. Also, you should think about the questions related to your main academic area of interest, activities, and life-events.
Remember about the word count guidelines of your program
Programs are increasingly imposing hard word count or character count limits, especially for centralized application systems. This is true even if there are no set word counts or character limits for your college personal statement. However, other programs offer guidelines, approximate, or ‘ideal’ lengths while still allowing you to submit a college personal statement that is the length that you choose . While your application will not be rejected outright if you include a personal statement that is significantly longer, take your program’s guidelines very seriously. They’re telling you what they want. They’re just also giving you some leeway to say what you need to say.
Think carefully about how long should a personal statement be, if there are no requirements
If it is not obliged to stick to a certain word count, you are to write the essay to your reasoning. Think over the life experience and achievements that may be interesting for the person who reads your statement. Choose several ones that will create the best impression of you as a personality.
It would be a good idea for you to divide the information into paragraphs:
- Provide information about life events
- Describe the reasons for your application
- Tell about your previous studying achievements
- Explain what you want to achieve from studying
- Assure the admissions committee that you are that one to get the offer
Also, it is a useful approach to read several guidelines about the approximate personal statement word limit in universities all over the world. After looking through all the given information, you will understand the common obligations and be familiar with those conditions while writing your essay. In this way, you will be supposed to follow the general requirements.
Try to stick to the thought that you have to make the reader interested in you, don’t write a very long text, sometimes it is not suitable to write a lot, because in this case the interest can be lost. You can try different strategies while considering what information is the most essential: read some examples, look through the articles on how long are personal statements for the specialization you are applying for, write the outline, try writing several drafts to understand which one fits the best to the obligations you already know, examine some blogs about the personal statement .
What is the difference in length for Law, Medical, MBA, and College Personal Statements?
Need help? Check out EssayEdge editing services:
How to provide all the necessary information and still keep the required personal statement length?
As a rule, your essay should stick to the requirements on the length of personal statement given by the university you apply to. Here are a few features for you to save the space for the facts that must be mentioned:
- Remember that your essay shouldn’t be wordy and contain plagiarism.
- Be sincere and tell only the real facts.
- Don’t use cliches and the information that is the same for each student.
- Try not to use long and awkward sentences.
In case when the university gives you an option to decide the ideal personal statement length by yourself, you should still attach to this advice.
Consider what unique or valuable experience you have through your life and present it in a well-written form, decide on the words that will describe your passion for future studying as well as possible. Try to write several drafts to see the written variant and understand what is possible to be missed in the text. By the way, while drafting, try not to think about how long should personal statement be. All the unnecessary information will be cut after a few perusals.
It can be really difficult to consider which facts of your life are worth sharing with the admission committee. Sometimes you have to choose among the stories that are interesting for you, but for some reason, it won’t be engaging for the reader. Try to tell only the points that will help the admission tutor know you better, don’t include the facts that don’t bring up any important information. If you are still not sure whether the facts mentioned fitting the general requirements, you can use the personal statement editing service.
If you want to write an outstanding personal statement, take a look at these EssayEdge articles and remember that our professional editors are always ready to help with your writing.
Keep in mind the information you learned here, but focus on the word count limit specified in the requirements. Add only meaningful details in your paper, don’t think that the longer paper will help you stand out. Our cover letter proofreading service can help you reduce the word count and preserve the message you convey.
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Writing your personal statement
A personal statement is your chance to tell us what motivates you and why you’re suitable for your chosen programme.
you cannot amend your personal statement once you have submitted your application
Where to put a personal statement
You can type your personal statement in the online application form (3,000-character limit, including spaces) or upload it as a separate document. If you upload your personal statement, you can go over 3,000 characters but it cannot be longer than two sides of A4 paper (size 12 font and single spaced).
You should consider the following questions when writing your personal statement
- Why do you want to undertake the programme or research?
- What are your academic interests?
- Why do you wish to study at UCL?
- What educational experience do you have?
- Do you have any relevant work experience?
- Have you completed any extracurricular or voluntary activities relevant to the programme?
- What are your career aspirations?
Some programmes ask for programme-specific information in your personal statement. Check your programme in the Graduate Prospectus for details.
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How to strengthen your personal statement
To strengthen your university application, consider the following advice about writing your personal statement.
Personal statement is the section on your UCAS application that universities use to check that the course you have applied for is right for you.
To help you stand out, our Head of Admissions has shared these 10 personal statement top tips:
- Interest in a particular course; Explain why you are interested in a particular course and describe what you have done to go beyond just taking an interest in the subject area. Try to support what you say with evidence and avoid sweeping statements such as 'I have always had an interest in physics', without anything to back them up.
- Experience; Detail any relevant work experience and the skills you have acquired.
- Extended project work experience ; If you are doing an extended project qualification (EPQ), mention your research and explain how it is helping you prepare for studying at Southampton.
- Career aspirations ; Show commitment to your chosen subject area by writing about your career aspirations related to the course you want to study.
- Hobbies and interests ; Include details about your hobbies and interests, especially if you are in a position of responsibility or they relate to your chosen degree course. Don't just give a list, consider choosing two or three interests to talk about in detail. You should also talk briefly about the skills you have gained from these activities.
- University expectations ; What do you hope to get from university? Mention any societies or activities you plan to become involved in. Include areas you are active in now and any that would be completely new to you.
- Be truthful ; Never lie in your personal statement. Just be you, let your potential show.
- Strong conclusion ; Try to finish your personal statement with a strong concluding paragraph. You could sum up the type of person you are.
- Save your work ; The UCAS apply website times out after an hour, so it may be easier to write your personal statement in a word processer, then cut, and paste it into your application. Remember to 'save' your work regularly.
- Check and check again ; Take your time to proofread your personal statement and make sure your application is completed and accurate. Get at least one person, or ideally several people, to check your personal statement for spelling and grammar mistakes.
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University Personal Statement Word Count
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Have you ever wondered why the personal statement is called personal? You can’t just copy someone else’s life goals and individuality, you need to fit yourself into the required frames. Do you want to learn about the ways on how to write a personal statement for a university that will help you win an offer from your dream university? Check out the following for tips that you may want to know and apply in your personal essay and learn more about a personal statement counter .
Admission Requirements: Help Writing Personal Statement
There you have what you need to include in your MSW personal statement aside from learning of the university personal statement word count to use. Follow and apply these tips in your essay and stand out from the rest of the applicants. Spend enough time in writing the PS so that you will have plenty of time to edit and revise it if needed.
Here are some personal statement requirements that you have to remember:
- What is the purpose of the statement? Remember that your personal statement is your main marketing tool when applying in a university, as it can make or break your ambition of entering the school or not. In writing your personal statement, you should ensure that you know the area you wish of entering as well as you have the suitability to become successful in this field in the future.
- Brainstorm what you will include in your personal statement to avoid coming up with a generic, lack of focus application. For a start, you may want to list down some things you already know about the program or subject. Think of those things that you think are related to this program.
- Match the characteristics and values that the university is looking for future students. You should reflect that kind of student that they are looking for. You should also that you have the interests and the passion to taking part in this program.
- Show that you are an ideal applicant that stands out from the rest in order to ensure that you can demonstrate that you are an appealing candidate with a wide range of interest that relate to the field. You should also highlight those things, including volunteer works, activities and hobbies that have helped you become more curious and inspired to take a particular path in education. Highlight that specific inspiration or motivation, aside from complying with the UNI personal statement length.
- Find out the style of writing that they are looking for by including that in the PS. Aside from the style, learn of the proper university personal statement word count to ensure that you are not going beyond the required character count.
- The admissions committee is also very particular of their instructions. To keep yourself in the right direction, make sure that you follow all the writing instructions before starting with your personal statement for university application.
- You can also highlight your characteristics, including your transferable skills, including curiosity and motivation as well as your teamwork skills and organizational skills.
- Avoid reinstating your resume in the personal statement. This personal essay should not be a venue to repeat what you have already said in your resume. If you do, you may break your application and not capture the interest of the admissions committee.
Interested in the right residency personal statement length ? Then check what we advise.
Learn more about uni personal statement length and create a flawless statement!
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- UCAS Personal Statement
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 the course 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 you became 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 an admission officers 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 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.
Personal Statement FAQ
What should you avoid in a ucas personal statement.
Applicants should avoid misspelling and grammar errors, as well as discussing 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 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?
Yes, UCAS will notify you if your UCAS application has been rejected. You may also receive a mail 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 that you have 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.
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UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker
Please note: The line count may differ than the number of lines in the textbox above but when copy and pasted will match the line count on the UCAS application.
UCAS Personal Statement Requirements
- No longer than 4000 characters.
- No longer than 47 lines.
- Each line can be no longer than 94 characters. (Our character counter above already has a max line length of 94 characters unless otherwise noted.)
- Characters include spaces, carriage returns, and punctuation.
To see additional features including word count, paragraph count, space count and more use the character counter on our home page.
How to write your UCAS personal statement
The UCAS personal statement scares most high school students. Writing a perfect personal statement is a strenuous and unavoidable process. With roughly about 6 million university applications each year, officials need a method for filtering stronger applicants from everyone else.
As challenging as this task may appear, it is also your only chance to share your personality and eligibility for the degree program you have chosen. Follow our practices given, and you can absolutely make your personal statement up to the mark.
Start with a plan
Each year thousands of applications are received for the best degrees in the world and are best focused on the goal of making their application stand out from the rest.
Thus, planning out what you want to say prior to writing your UCAS statement makes it easy to write a convincing personal statement. Start off by making a rough draft, answering some questions like
- What subjects do you want to study?
- Why have you particularly chosen this path for yourself?
- What makes you think that you are best suited to study this degree program at the college?
Some of these points will form the backbone of your personal statement, so write them in a manner that makes sense to you.
Sometimes you want to create simple bullet points or use mind maps. No matter what you decide; your goal is the same. You want to clarify why the university should provide you with a spot.
Bigger Picture of the Degree
Talk about the course that you have applied to. How did you learn about it in the first place? What means did you use to deepen your interest and knowledge in this area?
It would be a huge plus to list the books you read and the meetings you have attended regarding the subject.
Please elaborate on your academic attitude towards the degree. What are your goals after graduating? What role will it play in helping you achieve your greatest ambitions? What sort of vocation plans do you have after graduation?
Write about your work experience and achievements
Your previous achievements are an essential part of your personal statement. Think about all the accolades you have received and the contests you have participated in. These can be in-school, national or international. Both academic and sports awards can greatly help emphasize your commitment.
Write about the important skills and experiences acquired elsewhere (such as hobbies) that can be chained to the degree of your choice.
Remember, you are searching for experience that shows why you need to study the subject that you have chosen. You are not just writing an essay about what you are doing in your high school syllabus.
Your extracurriculars ought to likewise be included in the personal statement. Whether it be a MUN or a cross country race, they pass on the message that you love participating in different events.
Likewise, it is really smart to discuss any expertise you have acquired through extracurriculars.
Discuss any leadership roles you could have held, as they improve your capacity to appreciate people on a profound level and put you across as a pioneer.
Community service is a plus in the UCAS statement as it shows a promise to a reason bigger than oneself.
You can link all these activities to your selected course in the best case. Be careful not to elaborate too much on extracurricular activities.
UCAS Character Count
There are some specific instructions for your personal statement that you can never ignore.
First, it must not exceed 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including blank lines), whichever comes first. If you do exceed this, the university will not get your entire statement.
So make sure your personal statement has a solid and decisive ending. It will look bad if you cut it off in the middle of a sentence after realizing that you have exceeded the text limit.
Instead, give each section proper attention, time, and character to plan your essay thoroughly.
However, while you are getting everything rolling, you ought to overlook these restrictions.
Tips for reducing the character count
From the get-go, you simply need to jot down all that you feel is significant. You will probably wind up with something very lengthy, but that is okay.
This is where you get to do some polishing and trimming. Maintain the focal point of your piece on the course you are applying for, why you want to do it and for what reason you are impeccably fit for it.
Glance through what you have composed until now - do you have the right balance? Cut off whatever continues a little to far, as you want to keep each point crisp and concise.
It is a difficult process to try to keep as much content as possible while keeping the character count low, so here are some simple ways to make it easier for you.
Read your personal statement and eliminate platitudes if there are any - for instance, 'I've wanted to study psychology since I was young'…The same goes for the quotations: except if they increase the value of your statement (which they don't most of the time!), it is really the best practice to remove them.
Make sure everything is concise
For each sentence in your piece, use the "so what?" rule. Does this sentence appear to be more reasonable for the course? If not, cutting it is best. This frequently happens when individuals write too much about their extracurriculars in a frantic endeavour to fit everything in.
Colleges, notwithstanding, need to see a reflection and what you have extracted from your encounters; this implies it is normally better to simply discuss a few extracurriculars than to list many things that the reader is likely to skim.
Also, note that you don't have to use hospital or volunteer location names. This further allows you to remove the last few characters from the count.
Use colour coding
An easy way to see where you are losing most of your characters is to highlight the sections of your statement with different colours.
Check your language
We frequently invest a great deal of energy looking up big words with the expectation that it will make our work impressive. However, this isn't generally the best practice. It is, in many cases, best to cut these words for fundamental and engaging sentences.
I hope the process will now be transparent, and it will be more exciting for you as you embark on your writing.
How to use our UCAS personal statement checker
To use our tool simply copy and paste your personal statement into the text-box above.
At the top, you will see two metrics displayed. The first metric on the left is the total characters you've typed out of the limit of 4,000 characters.
The second metric on the right is the number of lines your text contains out of the max of 47 lines. The UCAS allows a maximum of 94 characters per line, which our line count feature already takes into consideration.
To make it easier you can click the green "copy text" button to copy the text in the text box. You can also click the red "clear text" button to delete all the text in the text-box.
Why use an online UCAS personal statement checker?
Reason number one: The character count feature in Microsoft Word will not give you an accurate reading. The reason is that Word does not count the carriage return (also known as the enter key) as a character while UCAS does count it as a character.
The problem is that this will cause Word to underestimate the character count. This could cause your essay not to be able to submit when you try to upload it. If anything it would be better to overestimate the word count on Word that way it will fit.
Our personal statement checker however will give you the same character count as UCAS unlike the Microsoft Word character count.
It can be helpful to see the character count in real-time as you are typing your personal statement. This way you are constantly reminded of how long your essay is.
If you are not paying attention it can be easy to lose track of how long your essay is and go over the limit.
Our tool makes it easier to be aware of the length and easy to cut back if necessary.
How many characters in a personal statement?
UCAS requires 4,000 characters in their personal statement. Use our personal statement checker above to see if your essay meets the requirements.
How many words in a UCAS personal statement
UCAS has a character limit of 4,000 characters. This equates to about 615 to 800 words.
How many words is 4000 characters?
4,000 characters is about 615 to 800 words. For more Characters to Words conversions, check out our Characters To Words Converter .
Does the personal statement character limit include spaces?
Yes, it does include spaces as well as carriage returns. Check your statement with our personal statement checker above.
Thanks for using our UCAS personal statement checker!
We appreciate you taking the time to check your personal statement using our webpage. As you know, this is a very important college application essay to get into British universities. UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and is what the UK uses for the college application process. Good luck on your personal statement!
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Home > Undergraduate study > How to apply > Personal Statement guide
Order your free personal statement guide
What is a personal statement.
Writing a personal statement is a key part of the UCAS application process. The statement is used by university admission teams when they consider applications. It's your first opportunity to showcase your academic achievements, extracurricular activities and show your chosen university that you are a suitable applicant for your course.
Complete the form below to receive your free personal statement guide from Kingston University. The guide will help you through each step of writing a personal statement; from finding out how to begin, to putting the finishing touches on what will make you stand out.
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How to write a UCAS personal statement
Writing a great personal statement
Read our guide on what it is, what to include, how to start, length and what makes a good personal statement , once you've decided which universities and courses to apply for, completing your application is pretty simple – until it comes to how to write your ucas personal statement..
This guide covers everything you need to know about how to write a personal statement for university. We look at what it is and how you can start your personal statement. We've also got questions to guide you and a suggested personal statement structure you can use so you know what to put in it.
If you'd like even more resources, support and UCAS personal statement examples, you can sign up to access our personal statement hub .
What is the UCAS personal statement?
How universities use your ucas personal statement, how to start a ucas personal statement.
- Get feedback on your UCAS personal statement
The personal statement is part of your UCAS application. It's how you show your chosen universities why you'll make a great student and why they should make you an offer.
Your personal statement also helps you think about your choice of course and your reasons for applying, so you know you’ve made the right decision.
Get feedback on your personal statement
Sign up to our personal statement hub to get feedback on your draft. You'll also get access to videos, help sheets and more tips.
Sign up now
UCAS personal statement word limit
Your personal statement length can be up to 4,000 characters long.
This may sound a lot, but it's a word limit of around 550–1000 words with spaces and only about 1 side of typed A4 paper.
You need to keep it concise and make sure it's clear and easy to read.
Applying for multiple courses
Although you can apply for up to 5 courses on your UCAS application, you can only submit 1 personal statement. So it needs to cover all your course choices.
Lots of students who apply to university have achieved the basic entry requirements and many more students apply than there are places available. Admissions teams can use your UCAS personal statement to get to know you and decide why you're more suitable than other applicants.
Some universities read every personal statement and score them. Then they use them alongside your qualifications and grades to decide whether to offer you a place or interview. Other universities put less emphasis on the personal statement and use it with students who have borderline entry requirements.
Universities might refer to your personal statement again on results day if you don't get the grades you need. So a good personal statement could clinch you a uni place even if your grades aren't what you hoped for.
Starting your personal statement can seem scary when you're staring at a blank screen. But, things will seem less daunting once you start.
- Set aside some time in a place where you're comfortable and won't be disturbed. Grab a notepad or computer.
- Write down anything and everything that's influenced your decision to go to university and study your chosen subject. Jot down your skills and experience too.
- Use the questions below to guide you. Don't worry about the personal statement length at this point – you can cut things out later.
When to start your UCAS personal statement
Ideally, you want to leave yourself plenty of time – a few weeks or even months – to plan and write your personal statement.
Try not to leave it to the last minute, as tempting as this may seem when you've got so many other things to think about.
Questions to guide you
- Why do you want to study at university?
- Why do you want to study this subject?
- How did you become interested in this subject?
- What career do you have in mind after university?
Academic ability and potential
- How have your current studies affected your choice?
- What do you enjoy about your current studies?
- What skills have you gained from your current studies?
- How can you demonstrate you have the skills and qualities needed for the course?
- What qualities and attributes would you bring to the course and university?
- What work experience (including part-time, charity and volunteer work) do you have and what have you learnt from it?
- What positions of responsibility have you held? (For example, prefect, captain of a team or member of a committee)
- What relevant hobbies or interests do you have and what skills have they helped you develop?
- What transferable skills do you have, such as self motivation, team working, public speaking, problem solving and analytical thinking?
Research and reading
- How do you keep up with current affairs or news in your chosen subject?
- What journals or publications relevant to your chosen subject do you read?
- Which people have influenced you, such as artists, authors, philosophers or scientists?
Now it's time to write your personal statement using your notes. It's best to draft it on a computer, and remember to save it regularly.
You can copy and paste it into your UCAS application when you're happy with it.
Personal statement structure
While there's no set template for a personal statement, you may find it useful to follow this personal statement structure when you decide what to put in your statement.
What to include in a personal statement
- Reasons for choosing this subject(s)
- Current studies and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
- Experiences and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
- Interests and responsibilities and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
- Your future after university
- Summary including why you'll make a great student
Further tips for a good UCAS personal statement
- 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 do
- Don’t 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
- 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
- Avoid clichéd lines such as ‘I've always wanted to be a teacher’ as it says nothing about your motivations or experiences
- If you’re applying for a joint degree or different subjects, give equal time to each area and try to find common aspects that show their similarities
- Never lie or plagiarise another statement – you'll be caught and it could result in your application being automatically rejected
- Proofread your personal statement by reading it out loud and ask friends, family or a teacher to check it for you
Sign up to our personal statement hub
Watch videos, get top tips and download our help sheets – that's what our personal statement hub is for. It's for you to write your story, so you can show your strengths, ideas and passion to your chosen universities.
You'll also be able send us your draft, so you can get feedback and feel confident about what you've written.
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UCAS Personal Statement: Frequently Asked Questions
Our personal statement FAQs will help ease the pain of writing a personal statement for your UCAS form . More advice can also be found on our blog .
What can I find in this article?
1. When should I start writing my personal statement?
It's never too early to start thinking about it! Unfortunately, UCAS deadlines have a tendency to creep up on most students, especially if you are applying to Oxbridge where the deadline is much earlier than other universities ( 15th October ).
However, you probably want a good idea of what course you're going to apply for before you launch in to actually writing the thing .
Check out Choosing A Degree if you're still deciding what subject to take.
On the other hand, don't leave it too late - you'll probably need a few weeks to write it and a week or so to get a reference written.
As a general guide we would say start writing it when you come back to school or college after the summer, though it might be worth jotting down a few ideas during the holidays.
We know some people are extremely organised and get at least their first draft done by the end of the summer!
2. How long can the personal statement be?
There is no actual word limit - instead, you have a maximum of 47 lines or 4000 characters to work with.
This is all the space UCAS give you on their online system, Apply . You can check that your statement will fit in the area provided by using our handy Personal Statement Length Checker .
3. How do I start writing my personal statement?
Most people won't be able to just start writing their personal statement off the top of their head - so it's a good idea to jot down a few notes first.
The main things to think about are:
- why do you want to study your chosen course?
- how do your skills, experiences and interests prove you are passionate about and committed to taking this course?
These are the two main things to start with, and if this still doesn't help you can look at a few more detailed starting points .
Many people have trouble writing about themselves and their personal qualities.
So if you're having trouble pop down to a library or bookstore and get a book on writing CVs that will go into this process in much more depth.
4. What are admissions tutors looking for?
Usually the sort of things you've written about for the part above!
Obviously the things admissions tutors are looking for will differ but in general: "Do we want this student on this course?" And "Do we want this student at this university?".
The idea of your personal statement is to show this - so once you've written it, have a read through and see if it answers these questions.
Individual universities and departments often publish information on applying and writing personal statements, so surfing the admissions scetion of their website should turn up more specific information on exactly what they're looking for.
Our blog post, 8 Things Not To Put In Your Personal Statement , will help you avoid making any obvious errors. Then check out What You Should Include In Your Personal Statement to make sure you don't miss anything important.
Read through our Personal Statement Writing Tips and How To Write A Personal Statement Guide for more comprehensive information and advice.
5. What's the most important part of the personal statement?
From our days of GCSE English, we would say either the beginning or the end.
A good first sentence will get the reader interested and ensure they actually read your statement rather than skim it.
A good ending will ensure the reader remembers your personal statement, though it also helps to have a good middle section as well.
The first line is probably the most important thing to work on. Most people put their reasons for studying the subject at the top, and this is generally regarded to be the most crucial part of the statement, as you need to hook the reader and make them want to read more.
However, the rest of your statement should make you shine as a candidate too, so there isn't really a definite answer to this question!
Just try to make your personal statement as interesting and polished as you can.
6. How do I write a statement for two different courses?
There's no easy way to write a personal statement for two totally unrelated courses.
If the courses are similar (i.e. Business Studies and Economics ) you may find you can write a personal statement that is relevant to both subjects without mentioning either subject by name.
If the courses are totally unrelated it may be impossible to write for both subjects without your personal statement sounding vague and unfocused.
Instead, you will need to concentrate on just one subject and just ignore the other, although you may want to question whether it's a good idea to apply for such different course, and re-think your subject choice .
7. Should I talk about what I want to do after university?
You could, but only if you have a good idea of what you want to do.
If you sound sure about what you want to do after university , it gives the impression that you've thought carefully about your course and what you want to do with it.
It is also a nice way to round off your personal statement , rather than just finishing on less important stuff like extra curricular activities.
If you don't have any future plans then leave it out - you don't want to be asked about them at interviews .
8. How should I structure my personal statement?
Most people write their personal statement in an essay style, usually starting off with the course and why they want to do it, then talking about their relevant work experience and skills, and finishing off with extra curricular activities.
However, you can use any style that you feel works best for you.
As a guide, spend around 50% of the space talking about your course and how you're suited to it and 50% on your work experience and other activities.
Exactly how you write your personal statement depends on your subject - generally people write more about work experience for vocational subjects like Medicine and Law than they would for Maths or English , where work experience is less important.
9. Is it worth doing loads of extra-curricular stuff to make my statement sound good?
There's no point doing extra things just to try and make yourself look good to universities - you won't enjoy it and it probably won't help much either.
From what we've seen, an interest and aptitude for the course is more important to admissions tutors than lots of extra curricular activities.
If you do want to do something to boost your application, read relevant books or do work experience related to the subject instead.
10. Should I talk about my qualifications?
No. There's already a section on the UCAS form for this, so don't waste space talking about them on your personal statement.
If you have something important that doesn't go in the qualifications section, ask your referee to put it down in your reference - it will sound better if it comes from them than from you.
11. Where can I see some example personal statements?
We have loads of free personal statement samples that you can browse through, broken down into subject categories so you can hopefully find what you are looking for quite easily!
Looking at what other students have written and submitted on their application is a useful way of seeing what makes a great personal statement (and what doesn't!).
Just make sure you don't copy sentences or whole chunks of these examples though, as UCAS has plagiarism detection software and your application will be rejected if it's found you've cheated!
12. What should I do after I've written my statement?
Ask for opinions on it!
Show it to your friends, parents, teachers, career advisors, etc and note down their comments.
The most useful comments are likely to come from your teachers in the subject and the people at your school or college who handle UCAS applications.
If you have enough time, leave your personal statement for a couple of weeks or a month and come back to it - if you're not still happy with what you wrote, it's time to start redrafting.
13. Should I post my personal statement online?
It's generally not a good idea to post it on an internet forum or discussion board before you've started university.
Anyone can steal information off a website and pass it off as their own, and with something as important as a personal statement, you don't want that to happen.
You should be OK sending it to people you trust by email - see the next question for a better way of getting people to look at it.
14. Where can I ask for feedback on my personal statement?
To get people to look at your personal statement without the risk of plagiarism visit the personal statement review section.
You can also get your personal statement professionally edited and reviewed here at Studential, through one of our very popular personal statement editing and critique packages.
We offer a range of services covering a variety of prices, so there's bound to be a package suited to you.
15. I'm still stuck with my personal statement - where can I find more in-depth advice?
Some people say writing a personal statement is easy – maybe it is, but it’s difficult to write a personal statement well. As this is such a big topic to cover, we suggest taking a look at our personal statement examples to help give you some inspiration for what to write, and then read through our personal statement writing guide when you’re ready to put pen to paper. Browse through the other information and advice we have in our personal statements section, and if you still feel you need a little extra help, you can always get your personal statement professionally edited and reviewed by one of our editors. We offer a range of UCAS personal statement editing and critique services , so there’s bound to be one suited to your needs. Don’t forget to ask your family, friends, teachers and careers adviser to look through your personal statement drafts, and incorporate any feedback they give you until you are 100% happy with it. Remember - it doesn’t matter how many times you have to redraft your personal statement – the most important thing is you get it right so you give yourself the best possible chance of being offered places by your chosen universities/colleges.
IMPORTANT: When writing your personal statement, it’s vital you remember not to copy from anyone else’s personal statement (not even just a sentence!). Not only is it wrong and unfair, but any plagiarism will be detected by the Copycatch Similarity Detection Software. If UCAS discover you have plagiarised your personal statement, whether you have copied someone else’s entirely or parts of it, they will cancel your application.
You can also try looking through our personal statement guide for extra guidance.
This takes you through how to write a personal statement step-by-step, and goes into far more detail than this FAQ does.
If you feel you need more help, check out our personal statement editing and critique services where our professional editors will review your statement to make it a success.
16. How do I write a personal statement if I'm a mature student?
Don't worry if you're a mature student applying to university - your qualifications, skills and extra experience will count as an advantage! Universities want to take on students from all walks of life, and this includes mature ones with more life experience.
Focus on what you can bring to the university if they offered you a place on the course, and how your degree fits into your future plans.
Read through some of our Mature Student Personal Statement Examples for inspiration.
17. How do I write a personal statement if I'm an international student?
As mentioned previously, universities want students from a range of backgrounds, and this includes those who want to study at their institution from abroad.
Again, try to convey how your experiences in your own country will benefit you on your course, and how they make you a valuable asset to the university.
To give you an idea of what other international students have written in the past, read through some of our International Student Personal Statement Examples for inspiration (but please remember not to copy them, or your application will be penalised!).
A few last tips
What have you done, relevant to your subject, that is unique and no one else is likely to put down?
Many people have the same old boring interests and work experience - you need something to separate you from the crowd, and while it's a gamble to make an individual personal statement, anything individual you do related to your chosen field can only look good.
Have a think - what makes you so special? If you can't think of anything then you can't complain if you get rejected! Finally, remember it's your personal statement, and you can write whatever you want in it.
If everything in this guide conflicts with what you've got already but you think you still have a killer personal statement, then use that.
A personal statement is about you, and you shouldn't let anyone tell you what to put in it - sticking blindly to the formula mentioned here will just stop your true personality showing through.
For more tips and advice on writing your personal statement, please see:
- Personal Statement Examples
- The 15th January UCAS Deadline: 4 Ways To Avoid Missing It
- Analysis Of A Personal Statement
- Personal Statement Editing Services
- Top 10 Personal Statement Writing Tips
- Personal Statement Advice From A Teacher
- Personal Statement Writing Guide
- What To Do If You Miss The 15th January UCAS Deadline .
Best of luck with your personal statement!
Has lots of valuable
Mon, 19/09/2011 - 05:17
Has lots of valuable information
Thu, 06/10/2011 - 20:30
very good site!! Helped a lot!!!!
Wed, 12/10/2011 - 17:21
Great info, i appreciate it.
Fri, 14/10/2011 - 14:35
i wana apply for a science
Tue, 25/10/2011 - 10:22
i wana apply for a science faculty but what i did in the past were only related to English (eg:joining competitions in sos verse speaking,public speaking;volunteered to teach english;being chairman of english society at school./) and seems almost nth for science.... so should i write those experience also?but how can i link them to the content.... thanks
Wed, 26/10/2011 - 22:56
Excellent website, I have searched high and low for a website like this. Very impressed.
wow this has just simply
Fri, 28/10/2011 - 21:15
wow this has just simply saved my life:)
Sun, 30/10/2011 - 11:11
Thank you for the guidance, its very simple and straight forward
Fri, 04/11/2011 - 06:38
I have Aspergers should I include this in my PS because it has affected my involvement in extra curricular activities
like to point out that it is
Wed, 09/11/2011 - 15:13
like to point out that it is 47 lines and not 37 :) that aside, very helpful - thanks!
The best site I have found to
Fri, 02/12/2011 - 22:29
The best site I have found to help with personal statements, got so much useful infomation and straight to the point, will definately recommend to others in my class who are in the middle of their personal statments!
I have read that you should
Tue, 06/12/2011 - 14:57
I have read that you should write about why you wish to study at university and what inspires you to, and i want to but the real reason i want to study at uni is because of a very personal reason and im not sure wether to mention it as i feel i may come across as an attention seeker? the real reason i want to go is because of a very abusive relationship with an ex boyfriend that made me realise i should make the most of my life and do exactly what i want and never let anyone bring me down... do u think it would be too much if i said this - I was very unsure whether to write about the real reason I want to pursue what I’m passionate about, because its very personal. The truth is that is wasn’t a good experience. A traumatising abusive relationship with an ex boyfriend woke me up and made me see I should make the most out of my life.
Tue, 06/12/2011 - 15:03
Tue, 06/12/2011 - 15:08
Mon, 13/02/2012 - 13:06
I'm so glad I found this site
Thu, 01/03/2012 - 15:46
I'm so glad I found this site. It's helped alot.
I'm so glad I found this site. It's helped alot. :)
Thu, 01/03/2012 - 15:47
Lying on your personal statement
Tue, 10/07/2012 - 20:27
I was very disappointed to see this included in your FAQs. Even more to see it answered in the way it was. If someone can lie and "get away with it" does that not suggest we could potentially have a generation of useless, brainless, incompetent potential lawyers, doctors, politicians heading our way? Oh, wait...how long have you been giving this advice out?
do we have to write about our
Tue, 31/07/2012 - 19:13
do we have to write about our interests and hobbies???
if yes what if we dont have enough space and gone over max line limit??
thx a lot for the post..lots
Thu, 13/09/2012 - 23:21
thx a lot for the post..lots of info :)
you get 47 lines not 37 as it
Thu, 20/09/2012 - 11:35
you get 47 lines not 37 as it says
Wed, 17/04/2013 - 11:16
Some of the universities I'm applying to offer different courses to other unis I'm also applying to. Is it possible to send two different personal statements depending on which uni? For Edinburgh and Manchester, I want to apply for English Literature, but for Aberystwyth, East Anglia and Manchester Metropolitian they offer English Lit and Creative Writing.
Any advice would be great, thanks!
Wed, 24/07/2013 - 03:11
Say, you got a nice article.Much thanks again. Awesome.
Thu, 25/07/2013 - 16:15
The maximum on UCAS for personal statements is 47 lines and 4000 characters, not 37 lines as stated on this page.
This is really helpful and
Fri, 27/09/2013 - 14:15
This is really helpful and informative but I'm fairly sure the number of lines allowed is 47, not 37 as written here.
Retaking year 12
Sun, 29/09/2013 - 12:22
I have recently retook year 12 and I am now in the process of writing my personal statement. Having gathered differing opinions on this matter i was wondering for your input on whether or not its worth putting it down on my personal statement.I have changed subjects, left one out for a year and returned to it and retaken a subject. This now leaves me with 5 As levels.
Mon, 30/09/2013 - 20:06
"Have a think - what makes you so special? If you can't think of anything then you can't complain if you get rejected!"
As if we're not under enough stress already!
Tue, 29/10/2013 - 20:33
can I put links in to websites I have professionally made
wow very good much
Fri, 15/11/2013 - 09:25
wow very good much informative
Very informative. I really
Wed, 15/01/2014 - 14:57
Very informative. I really appreciate your site.
Mon, 30/06/2014 - 14:27
A personal statement is a short essay of around 500-1,000 words, in which you tell a compelling story about who you are, what drives you, and why you're applying. To write a successful personal statement for a graduate school application, don't just summarize your experience; instead, craft a focused narrative in your own voice.
Clear writing is the result of clear thinking. The first and most important task is to decide on a message. Consider carefully which two or three points you wish to impress upon the reader, remembering that your audience is composed of academics who are experts in their fields.
Applying to university Writing your personal statement Explore this section Here you'll find everything you need to know about writing your personal statement. How to write your undergraduate personal statement Stand out from the crowd by showcasing who you are and what you can bring to a university as you begin your undergraduate journey.
The personal statement is your opportunity to talk about you, and why you want to enrol on a particular course. But it can be hard to know how to structure the information, which is where the personal statement builder can really help. ... Also, even if you don't end up applying to university, using the personal statement builder is a great ...
Your personal statement should be no more than 3,500 characters (approximately 500 words) in length and should be written in formal English, using appropriate grammar and punctuation. It is a good idea to ask a friend to proofread your statement for you before you submit your application. This article was published on 23 Feb, 2021
Top tips for writing the perfect personal statement (The Complete University Guide) Maximum length. 47 lines or 4,000 characters maximum - whichever comes first. What to include. Your personal statement is your chance to stand out from the crowd. It is unique and individual to you, but some things to include are:
November 11, 2021 How Long Should a Personal Statement Be? Professional recommendations from the Ivy League Editors College Personal Statement EssayEdge > Blog > How Long Should a Personal Statement Be? Updated: March 9, 2023 Do Not Know How to Start Your Essay?
Where to put a personal statement. You can type your personal statement in the online application form (3,000-character limit, including spaces) or upload it as a separate document. If you upload your personal statement, you can go over 3,000 characters but it cannot be longer than two sides of A4 paper (size 12 font and single spaced).
How to apply > Undergraduate applications > How to strengthen your personal statement To strengthen your university application, consider the following advice about writing your personal statement. Personal statement is the section on your UCAS application that universities use to check that the course you have applied for is right for you.
Highlight that specific inspiration or motivation, aside from complying with the UNI personal statement length. Find out the style of writing that they are looking for by including that in the PS. Aside from the style, learn of the proper university personal statement word count to ensure that you are not going beyond the required character count.
Just start by showing your enthusiasm for the subject, showcasing your knowledge and understanding, and sharing your ambitions of what you want to achieve. Avoid cliches! Remember, this opening part is simply about introducing yourself, so let the admissions tutor reading your personal statement get to know you. Keep it relevant and simple.
Enter your personal statement below to check if it meets the UCAS Apply requirements for the number of lines and character length. The requirements for teacher training personal statements are different for UCAS Apply so this checker won't produce the correct results.
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.
The 'word' limit is 47 lines of text, or 4000 characters. This equates to (roughly) 600 words. UCAS recommends that you write out your personal statement in a word processor before copying and pasting it into their online application form. To help you with this, use our personal statement length checker when writing your statement.
Characters Lines 0 / 4000 0 / 47 Please note: The line count may differ than the number of lines in the textbox above but when copy and pasted will match the line count on the UCAS application. UCAS Personal Statement Requirements No longer than 4000 characters. No longer than 47 lines. Each line can be no longer than 94 characters.
The UCAS personal statement is an important piece of writing you need to put together for your UCAS application. It is where students should sell themselves in order to try and secure a place at their chosen universities. This includes your strengths, achievements, interests and ambitions, and you need to convey why the university should choose ...
Our law personal statement examples above will help you put together your own. unique statement. and our personal statement template and editing services can also provide further guidance. University admissions tutors want to see you are a dedicated student that can bring value to their department. so spend as much time as possible writing the ...
The statement is used by university admission teams when they consider applications. It's your first opportunity to showcase your academic achievements, extracurricular activities and show your chosen university that you are a suitable applicant for your course. Complete the form below to receive your free personal statement guide from Kingston ...
This may sound a lot, but it's a word limit of around 550-1000 words with spaces and only about 1 side of typed A4 paper. You need to keep it concise and make sure it's clear and easy to read. Applying for multiple courses Although you can apply for up to 5 courses on your UCAS application, you can only submit 1 personal statement.
There is no actual word limit - instead, you have a maximum of 47 lines or 4000 characters to work with. This is all the space UCAS give you on their online system, Apply. You can check that your statement will fit in the area provided by using our handy Personal Statement Length Checker. 3.