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Point Of Entry 1 Ucas Personal Statement

The personal statement is an important part of the UCAS application. It's your chance to describe your ambitions, skills, and experience.

Our personal statement tool

You can write up to 4,000 characters of text that show you’d make a great student – so it might take a few redrafts until you’re happy with it.

This tool will help you think about what to include in your personal statement, and how to structure it. It also counts how many characters you’ve used, so it’s easy to see when you’re close to that 4,000 character limit.

Write your personal statement now

  • Course descriptions mention the qualities, skills and experience it’s useful to have for each subject – take note of these to help you decide what to write about.
  • Remember it’s the same personal statement for all the courses you apply to, so avoid mentioning unis and colleges by name. Most students choose similar subjects, but if you’ve chosen a variety, just write about common themes – like problem solving or creativity.
  • If you've got a question about writing your personal statement, don't worry you're not alone. Check out our blogs:

What to write about

  1. Why you are applying – your ambitions and what interests you about the subject, course providers and higher education.
  2. What makes you suitable – any relevant skills, experience or achievements gained from education, work or other activities.
  • Extracurricular activities

    These are great ways to prepare for higher education.

    If you do or have done any of these before, they could be ideal things to mention in your personal statement. Or you might be able to organise or start a new activity before you send your application.

  • International and EU students

    As an international student there are a few extra things you should mention.

    1. Why you want to study in the UK
    2. Your English language skills and any English courses or tests you’ve taken
    3. Why you want to be an international student rather than study in your own country
  • Mature students

    Here’s where you can mention any alternative entry requirements you’ve used – like an Access course or APL – demonstrating the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through your previous experiences.

How to write it

Feel free to use our personal statement mind map and personal statement worksheet for planning your personal statement.

There’s no definite formula to follow – just take your time and follow these guidelines.

  • Structure your info to reflect the skills and qualities the universities and colleges value most.
  • Write in an enthusiastic, concise and natural style – nothing too complex.
  • Try to stand out, but be careful with humour, quotes or anything unusual – just in case the admissions tutor doesn’t have the same sense of humour as you.
  • Proofread aloud and get your teachers, advisers, and family to check – then redraft until you’re happy with it and the grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct.

We recommend you write your personal statement first, and then copy and paste it into your online application when you’re done.

Check the 4,000 character and 47 line limits though – some word processors get different values if they don’t count tabs and paragraph spacing as individual characters.

When you do add it to your application, save it regularly as it times out after 35 minutes of inactivity.

Applying for Teacher Education in Scotland?

If you're applying to study Teacher Education in Scotland, you'll need to make your application through the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. Read dedicated personal statement advice from Scottish training providers about what to include in your personal statement.

  • European characters and other languages

    You can use some ​European characters in your personal details, personal statement, employment and referee details. Some of these will be substituted with UK equivalent characters. Check our Extended character sets substitutions​ for more details.

    It’s not possible to apply in an alternative language, unless you’re applying to Welsh course providers and you’d like to make your application entirely in Welsh.

    1. To register in Welsh, when you go to the application service ‘Apply’, you can select ‘Cymraeg’.
    2. When you’re logged in to your application you can change the language to English or Welsh on the ‘Options’ page.
    3. The help text in Apply is available in Welsh too.
    4. In Apply you can choose to receive correspondence from course providers and from us in Welsh.

    Sut i ymgeisio

  • What happens to personal statements that have been copied?

    We screen all personal statements across Copycatch our Similarity Detection system – so make sure your personal statement is all your own work. Don’t copy from anyone else or from the internet and don't share your personal statement with other applicants.

    If we find any similarity in your personal statement, your application will be flagged. Then we’ll email an alert to you and your university or college choices and this could have serious consequences for your application.

  • Want to say more?

    You can only submit one personal statement – the same one for all the courses you apply to – and you can’t change it after your application has been submitted.

    If you want to send any more information you can ask your university and college choices if they’ll accept further details.

    • If they agree, you should send it to them, rather than us.
    • After we receive your application, we’ll send you a welcome email that includes your Personal ID – quote your Personal ID along with the further information you send to the unis and colleges, so they can link it to your UCAS application.


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“From a young age I have (always) been...” was the most popular opening line with university applicants last year, UCAS has revealed.

Some 1,770 students (from over 700,000 who applied) started their personal statements that way; and most of these finished the sentence with ‘interested in’ or ‘fascinated by’.

“For as long as I can remember I have…” was close behind, followed by “I am applying for this course because…”

Over 900 applicants told universities: “I have always been interested in …” with “Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed…” and “Reflecting on my educational experiences…” some way behind.

Next was a sentence specific to Nursing – the degree course with the highest number of applications. Over 200 people wrote: “Nursing is a very challenging and demanding [career/profession/course].”

“Academically, I have always been…” was another popular pick and equal numbers (160) began with “I have always wanted to pursue a career in…” or “I have always been passionate about…”

Just outside the top ten was a quote from former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, chosen by nearly 150 people.

The UK’s admissions service for higher education has shared the most common first sentences to help applicants convey their connection with the subject, in language that makes them stand out.

It’s not too late to apply to start at university or college in 2016. Applicants can make five university choices up until 30 June this year and may still get offers if places are available.

Mary Curnock Cook, UCAS’ Chief Executive said: “The personal statement is supposed to be personal. Learning to write about yourself in a compelling way is a vital skill when applying for jobs; using hackneyed phrases is not the best way to stand out.”

The ten most common opening lines used in personal statements during the 2015 UCAS application cycle were:

1. From a young age I have (always) been [interested in/fascinated by]… [1,779]

2. For as long as I can remember I have… [1,451]

3. I am applying for this course because… [1,370]

4. I have always been interested in… [927]

5. Throughout my life I have always enjoyed… [310]

6. Reflecting on my educational experiences… [257]

7. Nursing is a very challenging and demanding [career/profession/course]… [211]

8. Academically, I have always been… [168]

9. I have always wanted to pursue a career in… [160]

10. I have always been passionate about… [160]


11. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world… [148]



Notes to editors:

  • The UCAS website has comprehensive advice on how to write a strong personal statement, including a new tool to help structure this important part of the application.
  • Last year, UCAS analysed the balance of ‘passion’ and ‘career’ related words in personal statements from students applying to a selection of subjects.
  • UCAS’ end of cycle data resources include applications (choices) and acceptances (individuals) to around 150 subjects in full-time undergraduate UK higher education.

About UCAS

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is a charity and the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education. We manage applications from over 700,000 applicants each year for full-time undergraduate courses at around 380 universities and colleges across the UK.

Press Office contacts
UCAS Press Office: 01242 545469


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