Nine top tips on writing a winning UCAS personal statement

Whatever subject you want to study at uni, admissions officers will tell you one thing: You have to nail that personal statement. It’s the main way universities choose who’s offered a place, so put the time in until you’re completely happy, so the statement tells your story.

Posted: 10 November 2014

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Advice from Roehampton's Head of Admissions, Vicki Davies, could help you secure a place at university

Vicki Davies, Head of Admissions at London’s University of Roehampton says: “Personal statements are how we get to know the people behind the grades. It’s vital there's a story about you, why you want to study, law, or accounting, or dance or any other subject. We need to know what drives you towards your subject.

"The number one thing is you have to write the statement yourself, it's got to be personal. We’ll spot if mum or dad has done it for you; university is your choice and you are the best person to sell yourself truthfully to us."

Vicki’s top tips are:

  • Explain why you want to learn about your subject, and why psychology, history, or whatever is relevant to society.
  • What do you like about the subject? Prove you have looked into the area, mention current topics in the media or recent developments. 
  • If your A-levels inspired your choice of degree subject, say so and explain what interested you. Give an example of an essay you wrote if that would help.
  • Write about how you would achieve your career ambitions after your degree. What kind of work would you like to do and does it relate to your subject? 
  • Write about how your Saturday job or work experience helped choose your degree, if it did. For example, did working in a bookshop make you want to study English literature?
  • Write about any volunteering you do, or groups you’re involved in and what your role is. Explain any interests you have and want to continue at University. This is especially important if they influenced what you want to study and future plans you have. Showing you can achieve good grades alongside outside activities demonstrates you can organise yourself well.
  • Get the conclusion right: Don’t be cheesy or funny, but emphasise your enthusiasm and attributes you have which are relevant to university life. It’s ok to just stop writing when you reach a natural end.
  • Don’t rely on Microsoft Word’s red and green lines, print out and read your statement. Re-write it until you are 100 per cent happy with what you have written. Check it shows why you want to study in your field to someone who has never met you before.
  • Finally, ask someone outside of your family to read it so they can give an honest opinion. 

Check out degree courses at the University of Roehampton.

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