Personal statements

You have up to 4,000 characters of text, and no more than 47 lines (that's roughly one A4 page), to tell us why we should offer you a place.

Top tip: proof read!

Check spelling, grammar and content. Different people will pick up different things so expect to write a few drafts before it's ready. If you prepare early on, you should have enough time to make sure you are happy with the final version.

Your statement

Back it up

“I am highly organised, and work really well in a team." Anybody can say they have skills, but you need to prove it! Provide evidence for the statements that you make, to show where, when and how you have demonstrated these attributes.

Concise

Have you repeated yourself, by simply rephrasing certain sentences or qualities? Group related information together, to reflect the skills that prove your suitability for the course.

Personal

The clue is in the name, it is supposed to be a 'personal' statement, about you and why you want to apply for your chosen course at university. What is your unique selling point? If your tutor read it with no name attached, could they identify it as yours?

Tone

While this is part of a formal application, when read aloud, it shouldn't seem robotic. Make sure it reads naturally and is not too complicated

Reference

Ideally this should be written by someone who know you academically and can talk about your work ethic, interaction with other students and suitability for higher education or a future career.

At school or college?

This will usually be your tutor or teacher

Access student?

A short reference can be provided now, then a complete one can be sent in the spring.

Left education years ago?

Ideally this should be written by someone who know you academically and can talk about your work ethic, interaction with other students and suitability for higher education or a future career.

At school or college?

This will usually be your tutor or teacher.

Access student?

A short reference can be provided now, then a complete one can be sent in the spring.

Left education years ago?

Ask an employer, volunteering supervisor or trainer. Choose the most appropriate person for the course you're applying for, e.g. a lead volunteer could be more suitable than your manager of 15 years. Don't ask family, friends or ex-partners – your application may be cancelled.

Check that they are happy to provide a reference first, as you will need to provide their email and phone number

Top tips:

Did you know that 'passion' is one of the most overused words on the personal statement? Show you're passionate with detailed examples of how you have gained skills and knowledge, not just by saying it

Stand out from the crowd for the right reasons. Don't be tempted to 'borrow' information.