The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles applications to all UK universities. It requires all applicants to submit a personal statement along with their qualifications. This is a piece of writing which describes your academic achievements, extracurricular activities and programs other than your studies, and why you think the university should accept you.
What is the word limit for the UCAS personal statement?
UCAS allows your statement to be up to 4,000 characters long (including spaces and line breaks) and must fit onto 47 lines (or less). That is about 600 words.
When must my personal statement be completed?
15th October (or thereabouts) is the UCAS deadline for Oxford and Cambridge applications. The same for courses in medicine, veterinary medicines, and dentistry at other universities. 15th January (or thereabouts) is the deadline for the rest of UCAS undergraduate courses. These are the deadlines for applications, so it would be wise to finish the statement well before that so you can review it and have people give you feedback.
How many personal statements do I have to write?
UCAS allows you to write ONE personal statement, which goes to all of the UK universities you are applying to (maximum of five). So make sure not to put anything in your personal statement that relates to a particular university, unless you are only applying for that one.
What should the structure of the personal statement be?
Keep in mind that your personal statement is meant to be a piece of writing to persuade a university to accept you.
So, you might include:
- Why you are interested in the course you are applying for
- What you would hope to do with it
- How your current/previous courses and subjects relate to it
- Any relevant work experience/internships/extra studies you have done
- Any other hobbies and activities you enjoy outside your studies
- How you could continue these at university or try new ones
Should I get help with my personal statement?
It never hurts to ask for help! If you are able, you should definitely get advice on how to write a good personal statement, especially if you need guidance and input from an expert. It is always a good idea to ask someone else to read your personal statement and give you feedback, but you need to be careful – too much advice from people who don’t know what they are talking about will be unhelpful. Rather than getting feedback from your friends, the best thing to do is to get someone with experience in your subject to read it, and also someone who has experience in dealing with admissions. You should NOT get someone else to write your UCAS statement for you.
Should I read examples of other people’s personal statements?
Reading examples of other personal statements can be helpful with ideas and how to structure your writing. However, make sure to find a successful example to read! Think about it: if you want to go to Oxford, do not use a personal statement that did not get the applicant into Oxford for ideas. However, the golden rule here is: do NOT copy someone else! Not only is it a terrible idea, but UCAS also has software that can detect copying.
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