Personal statements: What universities want to know

Monday 14 September 2020, UCAS advice

by UCAS

Personal statements: What universities want to know

Relevant to
UCAS

Why you want to study the subject(s) you’re applying for? Remember - expand on your reasons and evidence this e.g. has a particular area/topic caught your attention? Have you undertaken work experience/placements/EPQs/tasters to broaden your knowledge and understanding? 

Why should universities choose you? What have you got to offer? Demonstrate your motivation and enthusiasm. Showcase your skillset. 

What else do you do? Part-time work/ Volunteering? Hobbies/interests? Responsibilities? Other achievements?

Tip: When reviewing your statement, ask yourself – why am I putting this information in my personal statement and what is it telling the person reading it?

Your personal circumstances
Your experience of estrangement may have had a massive impact on your studies. Pragmatically, there may be skills/experiences that you could draw on when talking about what you have to offer – but don’t let estrangement define who you are and stop you answering those three main questions. Remember reflect and recognise what you have accomplished in your journey so far. Be proud of your achievements

What else to consider?
Speak to the person writing your Ucas reference. With your agreement, they can mention your personal circumstances and the impact this may have had on your studies and other relevant information.

Research university schemes for estranged students e.g. the University of Sheffield has Access+ which could give your application additional consideration when they receive it and when exam results are released. If a uni offers you a place, they may also be able to make you an alternative offer lower than the standard entry requirements for your course. 

If you have questions about going to university and what types of support will be available, check out the Stand Alone website to find dedicated contacts at the university/universities you’re applying to. Reach out, ask questions.

If you have the potential to succeed at university, they want to make sure you have the opportunity to do so.