The personal statement is your opportunity to talk about you, and why you want to enrol on a particular course. You should describe the ambitions, skills, and experience that’ll make you suitable for the course.

Try not to stress about it. One conservatoire tutor told us they recommend prospective students think of their application like a triangle that includes:

  • your personal statement
  • your portfolio
  • evidence or work experience, and the exam and course grades.

Each corner of the triangle is important. but together the three elements make up the whole application.

Where to begin?

  • Firstly, leave plenty of time to write it. You’ll have up to 4,000 characters of text (about one side of A4) to show why you’d make a great student – so it might take a few redrafts until you’re happy.
  • Take note of the course descriptions to help you decide what to write about – they mention the qualities, skills, and experience the conservatoire would like you to have.
  • Write your personal statement on your laptop first, and then copy and paste it into your online application. Check the 4,000 character and 47-line limits though – some applications don’t count tabs and paragraph spacing as individual characters. And remember to keep saving it.
  • You can also register in the UCAS Hub and use the ‘personal statement builder’ to help you structure it. Once you’ve registered, read below for tips on what to include in each section of your statement.
     

Dr Jack Harbord – Programme Leader Popular Music, Leeds Conservatoire

‘A good statement contains lots of tangible achievements and experiences that panel members can draw upon in their interviews. Statements that speak vaguely of passion for a subject, but lack detail and specifics are less useful.’

What to write about

Have a look at our guide to writing an undergraduate personal statement, and then consider what other specific things conservatoires may be looking for. Think about including the following:

  • Why you’re applying – your ambitions and what interests you about the subject, conservatoires and higher education.
  • Your reasons for choosing the courses you’ve listed. Remember that each conservatoire will be able to see the other conservatoires and courses you've applied to, so explain why you’ve chosen those courses.
  • What interests you about your chosen study area (playing an instrument, acting, singing, conducting, stage design or another specialist area).
  • Your experience within your chosen specialist area and in any other activity related to the course(s) for which you’ve applied.
  • What makes you suitable – for example, membership of national/international orchestras, choirs or chamber groups (such as NYO, EUYO or National Youth Theatre) and any other relevant skills and achievements gained from education, work or other activities.
     

Top tips

Structure
Structure your information to reflect the skills and experience conservators value most.
Keep it simple
Write in an enthusiastic, concise and natural style – nothing too complex.
Stand out from the crowd
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 your statement
Remember SPAG – spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Kate McBurnie – first year French, Italian and Theatre student, University of Glasgow

‘Make use of the other facets of your personality within conservatoire applications – include your hobbies, interests, and achievements outside of your subject – but also remember to include the parts of yourself that are related to the course.’

1. Writing about the course

This is the section to talk about why you want to take this course and what you’ve done in relation to the subject you’re proud of. Tutors ask you to get across a sense of enthusiasm and passion for your subject.

Include why you’re interested in studying at a conservatoire. Are there any aspects you can include that tell the tutors about your character, spirit, and attitude towards life and learning?

2. Skills and achievements

For this section, tutors told us they like to see what you’ve done with your time outside of the subjects you studied and any school or college-led activities. Tell them what you’ve done in your own time – show evidence of independent learning and the motivation to commit time to what you want to do.

Extracurricular activities are also 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. You might be able to organise or start a new activity before you send your application.

Think about:

You may also be able to get accreditation in personal effectiveness from ASDAN for activities that prepare you for higher education.

3. Work experience and future plans

As well as hearing about your extracurricular activities, tutors want to know what you’re hoping to do in the future, so tell them about your work experience and your creative ambitions.

  • What experience do you already have?
  • How will studying at a conservatoire help with your career ambitions?
  • What achievements and experiences might you be able to talk about in your interview?
Dos
  • Do think about your personal accomplishments, as well as your ambitions and goals.
  • Do get across your enthusiasm and passion for the subject.
  • Do proofread aloud and get your teachers, advisers, and family to check – then redraft until you’re happy with it.
Don'ts
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute – it may take longer than you think.
  • Don’t overdo the humour or quotes from others.
  • Don’t write one large paragraph – split the information up and even consider using bullet points or lists.

Try and leave the tutor with a lasting impression of you.

If you’re not sure how to end your statement, you can read here for some extra tips. Your conservatoire personal statement is like an undergraduate university application, but what you’ve done in your free time really helps to show your passions and experience. Don’t be shy – this is your chance to shine.

Need more advice?

Don't be tempted to copy

UCAS scans all personal statements with the Copycatch system, to compare them with previous statements.

Any similarity greater than 30% will be flagged and action could be taken against you. 

Find out more