The personal statement is your opportunity to talk about you, and why you want to enrol on a particular course. Use these easy-to-digest bullet points to help you decide what you should and shouldn’t include in your personal statement.

Shona Barrie – Director of Admissions, University of Stirling

‘Do talk about you, why you’re a good candidate, your motivations, and what brings you to this course. Don’t start with a quote from someone else.’

UCAS asked admissions tutors – the people who read and score your personal statement – for their advice on what you should and shouldn’t do when writing your personal statement. 

The most common piece of advice was not to worry about it – and don’t be tempted to copy anyone else’s.

Read our step-by-step guide to writing your personal statement

Then follow our simple tips below.


  • Do talk about why you’re a good candidate – talk about you, your motivations and what brings you to this course.
  • Do be enthusiastic – if you show you’re interested in the course, it may help you get a place.
  • Do make it relevant. Connect what you’re saying with the course and with your experiences.
  • Do outline your ideas clearly.
  • Do avoid the negatives – highlight the positives about you, and show you know your strengths.
  • Do expect to produce several drafts of your personal statement before being totally happy with it.
  • Do ask people you trust for their feedback.


  • Don’t be modest or shy. You want your passions to come across. 
  • Don’t exaggerate – if you do, you may get caught out in an interview when asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement.
  • Don’t use quotes from someone else, or cliches.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute – your statement will seem rushed and important information could be left out.
  • Don’t let spelling and grammatical errors spoil your statement, but don't just rely on a spellchecker. Proofread as many times as possible.
  • Don’t copy and paste – make yours original.
  • Don’t post your personal statement on the internet or on social media or share your personal statement with anyone including your friends and family, unless asking for feedback from people you trust.
  • Don’t worry about it – we have all the advice you need to help you stand out in your personal statement. 

Don’t be tempted to copy or share your statement

UCAS scans all personal statements through a similarity detection system to compare them with previous statements.

Any similarity greater than 30% will be flagged and we'll inform the universities and colleges to which you have applied. 

Find out more

Ana Ghaffari Moghaddam – Third Year Law student and careers coach, University of Liverpool

‘Don’t just do what your friends have done… focus on your own passions and hobbies.’

You’ve got this. Follow those simple steps and use your personal statement as your chance to shine.Use the below as a checklist to make sure you've avoided all common pitfalls.

Want more tips on what to include in your personal statement? Use the links below.