The five things every student should include on their personal statement.

How to stand out

With admissions tutors reading hundreds of personal statements, how can you make sure you stand out and are remembered? 

Here, we’re going to share with you the five things every personal statement should include. We’ve spoken to advisors from many universities and colleges, so the information is coming directly from those who read them.

Liz Bryan, HE Coordinator and Careers Adviser Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, Darlington

“Their interest in the subject may have been generated from work experience, voluntary work, hobbies/interests or even from studying it at A Level.”

Can I include quotes in my personal statement?

Joseph Bolton, Second Year History and Politics, University of Liverpool

“Everyone has a passion, and all passions have something which shows why you’re good at a certain thing… for example, with netball you’re working in a team, being committed, and if you don’t prepare you fail...”
  1. Be Uniquely You

    Show off your skills and experiences that make you unique. Link how that’s relevant to the course you’re applying for and how it’ll serve you well in your university journey.
  2. Show not tell!

    It’s all very well telling someone you’re great at something, but an admissions tutor wants to see the evidence. Share a real-life scenario where you’ve clearly demonstrated the skills or knowledge you’re referring to. 
  3. Unapologetic passion

    Don’t be afraid to shout about how excited you are about a course or subject. What is it you love and why do you want to study it? What impact do you think you could have when you’re armed with more knowledge?
  4. Your ‘why’

    We’re all driven by something, and it’s that drive that leads us to the uni and course we choose. Talk about your ambitions and the things you think your undergraduate study will help you achieve.
  5. Humble confidence

    Discussing about your achievements is important as it shows you’re self-aware and clear on your strengths. Whether it’s leading a sports team, completing your Duke of Edinburgh or winning a poetry competition, all achievements deserve to be recognised. 

Should I talk about my qualifications?

Kate McBurnie, First Year student in French, Italian and Theatre

“I think it’s really important to not only include why you’d like to study the course you're applying for, but also the things that set you apart from other applicants, i.e., your hobbies, interests, skills, volunteering etc.”


We’ve talked about the five things every personal statement should include and how you should approach writing it. You may have noticed a big part of writing a great personal statement is your openness to recognising your strengths and sharing that in writing. 

More advice

Use the UCAS’ personal statement tool alongside this guide to help you structure your ideas.
Read our full guide on How to write an undergraduate personal statement.
Read out full guide on How to write a postgraduate personal statement.
Check out our full list of Personal Statement Dos and Don’ts.
Get advice on How to start a personal statement: the attention grabber.
Read our full guide on How to finish your statement the right way.