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Writing a Personal Statement

If you are applying to UCL, you will want to give yourself the best chance by writing an outstanding Personal Statement.

Here is our advice on how best to show us what you have to offer and give us a sense of who you are as an individual. 


What are we looking for?

We are looking for excellent writing and a statement that is personal and unique to you. We want to understand:

  • Your passion for your subject
  • How you are a good fit for your chosen programme
  • What you will bring to the university community

Before you start

Student at laptop


Read the programme description and the modules offered.

Think about what skills, qualities, and experiences might be needed for a programme like this

Think about examples from your life that demonstrate these skills, qualities and experiences.

Consider:

  • Academic studies
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Personal interests
  • Achievements
  • Projects 
  • Exhibitions visited
  • Competitions
  • Work experience
  • Taster days 
  • Field trips
  • Volunteering experience
  • Reading
  • Lectures
  • Podcasts

Reflect on these: 

  • Were you inspired by the experience? What was inspiring about it?
  • Did it make you want to learn more about something? 
  • What did you learn through this experience about the subject? 
  • Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
  • Did you gain transferable skills through this experience? For example, teamwork, communication, or leadership skills? 

Structure

Your main focus should be on demonstrating your interest in, and describing your engagement with, the subject itself. The majority of your statement, around 75-85%, should focus on this subject, with the remaining 15-25% on extra-curricular activities or career aspirations. 


First draft

From all of your examples, and bearing in mind the structure, choose a few that are most relevant, and write about them in a detailed, specific, and reflective way. Relate these back to the skills, qualities, and experiences that you have identified are relevant to your chosen programme. 

Don’t forget: 

  • Allow your passion for the subject to shine
  • Show why are a good fit for your chosen programme
  • Show what you will bring to our UCL community

Before you submit

Schools counsellor

Ask a teacher, advisor, friend or family member to read your statement and support you to think of other examples that you might have missed. Ask them to do a final spelling and grammar check.

Read your statement aloud to check that it flows well.

Make sure it is truthful and honest; some courses have an interview element so the admissions selector may ask you to expand further on something you wrote in your statement. 

Make sure it is applicable to all five of your UCAS choices; remember you can only submit one personal statement with your UCAS form.

Proofread for a final time. 


Top Tips:

  • 75%-85% of the statement must be about the subject
  • Select only your best examples
  • Reflect on your experiences
  • Stay focused and relevant
  • Let your passion for your subject shine
  • Avoid clichés and bland, vague statements
  • Proofread before submitting