UCAS personal statement checklist
Unless you’re applying for a course that interviews, your personal statement is the only opportunity you have to demonstrate your personality through your application. Once you’ve written your statement, why not use our checklist below to make sure you have got all the vital elements covered.
The personal statement on your UCAS application is your chance to really sell yourself to the universities you are applying to. We do read them and it can make the difference between receiving an offer and being unsuccessful. Once you’ve got your ideas for your personal statement ready to go, use our handy checklist below to make sure you’ve covered all the important information.
- Have you said in the first two sentences what you would like to study? Remember, be innovative in the way you tell us.
- Have you proofread it? Get everyone involved: friends, family, teachers – anyone that’ll look at it. Try reading it aloud too – doing this will make it very clear if something isn’t quite right.
- Have you used full sentences, paragraphs and proper grammar? It is a formal document so should read like one.
- Have you double-checked your spelling and grammar? The UCAS application form doesn’t have a spellcheck function, so we recommend copying it into a word processor to use theirs (it will also give you the character count – remember you’ve only got 4000 – and that includes spaces!).
- Have you got the balance right? We recommend that your statement should focus 80% on the course, and why you want to study it, and 20% on you and your skills. Other universities might have different ideas on this though.
- Have you talked about why the course you are applying for is interesting to you – you need to convince Admissions Teams that you want to study this subject for at least the next 3 years.
- Have you told us how have you come to this decision on the course you are applying for? Have you shared your experiences – something unique to you?
- Have you provided evidence to any claims you make and told us how, as a result, you are more suitable to the course?
- Have you offered an opinion or discussed a contemporary issue around your subject? The best personal statements show what you’ve learned independently and how it’s informed your opinion.
Your Transferable Skills:
- Have you shown what makes you ideal for the course?
- Are the skills you’ve mentioned relevant to the course? Ask yourself the question ‘so what?’ If you can’t think about a reason to talk about a particular skill, the reader will wonder why you’ve mentioned it at all.
You can use the ABC test to see if you are making it relevant:
- A = Activity: This might be captaining a sports team, or being part of a drama club
- B = Benefit: This is the skill(s) you have gained from doing the activity
- C = Course: How the skill will help you to complete the course successfully
And finally, remember that this is a personal statement. It should be totally unique and all about you. Our final tip is this: If you were to anonymously give your personal statement to someone in your class, could they identify it as yours? If they couldn’t, we need to see more about you in there.