Saturday, 23 January 2021

How To Write A UCAS Personal Statement


If you are reading this post I suspect that you will be looking to apply for university in the near future. In order to apply you must write a personal statement to explain why you want a place on your desired course and why you are the right candidate to study at their institution.  For some courses including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine/science courses, as well as all courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the deadline is October 15 however the deadline for other courses is January 15th (as of January 2021, this has been extended). 

If you have a looked on the official UCAS website they have in fact created a worksheet and mindmap to help structure your own personal statement which is what I used to build my own application. It helped tremendously and I will be expanding on those points in this post. I did however, leave out the sections which I felt were not necessary for me to include and you are more than welcome to do the same. Now without further ado lets get into it. 

Paragraph 1: Why do You Want to Study This Subject? 
First off you want to begin your statement by explaining the reasoning behind picking the course you have applied for. What has drawn your attention to it? Was it a personal experience which inspired you? A story? A family memeber or friend? Whatever the reason is, be sure to explain why it means so much to you and how you came to this ultimate decision. Be passion but not overly dramatic. Be honest amd authentic and aim to express your desire as clear as possible. 

Para 2: Education & Work Experience 
Next, you may want to discuss any relevant courses you have completed which have helped you build your knowledge of work in this particular area this may include Health and Social Care, Sociology, Science, Psychology and the like. Discuss what your favourite modules were and why. Similarly if you have work experience in this field discuss in detail what you learned from this and how you may apply those lessons to your future course. Regardless of whether it is voluntary or paid work, going the extra mile to find relevant work to your course lets the admissions officers know have a genuine interest in learning more and increasing your insight into the field you are interested in. If you are unable to acquire paid work experience maybe due to age (under 18) or Covid-19, there are still resources online to help you learn and you may still be able to include these in your personal statement. This includes attending virtual open days, online workshops, and watching documetaries. 

Paragraph 3: Skills and Qualities Which Make You The Right Candidate
Skills and qualities can be merged with the previous paragraph as they are closely tied. With all of your learning and hands on experience (if you have any) in detail talk about the skills you gathered along the way and how this may be beneficial to you once your course begins. 

Paragraph 4: Hobbies and Interests
If I were an admissions officer I would say this would be one of my favourite sections to read about. Universities want to know that you are a well rounded individual and you live an active life outside of your studies. After completing my last draft of my personal statement I had a career adviser inform me to only add hobbies if they were relevant to the course. For example if you were applying for vetinary medicine, maybe your love of horseriding has increased your desire to care for animals. Although the hobbies I included were not necessarily linked to my course I mentioned the skills gained ftom them and how they can support me on my future endeavours. 
They want to know that you are a wekl rounded Invidual and you are generally a pkeasant person who lives life to the full.

Paragraph 5: Future Plans
Perhaps you have thought about a specialist area you would like to pursue on completion of your course, I would definitely suggest to mention this as it demonstrates you are forward thinking and actively working towards a long term plan with the course you have picked. If there is anything you are currently doing to prepare yourself for this include this as well. For example I know someone who applied for a BSc in Social Work and they had mentioned in their personal statment that they were interested in working in Deaf Services and added they were in the process of learning British Sign Language to help prepare for this. In the instance you have not thought that far ahead maybe this is something you may want to consider however if you simply are not sure and need time to think about, that is fine to. There is no need to overwhelm yourself before your career has even begun! 

Plan. Prepare. Apply. Enjoy the process and best of luck with your application.