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Writing Your Personal Statement - My Top Tips

If you're applying to university, then you'll need to write a good personal statement. Getting it right will take a while, so expect to write up a few drafts. Here are some tips on how to write a successful personal statement.

Please note that the standard personal statement via UCAS will reformed for 2024 (for people planning on studying in 2025)!

This will have questions focusing on themes of:

  • Preparedness for course: How has your learning so far helped you to be ready to succeed on these courses?

  • Preparation through other experiences: What else have you done to help you prepare, and why are these experiences useful?

  • Extenuating circumstances: Is there anything that the universities and colleges need to know about, to help them put your achievements and experiences so far into context?

  • Preparedness for study: What have you done to prepare yourself for student life?

  • Preferred learning styles: Which learning and assessment styles best suit you – how do your courses choices match that?

The ground rules of your personal statement (pre-2024 applications):

  • No more than 4,000 characters (Yes, this includes spaces too)

  • No more than 47 lines of text

  • One personal statement will be sent to all of the universities that you apply to

Top Tips:

  • Words are precious - Make every sentence “tick a box” on the admissions tutor’s checklist

  • Do your research into the career/profession - are there any current topical issues that interest you? State your ambitions and why you chose the career (but please avoid the phrase '...because I love animals')

  • Be honest with your experience - the university may question you on your experiences. It’s okay if you only observed certain situations

  • Don't use long, unnecessary words to sound smarter

  • Do not copy another personal statement - use them for inspiration on how to write only. All personal statements are checked for plagiarism (A future professional does not cheat)

  • Talk to your head of year or tutor who will be writing your reference. This will ensure that they can write a more personal account of you if they know what your goals are

  • Back up your claims with examples - if you say that you're an organised person, then give an example where you showed this

  • Make it personal - use first person

  • Consider the type of courses that you apply to. It is obvious if you are applying to Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Nursing. These are two different careers and applying for both at the same time isn’t recommended as you can only give one personal statement.

  • Use a personal statement length checker - You are limited to 4,000 characters and 47 lines (You may need to rejig some sentences to meet the line requirement). Note that Microsoft Word's character and line count may differ from UCAS

So how do I start?

Try and make a daily account of all of the things you have observed during your work experience. This will make it easier to recall situations when you start writing.

Also, compile a list of skills and attributes that are required for a vet or vet nurse. Do you already possess any pf them? Be sure to provide some examples too!

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"My thrist for knowledge is driven because I love animals. I have wanted to be a vet since I was 12 and did work experience at a vet practice for 4 weeks. I have seen lots of surgeries which were cool to watch, I have also spent a few months abroad in Cyprus working in conservation where I got to castrate stray cats. I am organised, reliable, a good team worker and good at communication. I believe that I am the perfect student to study at Cambridge university because I have been at the top of my class in Biology. In my spare time in play netball and read a lot."

Let's Look at an Example

Great that you had a lot of work experience, but again, so what? Just a personal note, I wouldn't comment on doing any veterinary procedures (in the UK or not) as this should only be carried out by qualified vets - you need to show that you understand the profession

Always read through your sentences to ensure there are no mistakes

There is no need to brag - a professional would not do this. Plus, your grades will say this

Specifically naming a university alienates your other options. Remember, all of your choices will be reading the same peronsla statement

Just listing skills/attributes are not sufficient - you need to explain why you possess these attributes

Cliché phrase

Spelling mistake - always check your grammar and spelling

So what? This phrase is also very colloquial and does not explain anything that you learnt from the experience

Need some more help?

Whether you are just getting started, or are polishing your final draft, drop us an email so that we can get your application UCAS-ready.

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