A personal statement is part of your application to study at a UK university. In a personal statement, the student writes about what they hope to achieve on a UK university course, what they hope to do after the course and why they are applying to the University they chose. It is your first chance to show a demonstrable passion and understanding of your chosen subject away from exam results.
A list with examples of Personal Statements for each University subject can be found at: https://www.studential.com/university/applying/UCAS-application-guide/personal-statement-examples/subjects
What to include in your personal statement
- Your career aspirations
- How you became interested in studying the subject
- What, if any, relevant work experience you have undertaken that is related to the course or subject
- What aspects of your previous education you have found the most interesting
- What attracted you to the University that you chose to study in
- Other relevant academic interests and passions which display positive character and personality
Genuine experiences of extra-curricular clubs, work experience or knowledge around a subject are much more likely to make your personal statement stand out, while admissions officers are also for looking for positive evidence of your character which will make you a productive member of the university.
How long should my personal statement be?
The length of a personal statement varies depending on the university, but generally the average length for an undergraduate application is between 400-600 words, around one side of A4 paper or a maximum of 47 lines. Certain postgraduate programmes may require a 1,000 word personal statement, but this will be clearly specified.
Try not to go over the given character limit as admissions officers have many personal statements to go through, and a clearly written and concise personal statement is more likely to stand out.
Common personal statement errors
- The personal statement is too short/long
- The personal statement does not include important information/includes negative information
- The personal statement has a confusing structure
It is also important to not lie about any aspect of your personal life and education history, or even exaggerate. Admissions officers will question you about almost all aspects of your application and are more than adept at getting to the bottom of any non-truths.
What is UCAS?
UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It’s the centralized service that students use to apply to university. Everyone who wants to study an undergraduate degree in the UK will have to apply through UCAS.
Important: Edu4u is partnered with UCAS. Therefore, when you are making your application through UCAS, it is crucial that you put in our buzzword. Doing so will officially make us your agent, allowing us to be able to monitor, track and support you throughout the application process.
Our buzzword is:
- “Edu4u2018” (for the academic year of 2018-2019)
- “Edu4u2019” (for the academic year of 2019-2020)
Tips for a successful personal statement
- Express a passion for your subject
- Start the statement strongly to grab an admission officers’ attention
- Link outside interests and passions to your course
- Be honest, but don’t include negative information
- Don’t attempt to sound too clever
- Don’t leave it the last minute, prepare ahead of the deadline
- Have friends and family proof read it
- Don’t duplicate material from your CV/resume
In terms of presentation, attempt to create five clear paragraphs of text in a clear font such as Arial or Times New Roman, with a maximum size of 12.
When you write your Personal Statement, don’t forget to check it for spelling, grammar and punctuation, it’s best to ask someone who knows English better than us its checking for language and on the merits.
To check the basic errors, we recommend the website www.grammarly.com
Reference letters for UK universities
Normally, you will need two reference letters when you apply to a UK university. Additionally, if you want to apply for certain scholarship, these reference letters, will demonstrate your eligibility and will strongly support the application, at the same time. Sometimes reference letters are also referred to as letters of recommendation.
Reference letters are as important as any other documents in your application. Normally, a university cannot interview each applicant. The reference letter helps to gain an impression of who you are. That impression can play a crucial role, when it comes to the decision of whether or not to accept the student.
What should a reference letter include?
- past study or working experience with the students
- the referee’s assessment of an applicant’s interest and ability to study a subject at university
- the applicant’s achievements in school and the wider community
- the referee’s thoughts on the applicant’s academic record and explanation of anything unusual in the record
- applicant’s other characteristic and quality that make the referee think that the university should accept this student
Who is the right referee?
Your professors, tutors and people who have worked with closely are a very good choice of the referee because they can offer detailed insight into you, your skills and your work. It would be great if the referee can demonstrate a certain level of understanding or professionalism of the subject to which the student is applying.
If you’ve been working in an industry which is closely related to the university programme that you want to apply for, you can also have the reference letter written by your managers or employer (It is advisable to include a note explaining your choice of referee and why you chose them to write your reference letter).
What is the format for a reference letter for UK universities?
There is no specific requirement about how long the reference letter should be, but it is advised that a reference letter should not exceed two pages in length.
The letter should be written on the official letterhead of the referee’s home institution. The referee’s contact details (email, phone number and working address) should be clearly noted on the top right corner of the letter.
There is no specific requirement on how a reference letter should be organized though it is very important for admission team from the university to see a logical order in the writing. They may want to know who the referee is before jumping into the reason why the referee thinks you are a genuine, eligible applicant. Therefore, a brief introduction of the referee and his or her relationship with the applicant will be appreciated.
The referee then can comment on your strengths and skills that you have and emphasize the relation between those qualities and the course provided the university. Examples such as discussions, tutorials or coursework can be displayed in the letter in order to demonstrate your abilities.
If the referee is also familiar with your extracurricular work, such as student jobs, having a position in clubs or student union, working in an NGO or organizing events, he or she can mention those experience in the reference letter as long as the experience is relevant to the course. By doing so, the letter will be more convincing and highlight the student’s character of having a positive attitude and being responsible.
The letter should conclude with an offer for further contact from the referee and it needs to be signed.
Prepare your referees
After selecting your referees, you may want to inform them of the deadlines for your submission. You should meet with your referees in advance so that you will have time to discuss the letter.
You may have to change your referee at the last stage when you find out that the referee is not committed enough or you decide to apply for a different programme, but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.
Remember that you can submit your application before the reference letter arrives. You may be asked to submit them at the later stage but do not hold up submitting your application.