Personal Statements: How to Get Noticed By Universities

If you’re thinking of heading to university next year, you’ll need to start considering what you’re going to include in your UCAS personal statement. Within the 4000 word limit, you’re free to discuss the skills, ambitions, and experiences which may help secure your place on your dream course.

What should you be including within your personal statement to get universities to notice you?


Why you want to study the course

One of the best ways to stand out is to explain the reasoning behind your wish to study the particular course. Despite the fact that many course titles are similar within the different institutions, they will each have their own set modules. If you’re applying for a History course, don’t state that your interests lie in Ancient Greece; they’ll wonder why you aren’t going for Ancient History and whether you really understand the course.

Express your knowledge of the particular course through research you’ve done and show your understanding of the subject you intend to study at a higher level. Explain what interests you and what you’d like to learn further, for your own progression and development.


Skills and knowledge relevant to the course

As you’re up against so many other students, you’ll need to state how your personal skills and knowledge set you apart from the rest. Include examples of what you have read or studied to help make your degree choice, what you learned from this and how it will help you while studying for the course.

Other examples may include skills learned outside of the classroom. Have you taken on any related work experience? Perhaps you’ve undertaken volunteering work, summer schools or even gone travelling during a gap year? If so, reflect on how these experiences have influenced you to study the course and the types of skills you have gained.


Extra curricular activities

While academics are usually the most important aspect of your personal statement, universities will want to see that you’re a good all-rounder and are willing to take part in activities outside your studies. According to research from Which?, universities tend to focus about 75% on your academic skills and 25% on your extra-curricular activities. So you’ll need to have a think about what you do in your spare time.

Are you involved in any clubs or societies? Discussing activities you enjoy outside the classroom will make you appear a more interesting individual. Having said that, don’t go overboard, or it may look as though you aren’t 100% focused on your studies. Pick a few key activities you think could be easily adapted to your course and explain how and why these extra-curricular skills will benefit you.


Your long-term goals and plans

Universities are interested to know what your ambitions are once your degree comes to an end. Why not express your thoughts on how the course could benefit your plans? While you may be unsure about where your future may lead, this is the opportunity to get really creative and impress!

You’ll need to do a bit of background research into the types of roles you’re interested in within your field and jot down how the course could benefit this career move. Ensure you come across as real, rather than too clichéd or structured Remember that universities sift through thousands of applications every single day, so don’t be one of a number – make your goals seem exciting, but within reach!


Inspiring Interns is an internship and graduate recruitment agency. To browse graduate jobs, click here. For senior digital and mobile jobs, please see Inspiring Search.