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Supporting Students with Personal Statements

What students need to know about Personal Statements

When speaking with colleges and sixth forms, personal statements consistently come up as a topic that students find challenging. Personal statements are an important opportunity for students to show their experience, interests and passion for the topic they wish to study. For university admissions staff, lecturers, and tutors, personal statements provide a more well-rounded picture of a student and their reasons for pursuing specific courses than grades alone.

Our top tips for personal statements

Picture showing a suggested structure of a personal statement. The first section is about academic achievements, such as their interest in the course, how their college experience has prepared them for university and the clubs they are part of. The second section is about life outside of college, such as work experience and other activities.

1. Structure

Students often report feeling overwhelmed when asked to sit down in front of a blank document. Following a structure can help students gather their ideas and ensure they cover all the important points. We suggest that students start with their academic interests and achievements, followed by a smaller section on non-academic activities.

2. Research and Planning

Students need to start researching their course as early as possible, ideally before the summer of Year 12, in order to understand which skills and knowledge are valued for their course. This can then help students shape their essay and prompt them to emphasise the required skills and achievements. Some courses, such as healthcare subjects and Education, require work experience so researching early ensures enough time to organise this and include their learnings from the experience in their personal statement.

3. Inspiring Confidence

It is important to encourage students to demonstrate their strengths. A strong personal statement does not have to be one full of academic achievements and leadership positions, but one that demonstrates the student’s interest and commitment to the subject they wish to study, as well as their hobbies outside of school or college.

4. Avoid duplicating information

Including information about grades and specific courses in a personal statement uses up valuable word count as these details are found in the UCAS application. Quotes and facts should also be avoided as it detracts from the student’s own experience. Instead, universities are interested in how the student’s academic experience has prepared them for the course they wish to study.

What support can we offer your students for personal statements?

  • Please see our webinar here for teachers and careers advisors for further information
  • If you would like our team to visit your school or college for a workshop on personal statements for Year 12 and 13 students, please email us at educationliaison@mdx.ac.uk.
  • If you would like to order our free personal statement booklets for your students, please email us at educationliaison@mdx.ac.uk.
  • If your students would like to have their personal statements reviewed, please share this link with them. All they need to do is upload their draft statement as a Word document to the form below and they’ll receive expert feedback from our team.

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