The UCAS personal statement is your chance to persuade admissions tutors in 4,000 characters or less why you deserve a place.

Your personal statement is the only part of the UCAS application form where you get to show admissions tutors what makes you unique and why the university would be lucky to have you. A few paragraphs could be the deciding factor as to whether you are offered a place, which is why you need to make every word work hard to make your case. 

The 4,000-character limit includes spaces, punctuation and blank lines between paragraphs. So, depending on the length of words and the number of paragraphs, you're looking at roughly 650 words. Before you start writing, take time to really think about why you want to go to university. 

Questions to ask yourself include: why do you want to study your chosen degree? How do your skills, interests and experience show that you deserve a place? What will you bring to the university? What makes you different? What will you get out of your time here?

Once you've jotted down your thoughts you're ready to make a start on your first draft. 

 Do 

  • Plan what you want to say and the order you want to say it. This will help you build up your case and end on a high Show passion and excitement for the subject you want to study 
  • Keep hobbies and outside interests to a minimum and ensure they that reveal a relevant quality, such as teamwork or resilience, or an insight into your passion for your chosen subject 
  • Give yourself plenty of time to read, edit, redraft and repeat 
  • Get feedback from teachers, parents and other people you trust. 

 Don't 

  • Leave it too late as you will end up rushing it and won't do yourself justice 
  • Exaggerate achievements as you could be caught out if you are probed further or called for interview 
  • Copy other students' statements. UCAS uses Copycatch, a programme designed to identify this sort of thing 
  • Use clichés, slang or overcomplicated, pretentious words and phrases. Keep it simple and clear 
  • Feel that you have to use the whole 4,000-character count. 

 Useful links

Personal statement examples
Get inspiration from other students' personal statements 

UCAS personal statement tool
Use this tool to help you organise and write your personal statement within the 4,000-character limit 

 UCAS personal statement FAQs

A final word 

Your personal statement is not only important at the application stage. If you narrowly miss your grades, it is one of the things admissions tutors look at to decide whether to still offer you a place.