A group of careers advisers and admissions tutors were asked for their key tips for writing the personal statement. This is what they said:

“ urge BTEC students to be very specific about their non-core units and grades. Some universities will differentiate between candidates who have done specific units.”


“ Use the ABC approach:

A – Activity – what you did
B – Benefit – how has this benefited you – e.g. relevant skills gained (communication, organisation, responsible, teamwork, etc…)
C – Course – relating back to the course you’re applying to.”


“ Find clues from the course outlines on institution websites and on sites such as UCAS.”

“ Ask yourself why you really want to do this course? What examples from your childhood, extracurricular activities or extra-curricular reading inspired you to follow this route? What dreams do you see this course enabling you to fulfil in the future?”


“ For each statement ask yourself the question ‘so what?’ ”


“ Ensure that academic skills and interest are clear. This applies even if the course is vocational as the student will still need to be able to research, analyse, present and write information. ”


“ For academic courses, aim for 70-75% academic content which should ideally include evidence of engagement beyond class.

for more vocational courses where work experience may be a key component of the application a 50:50 balance of academic and vocational skills and interests/experiences works well. ”


“ Remind students that the 4000 characters includes spaces and punctuation. ”


“ Avoid clichéd beginnings such as ‘I’ve always wanted to…’ ‘I’m passionate about’ (this should be self-evident) and avoid quotations and random lists without purpose or analysis in relation to the course. ”


“ work on the following basis:

30% personal and 70% subject on the personal statement.

47 lines, 4000 characters, no jokes or quotes.

Don’t include anything that’s already been mentioned elsewhere – e.g. they can see qualifications on the education section.

Don’t wait till the deadline to submit.”


“ For creative subjects try to include:

• Contemporary creative influences and inspirations, both people and places
• A long term career ideal or objective
• Passion for the subject applied for
• How the student is creative outside of their current curriculum ”


“ 47 lines 4,000 characters 5 Paragraphs

Each paragraph leads to the next paragraph

every paragraph is telling me why you are right for the course !

75% Academic 25% Extra Curricular (depends on course)

Avoid Cliché lines, be interesting and original

Don’t exaggerate or under estimate what you have done ”


“ Do not list what you did e.g. “went to a taster day at university”. Try “from attending a taster day at the university I decided this course was right for me because …”

Look at the skills you have gained which are relevant to the course and how you can enhance these

Link the course to your career aspiration where appropriate ”