UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker

Please note: The line count may differ than the number of lines in the textbox above but when copy and pasted will match the line count on the UCAS application.

UCAS Personal Statement Requirements

  • No longer than 4000 characters.
  • No longer than 47 lines.
  • Each line can be no longer than 94 characters. (Our character counter above already has a max line length of 94 characters unless otherwise noted.)
  • Characters include spaces, carriage returns, and punctuation.

To see additional features including word count, paragraph count, space count and more use the character counter on our home page.

How to write your UCAS personal statement

The UCAS personal statement scares most high school students. Writing a perfect personal statement is a strenuous and unavoidable process. With roughly about 6 million university applications each year, officials need a method for filtering stronger applicants from everyone else.

As challenging as this task may appear, it is also your only chance to share your personality and eligibility for the degree program you have chosen. Follow our practices given, and you can absolutely make your personal statement up to the mark.

Start with a plan

Each year thousands of applications are received for the best degrees in the world and are best focused on the goal of making their application stand out from the rest.

Thus, planning out what you want to say prior to writing your UCAS statement makes it easy to write a convincing personal statement. Start off by making a rough draft, answering some questions like

  • What subjects do you want to study?
  • Why have you particularly chosen this path for yourself?
  • What makes you think that you are best suited to study this degree program at the college?

Some of these points will form the backbone of your personal statement, so write them in a manner that makes sense to you.

Sometimes you want to create simple bullet points or use mind maps. No matter what you decide; your goal is the same. You want to clarify why the university should provide you with a spot.

Bigger Picture of the Degree

Talk about the course that you have applied to. How did you learn about it in the first place? What means did you use to deepen your interest and knowledge in this area?

It would be a huge plus to list the books you read and the meetings you have attended regarding the subject.

Please elaborate on your academic attitude towards the degree. What are your goals after graduating? What role will it play in helping you achieve your greatest ambitions? What sort of vocation plans do you have after graduation?

Write about your work experience and achievements

Your previous achievements are an essential part of your personal statement. Think about all the accolades you have received and the contests you have participated in. These can be in-school, national or international. Both academic and sports awards can greatly help emphasize your commitment.

Write about the important skills and experiences acquired elsewhere (such as hobbies) that can be chained to the degree of your choice.

Remember, you are searching for experience that shows why you need to study the subject that you have chosen. You are not just writing an essay about what you are doing in your high school syllabus.

Extracurricular Activities

Your extracurriculars ought to likewise be included in the personal statement. Whether it be a MUN or a cross country race, they pass on the message that you love participating in different events.

Likewise, it is really smart to discuss any expertise you have acquired through extracurriculars.

Discuss any leadership roles you could have held, as they improve your capacity to appreciate people on a profound level and put you across as a pioneer.

Community service is a plus in the UCAS statement as it shows a promise to a reason bigger than oneself.

You can link all these activities to your selected course in the best case. Be careful not to elaborate too much on extracurricular activities.

UCAS Character Count

There are some specific instructions for your personal statement that you can never ignore.

First, it must not exceed 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including blank lines), whichever comes first. If you do exceed this, the university will not get your entire statement.

So make sure your personal statement has a solid and decisive ending. It will look bad if you cut it off in the middle of a sentence after realizing that you have exceeded the text limit.

Instead, give each section proper attention, time, and character to plan your essay thoroughly.

However, while you are getting everything rolling, you ought to overlook these restrictions.

Tips for reducing the character count

From the get-go, you simply need to jot down all that you feel is significant. You will probably wind up with something very lengthy, but that is okay.

This is where you get to do some polishing and trimming. Maintain the focal point of your piece on the course you are applying for, why you want to do it and for what reason you are impeccably fit for it.

Glance through what you have composed until now - do you have the right balance? Cut off whatever continues a little to far, as you want to keep each point crisp and concise.

It is a difficult process to try to keep as much content as possible while keeping the character count low, so here are some simple ways to make it easier for you.

Avoid quotes

Read your personal statement and eliminate platitudes if there are any - for instance, 'I've wanted to study psychology since I was young'…The same goes for the quotations: except if they increase the value of your statement (which they don't most of the time!), it is really the best practice to remove them.

Make sure everything is concise

For each sentence in your piece, use the "so what?" rule. Does this sentence appear to be more reasonable for the course? If not, cutting it is best. This frequently happens when individuals write too much about their extracurriculars in a frantic endeavour to fit everything in.

Colleges, notwithstanding, need to see a reflection and what you have extracted from your encounters; this implies it is normally better to simply discuss a few extracurriculars than to list many things that the reader is likely to skim.

Also, note that you don't have to use hospital or volunteer location names. This further allows you to remove the last few characters from the count.

Use colour coding

An easy way to see where you are losing most of your characters is to highlight the sections of your statement with different colours.

Check your language

We frequently invest a great deal of energy looking up big words with the expectation that it will make our work impressive. However, this isn't generally the best practice. It is, in many cases, best to cut these words for fundamental and engaging sentences.

I hope the process will now be transparent, and it will be more exciting for you as you embark on your writing.

How to use our UCAS personal statement checker

To use our tool simply copy and paste your personal statement into the text-box above.

At the top, you will see two metrics displayed. The first metric on the left is the total characters you've typed out of the limit of 4,000 characters.

The second metric on the right is the number of lines your text contains out of the max of 47 lines. The UCAS allows a maximum of 94 characters per line, which our line count feature already takes into consideration.

To make it easier you can click the green "copy text" button to copy the text in the text box. You can also click the red "clear text" button to delete all the text in the text-box.

Why use an online UCAS personal statement checker?

Reason number one: The character count feature in Microsoft Word will not give you an accurate reading. The reason is that Word does not count the carriage return (also known as the enter key) as a character while UCAS does count it as a character.

The problem is that this will cause Word to underestimate the character count. This could cause your essay not to be able to submit when you try to upload it. If anything it would be better to overestimate the word count on Word that way it will fit.

Our personal statement checker however will give you the same character count as UCAS unlike the Microsoft Word character count.

It can be helpful to see the character count in real-time as you are typing your personal statement. This way you are constantly reminded of how long your essay is.

If you are not paying attention it can be easy to lose track of how long your essay is and go over the limit.

Our tool makes it easier to be aware of the length and easy to cut back if necessary.

How many characters in a personal statement?

UCAS requires 4,000 characters in their personal statement. Use our personal statement checker above to see if your essay meets the requirements.

How many words in a UCAS personal statement

UCAS has a character limit of 4,000 characters. This equates to about 615 to 800 words.

How many words is 4000 characters?

4,000 characters is about 615 to 800 words. For more Characters to Words conversions, check out our Characters To Words Converter .

Does the personal statement character limit include spaces?

Yes, it does include spaces as well as carriage returns. Check your statement with our personal statement checker above.

Thanks for using our UCAS personal statement checker!

We appreciate you taking the time to check your personal statement using our webpage. As you know, this is a very important college application essay to get into British universities. UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and is what the UK uses for the college application process. Good luck on your personal statement!

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Personal statement length checker

Enter your personal statement below to check if it meets the UCAS Apply requirements for the number of lines and character length.

The requirements for teacher training personal statements are different for UCAS Apply so this checker won't produce the correct results.

Your personal statement will be shown formatted according to UCAS's requirements, and the length and character limit calculated to check it's length.

Please note that the results of our personal statement checker may differ slightly from the UCAS Apply length checker. If you notice any differences please email us with copy of your personal statement and we'll. investigate further

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Personal statement length checker

Do you want to know how long your personal statement is? You are in the right place.

**Important note – We don’t store or share your personal statement. It is 100% safe to use**

Benefits of using our personal statement checker:

  • You don’t need to login to UCAS  and don’t need to use their tricky online form
  • Our nifty checker uses their method of counting lines with 94 characters maximum per line
  • It also uses their method of counting characters (including spaces etc.)
  • Worried about the spelling, grammar and content of your statement? We offer an affordable personal statement editing service to improve the message of your personal statement.

Paste your personal statement below to check if it meets the UCAS Apply requirements for the number of lines and character length. Click “check length”.

NOTE : W e do not store your personal statement and you will not have problems with Turnitin. 

Make your personal statement stand out by removing grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence errors: 

  • We offer a personal statement editing service to improve the grammar, spelling and punctuation of your statement.  It only costs £30 and can really improve your personal statement before you send it to the institution you are applying for. Click on the order now button!

What is the UCAS personal statement word count?

UCAS does not specify a certain number of words. However, the personal statement is limited to 4,000 characters including spaces. You cannot use Word to check your statement length because they count words and spaces differently, hence why we have developed this tool for you.

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How to write a UCAS personal statement

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Writing a great personal statement

Read our guide on what it is, what to include, how to start, length and what makes a good personal statement 

Once you've decided which universities and courses to apply for, completing your application is pretty simple – until it comes to how to write your UCAS personal statement.

This guide covers everything you need to know about how to write a personal statement for university. We look at what it is and how you can start your personal statement. We've also got questions to guide you and a suggested personal statement structure you can use so you know what to put in it.

If you'd like even more resources, support and UCAS personal statement examples, you can sign up to access our personal statement hub .

What is the UCAS personal statement?

How universities use your ucas personal statement, how to start a ucas personal statement.

  • Get feedback on your UCAS personal statement

The personal statement is part of your UCAS application. It's how you show your chosen universities why you'll make a great student and why they should make you an offer.

Your personal statement also helps you think about your choice of course and your reasons for applying, so you know you’ve made the right decision.

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Get feedback on your personal statement

Sign up to our personal statement hub to get feedback on your draft. You'll also get access to videos, help sheets and more tips.

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UCAS personal statement word limit

Your personal statement length can be up to 4,000 characters long. 

This may sound a lot, but it's a word limit of around 550–1000 words with spaces and only about 1 side of typed A4 paper.

You need to keep it concise and make sure it's clear and easy to read.

Applying for multiple courses

Although you can apply for up to 5 courses on your UCAS application, you can only submit 1 personal statement. So it needs to cover all your course choices.

Lots of students who apply to university have achieved the basic entry requirements and many more students apply than there are places available. Admissions teams can use your UCAS personal statement to get to know you and decide why you're more suitable than other applicants.

Some universities read every personal statement and score them. Then they use them alongside your qualifications and grades to decide whether to offer you a place or interview. Other universities put less emphasis on the personal statement and use it with students who have borderline entry requirements.

Universities might refer to your personal statement again on results day if you don't get the grades you need. So a good personal statement could clinch you a uni place even if your grades aren't what you hoped for.

Starting your personal statement can seem scary when you're staring at a blank screen. But, things will seem less daunting once you start.

  • Set aside some time in a place where you're comfortable and won't be disturbed. Grab a notepad or computer.
  • Write down anything and everything that's influenced your decision to go to university and study your chosen subject. Jot down your skills and experience too.
  • Use the questions below to guide you. Don't worry about the personal statement length at this point – you can cut things out later.

When to start your UCAS personal statement

Ideally, you want to leave yourself plenty of time – a few weeks or even months – to plan and write your personal statement.

Try not to leave it to the last minute, as tempting as this may seem when you've got so many other things to think about.

Questions to guide you

Your motivation.

  • Why do you want to study at university?
  • Why do you want to study this subject?
  • How did you become interested in this subject?
  • What career do you have in mind after university?

Academic ability and potential

  • How have your current studies affected your choice?
  • What do you enjoy about your current studies?
  • What skills have you gained from your current studies?
  • How can you demonstrate you have the skills and qualities needed for the course?
  • What qualities and attributes would you bring to the course and university?

Your experience

  • What work experience (including part-time, charity and volunteer work) do you have and what have you learnt from it?
  • What positions of responsibility have you held? (For example, prefect, captain of a team or member of a committee)
  • What relevant hobbies or interests do you have and what skills have they helped you develop?
  • What transferable skills do you have, such as self motivation, team working, public speaking, problem solving and analytical thinking?

Research and reading

  • How do you keep up with current affairs or news in your chosen subject?
  • What journals or publications relevant to your chosen subject do you read?
  • Which people have influenced you, such as artists, authors, philosophers or scientists?

Now it's time to write your personal statement using your notes. It's best to draft it on a computer, and remember to save it regularly.

You can copy and paste it into your UCAS application when you're happy with it.

Personal statement structure

While there's no set template for a personal statement, you may find it useful to follow this personal statement structure when you decide what to put in your statement.

What to include in a personal statement

  • Reasons for choosing this subject(s)
  • Current studies and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
  • Experiences and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
  • Interests and responsibilities and how these relate to your chosen subject(s)
  • Your future after university
  • Summary including why you'll make a great student

Further tips for a good UCAS personal statement

  • Use information on university websites and the UCAS website. This often includes the skills and qualities universities are looking for in applicants
  • Ask friends, family and teachers to remind you of activities you've participated in. They might remember your successes better than you do
  • Don’t include lists in your application, like a list of all your hobbies. Focus on 1 or 2 points and talk about them in depth to show their relevance to your application
  • Explain and evidence everything. It’s easy to say you have a skill, but it's better to demonstrate it with an example of when and how you’ve used it
  • Avoid clichéd lines such as ‘I've always wanted to be a teacher’ as it says nothing about your motivations or experiences
  • If you’re applying for a joint degree or different subjects, give equal time to each area and try to find common aspects that show their similarities
  • Never lie or plagiarise another statement – you'll be caught and it could result in your application being automatically rejected
  • Proofread your personal statement by reading it out loud and ask friends, family or a teacher to check it for you

Sign up to our personal statement hub

Watch videos, get top tips and download our help sheets – that's what our personal statement hub is for. It's for you to write your story, so you can show your strengths, ideas and passion to your chosen universities.

You'll also be able send us your draft, so you can get feedback and feel confident about what you've written.

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Make sure your personal statement is your own work

We'll carry out checks to verify your personal statement is your own work.

Provided it is your own work, you can use your personal statement from your application last year. If it appears to have been copied from another source, we'll inform the universities and colleges to which you have applied. They will then take the action they consider appropriate. We'll also contact you by email to tell you this has happened.

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Preview of personal statement

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UCAS personal statement checklist

Unless you’re applying for a course that interviews, your personal statement is the only opportunity you have to demonstrate your personality through your application. Once you’ve written your statement, why not use our checklist below to make sure you have got all the vital elements covered.

personal statement ucas counter

The personal statement on your UCAS application is your chance to really sell yourself to the universities you are applying to. We do read them and it can make the difference between receiving an offer and being unsuccessful.  Once you’ve got your ideas for your personal statement ready to go, use our handy checklist below to make sure you’ve covered all the important information.

  • Have you said in the first two sentences what you would like to study? Remember, be innovative in the way you tell us.
  • Have you proofread it? Get everyone involved: friends, family, teachers – anyone that’ll look at it. Try reading it aloud too – doing this will make it very clear if something isn’t quite right.
  • Have you used full sentences, paragraphs and proper grammar? It is a formal document so should read like one.
  • Have you double-checked your spelling and grammar? The UCAS application form doesn’t have a spellcheck function, so we recommend copying it into a word processor to use theirs (it will also give you the character count – remember you’ve only got 4000 – and that includes spaces!).
  • Have you got the balance right? We recommend that your statement should focus 80% on the course, and why you want to study it, and 20% on you and your skills. Other universities might have different ideas on this though.
  • Have you talked about why the course you are applying for is interesting to you – you need to convince Admissions Teams that you want to study this subject for at least the next 3 years.
  • Have you told us how have you come to this decision on the course you are applying for? Have you shared your experiences – something unique to you?
  • Have you provided evidence to any claims you make and told us how, as a result, you are more suitable to the course?
  • Have you offered an opinion or discussed a contemporary issue around your subject? The best personal statements show what you’ve learned independently and how it’s informed your opinion.

Your Transferable Skills:

  • Have you shown what makes you ideal for the course?
  • Are the skills you’ve mentioned relevant to the course? Ask yourself the question ‘so what?’ If you can’t think about a reason to talk about a particular skill, the reader will wonder why you’ve mentioned it at all.

You can use the ABC test to see if you are making it relevant:

  • A = Activity: This might be captaining a sports team, or being part of a drama club
  • B = Benefit: This is the skill(s) you have gained from doing the activity
  • C = Course: How the skill will help you to complete the course successfully

And finally, remember that this is a personal statement. It should be totally unique and all about you. Our final tip is this: If you were to anonymously give your personal statement to someone in your class, could they identify it as yours? If they couldn’t, we need to see more about you in there.

Read our tips for writing a UCAS personal statement

For more advice, see the UCAS tips for writing a personal statement

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The Ultimate UCAS Personal Statement Guide

Author: Rob Needleman

  • Getting started
  • The Ultimate UCAS Personal Statement…

Table of Contents

When it comes to completing your UCAS application, the Personal Statement is one of the most important parts to consider.

While your grades show your academic ability and Admissions Tests assess your knowledge and capabilities, a Personal Statement is all about you. Tutors want to see the person behind the application and understand why you’re a suitable candidate for your chosen course. 

Although each university will have its own unique way of shortlisting applicants, your Personal Statement is your opportunity to demonstrate your strengths and let your personality shine through.

However, over 20,000 students apply for Oxbridge every year which is a lot to compete with. As such, you need to stand out from the crowd and really get across your reasons for wanting to study your topic, which can make the prospect of writing one and including all the right things pressurising. To help you, we have written this ultimate Personal Statement guide. Let’s get started.

How to write a Personal Statement

Your Personal Statement isn’t a long monologue of your life so far, nor a gigantic list of all your achievements. Think of yourself as a storyteller. Start at the beginning with how you developed an interest for your chosen subject and end with where you see yourself after university.

Before You Start

How to get started.

Before you sit down to write your UCAS Personal Statement, the first thing we recommend is to research the courses you want to apply for. This will help you prepare your statement as courses vary from university to university, and your content should reflect these. Bear in mind, you are only able to send one Personal Statement to all your chosen universities, so you can’t overly cater to one. Look at all of the details, including the structure, modules and examination methods, as well as what they’re looking for from a student. This will support your first draft, though bear in mind you’ll redraft a few times before it’s perfect.

For example, Oxford lists the personal characteristics that they look for in applicants to their Medicine degree:

How many words should a Personal Statement be?

Personal Statements can be up to 4,000 characters long (615-800), and no more. This might sound like a lot, but it’s just one side of A4 paper. There’s plenty of information to include, so make sure it’s concise, clear and easy to read.

When to start writing it

It’s never too early to start thinking about your Personal Statement and what you’re going to write about. But there is a deadline : October 15th for all Oxbridge courses including Medicine and Dentistry, and January 25th for other undergraduate subjects. We suggest you begin preparing at the start of the year, as this gives you plenty of time to plan, draft and rewrite until it’s perfect for submission.

Your Personal Statement is the first thing Oxbridge Admissions Tutors will see about you. It’s imperative you get it right.

Our Oxbridge Premium Programmes help you write a successful Personal Statment that ticks all the Admission Tutor’s boxes. Our proven support is implemented through various mediums including Personal Statment Intensive Courses, Personal Statment Marking and Personalised Reading Lists.

Discover our Oxbridge Premium Programmes  by clicking the button below to  enrol and triple your chances of success.

What To Include

Your Personal Statement is a glimpse into your passion, how keen you are to learn and what you already know about your chosen subject. Express your interest by commenting on the areas that fascinate you most. For example, is it helping people that draws you into Medicine, or is it the fascinating human anatomy? 

Another great way to show your enthusiasm is through your previous experience in the subject. Demonstrate why you’re suitable for the course by providing evidence of any relevant skills and qualities that relate to this. What are you good at? What have you done that proves it? 

  • Answering Your Personal Statement Questions

Mention any additional projects, work experience or extra-curricular activities you’ve got involved with that further demonstrate you’re an ideal candidate. Reflect on the skills you’ve gained from these (as long as they’re transferable to your studies). Admissions Tutors will be looking for such information, as well as your unique selling points — give examples of things you’ve done that show you have a wider interest in learning. 

You should also try to link your interests, skills and qualities to your university research. However, Oxbridge are not interested in sports, hobbies or if you play any musical instruments — keep it academic.

Show you’re an interesting person and have a true passion for your subject, and your Personal Statement should be a winning one. Your enthusiasm is what will make your statement stand out, so don’t shy away from expressing your love for your chosen subject, though you don’t need to say you’ve dreamed about doing the course your entire life.

Aim to include things like:

  • Personal attributes, such as adaptability, problem-solving and organisation
  • Employment experience and volunteering work
  • Personal interests in your subject
  • Relevant extracurricular activities, like any clubs or societies you belong to
  • Your future after university

The Structure

The key to writing a good UCAS Personal Statement is getting the structure right, as this can have a huge effect on the message it delivers. Often, students get caught up in the content and forget that presenting information effectively is just as important as the words included.

Each section of your statement needs to be crafted correctly so that Admissions Tutors can digest the information easily. While there are no strict rules on how to structure it — since it’s personal to you — there are a few rules of thumb to use to find the right balance. In general, though, remember to consider the format, structure and content equally, and you’ll write a great Personal Statement.

  • Personal Statement Cheat Sheet

Here is a breakdown of how we recommend students to split up their essay:

  • Introduction - About six lines
  • Academic abilities - 22 - 27 lines
  • Extra-curricular information - 10 - 12 lines
  • Conclusion - No more than four lines

Personal Statement Introduction

Rightly or wrongly, it is highly likely that your UCAS Personal Statement will be remembered by its opening sentence. It must be something short, sharp, insightful, and catch the reader’s attention. It sets the precedent for the rest of your statement and unfortunately, decides whether your statement is paid particular attention to when read.

  • Avoid using overused words like “passionate”, “deeply fascinating”, and “devotion”.
  • Avoid using clichéd quotes like the infamous Coco Chanel’s “fashion is not something that exists in dresses only”.
  • If you are going to use a quote, then put some effort into researching an obscure yet particularly powerful one – don’t forget to include a reference.
  • Draw on your own personal experiences to produce something both original and eye-catching.

Once that’s out of the way, you need to answer the most important question:

The introduction does not need to be very long. It is generally a good idea to open the statement with something that sets the context of your application. For example, someone who is applying to study History may open: ‘History is all around us’, rather than ‘I have always been interested in History because…”

By the end of the introduction the reader should clearly know:

  • What subject you are applying for
  • What motivated you to apply for this subject

Make sure you keep it personal and honest! The exact phrase: “from a young age, I have always been interested in” was recently used more than 300 times in Personal Statements in a single year, and substituting “young” for “early” gave an additional 292 statements – these phrases can quickly become boring for Admissions Tutors to read!

Personal Statement Main Body

In the rest of your text, your aim should be to demonstrate your suitability for the course by exemplifying your knowledge of the course structure and its requirements through personal experience. Again, there are no rigorous guidelines on how to do this and it is very much down to your own writing style. Whereas some prefer a strict structure, others go for a more synoptic approach, but always remember to be consistent to achieve a flowing, easy to read Personal Statement.

Here’s the structure we recommend:

Paragraph #1: This should cover why you are suited for your subject. This will include your main academic interests, future ambitions (related to the chosen degree), and what makes the course right for you. This should be the academic side of why you want to study this subject.

Paragraph #2: This should still cover why you are suited for your subject. However, it can be less focused on academic topics. If you’ve had to overcome any significant challenges in life and wish to include these in your Personal Statement, this is normally the best place to do so. Similarly, any work experience or relevant prizes & competitions should be included here.

Paragraph #3: This is the smallest part of the main body and is all about extra-curricular activities. It is easy to get carried away in this section and make outrageous claims, e.g. claim to be a mountain climber if all you have ever climbed is a hill at the end of your street etc. Lying is not worth the risk, given that your interviewer may share the same hobby that you claim to be an expert in. So, don’t be caught out!

What you should include in your Personal Statement main body:

  • Sports and other hobbies
  • Musical instruments
  • Work experience
  • Personal interests in the field of study
  • Personal attributes

What you shouldn’t include in your Personal Statement main body (or anywhere!):

  • Negative connotations – always put a positive spin on everything
  • Lack of reflection
  • Controversy in whatever form it may come
  • Generic/stereotypical statements
  • Listing things

Personal Statement Conclusion

The conclusion of your Personal Statement should be more about leaving a good final impression rather than conferring any actual information. If you have something useful to say about your interest and desire to study your subject, you shouldn’t be waiting until the very end to say it!

A good conclusion should not include any new information, as this should be in the main body. However, you also need to avoid repeating what you have said earlier in your Personal Statement. This would be both a waste of characters and frustration for the tutor. Instead, it is better to put into context what you have already written and, therefore, make an effort to keep your conclusion relatively short – no more than four lines.

For more inspiration, take a look through our other successful Personal Statement a nalysis articles:

Successful Personal Statement For Computer Science At Oxford

Successful personal statement for natural science (physical) at cambridge, successful personal statement for economics at cambridge, successful personal statement for land economy at cambridge, successful personal statement for chemistry at oxford, successful personal statement for geography at oxford, successful personal statement for classics at oxford, successful personal statement for law at oxford, successful personal statement for classics at cambridge, successful personal statement for engineering at cambridge, successful personal statement for philosophy at cambridge, successful personal statement for veterinary medicine at cambridge, our personal statement do’s.

1. Show passion for your subject

Admissions Tutors aren’t going to pick a candidate who doesn’t seem particularly interested in their field. Show your passion and eagerness to learn and succeed. Why do you love your subject? Why have you chosen it? What do you find most interesting and why?

2. Talk about you

This is your chance to talk about you, your interests and skills. It’s no good saying you’re passionate if you don’t prove that you are. Write in a natural style to show off your personality, making sure it’s genuine, relevant and specific.

3. Use appropriate language

Re-read your Personal Statement multiple times and check that the content is academic, engaging and clear.

4. Provide evidence to back up your claims

It’s all well and good saying you love medical science, but this is going to fall flat if you can’t back it up. Talk about your school subjects and results, any wider reading and relevant work experience. Perhaps you attended a lecture on your subject — this would be good evidence.

5. Link your activities outside of education to your course

Tell tutors why these activities are relevant and what you have learned as a result. Focus on transferable skills gained too, such as time management or organisational abilities.

6. Spell check and look for grammatical mistakes

Poor spelling and grammar makes for a terrible first impression, so ensure you triple-check it’s written to the highest standard before submitting it.

Our Personal Statement dont’s

1. Write a clichéd beginning

Don’t waste time thinking of a catchy opening. The best Personal Statements get to the point quickly, so avoid starting with phrases like “From a young age”, “I am applying for this course because”, and “Throughout my life I have always enjoyed…”. Go straight into why you are interested in your course subject.

2. Use cringe-worthy language and cheap gags

This is not impressive and can indicate that you’re not a serious student. It’s essential you don’t come across as verbose or pretentious too, as Admissions Tutors will spot this immediately. They are well-versed in the ramblings of students who think this tone makes them seem more intellectual.

3. Overcomplicate things

Say what you need to, be specific and don’t waffle too much — you’ll run out of characters fast.

4. Go overboard with extra-curricular activities

Talking about these is good, but the truth is, Admissions Tutors have very little interest in what you do outside of education unless you can find a way to directly link them to your subject.

5. Plagiarise content

You can read Personal Statement examples online for inspiration but avoid copying and pasting them. During your interview, you’re likely to be asked about specific parts of your statement, and if you’re caught off-guard, you’re going to look silly. This could ruin your chances of being accepted. Use a plagiarism detector to ensure your essay is unique.

6. Mention universities or specific courses by name

You can only write one Personal Statement, so it’s the same for each course you apply for. Avoid mentioning specific unis by name or detailing exact specifics of a module, for example. Keep it general.

Now you know what to include in your Personal Statement and the best practices for doing so, we hope you feel more confident writing it. We have plenty of guides and successful personal statement examples to go through in our Free Personal Statement Resources page. Good luck submitting your UCAS application!

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UCAS Personal Statement Line & Character Counter

Automatic analysis is not recommended for slow computers. For readability purposes, the author used a different counting method than the standard UCAS system. However, the author did not use any automatic counting methods.

The line count may vary depending on the font size used.

UCAS Personal Statement Requirements

Our character counter has a maximum line length of 94 characters. 

We do not allow any other characters except spaces, carriage returns, or punctuation. You may enter your text into our character counter by typing it directly into the box .

Not Sure How To Start Your Personality Statement?

A personal statement is a document that explains why you want to study a certain course or subject. You should include information about yourself, such as your interests, hobbies, and achievements.

You should include your hobbies, interests, skills, qualifications, work experience, and any other relevant information about yourself. Your CV is also known as a curriculum vitae, or CV.

What to Do You Write About in the Personal Statement of Yourself?

You should be careful when writing your personal statement. Don’t mention any specific universities or colleges by name, as this could make you seem uninterested in studying there. 

Instead, think about what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it. This will help you focus on the most important things.

Here are some ideas to help you start writing: 

  • Look at course descriptions to identify the qualities, skills, and experience required – you can use this to help you decide what topic to write about. 
  • Tell your reader why you’re applying – include your ambitions, as well as what interests you about this subject, the course provider and higher education.
  • Consider what qualifies you for the job for the job – this could be your relevant experiences (such as playing sports) or capabilities (such like programming) or accomplishments (such for being an part of a group).
  • Include any clubs or societies you’re involved in (such as sports or music). 
  • Mention any relevant employment experiences or volunteering you’ve done (such as Inspired Awards, Step Together or Project Trust). 
  • With the current restrictions on your life, carrying this out in person can be difficult. Don’t worry, universities and colleges understand this and we’ll take it into account when considering you. 

If you’ve developed skills through the Duke of Edinburgh, ASDAN, National Citizen Service, the Crest Awards scheme, or young enterprise, talk about it. If you took part in a higher education taster programme, placement, summer school, or something similar, talk about it.

How To Write Your Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be unique. So there’s no definitive format for you to follow. But here are some guidelines for you: 

  • Take your time. 
  • Write in an enthusiastic and concise manner. 
  • Remember, your personal statement must be “personal.” Don’t use any clichés or overused words.

Try to stand out, but do not go too far with humour, quotes, and anything unusual. 

Just in case the admissions tutor does not share the same sense of humour. Use the course descriptions to help structure your information.

Make sure you check the line and character limit. In this case, you have 47 lines and 4,000 characters. Certain word processors have different results if they do not take paragraphs and tabs into account in terms of individual character.

Proofread aloud, then get your teachers, advisers, and family to check. Then redraw it until you’re happy with it and spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct.

We recommend you write your personal statements first, then copy and paste them into your online applications once you’re happy with them. 

Make sure you save them regularly, as they time out after 35 minutes of activity.  

How To Use Our UCAS Personal Statement Checker

To use our tool, simply copy and paste your personal statement into this box. At the top, there will be 2 metrics displayed. The first on the left is the number of characters you’ve typed out (4,000) and the second on the right is the number of lines you’ve written (47). 

Our tool automatically calculates the number of lines based on the character length. You may now continue typing your personal statement.

To make it easier, you can copy the text in the box by clicking the green “copy text”. You can also clear the text in the box with the red “clear text”.

Why Use An Online UCAS Personal Statement Checker?

The character count feature of Microsoft Word will not give an accurate reading. The problem is that Word doesn’t count the carriage return (or the enter key) as part of a character while UCAS counts it as such. 

This causes Word to underestimate the character counter. This could cause your paper not to be submitted when you try uploading it. If anything, it’d be better to overestimate your word count on Word; that’ll make it fit. 

Our personal statement editor, however, will give you the exact same count as UCAS, so there won’t be any problems with that.

You can check the character count in real time as you type your personal statement. This helps you stay focused on writing your essay.

If you are not careful, it can be easy to forget about the length of your essay and write too much or too little. Our tool makes it easy to be aware of the total number of characters and make sure you do not exceed the word limit.

How Many Characters Are Usually In The Words?

4,000 characters is about 1,500 to 2,200 words. How Many Words In A UCAS Personal Statement

UCAS has a character limit set by the university. This means you should be careful when writing your essay. 

You may need to cut down on some parts of your text.

Does The Personal Statement Character Limit Include Spaces?

Yes, it includes spaces as well as carriage return. You can use this space-separated string as an input to any programming language you want.

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How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement [With Examples]

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James is senior content marketing manager at BridgeU. He writes and directs content for BridgeU's university partners and our community of international schools

What are the big challenges students should be aware of before writing their UCAS Personal Statement?

  • The essential ingredients for writing a great Personal Statement
  • How to write the UCAS Personal Statement [with examples]

Final hints & tips to help your students

Join 10,000 other counsellors & educators & get exclusive resources delivered straight to your inbox.

The UCAS Personal Statement can sometimes be a student’s only chance to impress a UK university. Read our in-depth guide to helping your students plan & write a winning application.

There are hundreds of articles out there on how to write a UCAS Personal Statement that will grab the attention of a UK university admissions officer.  

But if you’re working with students to help them perfect their Personal Statement in time for the  relevant UCAS deadlines , we can sum up the secret to success in three words.

Planning, structure and story. 

The UCAS Personal Statement is a student’s chance to talk about why they want to study for a particular degree, course or subject discipline at a UK university. 

As they set about writing a personal statement, students need to demonstrate the drive, ambition, relevant skills and notable achievements that make them a  suitable candidate for the universities they have chosen to apply to . 

But the UCAS Personal Statement requires students to write a lot about themselves in a relatively short space of time. That’s why lots of planning, a tight structure and a compelling story are essential if a student’s Personal Statement is to truly excel. 

As important deadlines for UK university applications grow closer, we at BridgeU have put together a guide, outlining some of the strategies and techniques to help your students to write a personal statement which is both engaging and truly individual.

Handpicked Related Content

Discover the simple steps that will boost the confidence of your native English speaking & ESL students alike in  University Application Essays: The 5 Secrets of Successful Writing .

As they begin to plan their Personal Statement, students may feel intimidated. It’s not easy to summarise your academic interests and personal ambitions, especially when you’re competing for a place on a course which is popular or has demanding entry requirements. In particular, students will likely come up against the following challenges.

Time pressure

Unfortunately, the Personal Statement (and other aspects of university preparation) comes during the busiest year of the student’s academic life so far.

Students, and indeed teachers and counsellors, must undertake the planning and writing of the personal statement whilst juggling other commitments, classes and deadlines, not to mention revision and open day visits!

Because there is already a lot of academic pressure on students in their final year of secondary school, finding the time and headspace for the personal statement can be hard, and can mean it gets pushed to the last minute. The risks of leaving it to the last minute are fairly obvious – the application will seem rushed and the necessary thought and planning won’t go into  making the personal statement the best it can be . 

Sticking closely to the Personal Statement format

The character limit which UCAS sets for the personal statement is very strict – up to 4,000 characters of text. This means that students have to express themselves in a clear and concise way; it’s also important that they don’t feel the need to fill the available space needlessly.  Planning and redrafting of a personal statement is essential .

Making it stand out

This is arguably the greatest challenge facing students – making sure that their statement sets them apart from everyone else who is competing for a place on any given course; in 2022 alone, UCAS received applications from 683,650 applicants (+1.6k on 2021) students. In addition, UCAS uses its own dedicated team and purpose built software to check every application for plagiarism, so it’s crucial that students craft a truly  original personal statement which is entirely their own work .

The essential ingredients for writing a great UCAS Personal Statement 

We’ve already mentioned our three watch words for writing a high quality Personal Statement.

Planning. Structure. Story. 

Let’s dig deeper into these three essential components in more detail.

Watch: How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement with University of Essex

Planning a ucas personal statement.

It might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s vital that students plan their Personal Statement before they start writing it. Specifically, the planning phase could include: 

  • Students thoroughly researching the UK university courses they plan on applying to. 
  • Deciding on what relevant material to include in their Personal Statement (we’ll cover this in more detail later on). 
  • Writing an unedited first draft where they just get their thoughts and ideas down on paper. 

Structuring a UCAS Personal Statement

As we’ve discussed, the UCAS Personal Statement requires students to be extremely disciplined – they will be required to condense a lot of information into a relatively short written statement. This means that, after they’ve written a rough first draft, they need to think carefully about how they structure the final statement. 

A stand out Personal Statement will need a tight structure, with an introduction and a conclusion that make an impact and really help to tell a story about who your student is, and why they are drawn to studying this particular degree. 

This brings us nicely to our third and final ingredient…

Telling a story with a Personal Statement

The UCAS Personal Statement is a student’s opportunity to show a university who they are and how their life experiences have shaped their academic interests and goals. 

So a good Personal Statement needs to offer a compelling narrative, and that means making sure that a student’s writing is well-structured, and that every sentence and paragraph is serving the statement’s ultimate purpose –  to convince a university that your student deserves a place on their subject of choice. 

How to help your students start their UCAS Personal Statement

In order to ensure that a personal statement is delivered on time and to an appropriate standard, it’s essential to plan thoroughly before writing it. Here are some questions you can ask your students before they start writing:

How can you demonstrate a formative interest in your subject?

It may sound obvious but, in order for any UCAS personal statement to have the necessary structure and clarity, students need to think hard about why they want to study their chosen subject. Ask them to think about their responses to the following questions:

What inspired you to study your chosen subject?

Example answer:  My desire to understand the nature of reality has inspired me to apply for Physics and Philosophy

Was there a formative moment when your perspective on this subject changed, or when you decided you wanted to study this subject in more detail?

Example answer:  My interest in philosophy was awakened when I questioned my childhood religious beliefs; reading Blackburn’s “Think”, convinced me to scrutinise my assumptions about the world, and to ensure I could justify my beliefs.

Can you point to any role models, leading thinkers, or notable literature which has in turn affected your thinking and/or inspired you?

Example answer :  The search for a theory of everything currently being conducted by physicists is of particular interest to me and in “The Grand Design” Hawking proposes a collection of string theories, dubbed M-theory, as the explanation of why the universe is the way it is.

Asking your students to think about the “why” behind their chosen subject discipline is a useful first step in helping them to organise their overall statement. Next, they need to be able to demonstrate evidence of their suitability for a course or degree. 

How have you demonstrated the skills and aptitudes necessary for your chosen course?

Encourage students to think about times where they have demonstrated the necessary skills to really stand out. It’s helpful to think about times when they have utilised these skills both inside and outside the classroom. Ask students to consider their responses to the following questions. 

Can you demonstrate critical and independent thinking around your chosen subject discipline?

Example answer :  Currently I am studying Maths and Economics in addition to Geography. Economics has been a valuable tool, providing the nuts and bolts to economic processes, and my geography has provided a spatial and temporal element.

Are you able to demonstrate skills and competencies which will be necessary for university study?

These include qualities such as teamwork, time management and the ability to organise workload responsibly.

Example answer:  This year I was selected to be captain of the 1st XV rugby team and Captain of Swimming which will allow me to further develop my leadership, teamwork and organisational skills.

How have your extracurricular activities helped prepare you for university?

Students may believe that their interests outside the classroom aren’t relevant to their university application. So encourage them to think about how their other interests can demonstrate the subject-related skills that universities are looking for in an application. Ask students to think about any of the following activities, and how they might be related back to the subject they are applying for.

  • Clubs/societies, or volunteering work which they can use to illustrate attributes such as teamwork, an interest in community service and the ability to manage their time proactively.
  • Have they been elected/nominated as a team captain, or the head of a particular club or society, which highlights leadership skills and an ability to project manage?
  • Can they point to any awards or prizes they may have won, whether it’s taking up a musical instrument, playing a sport, or participating in theatre/performing arts?
  • Have they achieved grades or qualifications as part of their extracurricular activities? These can only help to demonstrate aptitude and hard work. 

How to write the UCAS Personal Statement [with examples] 

If sufficient planning has gone into the personal statement, then your students should be ready to go!

In this next section, we’ll break down the individual components of the UCAS Personal Statement and share some useful examples.

These examples come from a Personal Statement in support of an application to study Environmental Science at a UK university. 

Watch: King’s College London explain what they’re looking for in a UCAS Personal Statement


This is the chance for an applying student to really grab an admission tutor’s attention. Students need to demonstrate both a personal passion for their subject, and explain why they have an aptitude for it .  This section is where students should begin to discuss any major influences or inspirations that have led them to this subject choice. 

Example :  My passion for the environment has perhaps come from the fact that I have lived in five different countries: France, England, Spain, Sweden and Costa Rica. Moving at the age of 15 from Sweden, a calm and organized country, to Costa Rica, a more diverse and slightly chaotic country, was a shock for me at first and took me out of my comfort zone […] Also, living in Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, definitely helped me realize how vulnerable the world is and how we need to take care of it in a sustainable manner. 

This opening paragraph immediately grabs the reader’s attention by giving the reader an insight into this student’s background and links their academic interests with something specific from the student’s personal backstory. 

Discussing Academic Achievements 

The next paragraph in this Personal Statement discusses the student’s academic achievements. Because this student has had an international education, they frame their academic achievements in the context of their personal background. They also cite useful examples of other curricula they have studied and the grades they have achieved. 

Example : 

Throughout my academic life I have shown myself to be a responsible student as well as a hard working one, despite the fact that I have had to move around a lot. I have achieved several other accomplishments such as a high A (286/300) in AS Spanish at age 15, and also completed a Spanish course of secondary studies for ‘MEP’(Ministerio de Educacion Publica), which is a system from Costa Rica.   

You’ll notice that this student doesn’t just list their achievements – their strong academic performance is always linked back to a wider discussion of their personal experiences. 

Showcasing Extracurricular Activities

As well as discussing academic achievements, a good Personal Statement should also discuss the student’s extracurricular activities, and how they relate back to the student’s overall university aspirations. 

By the third/fourth paragraph of the Personal Statement, students should think about incorporating their extracurricular experiences, 

Another valuable experience was when my class spent a week at a beach called ‘Pacuare’ in order to help prevent the eggs of the endangered leatherback turtle from being stolen by poachers who go on to sell them like chicken eggs. We all gained teamwork experience, which was needed in order to hide the eggs silently without scaring the mother turtles, as well as making it more difficult for the poachers to find them. 

When the poachers set fire to one of the sustainable huts where we were staying, not only did I gain self-awareness about the critical situation of the world and its ecosystems, I also matured and became even more motivated to study environmental sciences at university.

This is a particularly striking example of using extracurricular activities to showcase a student’s wider passion for the degree subject they want to study. 

Not only does this Personal Statement have a story about volunteering to save an endangered species, it also illustrates this applicants’ wider worldview, and helps to explain their motivation for wanting to study Environmental Science. 

Concluding the UCAS Personal Statement

The conclusion to a UCAS Personal Statement will have to be concise, and will need to tie all of a student’s academic and extracurricular achievements. After all, a compelling story will need a great ending. 

Remember that students need to be mindful of the character limit of a Personal Statement, so a conclusion need only be the length of a small paragraph, or even a couple of sentences. 

“ After having many varied experiences, I truly think I can contribute to university in a positive way, and would love to study in England where I believe I would gain more skills and education doing a first degree than in any other country.  “

A good Personal Statement conclusion will end with an affirmation of how the student thinks they can contribute to university life, and why they believe the institution in question should accept them. Because the student in this example has a such a rich and varied international background, they also discuss the appeal of studying at university in England. 

It’s worth taking a quick look at a few other examples of how other students have chosen to conclude their Personal Statement. 

Medicine (Imperial College, London) 

Interest in Medicine aside, other enthusiasms of mine include languages, philosophy, and mythology. It is curiously fitting that in ancient Greek lore, healing was but one of the many arts Apollo presided over, alongside archery and music.   I firmly believe that a doctor should explore the world outside the field of  Medicine, and it is with such experiences that I hope to better empathise and connect with the patients I will care for in my medical career. 

You’ll notice that this example very specifically ties the students’ academic and extracurricular activities together, and ties the Personal Statement back to their values and beliefs. 

Economic History with Economics (London School of Economics)

The highlight of my extra-curricular activities has been my visit to Shanghai with the Lord Mayor’s trade delegation in September 2012. I was selected to give a speech at this world trade conference due to my interest in economic and social history. […] I particularly enjoyed the seminar format, and look forward to experiencing more of this at university. My keen interest and desire to further my knowledge of history and economics, I believe, would make the course ideal for me.

By contrast, this conclusion ties a memorable experience back to the specifics of how the student will be taught at the London School of Economics – specifically, the appeal of learning in seminar format! 

There’s no magic formula for concluding a Personal Statement. But you’ll see that what all of these examples have in common is that they tie a student’s personal and academic experiences together – and tell a university something about their aspirations for the future.

Watch: Bournemouth University explain how to structure a UCAS Personal Statement

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Know the audience

It can be easy for students to forget that the person reading a personal statement is invariably an expert in their field. This is why an ability to convey passion and think critically about their chosen subject is essential for a personal statement to stand out. Admissions tutors will also look for students who can structure their writing (more on this below). 

Students should be themselves

Remember that many students are competing for places on a university degree against fierce competition. And don’t forget that UCAS has the means to spot plagiarism. So students need to create a truly honest and individual account of who they are, what they have achieved and, perhaps most importantly, why they are driven to study this particular subject.

Proof-read (then proof-read again!)

Time pressures mean that students can easily make mistakes with their Personal Statements. As the deadline grows closer, it’s vital that they are constantly checking and rechecking their writing and to ensure that shows them in the best possible light. 

Meanwhile, when it comes to giving feedback to students writing their Personal Statements, make sure you’re as honest and positive as possible in the days and weeks leading up to submission day. 

And make sure they remember the three key ingredients of writing a successful Personal Statement. 

Planning, structure and story! 

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5 Easy Ways to Make Your Personal Statement Fit the Character Count

You’ve spent weeks refining your personal statement – and there is now only one thing standing in the way of you and hitting send on your UCAS application: the UCAS character count.

One of the most frustrating parts of the university admissions process is cutting down the personal statement to less than 4000 characters and 47 lines. Trying to retain as much content as possible whilst remaining under this character count is a difficult process, so here are a few easy ways to make it slightly easier!

Want expert feedback on your personal statement? Get your statement reviewed by an admissions tutor!

Get your Personal Statement reviewed by an expert

 1. Avoid clichés and quotes

Every year, admissions tutors stress that there are a few personal statement mistakes to avoid, yet year after year, people continue to make them. Perhaps the most common of these mistakes are clichés and quotes.

Go through your personal statement and remove any clichés – for example, ‘I’ve wanted to do medicine since I was young’…

The same goes with quotes: unless they add true value to your personal statement (and most of the time they don’t!)  it is usually a good idea to remove them. You only have 4000 characters to let the admissions tutor know who you are, don’t waste it by giving them somebody else’s words!

Read exactly how different medical schools use your personal statement

2. Make sure everything is relevant

A good way to cut words is to make sure you are never losing focus by using the “so what?” rule. For each sentence in your personal statement, ask “so what?”.

Does this sentence make me seem even more suitable for the course? If not, it is probably best to cut it. This often happens when people write long lists of their extracurriculars in a desperate attempt to fit everything in.

Universities, however, want to see reflection and what you have taken away from your experiences; this means it is usually better to just talk about a few extracurriculars and reflect on them, instead of listing a lot which someone reading it is likely to skim over.

Read how to write about your exploration of medicine

3. Make use of colour coding

This is a quick tip, but an easy way to see where you are losing most of your characters is to highlight sections of your personal statement.

For example, if you put each of your sections – work experience, volunteering, extracurriculars and so on – in different colours, it is suddenly a lot easier to identify which section is particularly heavy in terms of characters.

If one section is much longer than the rest without there being a good reason for this, it is usually a good indication that you should start cutting there.

Read our 11-step checklist for your personal statement

4. Watch your language

We often spend a lot of time looking up big words on thesaurus.com in the hope that it will make our work sound more impressive. However, in light of the UCAS character count, this is not always the best approach.

Long, “impressive” words can often hinder meaning and make it more difficult for the person reading your work to follow, especially after they have already read many personal statements that day. It is often best to cut these words in favour of more simple and concise sentences using straightforward language.

If you are still looking to remove characters, it is helpful to look through your personal statement for adverbs and adjectives. Often, we use these words as filler words which do not add much value to our writing. Go through all the adverbs and adjectives you have used and check whether they actually add any value or are merely taking up unnecessary characters.

Read about the writing style of medicine personal statements

5. Still need to shave off the last few characters?

Once it’s down to the last few characters, there are a few small things you can do to push your personal statement down to the 4000 character mark. Firstly, some ‘and’s can be removed in favour for full stops to make shorter, crisper sentences.

Another thing to note is that it is not necessary to use names, for example of hospitals or of places you volunteer, which can remove those final few characters from your count.

Don’t worry that cutting it down will make your personal statement worse – universities know that you can’t write about everything you want to in 4000 characters!

I hope these tips have been useful and good luck with your personal statements!

Written by: Cambridge Medicine Student

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  • How Medical Schools Use Your Personal Statement
  • How to Structure a Personal Statement
  • How to Write a Personal Statement

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The University Guys

UCAS Personal Statement and Examples

What is the ucas personal statement .

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Personal Statement is the main essay for your application to colleges and universities in Great Britain. UCAS gives a nice explanation here , but in short, this is your chance to stand out against the crowd and show your knowledge and enthusiasm for your chosen area of study.

You’ve got 4,000 characters and 47 line limit to show colleges what (ideally) gets you out of bed in the morning. How long is that, really? Use your “word count” tool in Google or Word docs to check as you go along, but 4,000 characters is roughly 500 words or one page.


Think they’re the same? Think again. Here are some key differences between the UCAS and the US Personal Statement:

When you apply to UK schools, you’re applying to one particular degree program, which you’ll study for all, or almost all, your time at university. Your UCAS personal statement should focus less on cool/fun/quirky aspects of yourself and more on how you’ve prepared for your particular area of study.

The UCAS Personal Statement will be read by someone looking for proof that you are academically capable of studying that subject for your entire degree. In some cases, it might be an actual professor reading your essay.

You’ll only write one personal statement, which will be sent to all the universities you’re applying to, and it’s unlikely you’ll be sending any additional (supplemental) essays. Your essay needs to explain why you enjoy and are good at this subject, without reference to any particular university or type of university.

Any extracurricular activities that are NOT connected to the subject you’re applying for are mostly irrelevant, unless they illustrate relevant points about your study skills or attributes: for example, having a job outside of school shows time-management and people skills, or leading a sports team shows leadership and responsibility.

Your personal statement will mostly focus on what you’ve done at high school, in class, and often in preparation for external exams. 80-90% of the content will be academic in nature.


This may be obvious, but the first step to a great UCAS Personal Statement is to choose the subject you’re applying for. This choice will be consistent across the (up to) five course choices you have. Often, when students struggle with a UCAS personal statement, it’s because they are trying to make the statement work for a couple of different subjects. With a clear focus on one subject, the essay can do the job it is supposed to do. Keep in mind you’re limited to 47 lines or 4000 characters, so this has to be concise and make efficient use of words.

To work out what information to include, my favourite brainstorming activity is the ‘Courtroom Exercise’. Here’s how it works:

The Courtroom Exercise

Imagine you’re prosecuting a case in court, and the case is that should be admitted to a university to study the subject you’ve chosen. You have to present your case to the judge, in a 47 line or 4,000 character statement. The judge won’t accept platitudes or points made without evidence–she needs to see evidence. What examples will you present in your statement?

In a good statement, you’ll make an opening and a closing point.

To open your argument, can you sum up in one sentence why you wish to study this subject? Can you remember where your interest in that subject began? Do you have a story to tell that will engage the reader about your interest in that subject?

Next, you’ll present a number of pieces of evidence, laying out in detail why you’re a good match for this subject. What activities have you done that prove you can study this subject at university?

Most likely, you’ll start with a class you took, a project you worked on, an internship you had, or a relevant extra-curricular activity you enjoyed. For each activity you discuss, structure a paragraph on each using the ABC approach:

A: What is the A ctivity?

B: How did it B enefit you as a potential student for this degree course?

C: Link the benefit to the skills needed to be successful on this C ourse.

With three or four paragraphs like these, each of about 9 or 10 lines, and you should have the bulk of your statement done. Typically two of these will be about classes you have taken at school, and two about relevant activities outside of school.

In the last paragraph, you need to demonstrate wider skills that you have, which you can probably do from your extracurricular activities. How could you demonstrate your time management, your ability to collaborate, or your creativity? Briefly list a few extracurricular activities you’ve taken part in and identify the relevant skills that are transferable to university study.

Finally, close your argument in a way that doesn’t repeat what you’ve already shared. Case closed!


What if I’m not sure what I want to study? Should I still apply? 

There are a number of broader programs available at UK universities (sometimes called Liberal Arts or Flexible Combined Honours). However,  you should still showcase two or three academic areas of interest. If you are looking for a broader range of subjects to study and can’t choose one, then the UK might not be the best fit for you.

What if I haven’t done much, academically or via extracurriculars, to demonstrate that I’ll be able to complete the coursework for my degree? Should I still apply?

You certainly can, but you will need to be realistic about the strength of your application as a result. The most selective universities will want to see this evidence, but less selective ones will be more willing to account for your potential to grow in addition to what you’ve already achieved. You could also consider applying for a Foundation course or a ‘Year 0’ course, where you have an additional year pre-university to enable you to develop this range of evidence.

If I’m not accepted into a particular major, can I be accepted into a different major?

It’s important to understand that we are not talking about a ‘major,’ as what you are accepted into is one entire course of study. Some universities may make you an ‘alternative offer’ for a similar but perhaps less popular course (for example you applied for Business but instead they offer you a place for Business with a Language).At others, you can indicate post-application that you would like to be considered for related courses. However, it’s not going to be possible to switch between two completely unrelated academic areas.

What other information is included in my application? Will they see my extracurricular activities, for example? Is there an Additional Information section where I can include more context on what I’ve done in high school?

The application is very brief: the personal statement is where you put all the information. UCAS does not include an activities section or space for any other writing. The 47 lines are all you have. Some universities might accept information if there are particularly important extenuating circumstances that must be conveyed. This can be done via email, but typically, they don’t want to see more than the UCAS statement and your school’s reference provides.

Now, let’s take a look at some of my favourite UCAS personal statement examples with some analysis of why I think these are great.


When I was ten, I saw a documentary on Chemistry that really fascinated me. Narrated by British theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili, it explained how the first elements were discovered and how Chemistry was born out of alchemy. I became fascinated with Chemistry and have remained so ever since. I love the subject because it has very theoretical components, for example quantum Chemistry, while also having huge practical applications.

In this introduction, the student shows where his interest in Chemistry comes from. Adding some additional academic detail (in this case, the name of the scientist) helps guide the reader into more specific information on why this subject is interesting to him.

This aspect of Chemistry is important to me. I have, for example, used machine learning to differentiate between approved and experimental drugs. On the first run, using drug molecules from the website Drug Bank, I calculated some molecular descriptors for them. I started with a simple logistic regression model and was shocked to find that it had apparently classified almost all molecules correctly. This result couldn’t be right; it took me nearly a month to find the error. I accidentally normalized the molecular-descriptor data individually, rather than as a combined data set, thereby encoding the label into the input. On a second run, after fixing the error, I used real machine learning libraries. Here I actually got some performance with my new algorithm, which I could compare to professional researchers’ papers. The highest accuracy I ever saw on my screen was 86 percent. The researchers’ result was 85 percent; thanks to more modern machine learning methods, I narrowly beat them. I have also studied Mathematics and Physics at A Level and have been able to dive into areas beyond the A Level syllabus such as complex integration in math and the Schrödinger equation in Physics.

This paragraph outlines a clear case for this student’s aptitude for and interest in Chemistry. He explains in detail how he has explored his intended major, using academic terminology to show us he has studied the subject deeply. Knowing an admissions reader is looking for evidence that this student has a talent for Chemistry, this paragraph gives them the evidence they need to admit him.

Additionally, I have worked on an undergraduate computer science course on MIT Opencourseware, but found that the content followed fixed rules and did not require creativity. At the time I was interested in neural networks and listened to lectures by professor Geoffrey Hinton who serendipitously mentioned his students testing his techniques on ‘Kaggle Competitions’. I quickly got interested and decided to compete on this platform. Kaggle allowed me to measure my machine learning skills against competitors with PhDs or who are professional data scientists at large corporations. With this kind of competition naturally I did not win any prizes, but I worked with the same tools and saw how others gradually perfected a script, something which has helped my A Level studies immensely.

Introducing a new topic, the student again uses academic terminology to show how he has gone beyond the confines of his curriculum to explore the subject at a higher level. In this paragraph, he demonstrates that he has studied university-level Chemistry. Again, this helps the reader to see that this student is capable of studying for a Chemistry degree.

I have been keen to engage in activities beyond the classroom. For example, I have taken part in a range of extracurricular activities, including ballroom dancing, public speaking, trumpet, spoken Mandarin, and tennis, achieving a LAMDA distinction at level four for my public speaking. I have also participated in Kaggle competitions, as I’m extremely interested in machine learning. For example, I have used neural networks to determine the causes of Amazon deforestation from satellite pictures in the ‘Planet: Understanding the Amazon from Space’ competition. I believe that having worked on projects spanning several weeks or even months has allowed me to build a stamina that will be extremely useful when studying at university.

This penultimate paragraph introduces the student’s extracurricular interests, summing them up in a sentence. Those activities that can demonstrate skills that are transferable to the study of Chemistry are given a bit more explanation. The student’s descriptions in each paragraph are very detailed, with lots of specific information about awards, classes and teachers.

What I hope to gain from an undergraduate (and perhaps post-graduate) education in Chemistry is to deepen my knowledge of the subject and potentially have the ability to successfully launch a startup after university. I’m particularly interested in areas such as computational Chemistry and cheminformatics. However, I’m  open to studying other areas in Chemistry, as it is a subject that truly captivates me.

In the conclusion, the student touches on his future plans, using specific terminology that shows his knowledge of Chemistry. This also reveals that he aims to have a career in this field, which many admission readers find appealing as it demonstrates a level of commitment to the subject.


This next statement has to accomplish a number of tasks, given the subject the student is applying for. As a vocational degree, applicants for veterinary medicine are committing to a career as well as a subject to study, so they need to give information demonstrating they understand the reality of a career in this area. It also needs to explain their motivation for this interest, which quite often is demonstrated through work experience (something which is often a condition for entry into these programs). Finally, as this is a highly academic subject to study at university, the author should include a good level of academic terminology and experiences in the statement.

There is nothing more fascinating to me than experiencing animals in the wild, in their natural habitat where their behaviour is about the survival of their species. I was lucky enough to experience this when in Tanzania. While observing animals hunting, I became intrigued by their musculature and inspired to work alongside these animals to help them when they are sick, as a veterinarian.

In an efficient way, the applicant explains her motivation to become a vet, then squeezes in a bit of information about her experience with animals.

As a horse rider and owner for nearly ten years, I have sought opportunities to learn as much as I can about caring for the animal. I helped around the yard with grooming and exercise, bringing horses in and out from the fields, putting on rugs, and mucking out. I have also been working at a small animal vet clinic every other Saturday for over 2.5 years. There, my responsibilities include restocking and sterilising equipment, watching procedures, and helping in consultations. Exposure to different cases has expanded my knowledge of various aspects, such as assisting with an emergency caesarean procedure. Due to a lack of staff on a Saturday, I was put in charge of anaesthesia while the puppies were being revived. I took on this task without hesitation and recorded heart and respiration rate, capillary refill time, and gum colour every five minutes. Other placements following an equine vet, working on a polo farm, and volunteering at a swan sanctuary have also broadened my experience with different species and how each possesses various requirements. During pre-vet summer courses, I was also introduced to farm animals such as pigs, cows, sheep and chicken. I spend some time milking dairy cows and removing clustered dust from chicken feet, as well as tipping sheep in order to inspect their teats.

In this paragraph, she synthesizes personal experience with an academic understanding of vet medicine. She demonstrates that she is committed to animals (helping in the yard, regular Saturday work, assistance with procedures), that she has gained a variety of experiences, and that she understands some of the conditions (caesareans, clustered dust) that vets have to deal with. Note that she also briefly discusses ‘pre-vet summer courses,’ adding credibility to her level of experience.

I have focused on HL Biology and HL Chemistry for my IB Diploma. I was particularly excited to study cell biology and body systems because these subjects allowed me to comprehend how the body works and are applicable to animal body functions. Topics like DNA replication as well as cell transcription and translation have helped me form a fundamental understanding of genetics and protein synthesis, both important topics when looking into hereditary diseases in animals. Learning about chemical reactions made me consider the importance of pharmaceutical aspects of veterinary medicine, such as the production of effective medicine. Vaccines are essential and by learning about the chemical reactions, I f developed a more nuanced understanding about how they are made and work.

Now, the statement turns to academic matters, linking her IB subjects to the university studies she aspires to. She draws out one particular example that makes a clear link between school and university-level study.

I have also written my Extended Essay discussing the consequences of breeding laws in the UK and South Australia in relation to the development of genetic abnormalities in pugs and German shepherds. This topic is important, as the growing brachycephalic aesthetic of pugs is causing them to suffer throughout their lifetime. Pedigree dogs, such as the German shepherd, have a very small gene pool and as a result, hereditary diseases can develop. This becomes an ethical discussion, because allowing German shepherds to suffer is not moral; however, as a breed, they aid the police and thus serve society.

The IB Extended Essay (like an A Level EPQ or a Capstone project) is a great topic to discuss in a personal statement, as these activities are designed to allow students to explore subjects in greater detail.

The first sentence here is a great example of what getting more specific looks like because it engages more directly with what the student is actually writing about in this particular paragraph then it extrapolates a more general point of advice from those specificities.

By choosing to write her Extended Essay on a topic of relevance to veterinary medicine, she has given herself the opportunity to show the varied aspects of veterinary science. This paragraph proves to the reader that this student is capable and motivated to study veterinary medicine.

I have learned that being a veterinarian requires diagnostic skills as well as excellent communication and leadership skills. I understand the importance and ethics of euthanasia decisions, and the sensitivity around discussing it withanimal owners. I have developed teamwork and leadership skills when playing varsity football and basketball for four years. My communication skills have expanded through being a Model U.N. and Global Issues Network member.

This small paragraph on her extracurricular activities links them clearly to her intended area of study, both in terms of related content and necessary skills. From this, the reader gains the impression that this student has a wide range of relevant interests.

When I attend university, I not only hope to become a veterinarian, but also a leader in the field. I would like to research different aspects of veterinary medicine, such as diseases. As a vet, I would like to help work towards the One Health goal; allowing the maintenance of public health security. This affects vets because we are the ones working closely with animals every day.

In the conclusion, she ties things together and looks ahead to her career. By introducing the concept of ‘One Health’, she also shows once again her knowledge of the field she is applying to.


Standing inside a wind tunnel is not something every 17 year old aspires to, but for me the opportunity to do so last year confirmed my long-held desire to become a mechanical engineer.

This introduction is efficient and provides a clear direction for the personal statement. Though it might seem that it should be more detailed, for a student applying to study a course that requires limited extended writing, being this matter-of-fact works fine.

I enjoy the challenge of using the laws of Physics, complemented with Mathematical backing, in the context of everyday life, which helps me to visualise and understand where different topics can be applied. I explored the field of aeronautics, specifically in my work experience with Emirates Aviation University. I explored how engineers apply basic concepts of air resistance and drag when I had the opportunity to experiment with the wind tunnel, which allowed me to identify how different wing shapes behave at diverse air pressures. My interest with robotics has led me to take up a year-long internship with MakersBuilders, where I had the chance to explore physics and maths on a different plane. During my internship I educated young teenagers on a more fundamental stage of building and programming, in particular when we worked on building a small robot and programmed the infra-red sensor in order to create self-sufficient movement. This exposure allowed me to improve my communication and interpersonal skills.

In this paragraph, the student adds evidence to the initial assertion that he enjoys seeing how Physics relates to everyday life. The descriptions of the work experiences he has had not only show his commitment to the subject, but also enable him to bring in some academic content to demonstrate his understanding of engineering and aeronautics.

I’m interested in the mechanics side of Maths such as circular motion and projectiles; even Pure Maths has allowed me to easily see patterns when working and solving problems in Computer Science. During my A Level Maths and Further Maths, I have particularly enjoyed working with partial fractions as they show how reverse methodology can be used to solve addition of fractions, which ranges from simple addition to complex kinematics. ­­­Pure Maths has also enabled me to better understand how 3D modelling works with ­­­the use of volumes of revolution, especially when I learned how to apply the calculations to basic objects like calculating the amount of water in a bottle or the volume of a pencil.

This paragraph brings in the academic content at school, which is important when applying for a subject such as engineering. This is because the admissions reader needs to be reassured that the student has covered the necessary foundational content to be able to cope with Year 1 of this course.

In my Drone Club I have been able to apply several methods of wing formation, such as the number of blades used during a UAS flight. Drones can be used for purposes such as in Air-sea Rescue or transporting food to low income countries. I have taken on the responsibility of leading and sharing my skills with others, particularly in the Drone Club where I gained the certification to fly drones. In coding club, I participated in the global Google Code competition related to complex, real-life coding, such as a program that allows phones to send commands to another device using Bluetooth. My Cambridge summer course on math and engineering included the origins of a few of the most important equations and ideologies from many mathematicians such as, E=mc2 from Einstein, I also got a head start at understanding matrices and their importance in kinematics. Last summer, I completed a course at UT Dallas on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The course was intuitive and allowed me to understand a different perspective of how robots and AI will replace humans to do complex and labour-intensive activities, customer service, driverless cars and technical support.

In this section, he demonstrates his commitment to the subject through a detailed list of extracurricular activities, all linked to engineering and aeronautics. The detail he gives about each one links to the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in these subjects at university.

I have represented Model UN as a delegate and enjoyed working with others to solve problems. For my Duke of Edinburgh Award, I partook in several activities such as trekking and playing the drums. I enjoy music and I have reached grade 3 for percussion. I have also participated in a range of charitable activities, which include assisting during Ramadan and undertaking fun-runs to raise money for cancer research.

As with the introduction, this is an efficient use of language, sharing a range of activities, each of which has taught him useful skills. The conclusion that follows is similarly efficient and to the point.

I believe that engineering is a discipline that will offer me a chance to make a tangible difference in the world, and I am certain I will enjoy the process of integrating technology with our everyday life.


Applying for a joint honours course presents a particular challenge of making the case that you are interested in the first subject, the second subject and (often overlooked) the combination of the two. In this example, the applicant uses her own academic studies and personal experiences to make her case.

I usually spend my summer breaks in Uttar Pradesh, India working at my grandparents’ NGO which produces bio-fertilizers for the poor. While working, I speak to many of the villagers in the nearby villages like Barokhar and Dharampur and have found out about the various initiatives the Government has taken to improve the production of wheat and rice. I understand the hardships they undergo and speaking to them has shown me the importance of Social Policy and the role the government plays in improving the lives of people and inspired me to pursue my university studies in this field.

In the introduction, this applicant explains where her interlinking experiences come from: she has personal experiences demonstrating how economics impacts the most vulnerable in society. In doing so, she shows the admissions reader that she has a deep interest in this combination and can move on to discussing each subject in turn.

My interest in these areas has been driven by the experiences I had at high school and beyond. I started attending Model United Nations in the 9th grade and have been to many conferences, discussing problems like the water crisis and a lack of sustainability in underdeveloped countries. These topics overlapped with my study of economics and exciting classroom discussions on what was going on how different events would impact economies, for instance how fluctuations in oil prices will affect standards of living. Studying Economics has expanded  my knowledge about how countries are run and how macroeconomic policies shape the everyday experiences of individuals.

Unusually, this applicant does not go straight into her classroom experiences but instead uses one of her extracurricular activities (Model United Nations) in her first paragraph. For students applying for subjects that are not often taught at school (Social Policy in this example), this can be a good idea, as it allows you to bring in material that you have self-studied to explain why you are capable of studying each subject at university. Here, she uses MUN discussions to show she understands some topics in social policy that are impacting the world.

By taking up history as a subject in Grade 11 and 12, I have seen the challenges that people went through in the past, and how different ideas gained momentum in different parts of the world such as the growth of communism in Russia and China and how it spread to different countries during the Cold War. I learned about the different roles that governments played in times of hardships such as that which President Roosevelt’s New Deal played during the Great Depression. From this, I gained analytical skills by scrutinizing how different social, political and economic forces have moulded societies in the past.

In this paragraph, she then takes the nearest possible class to her interest in Social Policy and draws elements from it to add to her case for Social Policy. Taking some elements from her history classes enables her to add some content to this statement, before linking to the topic of economics.

To explore my interest in Economics, I interned at Emirates National Bank of Dubai, one of the largest banks in the Middle East, and also at IBM. At Emirates NBD, I undertook a research project on Cash Management methods in competitor banks and had to present my findings at the end of the internship. I also interned at IBM where I had to analyze market trends and fluctuations in market opportunity in countries in the Middle East and Africa. I had to find relations between GDP and market opportunity and had to analyze how market opportunity could change over the next 5 years with changing geo-political situations. I have also attended Harvard University’s Youth Lead the Change leadership conference where I was taught how to apply leadership skills to solve global problems such as gender inequality and poverty.

Economics is explored again through extracurriculars, with some detail added to the general statement about the activities undertaken during this work experience. Though the level of academics here is a little thin because this student’s high school did not offer any classes in Economics, she does as well as she can to bring in academic content.

I have partaken in many extra-curricular activities which have helped me develop the skills necessary for this course. Being a part of the Press Club at school gave me an opportunity to hone my talent for the written word and gave me a platform to talk about global issues. Volunteering at a local library taught me how to be organized. I developed research and analytical skills by undertaking various research projects at school such as the sector-wide contribution of the Indian economy to the GDP in the previous year. As a member of the Business and Economic Awareness Council at school, I was instrumental in organizing many economics-based events such as the Business Fair and Innovation Mela. Being part of various Face to Faith conferences has provided me with an opportunity to interact with students in Sierra Leone, India and Korea and understand global perspectives on issues like malaria and human trafficking.

The extracurricular activities are revisited here, with the first half of this paragraph showing how the applicant has some transferable skills from her activities that will help her with this course. She then revisits her interest in the course studies, before following up with a closing section that touches on her career goals:

The prospect of pursuing these two subjects is one that I eagerly anticipate and I look forward to meeting the challenge of university. In the future, I wish to become an economist and work at a think tank where I will be able to apply what I have learnt in studying such an exciting course.


This applicant is also a joint-honours applicant, and again is applying for a subject that she has not been able to study at school. Thus, bringing in her own interest and knowledge of both subjects is crucial here.

At the age of four, I remember an argument with my mother: I wanted to wear a pink ballerina dress with heels, made for eight-year-olds, which despite my difficulty in staying upright I was determined to wear. My mother persistently engaged in debate with me about why it was not ok to wear this ensemble in winter. After two hours of patiently explaining to me and listening to my responses she convinced me that I should wear something different, the first time I remember listening to reason. It has always been a natural instinct for me to discuss everything, since in the course of my upbringing I was never given a simple yes or no answer. Thus, when I began studying philosophy, I understood fully my passion for argument and dialogue.

This is an unusual approach to start a UCAS Personal Statement, but it does serve to show how this student approaches the world and why this combination of subjects might work for her. Though it could perhaps be drawn out more explicitly, here she is combining an artistic issue (her clothes) with a philosophical concern (her debate with her mother) to lead the reader into the case she is making for admission into this program.

This was first sparked academically when I was introduced to religious ethics; having a fairly Christian background my view on religion was immature. I never thought too much of the subject as I believed it was just something my grandparents did. However, when opened up to the arguments about god and religion, I was inclined to argue every side. After research and discussion, I was able to form my own view on religion without having to pick a distinctive side to which theory I would support. This is what makes me want to study philosophy: it gives an individual personal revelation towards matters into which they may not have given too much thought to.

There is some good content here that discusses the applicant’s interest in philosophy and her own motivation for this subject, though there is a lack of academic content here.

Alongside this, taking IB Visual Arts HL has opened my artistic views through pushing me out of my comfort zone. Art being a very subjective course, I was forced to choose an opinion which only mattered to me, it had no analytical nor empirical rights or wrongs, it was just my taste in art. From studying the two subjects alongside each other, I found great value, acquiring a certain form of freedom in each individual with their dual focus on personalized opinion and taste in many areas, leading to self- improvement.

In this section, she uses her IB Visual Arts class to explore how her interest in philosophy bleeds into her appreciation of art. Again, we are still awaiting the academic content, but the reader will by now be convinced that the student has a deep level of motivation for this subject. When we consider how rare this combination is, with very few courses for this combination available, the approach to take slightly longer to establish can work.

For this reason, I find the work of Henry Moore fascinating. I am intrigued by his pieces, especially the essence of the ‘Reclining Nude’ model, as the empty holes inflicted on the abstract human body encouraged my enthusiasm for artistic interpretation. This has led me to contemplate the subtlety, complexity and merit of the role of an artist. Developing an art piece is just as complex and refined as writing a novel or developing a theory in Philosophy. For this reason, History of Art conjoins with Philosophy, as the philosophical approach towards an art piece is what adds context to the history as well as purpose behind it.

Finally, we’re given the academic content. Cleverly, the content links both the History of Art and Philosophy together through a discussion of the work of Henry Moore. Finding examples that conjoin the subjects that make up a joint-honours application is a great idea and works well here.

Studying Philosophy has allowed me to apply real life abstractions to my art, as well as to glean a deeper critical analysis of art in its various mediums. My IB Extended Essay examined the 1900s Fauve movement, which made a huge breakthrough in France and Hungary simultaneously. This was the first artistic movement which was truly daring and outgoing with its vivid colours and bold brush strokes. My interest expanded to learning about the Hungarian artists in this movement led by Henri Matisse. Bela Czobel was one of the few who travelled to France to study but returned to Hungary, more specifically Nagybanya, to bestow what he had learned.

Again in this paragraph, the author connects the subjects. Students who are able to undertake a research project in their high school studies (such as the IB Extended Essay here, or the A Level Extended Project or AP Capstone) can describe these in their UCAS personal statements, as this level of research in an area of academic study can enliven and add depth to the writing, as is the case here.

As an international student with a multicultural background, I believe I can adapt to challenging or unfamiliar surroundings with ease. I spent two summers working at a nursery in Hungary as a junior Assistant Teacher, where I demonstrated leadership and teamwork skills that I had previously developed through commitment to sports teams. I was a competitive swimmer for six years and have represented my school internationally as well as holding the school record for 100m backstroke. I was elected Deputy Head of my House, which further reflects my dedication, leadership, teamwork and diligence.

As in the previous examples, this statement gives a good overview of the applicant’s extracurricular activities, with a mention of skills that will be beneficial to her studies at university. She then concludes with a brief final sentence:

I hope to carry these skills with me into my university studies, allowing me to enrich my knowledge and combine my artistic and philosophical interests.


A good range of UK universities now offer courses called ‘Liberal Arts’ (or similar titles such as ‘Flexible Combined Honours’), which allows students to study a broader topic of study–perhaps combining three or four subjects–than is typically available in the UK system.

This presents a challenge in the personal statement, as within the 47 line / 4000 character limit, the applicant will have to show academic interest and knowledge in a range of subjects while also making the case to be admitted for this combined programme of study.

As a child I disliked reading; however, when I was 8, there was one particular book that caught my attention: The Little Prince. From that moment onwards, my love for literature was ignited and I had entered into a whirlwind of fictional worlds. While studying and analysing the classics from The Great Gatsby to Candide, this has exposed me to a variety of novels. My French bilingualism allowed me to study, in great depth, different texts in their original language. This sparked a new passion of mine for poetry, and introduced me to the works of Arthur Rimbaud, who has greatly influenced me. Through both reading and analysing poetry I was able to decipher its meaning. Liberal Arts gives me the opportunity to continue to study a range of texts and authors from different periods in history, as well as related aspects of culture, economy and society.

Here we have a slightly longer than usual opening paragraph, but given the nature of the course being applied for this works well. A personal story segueing from literature to modern languages to history and cultural studies shows that this student has a broad range of interests within the humanities and thus is well-suited to this course of study.

Liberal Arts is a clear choice for me. Coming from the IB International Baccalaureate Diploma programme I have studied a wide range of subjects which has provided me with a breadth of knowledge. In Theatre, I have adapted classics such as Othello by Shakespeare, and playing the role of moreover acting as Desdemona forced me to compartmentalise her complex emotions behind the early-modern English text. Studying History has taught me a number of skills; understanding the reasons behind changes in society, evaluating sources, and considering conflicting interpretations. From my interdisciplinary education I am able to critically analyse the world around me. Through studying Theory of Knowledge, I have developed high quality analysis using key questions and a critical mindset by questioning how and why we think and why. By going beyond the common use of reason, I have been able to deepen greaten my understanding and apply my ways of knowing in all subjects; for example in science I was creative in constructing my experiment (imagination) and used qualitative data (sense perception).

Students who are taking the IB Diploma, with its strictures to retain a broad curriculum, are well-suited to the UK’s Liberal Arts courses, as they have had practice seeing the links between subjects. In this paragraph, the applicant shows how she has done this, linking content from one subject to skills developed in another, and touching on the experience of IB Theory of Knowledge (an interdisciplinary class compulsory for all IB Diploma students) to show how she is able to see how different academic subjects overlap and share some common themes.

Languages have always played an important role in my life. I was immersed into a French nursery even though my parents are not French speakers. I have always cherished the ability to speak another language; it is something I have never taken for granted, and it is how I individualise myself. Being bilingual has allowed me to engage with a different culture. As a result, I am more open minded and have a global outlook. This has fuelled my desire to travel, learn new languages and experience new cultures. This course would provide me with the opportunity to fulfil these desires. Having written my Extended Essay in French on the use of manipulative language used by a particular character from the French classic Dangerous Liaisons I have had to apply my skills of close contextual reading and analysing to sculpt this essay. These skills are perfectly applicable to the critical thinking that is demanded for the course.

Within the humanities, this student has a particular background that makes her stand out, having become fluent in French while having no French background nor living in a French-speaking country. This is worth her exploring to develop her motivation for a broad course of study at university, which she does well here.

Studying the Liberal Arts will allow me to further my knowledge in a variety of fields whilst living independently and meeting people from different backgrounds. The flexible skills I would achieve from obtaining a liberal arts degree I believe would make me more desirable for future employment. I would thrive in this environment due to my self discipline and determination. During my school holidays I have undertaken working in a hotel as a chambermaid and this has made me appreciate the service sector in society and has taught me to work cohesively with others in an unfamiliar environment. I also took part in a creative writing course held at Keats House, where I learnt about romanticism. My commitment to extracurricular activities such as varsity football and basketball has shown me the importance of sportsmanship and camaraderie, while GIN (Global Issue Networking) has informed me of the values of community and the importance for charitable organisations.

The extracurricular paragraph here draws out a range of skills the student will apply to this course. Knowing that taking a broader range of subjects at a UK university requires excellent organizational skills, the student takes time to explain how she can meet these, perhaps going into slightly more detail than would be necessary for a single-honours application to spell out that she is capable of managing her time well. She then broadens this at the end by touching on some activities that have relevance for her studies.

My academic and personal preferences have always led me to the Liberal Arts; I feel as though the International Baccalaureate, my passion and self-discipline have prepared me for higher education. From the academics, extracurriculars and social aspects, I intend to embrace the entire experience of university.

In the final section, the candidate restates how she matches this course.

Overall, you can see how the key factor in a UCAS statement is the academic evidence, with students linking their engagement with a subject to the course of study that they are applying to. Using the courtroom exercise analogy, the judge here should be completely convinced that the case has been made, and will, therefore issue an offer of admittance to that university.

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Examples of UCAS Personal Statement

Best Examples of UCAS Personal Statement

Knowing how to write UCAS personal statement is a good thing because you do not need to worry. If you still want to know more ideas, then you need to check out samples and the UCAS requirements. Here is what you should know about UCAS, but remember you may hire personal statement editing services to improve it anytime you need.

ucas personal statement sample

UCAS Requirements

Aside from personal statement UCAS , there are still other requirements you must know.


  • Applicants must need to hold undergraduate degree or recognized equivalent qualification
  • Applicants must need to achieved standard equivalent grade of C or higher in GCSE examinations in mathematics or English. For training applications in Wales, applicants must need to have a graded of B or higher.
  • Applicants must need to passed professional skills test
  • Applicants must need to have strong understanding on chosen subject

Non-Academic Requirements:

  • Classroom experience: Applicants must need to have at least 2 weeks classroom experience.
  • Medical fitness: Training provider should send health questionnaire
  • Declaration of the criminal convictions

International as well as EU students: Applicants must need to demonstrate their English language skills.

Note: It is important to visit the school that you want to apply for to know what other requirements you need to submit are. Make sure that you know the UCAS requirements as soon as possible to start applying and to begin preparing all the documents needed.

Samples of UCAS Personal Statement: Tips

Start with the preparation in writing. Before writing, have a theme in mind. This will be the main message or story that will be used from the start to the end of your essay. Having a central theme is what you need to keep a strong personal statement that will impress your readers. When it comes to preparation, you should also take note of the outline. Come up with one before writing your essay. You can also brainstorm for some ideas that can help you write a good personal statement.

When starting, do not mention a college or university name; what you can write are your qualities and skills that they are looking for. Start with a list of things to include and begin writing your essay. Some things to include are subjects of interests, previous studies and relevant aspects of placements, volunteering and work experience. You may also include your hobbies or activities, showing your passion for the field.

You can also include achievements, which can highlight your skills and qualities. With your introduction, begin with an opening sentence, which can encourage your reader to keep on reading. Avoid fluff in writing, especially in the introduction. What you need is a hook that will catch your reader’s attention.

Also, you should structure the things to include. When it comes to the conclusion, you can reinforce your enthusiasm, commitment and skills, which matter to the college or university. Also, don’t forget about checking your spelling and grammar.

*Length is up to 4,000 characters, or 47 text lines, including blank lines and spaces. Make sure that you don’t copy because the UCAS has software that detects any traces of it.

There you have what to remember about the UCAS essay that you have to follow (requirements) and things to keep in mind when writing (tips).

Start preparing early, draft your first personal statement, edit and come up with several versions, until you reach perfection.

Start with UCAS personal statement today!

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  1. How To Write A Perfect Personal Statement Ucas

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  2. Writing a PERFECT UCAS Personal Statement

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  3. Your personal statement guide from UCAS

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  4. The UCAS reference and personal statement guidance How

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  5. Examples of UCAS Personal Statement

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  6. How To Write A Good Ucas Personal Statement

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  1. UCAS Personal Statement Guide

  2. Personal Statements

  3. Avoid these mistakes when writing your UCAS personal statement ❌️ #ucas #personalstatement #shorts


  1. UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker

    Lines 0 / 4000 0 / 47 Please note: The line count may differ than the number of lines in the textbox above but when copy and pasted will match the line count on the UCAS application. UCAS Personal Statement Requirements No longer than 4000 characters. No longer than 47 lines. Each line can be no longer than 94 characters.

  2. Personal statement length checker

    Personal statement length checker Enter your personal statement below to check if it meets the UCAS Apply requirements for the number of lines and character length. The requirements for teacher training personal statements are different for UCAS Apply so this checker won't produce the correct results.

  3. Introducing the personal statement builder

    The personal statement builder in the UCAS Hub is designed to help you think about what to include in your personal statement, and how to lay it all out. It also counts how many characters you've used, so it's easy to see when you're close to the 4,000 character limit.

  4. Personal statement checker

    What is the UCAS personal statement word count? UCAS does not specify a certain number of words. However, the personal statement is limited to 4,000 characters including spaces. You cannot use Word to check your statement length because they count words and spaces differently, hence why we have developed this tool for you.

  5. UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker

    UCAS Personal Statement Requirements Does longer than 4000 characters. No longer than 47 lines. Each queue can be no longer than 94 signs. (Our character coin above already has an soap line output of 94 characters unless alternatively noted.) Characters includes spaces, carriage proceeds, and punctuation.

  6. UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker

    0 / 47 Want note: The line count may differ than the batch of lines in the textbox above but when copy and pasted will matchings that family count on the UCAS usage. UCAS Personal Statement Requirements Don longer then 4000 characters. No longest than 47 lines. Jeder line can be negative longer than 94 characters.

  7. Writing your personal statement

    Find out more Postgraduate personal statements How to write your postgraduate personal statement Stand out from the crowd by showcasing your expertise and passion for your subject.

  8. How to write a UCAS personal statement

    UCAS personal statement word limit. Your personal statement length can be up to 4,000 characters long. This may sound a lot, but it's a word limit of around 550-1000 words with spaces and only about 1 side of typed A4 paper. You need to keep it concise and make sure it's clear and easy to read.

  9. UCAS Personal Statement Length

    Here are some tips. Admissions Process: UCAS Personal Statement Characters Based on online counters for personal statements for UCAS, the university requires 4,000-character count or about 47 lines of texts in your essay. This is not that long that is why you have to know how to maximize your essay by using the space allotted wisely and correctly.

  10. Tell your students about our interactive personal statement tool

    This stage can be the hardest part of the application process, especially when faced with a blank page. Our personal statement tool will help your students think about what to include in their personal statement, and how to structure it. It also counts how many characters they've used, so it's easy to see when they're close to that 4,000 ...

  11. UCAS Personal Statement Length Checker

    (Our character counter above already has a full limit length of 94 characters unless otherwise noted.) Characters include spaces, carriage returns, and punctuation. ... The UCAS personal statement scares most high school students. Writing a flawless special statement is one strenuous and unavoidable process. With large info 6 thousand univ ...

  12. Personal statement dos and don'ts

    Don'ts. Don't be modest or shy. You want your passions to come across. Don't exaggerate - if you do, you may get caught out in an interview when asked to elaborate on an interesting achievement. Don't use quotes from someone else, or cliches. Don't leave it to the last minute - your statement will seem rushed and important ...

  13. Choose & Send

    2020 Undergraduate Application. Your personal statement is too long to be saved. Click 'save' within 19 minutes so that your work is not lost. Your statement is 1 line (s) over the 47 limit, based on the preview. Your completed statement must be between 1,000 and 4,000 characters (maximum 47 lines) including spaces.

  14. UCAS personal statement checklist

    The personal statement on your UCAS application is your chance to really sell yourself to the universities you are applying to. We do read them and it can make the difference between receiving an offer and being unsuccessful. Once you've got your ideas for your personal statement ready to go, use our handy checklist below to make sure you ...

  15. The Ultimate UCAS Personal Statement Guide

    The best Personal Statements get to the point quickly, so avoid starting with phrases like "From a young age", "I am applying for this course because", and "Throughout my life I have always enjoyed…". Go straight into why you are interested in your course subject. 2. Use cringe-worthy language and cheap gags.

  16. UCAS Personal Statement Line & Character Counter

    How To Use Our UCAS Personal Statement Checker. To use our tool, simply copy and paste your personal statement into this box. At the top, there will be 2 metrics displayed. The first on the left is the number of characters you've typed out (4,000) and the second on the right is the number of lines you've written (47).

  17. How to Write a UCAS Personal Statement [With Examples]

    The UCAS Personal Statement is a student's opportunity to show a university who they are and how their life experiences have shaped their academic interests and goals. So a good Personal Statement needs to offer a compelling narrative, and that means making sure that a student's writing is well-structured, and that every sentence and ...

  18. Fitting Your Personal Statement to the Character Count

    Read our 11-step checklist for your personal statement. 4. Watch your language. We often spend a lot of time looking up big words on thesaurus.com in the hope that it will make our work sound more impressive. However, in light of the UCAS character count, this is not always the best approach. Long, "impressive" words can often hinder ...

  19. A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing the UCAS Personal Statement

    The first step to a good UCAS Personal Statement is to have chosen the subject you are applying for, consistent across the (up to) five choices you have. Often, when students struggle, it is because they are trying to make the statement work for a couple of different subjects. With a clear focus on one subject, the statement can do the job it is supposed to do. You are limited to 47 lines or ...

  20. UCAS Personal Statement and Examples

    The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) Personal Statement is the main essay for your application to colleges and universities in Great Britain. UCAS gives a nice explanation here, but in short, this is your chance to stand out against the crowd and show your knowledge and enthusiasm for your chosen area of study.

  21. Examples of UCAS Personal Statement

    Best Examples of UCAS Personal Statement Knowing how to write UCAS personal statement is a good thing because you do not need to worry. If you still want to know more ideas, then you need to check out samples and the UCAS requirements.

  22. How to write a personal statement that works for multiple courses

    1. If there are only slight differences, or you've chosen joint or combined degrees with slightly different subject combinations... This shouldn't be a problem. Just try to make everything in your statement as relevant as possible to all five choices.

  23. How To Write Your Undergraduate Personal Statement

    Just start by showing your enthusiasm for the subject, showcasing your knowledge and understanding, and sharing your ambitions of what you want to achieve. Avoid cliches! Remember, this opening part is simply about introducing yourself, so let the admissions tutor reading your personal statement get to know you. Keep it relevant and simple.