UCAS Personal Statement Advice

Written by Rory Reilly
Schools Specialist at Modelex, Monaco
Applying to a UK University
If you are planning to apply to a UK University from Monaco, you will need to write a personal statement. Here are some FAQs and top tips on writing an effective personal statement for a UK University.

Why is the Personal Statement Important?
The personal statement is a 4,000 character (one page) document in which you have the opportunity to show university admissions staff that you are ideally suited to study your chosen course at undergraduate level. You should see it as an opportunity to explain why you are keen to study a particular course and to demonstrate your interest and indeed your ability or potential in this area of study. While the school reference and your actual and predicted grades are hugely important, the Personal Statement can be the deal-maker (or breaker). What Admissions staff are looking for is interest, ability and capacity for hard work.

Who is going to read my Personal Statement?
Your personal statement is likely to be read by an academic member of university staff or a trained admissions officer. They will be subject specialists whose priority is to offer places to candidates who demonstrate academic potential to do well on a degree course. Many universities publish their admissions policies and it is worth reading one or two of those.

What should I include in my Personal Statement?
Lots of applicants feel they have very little to say, or that they have not actually achieved very much compared to their peers at school who come top of the class, play for the first team, are prefects and so on. Actually none of this matters very much. Most of us have something interesting to say and it is a question of working out how the different aspects of our lives, our work and our character can come together in a strongly worded statement.

Admissions tutors don't want a list of your achievements. They want explanation, analysis and ideas.

A starting point is to make lists. Let's make an assumption that you have worked out what you want to study. Then you need to write a paragraph on why you want to spend three or more years studying that particular course. Next comes what you have read, studied or experienced, at school, at home, during holiday work, volunteering or whatever. Almost certainly some of this will fit with why you want to study this course. Then work out how your experiences and interests fit in with and can potentially back up your application. So you could start with "Why I want to study xxx" and then construct a CV..

Out of the "why I want to…" paragraph will come your opening statement. We often ask applicants to view this as the start of an essay; a strong opening statement which is going to be backed up by three or four main points which all go to show how you have a genuine interest, enthusiasm and understanding in your chosen subject or course. Your three main points will be backed up with evidence from reading, work-experience and other areas, and will be unique to you. You are not competing against others in some sort of personality game, you are demonstrating your suitability for the course. And it doesn't matter if you "can't write essays". Mathematicians may write in one way, Historians in another… We are all different!

Try to keep a strong thread running right through the statement, and think about how you transition from one paragraph to the next—don't write a series of un-connected paragraphs. Likewise don't view personal interests in hobbies, sport or other activities as being somehow separate. They fit too. Going into great detail about your different activities is a waste of space but linking these interests to your course of study is important if only to demonstrate a counter-balance to your life. For example, if you are applying to study engineering and also play for a sports team you can link that to teamwork, collaboration and strategy.

When should I start working on my Personal Statement?
Ideally you should start looking at the UCAS website towards the end of your second last year at school, probably May/June. Over the summer you should work out what you want to study and why. You need to start with that "why" paragraph. Then construct that cv to get a birds eye view of yourself. Then write your first draft. It doesn't matter if it is too long or disjointed, it is a start. Try to have a reasonably final draft ready when you return to school so that you can show your advisor and he/she will have something to comment on. Schools will often set their own deadlines and remember that applications to Oxford, Cambridge, and most courses in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science must be submitted by15th October each year. The deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses is on 26th January.

Finally, don't seek help with this from too many different people as they will all want to try to help and they may end up giving conflicting advice. Work with the professional that you trust and don't spend ridiculous hours tweaking tiny bits and pieces that ultimately make no difference!

How do I get help with my UCAS Personal Statement?
Your first port of call should be your tutor, teacher or designated member of staff in charge of university applications. They will have seen hundreds of personal statements and will certainly be able to provide you with advice. If you are applying independently there is a wealth of helpful information accessible online, not least from the UCAS website itself. Expect to go through at least three drafts before you've finessed this statement sufficiently.

Further Reading:
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/getting-started/when-apply/writing-personal-statement
http://university.which.co.uk/advice/personal-statements/10-things-to-put-in-your-personal-statement

UK University Placement from Monaco

Choosing the university and course that best fits each child's goals and requirements can be difficult. At Modelex, our UK University experts are on hand to guide students through the labyrinth of UK universities and courses, flagging up slight but important differences between superficially similar courses and institutions.
Read more about our UK University Entrance.
Applying to a UK University
If you are planning to apply to a UK University from Monaco, you will need to write a personal statement. Here are some FAQs and top tips on writing an effective personal statement for a UK University.

Why is the Personal Statement Important?
The personal statement is a 4,000 character (one page) document in which you have the opportunity to show university admissions staff that you are ideally suited to study your chosen course at undergraduate level. You should see it as an opportunity to explain why you are keen to study a particular course and to demonstrate your interest and indeed your ability or potential in this area of study. While the school reference and your actual and predicted grades are hugely important, the Personal Statement can be the deal-maker (or breaker). What Admissions staff are looking for is interest, ability and capacity for hard work.

Who is going to read my Personal Statement?
Your personal statement is likely to be read by an academic member of university staff or a trained admissions officer. They will be subject specialists whose priority is to offer places to candidates who demonstrate academic potential to do well on a degree course. Many universities publish their admissions policies and it is worth reading one or two of those.

What should I include in my Personal Statement?
Lots of applicants feel they have very little to say, or that they have not actually achieved very much compared to their peers at school who come top of the class, play for the first team, are prefects and so on. Actually none of this matters very much. Most of us have something interesting to say and it is a question of working out how the different aspects of our lives, our work and our character can come together in a strongly worded statement.

Admissions tutors don't want a list of your achievements. They want explanation, analysis and ideas.

A starting point is to make lists. Let's make an assumption that you have worked out what you want to study. Then you need to write a paragraph on why you want to spend three or more years studying that particular course. Next comes what you have read, studied or experienced, at school, at home, during holiday work, volunteering or whatever. Almost certainly some of this will fit with why you want to study this course. Then work out how your experiences and interests fit in with and can potentially back up your application. So you could start with "Why I want to study xxx" and then construct a CV..

Out of the "why I want to…" paragraph will come your opening statement. We often ask applicants to view this as the start of an essay; a strong opening statement which is going to be backed up by three or four main points which all go to show how you have a genuine interest, enthusiasm and understanding in your chosen subject or course. Your three main points will be backed up with evidence from reading, work-experience and other areas, and will be unique to you. You are not competing against others in some sort of personality game, you are demonstrating your suitability for the course. And it doesn't matter if you "can't write essays". Mathematicians may write in one way, Historians in another… We are all different!

Try to keep a strong thread running right through the statement, and think about how you transition from one paragraph to the next—don't write a series of un-connected paragraphs. Likewise don't view personal interests in hobbies, sport or other activities as being somehow separate. They fit too. Going into great detail about your different activities is a waste of space but linking these interests to your course of study is important if only to demonstrate a counter-balance to your life. For example, if you are applying to study engineering and also play for a sports team you can link that to teamwork, collaboration and strategy.

When should I start working on my Personal Statement?
Ideally you should start looking at the UCAS website towards the end of your second last year at school, probably May/June. Over the summer you should work out what you want to study and why. You need to start with that "why" paragraph. Then construct that cv to get a birds eye view of yourself. Then write your first draft. It doesn't matter if it is too long or disjointed, it is a start. Try to have a reasonably final draft ready when you return to school so that you can show your advisor and he/she will have something to comment on. Schools will often set their own deadlines and remember that applications to Oxford, Cambridge, and most courses in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine/science must be submitted by15th October each year. The deadline for the majority of undergraduate courses is on 26th January.

Finally, don't seek help with this from too many different people as they will all want to try to help and they may end up giving conflicting advice. Work with the professional that you trust and don't spend ridiculous hours tweaking tiny bits and pieces that ultimately make no difference!

How do I get help with my UCAS Personal Statement?
Your first port of call should be your tutor, teacher or designated member of staff in charge of university applications. They will have seen hundreds of personal statements and will certainly be able to provide you with advice. If you are applying independently there is a wealth of helpful information accessible online, not least from the UCAS website itself. Expect to go through at least three drafts before you've finessed this statement sufficiently.

Further Reading:
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/getting-started/when-apply/writing-personal-statement
http://university.which.co.uk/advice/personal-statements/10-things-to-put-in-your-personal-statement

UK University Entrance from Monaco

Choosing the university and course that best fits each child's goals and requirements can be difficult. At Modelex, our UK University experts are on hand to guide students through the labyrinth of UK universities and courses, flagging up slight but important differences between superficially similar courses and institutions.
Read more about our UK University Entrance.