Conservatoire Ucas Personal Statement

The personal statements is where you should describe the ambitions, skills, and experience that will make you suitable for the course.

Where to start

Firstly, leave plenty of time to write it. You’ll have up to 4,000 characters of text to show why you’d make a great student – so it might take a few redrafts until you’re happy.

  • Course descriptions mention the qualities, skills and experience the conservatoire would like you to have – take note of these to help you decide what to write about.
  • Remember it’s the same personal statement for all the courses and conservatoires you apply to. They’ll be able to see where else you’ve applied, so explain why you’ve chosen those courses.
  • Have a look at our personal statement mind map for more ideas, or use our personal statement worksheet to write down answers to these questions and more.

What to write about

  1. Why you are applying – your ambitions and what interests you about the subject, conservatoires and higher education.
  2. Your reasons for choosing the courses you have listed. Remember that each conservatoire will be able to see the other conservatoires and courses you've applied to.
  3. What interests you about your chosen study area (playing an instrument, acting, singing, conducting, stage design or another specialist area).
  4. Your experience within your chosen specialist area and in any other activity related to the course(s) for which you have applied.
  5. What makes you suitable – membership of national/international orchestras, choirs or chamber groups (such as NYO, EUYO or National Youth Theatre) and any other relevant skills and achievements gained from education, work or other activities.

Extra-curricular activities

These are great ways to prepare for higher education. If you do or have done any of these before, they could be ideal things to mention in your personal statement. You might be able to organise or start a new activity before you send your application.

  • International and EU students

    As an international student there are a few extra things you should mention.

    1. Why you want to study in the UK.
    2. Your English language skills and any English courses or tests you’ve taken.
    3. Why you want to be an international student rather than study in your own country.
  • Mature students

    Here’s where you can mention any alternative entry requirements you’ve used – like an Access course or APL – demonstrating the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through your previous experiences.

How to write it

  1. Structure your info to reflect the skills and experience the conservatoires value most.
  2. Write in an enthusiastic, concise and natural style – nothing too complex.
  3. Try to stand out, but be careful with humour, quotes or anything unusual – just in case the admissions tutor doesn’t have the same sense of humour as you.
  4. Proofread aloud and get your teachers, advisers and family to check – then redraft until you’re happy with it and the grammar, spelling and punctuation are correct.

We recommend you write your personal statement in a word processor first, and then copy and paste it into your online application when you’re done. Check the 4,000 character and 47 line limits though – some word processors get different values if they don’t count tabs and paragraph spacing as individual characters.

When you do add it to your application, make sure you save it regularly, as it times out after 35 minutes of inactivity.

  • International and EU students

    It’s not possible to apply in an alternative language, but you can use some European characters in your personal details, personal statement, employment and referee details.

What happens to personal statements that have been copied?

We screen all personal statements across Copycatch our Similarity Detection system – so make sure your personal statement is all your own work. Don’t copy from anyone else or from the internet and don't share your personal statement with other applicants.

If we find any similarity in your personal statement, your application will be flagged. Then we’ll email an alert to you and your conservatoire choices and this could have serious consequences for your application.

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You make your application in our online system Apply. Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying to a conservatoire.

You can only apply once in a cycle. Please don't apply more than once in a cycle, as you can't receive a refund for further applications. If you've applied in previous cycles and want to apply again, you'll have to submit a new application. 

There’s quite a bit to fill in, but you don’t need do it all at once – you can save and sign back in anytime. You'll also find more help text within the Apply system.

1. Register to use Apply

Add some personal details, get a username, create a password and set your security question.

Have you applied before?

  • You can only apply once in a cycle. Please don't apply more than once in a cycle, as you can't receive a refund for further applications. 
  • If you've applied in previous cycles and want to apply again, you'll still have to submit a new application. 
  • International and EU students

    • It’s not possible to apply in an alternative language.
    • You can use some European characters in your personal details, personal statement, employment and referee details.

2. Sign in to the welcome screen

Here you’ll find your Personal ID – quote this if you need to contact us or your conservatoires. In ‘my application’ you add the other information that’s needed.

3.  Fill in the rest of your personal details

You can give a parent, guardian or adviser nominated access if you'd like them to speak on your behalf.

  • International and EU students

    If you’re taking or have taken an English language test, you might be able to add the details here, so that conservatoires can verify the results.

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) registration number
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Test Report Form number

    If you’ve taken any other English language test or course, mention it in your personal statement.

4. Fill in some further details

  • Nationality, residential category, student support arrangements (how you expect to pay for your tuition fees), any relevant criminal convictions and any special needs or impairments.
  • International and EU students

    You’ll be able to enter your passport number as well, which will help you if you need to arrange a student visa. Don’t worry if you don’t have a passport yet – you can add your passport number after you’ve submitted your application.

5. State your previous education

Enter details of up to five schools, colleges and universities you have most recently attended or are still attending.

Please include any conservatoire junior departments or academies you’ve attended too.

6. State your previous qualifications

You must enter all your qualifications – whether you have the result (even any that were ungraded) or you’re still awaiting exams and results.

For course results you're still waiting for, these are the exam results we're able to process and forward on to conservatoires. If any of your pending qualifications aren't on here, you still need to add them to your application, but also remember you’ll need to send the results on to your chosen conservatoires when you get them.

Read our blog if you need advice on entering AS and A levels.

  • International and EU students

    • Make sure you add as much detail as possible – including grades and results. Without enough information conservatoires might struggle to make a decision.
    • Qualifications are listed by name and country, but don’t worry if yours isn’t there – just add it into the ‘other’ box.
    • You may have to send proof of your results in certificates or transcripts. At UCAS, we’re able to send some of your results – including the International Baccalaureate – but for most international qualifications you’ll have to send them to the conservatoire yourself. Different conservatoires have different policies for how they want to receive results. Some might ask for them as soon as you apply – others might do their initial assessment of your application before asking to see proof of your results.      
  • Mature students

    If you can't find your school exam certificates, contact the school or local authority, but if you have no luck, contact the conservatoires you're applying to and discuss your options.

    If you're adding an Access course to your application, there are four different kinds of Access course to choose from, so it's important to enter the correct one.

    • Access to HE Certificate
    • Access (other)
    • Access to HE Diploma (ungraded – last award 2011)
    • Access to HE Diploma (2009 onwards)

    If you're unsure it's best to speak to your Access course provider to check. Then fill in the details as follows:

    Title: Select from the drop-down list, or if it's not there, use the 'Other' box to type it.

    Qualification date: Enter either the date your qualification was awarded, or the date you expect to receive your results.

    Access Validating Agency: Enter the name of the board that awards your qualification.

    Result: Enter either 'Pending' or 'Completed'.

    Modules: How many you need to enter depends on the type of Access course.

    If your qualification is the Access to HE Diploma (2009 onwards), it's compulsory to add at least one of the modules, and if possible please add all of them. There's space for 20 modules, so if you have more, please contact your chosen conservatoires for guidance on how to send additional details to them directly

    If you're adding one of the other Access courses, your conservatoires may still need details of your modules – either all of them or particular ones – so it's always best to check.

    Please also enter the amount of credits allocated to each module under the heading 'Credit value'.

7. Make your course choices

You can choose up to six courses – in no preference order.

  • Conservatoires will be able to see where else you’ve applied, but your choices are listed in no preference order.
  • There are ‘study type’ options for music courses, but for other subjects this will just state ‘Main specialism’.
  • Then you can choose from one of the audition locations.

There’s usually no need to apply for more than one course at any particular conservatoire.

Are you studying music?

If you’re applying for music courses, you might be able to select two instruments if you’d like to.

  • Main specialism is just one instrument.
  • Joint main specialism is two instruments studied equally.
  • Secondary specialism is two instruments – one as your main and one as your secondary.
  • Alternative main specialism is giving two options, either of which you’d be happy to study as one main instrument.

Thinking about several courses for the same instrument or discipline?

  • If you want to apply for several courses for the same instrument or discipline at the same conservatoire, just mention one of them on your UCAS Conservatoires application.
  • Then contact the conservatoire directly to mention your interest in other courses (stating your name and the Personal ID we’ll email you after you’ve submitted your application to us).

Not sure which courses you’re qualified for?

  1. Firstly you’ll know whether you’re at undergraduate or postgraduate level – depending whether you’ve previously completed further education or graduated from an undergraduate degree.
  2. Then you can choose a type of course at that level. They have different entry requirements, so it’s a good idea to contact the conservatoire to check which course they think you should apply for.
  3. If there’s uncertainty over which will be the most suitable, just apply for the highest level course you’re interested in, then the conservatoire will be able to make a final decision at the audition or interview stage.
  • For example, if you’ll be studying at undergraduate level and you’re not sure if you’ll be qualified for a diploma or a BMus degree, only apply for the BMus degree.
  • If you’ll be studying at postgraduate level and not sure whether to apply for a postgraduate diploma or a master’s degree, only apply for the master’s degree.
  • International and EU students

    There are audition locations around the world, but if you can’t attend any, you might be able to send in a video or recording instead.

8. Write a personal statement

This is your chance to show conservatoires why you want to study the course and why you'd make a great student. It might take a while until you’re happy with it and you’ve checked it through with teachers, advisers or family, so it’s a good idea to start early.

Tips on how to write a personal statement

9. Get two references

A reference is a written recommendation from a teacher, adviser or professional who knows you academically.

  • You’ll need an academic reference and a practical reference. Write down the details of your referees on the application, then arrange for the references to be completed.
  • You’ll need to print or download the reference forms to post or email to your referees – and they need to send the reference to the conservatoires you’re applying to. This must be completed by the end of October for music courses, or as soon as possible for courses with other deadlines – check conservatoire websites for specific dates.

More about arranging your references

10. Read the declaration

Once you’ve marked all previous sections as complete you’ll be able to read and agree to the declaration – which allows us to process your info and send it to your conservatoires.

11. Verify your email address

We need you to do this so we can make sure we have your correct email address. Click ‘generate a verification code’ and then enter it on this screen. If your email address is wrong you can go back to amend your personal details.

Can’t see the verification email?

We send it from – add this to your list of contacts, and check your junk/spam folder just in case.

If you still haven’t received it, click the link on the ‘verify email’ screen to get another email sent to you. Although if this means you end up with two emails, just use the code from the most recent one.

12. Pay application and assessment fees

There’s an application fee of £24 (£25 for courses starting in 2018), paid when you send your application to us.

For most courses you’ll need to attend an audition or interview, or send a recording or portfolio to each conservatoire.

  • There’s usually a fee for these auditions and assessments – we collect most of these fees at this stage, but in some cases you’ll need to pay the conservatoire directly.
  • When you’re ready to send your application, the Apply system will tell you how much each fee is, and whether you need to pay now or send the fee direct to the conservatoire.

Read about assessment fees

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