W590 Ucas Personal Statement

Got a question about writing your personal statement? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’re often asked about this section of the application, and chances are your question will be one we’ve heard from other students. Check out the answers to five of the most frequently asked questions below – they're all from admissions staff at universities and colleges (the people who spend their time reading personal statements!)

1.When should I start?
  • "As soon as you can! Give yourself time to write it properly. Your first draft alone could take you a whole day to write." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University. 
  • "Set yourself a schedule. It will take longer than you think to write your personal statement and it is important that you allow time to review your work several times."  Louise Carr, the University of Liverpool.

2.What are unis looking for?
  • "Don’t forget about the obvious! Why do you want to study your chosen course?  Hopefully it’s something you know the answer to and have taken a lot of time to think about so make sure you include it." Emma Powell, Edge Hotel School.
  • "Enthusiasm, motivation and focus about the subject you’re applying to. Mention extra- curricular activities, transferable skills and include what your future career plans are after your degree." Maxine Charlton, the University of York.
  • "Unis aren’t looking for a dictionary definition of a subject. They know what their degrees are about; they want to know what you understand and enjoy about the subject." Louise Carr, University of Liverpool.
  • "The best personal statements effectively link examples of the student's extra-curricular activities with the university's entry requirements." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.
3.How should I structure my personal statement?
  • "Put your notes in order according to what the course you're interested in is looking for. If you have any skills and experience relevant to the entry requirements, make sure you say so at the start of your personal statement." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.
  • "First impressions aren’t everything – yes, a lot of personal statements start in the same way. However, don’t put so much prominence on writing a witty first line – having a good overall personal statement will make a much better impression." Emma Powell, Edge Hotel School.

4.What should I do when I've written it?
  • "Check it carefully! Get your teachers, friends, partner, work colleagues or someone else you trust to read it - out loud - to you. It's a great way to spot errors and make sure it makes sense." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.
  • "Don’t forget to save an up-to-date copy somewhere.  If you are invited for an interview your personal statement is likely to be read by the person interviewing you and may be used as a starting point for questions.  Make sure you can remember what you wrote and back it all up if you are asked." Emma Powell, Edge Hotel School.

5.What other advice do you have?
  • "Do not mention a specific university. Unless you reveal otherwise, we will think that you really only want to come to us!" Louise Carr, the University of Liverpool. 
  • "Remember you have a lot to offer – you just have to write about yourself in a positive way and sell all the skills and experience that you have." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.

Need more personal statement help? Visit www.ucas.com/personal-statements and if you’re looking for somewhere to start, check out these 10 places to get personal statements pointers.

 

Got a question about writing your personal statement? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’re often asked about this section of the application, and chances are your question will be one we’ve heard from other students. Check out the answers to five of the most frequently asked questions below – they're all from admissions staff at universities and colleges (the people who spend their time reading personal statements!)

1.When should I start?
  • "As soon as you can! Give yourself time to write it properly. Your first draft alone could take you a whole day to write." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University. 
  • "Set yourself a schedule. It will take longer than you think to write your personal statement and it is important that you allow time to review your work several times."  Louise Carr, the University of Liverpool.

2.What are unis looking for?
  • "Don’t forget about the obvious! Why do you want to study your chosen course?  Hopefully it’s something you know the answer to and have taken a lot of time to think about so make sure you include it." Emma Powell, Edge Hotel School.
  • "Enthusiasm, motivation and focus about the subject you’re applying to. Mention extra- curricular activities, transferable skills and include what your future career plans are after your degree." Maxine Charlton, the University of York.
  • "Unis aren’t looking for a dictionary definition of a subject. They know what their degrees are about; they want to know what you understand and enjoy about the subject." Louise Carr, University of Liverpool.
  • "The best personal statements effectively link examples of the student's extra-curricular activities with the university's entry requirements." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.
3.How should I structure my personal statement?
  • "Put your notes in order according to what the course you're interested in is looking for. If you have any skills and experience relevant to the entry requirements, make sure you say so at the start of your personal statement." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.
  • "First impressions aren’t everything – yes, a lot of personal statements start in the same way. However, don’t put so much prominence on writing a witty first line – having a good overall personal statement will make a much better impression." Emma Powell, Edge Hotel School.

4.What should I do when I've written it?
  • "Check it carefully! Get your teachers, friends, partner, work colleagues or someone else you trust to read it - out loud - to you. It's a great way to spot errors and make sure it makes sense." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.
  • "Don’t forget to save an up-to-date copy somewhere.  If you are invited for an interview your personal statement is likely to be read by the person interviewing you and may be used as a starting point for questions.  Make sure you can remember what you wrote and back it all up if you are asked." Emma Powell, Edge Hotel School.

5.What other advice do you have?
  • "Do not mention a specific university. Unless you reveal otherwise, we will think that you really only want to come to us!" Louise Carr, the University of Liverpool. 
  • "Remember you have a lot to offer – you just have to write about yourself in a positive way and sell all the skills and experience that you have." Amy Smith, Nottingham Trent University.

Need more personal statement help? Visit www.ucas.com/personal-statements and if you’re looking for somewhere to start, check out these 10 places to get personal statements pointers.

 

The personal statement is your opportunity to let training providers know about your qualities, skills and expertise, and why you want to teach.

You can only complete one personal statement for all the choices you make in both Apply 1 and Apply 2. You can’t change it or create different ones for university or school-based choices. The providers you’re applying to understand this, so they won’t be expecting you to say specific things about them or their programmes. However, if you’re applying for programmes in a particular subject or age group, it would be helpful to explain why you have chosen them, and the skills and attributes you have that make them appropriate for you.


I read hundreds of UCAS applications for teacher training every year, and I cannot stress how important the personal statement is.
Claire Harnden, Director of Initial Teacher Training at Surrey South Farnham SCITT

What to include

You do need to think carefully about the things that all your chosen providers will want to know about you. You’ll probably want to include things like:

  • your reason(s) for wanting to teach
  • evidence that you understand the rewards and challenges of teaching
  • details of your previous education and how you have benefitted from it
  • any other work with young people, such as helping with a youth club, working at a summer camp or running a sports team
  • the range of relevant abilities and skills you can bring to teaching, for example, practical experience, managing people, working with or leading a team, and communication skills
  • any reasons why there may be restrictions on your geographical mobility
  • why you want to study in the UK, if you don’t currently live here
  • whether you’ve taken part in the School Experience Programme (SEP) organised by the National College of School Leadership (formerly the Teaching Agency)

These are the things all training providers want to know – whether they’re School Direct, a university or a SCITT – so there’s no need to worry that you can’t write different personal statements. Read what SCITT director, Claire Harnden, looks for in a teacher training personal statement.

In addition to the details you give in the school and work experience section, you can also expand on your experience of teaching, such as visits to schools, classroom observations or working as a teaching assistant. To help, read Chris Chivers' tips for completing your teacher training application.

Whatever the route, the process will have similar elements, which are worth considering, so that the appliation has the greatest chance of making an impression.
Chris Chivers, experienced ITT tutor and mentor


How to write it

You can use up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including spaces) – whichever comes first. Some word processing packages calculate character and line counts differently from the UCAS Teacher Training system, so you might need to redraft your statement if there’s a discrepancy between the counts.

  • Write in English (or Welsh if you’re applying to Welsh providers) and avoid italics, bold or underlining.
  • Get the grammar and punctuation right and redraft your statement until you’re happy with it.
  • It’s a good idea to write your personal statement in a word processor first, then copy and paste it into your application.

Don’t copy!

Don’t copy anyone else’s personal statement or from statements posted on the internet. Make sure your personal statement is all your own work.

We screen all personal statements across our Copycatch similarity detection system. If we find any similarity, your application will be flagged – you and all your choices will receive an email alert and this could have serious consequences for your application.


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