UCAS Applications 2024: Mastering Your UCAS Personal Statement

17th January 2024

Your UCAS Personal Statement is a crucial part of your university application. A great personal statement allows you to stand out from the crowd and showcase yourself as an outstanding candidate. This guide provides tips on creating a UCAS personal statement that will secure you that university place.

In this article we cover:

  1. Completing Your UCAS Application Form

Your statement is your chance to share your story and give admissions tutors insight into your academic journey, motivations, and aspirations. Follow these key principles:

  • Keep Contact Details Updated: Regularly update your phone, home, and email addresses. Make sure your inbox can handle bulk emails and that your school/college email address works.
  • Be Precise About Exam Results: List your exam subjects accurately with full titles. Provide complete details for BTEC awards to avoid delays.
  • Honesty is Key: UCAS uses sophisticated fraud-detection methods. Be truthful; any misinformation can lead to rejection and jeopardise your university prospects.
  1. Writing Your UCAS Personal Statement

Your statement is your chance to share your story and give admissions tutors insight into your academic journey, motivations, and aspirations. Here are key principles to follow:

  • Preparation is Key: Make time for brainstorming, drafting, and refining. Use UCAS Apply to paste in your pre-prepared statement.
  • Be Authentic: Share experiences that have shaped your academic journey. Reveal the real you.
  • Be Clear and Concise: Stick to the word count (around 450 words). Make every word count.
  • Be Relevant: Tailor your content to the course you’re applying for. Highlight experiences, skills, and qualities that match the course requirements.
  • Showcase Your Unique Perspective: Share aspects of your life that contribute to your identity, such as cultural experiences or personal challenges.
  • Communicate Positive Attributes and Motivations: Highlight both your academic achievements and your positive attributes. Explain what is driving you to apply to study this subject at this university.
  • Reflect on Work and Volunteer Experiences: Discuss how employment and voluntary work have influenced your growth and how they connect to the skills and insights you’ll bring to university.
  • List Your Extracurricular Achievements: Highlight achievements that demonstrate your commitment, leadership, and ability to balance responsibilities.
  • Talk About Your Career Aspirations: Show how the course fits into your broader professional goals.
  • Explain Your Gap Year Plans: If you’re planning a gap year, explain how this experience aligns with your personal development and future academic goals.

Things to Avoid:

  • Plagiarism: Ensure your personal statement is authentic and reflects your own thoughts and experiences. UCAS uses advanced software to identify plagiarism.
  • Wacky Content: While personality is encouraged, don’t try too hard! Keep it professional.
  • Sending Additional Papers to UCAS: Send additional documents directly to universities, not through UCAS. Follow each university’s specific requirements for supplementary materials.
  1. Structuring Your UCAS Application for Success

Make sure your application is well-organised:

  • Use Paragraphs or Sub-headings: This makes it easier to read and shows your ability to structure and communicate ideas effectively.
  • Explain Unconventional Applications: Provide any context you think is necessary – for example, to explain gaps in education.
  • State Reasons for Deferred Entry or Reapplication: Clearly explain your reasons.
  • Tailor Statements for Mature Students or Vocational Courses: Highlight life experiences and skills relevant to your chosen field.
  • Be Detailed: Avoid generic statements. Provide specific insights into your interests and motivations. For example, explain how your voluntary work is relevant to course requirements.
  1. Course Choices

Select your courses carefully.

  • Research Thoroughly: Understand the specifics of each course, including module content and teaching approaches.
  • Make Realistic Choices: Fit your chosen courses with your academic strengths and achievements.
  • Maintain a Unified Personal Statement: Make sure your statement has a consistent theme, even if you are applying to multiple courses.
  1. Finishing Strong: Before You Hit Submit

  • Grammar and Punctuation: Proofread thoroughly to avoid errors. Errors can undermine your credibility.
  • Get Second Opinions: Seek feedback from teachers, peers, or mentors to improve your application.
  • Don’t Delay: Stick to school deadlines and allocate ample time for review.
  1. UCAS Deadlines: Early Advantage

  • Late Applications Risks: Submitting late can result in rejection, especially for competitive courses.
  • Allowances for Late Applicants: Some universities may allow late applications for mature applicants, but it’s best to apply on time.
  1. What Happens After Submission

After submitting your UCAS application:

    • Confirmation Message from UCAS: Check for any errors and safeguard your application number and password.
    • Focus on Your Exams: Strong results are crucial for your final university offers.
    • Weighing Your Options: Carefully consider each offer based on your preferences and long-term goals.
    • Preparing for University Visits: Use visits to gain firsthand experience of campus life.
    • Exploring Alternatives: Consider gap years, apprenticeships, or alternative courses if you don’t get accepted onto the course you want.
    • Financial Planning: Explore any financial help available – for example, scholarships and student loans. If needed, plan for how you are going to budget your money.
    • Stay Proactive: Regularly check for updates and respond promptly to correspondence.
    • Mind Your Mental Health: Manage stress by practicing self-care and reaching out to support networks.

    By focusing on your studies, assessing offers critically, and preparing for university visits, you set the stage for a successful transition to higher education.


The National Careers Service offers free advice about careers and skills to anyone aged 13 or over and living in England. To speak to a professional careers adviser, call 0800 100 900 or use webchat (8am – 8pm Monday – Friday; 10am – 5pm Saturday)


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