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Writing your UCAS Progress Personal Statement

As part of your UCAS Progress application, you'll need to complete a personal statement. This can be up to 8000 characters (including spaces) and is your opportunity to sell yourself to your prospective school, college, or training provider.

You should try to use the following guidelines to set out your Personal Statement and it is advisable you use the follow structure. 

  1. Write about the course(s) you plan to study and why
  2. Write about your current studies and how they relate to your Post 16 choices
  3. Write about your skills and achievements
  4. Write about your hobbies and interests
  5. Comment on any work experience you might have
  6. Conclude by explaining what you want to do in the future (career plans)

You can ask teachers and family members to help you and another excellent source of help and support will be Year 13 students in your tutor group, as many of these have been writing their own UCAS Personal Statements for university applications and so should now be quite expert at this!

Section 1: Writing about the course

  • Why are you applying for your chosen course(s)?

Explain why you want to do your chosen course(s). For example, someone who wanted to work with animals might write “I would like to study a BTEC in Animal Care as I am passionate about looking after animals. I already look after two dogs and it will help me in my future career plans to be a veterinary nurse.”

  • Why does this course interest you?

You can write about anything you've read about the course(s) that you find interesting and would like to find out more about. E.g. “I am fascinated by the criminal justice system and so want to study law”

  • Why do you think you are suitable for the course(s)?

In this section, you can write about any experiences you have had that are related to the course(s), or any skills you've learnt that might help you. For example, if you have done any related volunteering or work experience, or if you have a part-time job such as babysitting, which shows more general strengths such as responsibility or commitment.

Section 2: Do your current studies (e.g., GCSEs) relate to the course(s) you have chosen? If so, how?

You can let the provider know how much you enjoy a subject by writing about a course you have already studied that you found really interesting or you were good at.  For example “I have really enjoyed studying GCSE Business Studies and have now decided to choose this subject for A’ Level as I have found the Finance topics really interesting and now want to be an accountant”

Section 3: Skills and achievements

Write about anything you have done that might help with your application.

  • Write about anything you are proud of achieving or passing, for example, sporting achievements, passing grade 2 in piano, or being cast in a school production.
  • Include any awards you have done, such as Duke of Edinburgh or Sports Leadership for example.
  • You can add any positions of responsibility you have held, for example, being a Student Leader, being a guide at open evening or helping younger students.

Section 4: Hobbies and interests

Comment on your hobbies, interests, and anything you do socially.

  • Think about how they show your skills and ability (not simply “I like to go to town at the weekends” but “I am  a socialable individual with a large friendship group”)
  • Try to link them to skills and experience you might need on your chosen course(s), e.g. your interest in ‘The Apprentice’ may have encouraged you to study Business, a passion for video gaming may inspire you to want to learn how to program and study Computer Science,

Section 5: Work history

Include details of placements, work experience, voluntary work, or jobs, especially if it is relevant to your chosen course(s).

  • Try to show how this experience gave you new skills or made you think about your future plans, for example, things you really enjoyed or were good at.
  • Also include any part-time work you are still doing, like a Saturday job, a paper round or babysitting.  Do not ignore unpaid work such as helping elderly relatives.

Section 6: Career plans

Use this section to tell the provider what you might like to do in the future as a career after completing the course. Explain how you would like to use the course(s) you have applied for to help you reach your goal. E.g. “I am very determined to succeed at A Level Physics and Maths in order to achieve my lifetime dream of becoming an astronaut.”

Dos and don’ts when writing a personal statement

  • Do use your best English and check your spelling and grammar are correct.
  • Do be enthusiastic – if you show your interest in the course, it will help your application.
  • Do ask people that you trust, like your teacher/adviser or parent/carer to read through what you have written and give you feedback.
  • Don’t exaggerate (or lie!) – you might be asked about what you have written if you attend an interview with the course provider.
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute – it's a good idea to give yourself time to think about what you write to make sure you don’t forget anything.

Adapted by K.Abbott based on information from:

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