Since 2008 I’ve written two books and more than fifty articles on the topic of UCAS personal statements. More recently I adapted three of the most popular articles and republished them on my blog as a free resource. Since then they’ve had more than 7,500 views between them.
After many years without any significant changes, UCAS is undertaking a consultation process with a view to reforming the way personal statements are structured. However, this is likely to take longer than originally planned and it has now been announced that there will be no change for entry in either 2024 or 2025. Hence, my articles are still very relevant and I’ve made a few small tweaks and updates too.
I certainly don’t want to claim that my advice on this subject is authoritative, especially as the original articles were first written a few years ago. I would therefore urge applicants to seek guidance from a range of sources and especially from universities themselves.
Having said that, I continue to hear students saying that they find the process daunting, or they don’t know where to start, or they’ve been told things like ‘you must include a quotation’ or ‘you must mention all of your subjects’, or they’re anxious because they haven’t had any work experience or got any hobbies. So I do want to try and counter some myths and misconceptions, ease young people’s anxieties and offer some practical suggestions and inspiration, whilst also highlighting what to try and avoid.
Here are the three articles. The first two are generic, whilst the third is aimed specifically at students who are thinking of applying for a mixture of different courses:
UCAS personal statements: 20 things to put and 20 things not to put (June 2022 update)
UCAS personal statements: writing a killer opening (June 2022 update)
UCAS personal statements: applying for a mixture of courses (June 2022 update)
The lighthouse in my featured image is at Portland Bill. I took the photo after speaking at a Careers conference at the National Sailing Academy in 2018.
© Alan Bullock, updated 3/3/2023