Writing your personal statement

Writing your personal statement

A personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your ambitions, skills, and passion for your course.

Our pages include information for international students

All undergraduate applicants are required to complete a personal statement.

For undergraduate applications, you can do this via the UCAS website which offers a handy guide on how to write your personal statement and even a widget to help you.

Postgraduate applicants who need to complete a personal statement are asked to do so as part of their application to the University.

The UCAS form allows for a total of 4,000 characters, around 700 words, so you need to think carefully about the points you want to put across.

Remember that what you write could be used to decide between you and another candidate for the final place on your dream course.

What is a personal statement? Let’s start with the obvious. It’s personal. Other candidates might have the same grades as you but they are not you. They don’t have the same interests, experiences and personality.

Be positive and enthusiastic. Start with your strengths, focus on your passion for the subject and talk positively about yourself.

Stand out from the crowd. Avoid clichés. Don’t just say that you’ve always wanted to be a journalist/engineer/surgeon. Say why you want to be one. Tell the story.

Check your spelling and grammar. Avoid waffle – every sentence must tell the reader something about you. If it doesn’t, strike it out!

Never copy anyone else’s work. UCAS uses sophisticated software to detect plagiarism. If you are found to have copied content, your application will be cancelled immediately.

A good starting point can be a ‘mind-map’. Take a pen and paper and start jotting down your relevant experiences, activities, skills and attributes.

Look for how these link to your course and highlight the most significant. This should give you some good ideas on how to structure your statement.

There are some important questions that you will need to answer. Why do you want to study the course? What is it that interests you about it?

Equally importantly, say what you will bring to the course. Show that you understand what it entails and demonstrate how you’ve pursued your interest in your chosen subject.

Write about any relevant books or articles you have read or films or documentaries you have seen. Give your views and opinions on them - don't just write a list.

Write about your relevant experiences, such as volunteering, work experience and summer schools, and focus on what you’ve learned from them.

University is all about being able to think independently and analytically so try to show how a school project or assignment has made you think more critically.

And don’t forget transferable life skills like your ability to work independently, teamwork, time management, problem-solving, leadership and organisational skills.

If you have a long term goal, write about how the course will help you achieve it. But if not, that’s fine. Talk about what you’re looking forward to about the course and university life.

Mention your gap year plans if you’ve made a firm decision to take a year out. Most courses are happy for you to take a gap year – but they will want to know how you plan to spend it.

Lastly, be honest. It’s your voice that the admissions tutor wants to hear. Don’t forget your personal statement will need to stand up to scrutiny if you’re invited for an interview!

Pre-sessional English Language Course Applicants 

If you are applying for a pre-sessional English Language course only a short, clear statement is required (around 100 words) where you explain why you wish to take the course and your plans for further study covering the above points. 

Applying through UCAS – Additional Information 

If you are applying for your course through the UCAS system they offer some good guidance and video clips.

If you are applying via UCAS to more than one university or college we will not expect you to name The University of Hull specifically in your personal statement as it needs to be relevant for all choices.