BTEC: The next steps to University

In Preparation for University

Perfecting your personal statement

Read below some of our tips on perfecting your personal statement:

Universities use personal statements to gain an insight into your commitment and passion for your chosen course, assess your ability to write effectively and to see how you differentiate yourself from other candidates.

The personal statement is an important part of your UCAS application and can make the difference between being successful in getting a place and not.

Consider The Word Limit

For UCAS applications there is a strict limit on the number of characters and lines that you can include in your statement. Remember it can’t exceed 4000 characters or 47 lines. Make sure you show why you would be good for the course or subject and why you want to go to university.

Follow George Orwell's five rules of writing here and you can’t go far wrong.

Remember if it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

There Can Be Only One

Remember you only get one personal statement for all the courses and universities that you want to apply for.
Spend more time talking about what makes you a good student, your transferable skills and common themes which are necessary for all courses…like creativity or problem solving!

Content is King

Take some time to plan what you’re going to write about. Don’t be in a rush to get it down and out onto paper in one go. You can use a spider diagram or other organisational methods to think through everything you want to include, ensuring that you don’t leave anything out.

Start by thinking about subjects you have enjoyed, academics you have been inspired by, extra-curricular activities, achievements, work experience or volunteering and any other aspects. Then you can order them afterwards into a coherent, flowing write-up. Doing this will help avoid repetition and redundancy in your work, and makes sure that every sentence is doing something.

There’s no need to restate anything that you have included elsewhere, so your grades etc. are not necessary to put in.

It’s also important to talk about what you want to get out of the course, your ambitions, desires and goals for university and then onwards into life. This shows that you are thinking ahead and not just applying because you don’t know what else to do and it’s the “next step”.

Be Yourself (It’s all you can be)

It’s called a ‘personal’ statement for a reason, as your statement acts as a way for the people reading it to get to know you - the person behind the application. They want to see real people who want to become involved and invested in the field they’re applying for, so if you can get across your personality, all the better for you.

Check for Spelling and Grammar Mistakes…like 30 times.

Nothing ruins a good personal statement like sloppy or incorrect spelling, grammar and syntax. Once you’ve got a first draft done, we recommend reading it aloud making sure that all the sentences actually flow together and it reads ‘right’. Then get someone else to read it, checking for spelling, sense and flow. Ideally this will be someone like a teacher who has experience looking at academic style writing. Don’t stress over the little things like semi-colons and colons, but do make sure to get the basics right.


Ask your friends for their opinions! They are your best cheerleaders so maybe you have missed out something they could remind you about.

Don’t forget to come along to one of our open days to attend a personal statement workshop!

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