Creating a personal statement for university or college

To write a personal statement for university or college applications
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Getting started

Learning intention

  • I will learn about how to write a personal statement for university or college applications

Success criteria

  • I can use language in my personal statement which promotes who I am
  • I can describe what should be included in a good personal statement
  • I can write a personal statement

Before you start

Resources and downloads

  • Suitable ICT with internet access (we recommend you use the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox or, in the case of Internet Explorer, version 10 or later)
  • Printer
  • Personal statement preparation worksheet
  • University and college personal statement worksheet
  • PowerPoint presentation

Duration

These are suggested timescales only and will vary dependent on your group. These activities could be delivered over two sessions:

  • 10 mins: What is a personal statement discussion
  • 30 mins: Personal statement preparation
  • 40 mins: Personal statement worksheet

Suitable for

This activity is suitable for Senior phase: S4 to S6, and college or other means of study.

Experiences and outcomes

This activity is designed to support:

Health and wellbeing across learning

Planning for choices and changes
HWB 4-19a
Based on my interests, skills, strengths and preferences, I am supported to make suitable, realistic and informed choices, set manageable goals and plan for my further transitions.

HWB 4-20a
I am investigating different careers/occupations, ways of working, and learning and training paths. I am gaining experience that helps me recognise the relevance of my learning, skills and interests to my future life.

Mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing
HWB 4-11a
I make full use of and value the opportunities I am given to improve and manage my learning and, in turn, I can help to encourage learning and confidence in others.

Literacy across learning

Listening, talking and reading
LIT 4-26a
By considering the type of text I am creating, I can independently select ideas and relevant information for different purposes, and organise essential information or ideas and any supporting detail in a logical order. I can use suitable vocabulary to communicate effectively with my audience.

Technologies

ICT to enhance learning
TCH 4-03b
I can use ICT effectively in different learning contexts across the curriculum to access, select and present relevant information in a range of tasks.

Career Management Skills

Strengths

I am aware of my strengths, skills and achievements.

Horizons

I understand that there are a wide variety of learning and work opportunities that I can explore and are open to me.

Networks

I know how to find and evaluate information and support to help my career development.

Career Education Standard 'I can' statements

Senior Phase

I can draw appropriately on evidence from my skills profile to help me complete application forms, create CVs and when practising interview techniques.

Suggested activities

What is a personal statement discussion (10 mins)

  • Check understanding of the personal statement. Highlight that your personal statement has to convince the admissions officer that you have the right skills to do the course and prove why they should pick you

  • Explain that UCAS personal statements can be no more than 4000 characters so they must be concise. Colleges will have a maximum word count but this will vary between different institutions

  • For more information and for further discussion points refer to the tutorial on Writing a personal statement for UCAS or college applications on My World of Work

​Personal statement preparation (30 mins)

  • Working in pairs explain that they are going to help each other to start to write a personal statement as it is the most difficult part about a UCAS or college application

  • Issue the personal statement preparation worksheet for pupils to complete

  • Ask pupils to discuss the course(s) they have chosen to apply for and their experience, strengths, skills and personal qualities that relate to their chosen course(s)

  • Each pupil should take some notes for their partner based on the information they shared

  • Pairs should then exchange the information and discuss 

  • Now ask pupils to look at their chosen course(s) description online or in a prospectus. What skills, qualities and experiences does the course ask for? 

  • Pupils should compare this information with the notes taken earlier by their partner. Highlight that it is important that they demonstrate any skills, qualities and experiences that have been requested in the course description

​University and college personal statement worksheet (40 mins)

  • Issue the University and college personal statement worksheet
  • Using the information they gathered in the preparation activity pupils should write some notes for each section
  • Explain that this information will form the basis of their personal statement and it covers everything they need to include

Next steps and related activities

  • Pupils should go on to type up their personal statement in a word document
  • Visit the applying for a course section on My World of Work or UCAS for further support in creating UCAS personal statements