How to stand out on your personal statement
Standing out on your personal statement
You may have plenty of relevant experience to write about on your personal statement. Or perhaps you're looking for more inspiration. Wherever you're at, we've got your back.
This page will help you identify the skills you can include in your writing and extra activities you can do in your spare time to develop your experience.
Why are you applying to uni?
Universities will want to know what inspired you to choose their course. Start reflecting on why you're choosing the subject you like. Really get to the bottom of why it's the course for you.
That means demonstrating why you’re an excellent candidate. It means talking about your skills, specific interests, work experience and enjoyment of the subject:
Enjoyment of the subject
Good examples from students
Why are these good examples?
Identifying your skills and experience
As shown in the student examples above, to really highlight why you're applying to uni and choosing a course, you'll need to draw on your skills and experience.
So in this section, we'll help you reflect on your transferrable skills to inspire your writing.
Get ready to show your chosen universities why you'll make a great student and why they should make you an offer.
How to identify your skills and experiences
Figuring out everything you've been involved in isn't easy. But those activities are unique to you. And universities love to hear about them.
Use our questions below to make a list of the things you've done, then see what transferrable skills you can draw from them.
- Have you completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award?
- Were you a head boy or head girl?
- Have you been a prefect, mentor or student ambassador?
- Did you attend a taster day or academic lecture?
- What extracurricular reading have you done around your subject area of interest?
- Can you play an instrument?
- Were you or are you involved in or captained a sports teams?
- Have you had a part-time job or any kind of work experience?
- Have you ever planned an event?
- Communication – Mentoring, being a student ambassador, presentations, group work
- Teamwork – Sports and clubs, volunteering, part-time work, development programmes
- Leadership and supervision – Head boy or girl, being a prefect, captain of a sports team, leading on a college project
- Researching and analysing – Extended Project Qualification, reading around your subject area
- Problem-solving and decision-making – from part-time jobs and academic studies
- Work experience (alternatives) – Volunteering, charity work, virtual work experience, planned an event
Showing interest in your chosen subject
Think you need a few more things to write about on your personal statement?
Fear not – there’s lots of resources to watch, listen to and read to build your subject knowledge in your spare time. Here are a few examples to get you started.
Types of activities
Online MOOCs and courses
Podcasts and radio
Magazines, journals and articles
Art, theatre and performance
Time for a challenge
Universities will be impressed with students who link their relevant skills and experiences to their chosen degree. And if you can show your enthusiasm in the subject area, then they'll be doubly impressed.
Set yourself a 15 minute challenge to start noting down all of the above. Use our writer to jot down anything that comes to mind. Even if you're not sure it's relevant, you can always ask your teacher to check.
Or, if you prefer, spend 15 minutes learning about your subject area. Read a blog, find a news article or look for a video on YouTube. Write down anything interesting that you learn. Even if you don't use that knowledge in your statement, you might talk about it in an interview or future assignment.