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Anatomy of the UCAS personal statement. What a successful UCAS personal statement should consist of.

UCAS Personal Statement Structure

Anatomy 1 the science of the physical structure of animals and plants. 2 the structure of an animal or plant. 3 Informal a person’s body: the female anatomy. 4 a detailed analysis: an anatomy of the economic crisis. anatomical adj

In a concise and easy to understand manner this article reveals what are generally agreed to be the key sections of a successful UCAS personal statement and the proper weight to be attached to each.

A successful personal statement should consist of an unambiguous, logical structure, in a manner comparable to that of an animal, plant or any piece of formal written English.

Personal statements with a clearly defined structure are not only more understandable and compelling but also easier to write.

1st Explain why you are making the application
2nd Highlight your academic experience, knowledge and abilities
3rd Summarize your extracurricular interests and skills

1st Why I am making the application. (30-50%)

The first section should explain why you are applying to study your subject to degree level. It is conventionally placed at the beginning and should make up the major portion of the statement.

It should convey an informed enthusiasm with evidence that you have thought deeply about your choices based upon a process of thorough research. A long standing interest in the subject and wide reading beyond that required by your studies should be manifest.

You should read course prospectus’, books, attend open days, speak to graduate students, visit university department websites and other on-line resources to get an idea of what to expect of undergraduate study.

You might refer to how personal experiences in your life, courses you have attended, the content of your character and your academic talents make you a suitable candidate

Mention your career goals, particularly if relevant to the subject you are applying to. E.g. Teaching, Medicine, Law, Management, Nursing.

2nd Academic experience, knowledge and abilities (25-35%)

Here you should indicate which areas of your AS and A2 (or equivalent) subjects you find especially interesting. You should go on to explain how they have engendered your desire to read your subject at university.

Remember to state in a personal and specific manner why you have found particular elements of your studies interesting.

Give special emphasise to those areas of your present studies that are particularly relevant to your application.

Provide evidence of wider reading and experience beyond that you have been obliged to do.

You will be expected to allude to respected books, authors, websites, journals, periodicals and events which have stimulated your thinking. Here you should critically analyse what you have read. Giving a personal perspective will indicate that you have though deeply about the subject matter and are not simply listing authors, books, concepts etc. in a superficial attempt to impress.

The admissions tutor of many disciplines will have expected you to have arranged your own work placements within your field of interest. Doing so not only allows students assess their suitability but crucially demonstrates real commitment and initiative. Here again you should say as specifically as possible what you enjoyed and why.

3rd Extracurricular interests and achievements (20-30%)

The final few paragraphs should focus upon your activities beyond academic study.

This section although generally agreed to be not as critical to success as the previous two sections is nonetheless important. Here you can indicate valued skills and qualities in time management, organisation, initiative, leadership, commerce, oral and written communication, team working, negotiation, listening, problem solving, numeracy, taking responsibility, adaptability, attention to detail, empathy and so on.

Be specific and back up your statements with reference to your own personal experiences, skills and knowledge. Avoid generalisations that any other student might have written.

Explain what motivated you to do these activities, the skills you gained how and how the experiences had a positive effect upon your personal development. Link what you say back to your chosen degree course.

Some examples are listed below:

  • Paid employment
  • Voluntary work
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards
  • Achievement in playing a musical instrument
  • Drama club membership
  • Millennium Volunteer Awards
  • Combined Cadet Force (CCF) awards
  • Scouting awards
  • Head boy or girl
  • Prefect
  • House captain
  • Student council representative
  • Debating society
  • Local political party work
  • Charity work
  • Community work
  • Church choir
  • Sporting achievements outside of school and college
  • Gap year plans
  • Long term life goals

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