StudyAdvantage Magazine

5 Fundamental Components of a Successful Personal Statement

Published: February 6, 2017



So you have decided that you want to study in the UK, and what course you want to apply to. But how do you get in?

While the admissions processes may vary depending on course and university, one aspect of your application will be absolutely crucial no matter where you decide to apply. Your personal application letter.


We give you the 5 fundamental dimensions your personal statement should contain, regardless of what course you are applying to.



Why is the first question you should ask yourself when drafting your letter. Why do I want to study this particular course? You have to be able to show the admissions officer that you are passionate about your chosen field and demonstrate that passion. So instead of saying you like something, spend some time explaining to the people who will read your letter why you like it and what you have done to learn more about it.


Get personal

By personal, we don’t mean you should write about the time you had to walk from school back home half naked because your football teammates had stolen your clothes. But imagine how many reference letters the admissions teams have to go through. A lot. So think about what makes you interesting, what is it about you that should persuade them to give you a shot? Basically, you have to make them want you.


Extracurricular activities and hobbies

This can be an important section of your letter, but make sure it is relevant to the course you’re applying to. Not only do you have the chance to list your favourite pastimes, you can also show off your critical thinking. If you are interested in coffee tasting then by all means mention it. But ONLY if it is relevant to the course you’re applying to. Nothing is more boring and unhelpful than writing: ‘I like to read and travel’. Again, you have to tell them why and how is it important.



Be an adult

One aspect that could make or break your reference letter is showing that you’re mature enough to be a college student. Many universities expect their students to work hard both in and outside the classroom. Show them you’ve got what it takes to be a full-time independent student. Include any skills you think are necessary and/or helpful for your chosen course and demonstrate that you’re confident in them.



Now, it might seem a bit odd to be thinking about your career path when you haven’t even applied to university yet. But like it or not, admissions people want to read about long term goals. It shows the applicants have actually thought about their future, which is, again, a sign of passion, maturity and determination.



Bonus tip

Be creative. We know it sounds cliché but you have to bare in mind that you might be competing with hundreds, maybe thousands, of applicants. Every person is an original so don’t be afraid to make your letter stand out.


Good luck!


Check out StudyAdvantage’s application guide for more information about your personal statement and other parts of a successful university application.



Article written by Tereza Gladisova, a contributing editor at StudyAdvantage covering stories in education, media and entertainment.


Enjoyed reading about writing a reference letter? Continue reading…

Behind the scenes at Dartmouth Admission Office


USA Application Guide


UK Application Guide


Other magazine articles