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How to write a stand-out personal statement

Your personal statement is your chance to tell us about your ambitions, skills and experience, and no one can do that better than you! You have 4,000 characters to tell us your story – here’s how to make your words count.

Students in City Students' Union
Students in Nottingham Trent Students’ Union (NTSU)

How to write your personal statement

  • What to include

    Before thinking about structure, consider the following:

    • Why are you interested in the course? What do you want to do after you qualify? If you're passionate, prove it!
    • Get to know your course of interest. Here are some questions to consider:
      • What is the course or university looking for in a student?
      • Have you got relevant personal qualities or attributes? If so, what are they and how can you show that you have them?
      • Do you have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience?
      • Have you done any relevant voluntary work? Have you done unaccredited training?
      • Have you undertaken relevant part-time or full-time paid or voluntary work?

  • Structure

    Once you’ve done your research and written your notes, you should know what makes you a strong candidate. Now do the following:

    • Make sure your personal statement is well structured, convincing and easy to understand. Whatever course you do at university, you'll be required to write essays. By showing that you can communicate well in writing, you’ll make a good impression.
    • Order your statement based on the requirements of the course you’re interested in. If it’s beneficial to demonstrate, for instance, organisational skills or an interest in fashion, put your examples of these at the top of the page.

  • Your statement

    • Give yourself time to write it properly.
    • Write in a formal style. You want to express your personality, but don't include jokes, conversational language, or anything unusual.
    • Don’t copy. Avoid clichés. Keep your statement unique. Be honest, thorough and persuasive.
    • Believe in yourself – write in a natural and positive way and showcase all your skills and experience.
    • Check that your spelling and grammar is correct. Keep your statement factual and accurate.
    • Ask someone that you trust to read your statement out loud to you. It's a great way to spot errors and ensure it makes sense. Work on your statement until you’re happy with it.
    • Remember, universities can only make a decision based on the information you give them.

Writing your personal statement

Watch our personal statement Q&A to find out more about what a personal statement is, why it's important to your university application and how to write one that stands out.

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The best personal statements are those that give the Admissions team an idea of who you are, why you want to study your course of interest, and what you’d ideally like to go on to do after university. Give us an outline of what motivates you to study and why.

Laura, NTU Admissions team

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