4 must-read tips to avoid UCAS personal statement panic

4 must-read tips to avoid UCAS personal statement panic

The deadline is so close you can almost feel it. It’s almost time to submit your UCAS personal statement to your university shortlist, a document that can help secure a place on the course you’re dreaming of.

There’s only two sleeps left. Cue mass panic and hysteria? Not so fast! Before you press that scary submit button, check you’ve done all these (and take a nice deep breath):

Lose the formatting
No formatting is allowed. That’s right. Zero. Zilch. 0%.

That means no using bold, italics or underlining anything. Tabs or multiple spaces will automatically become single spaces – so you can’t indent a paragraph, for instance. It’s also best to preview your personal statement in Internet Explorer or Chrome, as Firefox can sometimes make it look a little ‘off’.

No more than 4,000 characters
Good news, there isn’t a word limit. But there is a character limit.

4,000 characters looks like a lot when you see it written down as a figure. But, in that last sentence alone, there were 76 characters (including spaces). 4,000 doesn’t seem so many now, right? If in doubt, copy and paste your personal statement into UCAS to check you’re within the limit. Also, don’t write to the limit! If your personal statement is only 3,000 characters, don’t feel you have to add more. Good things come in small packages.

Two courses? One personal statement
If you’re applying for two different courses, how many personal statements do you need to write? Just the one.

Confusing? You bet. If your courses are relatively similar, say Journalism and English Language, you might find it relatively easy to write one personal statement that covers your related skills. If, however, you’ve applied for a Statistics degree at one university and a Physics degree at another, it may be a bit more of a challenge. Try and find common skills and passions that won’t look out of place for both.

Start getting 5* review
Everybody’s a critic. And in this case, you want them to be.

You’ve read your personal statement a thousand times, moving that comma back and forth until your vision went blurry. Even if you’re reasonably happy with how it reads, share with your family and friends to let them give you their opinion. They may spot a typo you’ve missed. Remember not to share online or with other people writing their personal statements – you don’t want to be plagiarised!

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