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The University of Southampton

How to strengthen your personal statement

To strengthen your university application, consider the following advice about writing your personal statement.

Personal statement is the section on your UCAS application that universities use to check that the course you have applied for is right for you.

To help you stand out, our Head of Admissions has shared these 10 personal statement top tips:

  1. Interest in a particular course; Explain why you are interested in a particular course and describe what you have done to go beyond just taking an interest in the subject area. Try to support what you say with evidence and avoid sweeping statements such as 'I have always had an interest in physics', without anything to back them up.
  2. Experience; Detail any relevant work experience and the skills you have acquired.
  3. Extended project work experience; If you are doing an extended project qualification (EPQ), mention your research and explain how it is helping you prepare for studying at Southampton.
  4. Career aspirations; Show commitment to your chosen subject area by writing about your career aspirations related to the course you want to study.
  5. Hobbies and interests; Include details about your hobbies and interests, especially if you are in a position of responsibility or they relate to your chosen degree course. Don't just give a list, consider choosing two or three interests to talk about in detail. You should also talk briefly about the skills you have gained from these activities.
  6. University expectations; What do you hope to get from university? Mention any societies or activities you plan to become involved in. Include areas you are active in now and any that would be completely new to you.
  7. Be truthful; Never lie in your personal statement. Just be you, let your potential show.
  8. Strong conclusion; Try to finish your personal statement with a strong concluding paragraph. You could sum up the type of person you are.
  9. Save your work; The UCAS apply website times out after an hour, so it may be easier to write your personal statement in a word processer, then cut, and paste it into your application. Remember to 'save' your work regularly.
  10. Check and check again; Take your time to proofread your personal statement and make sure your application is completed and accurate. Get at least one person, or ideally several people, to check your personal statement for spelling and grammar mistakes.

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