The UCAS “personal statement” is an important part of the university application process; it’s also the part many young people find hardest to complete. To help you provide the right support for your child, here's some of the most crucial dos and don’ts to keep in mind. For more detailed support and guidance, you might be interested in reading The Parents' Guide to UCAS personal statements - listed on our free support pages.
Start early - the personal statement will need a number of redrafts;
Create a plan - encourage your child to make a list of all their achievements - academic, work-related, sport, music and art successes;
Check the university websites to see what qualities and skills they want to see: an aptitude for maths? Creativity?
Leave time for feedback - teachers, tutors, family members;
Check for spelling and grammatical mistakes;
Relate experience, study and hobbies to the course or to what university life entails;
Write with passion and enthusiasm - can your child demonstrate wider reading? Additional courses completed? Work experience in a relevant field?
Exceed the 4000 character limit / 47 lines of text. You might want to use www.CharacterCounter.com/ucas to check whether you meet the requirements set out by UCAS;
Mention a university or course by name (if your child is applying to different universities or for courses with different titles);
Demonstrate uncertainty or excuse potential bad results;
Try to be overly funny or waffle;
Rely on a spellchecker, as it will not pick up everything;
Don’t make unsupported claims;
Plagiarise or copy any other source - UCAS will check for this and it may have an impact on your child’s overall application.
For detailed guidance and support on how you can help your child with their UCAS personal statement, check out our free support pages: The Parents' Guide to UCAS personal statements