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Researching what you want to do for the next 3 or 4 years of your life is a big deal. Make sure you look at university websites,  Online Open Days and reviews on websites such as Discover Uni and The Student Room.

Personal Statement Tips

Do not panic about your personal statement this is an opportunity to show what you’re all about. Look at some examples online of previous UCAS personal statements and have your CV ready to pull ideas from and use within your personal statement to ‘sell’ yourself.

  • Think about why you like the subject
  • What you can bring to the course and how it will help you?
  • How do your A-levels relate to your chosen course?
  • Where you see yourself in the future? What are your career goals?

Structure of Personal Statement

First, start by writing up your statement in a Word document. This is because Word has a word count to keep you on track and prevent you from writing too much (that will be cut off on your UCAS application). UCAS limit is 4,000 characters, approx. 500 words.

Introduction: Catchy opening sentence. Don’t use quotes or phrases such as “I have dreamed since I was 11 to be”

Main body: A-level subjects/ hobbies/work experience/ skills linked to the course (look at the university’s course website to make specific references).

Conclusion: Future career goals and your suitability for the course.

Do’s of personal statement:

  • Showcase your strengths
  • Show that you are enthusiastic / determined
  • Use spacing within your paragraphs

Don’ts of personal statement:

  • Name the university
  • Make it hard to read
  • Waffle or repeat content
  • Lie or make things up
  • Plagiarise content from online sources (UCAS will flag it up)

UCAS University Choices

UCAS Firm Choice

This is your first-choice course and university, meaning that if you get the grades you will go straight to your firm choice and your insurance choice will be discarded.


  • Research and speak to former undergraduate students at Online Open Days.
  • Have a look at their graduate jobs and what percentage of students get a job after graduation.

UCAS Insurance Choice

This is your second choice or, in other words, your reserve choice if you do not get into your firm choice.


  • Pick a course with lower entry requirements than your firm choice in case you do not get the grades you were hoping for.
  • Pick a course and university that you like.
  • Do not feel disappointed if you do not get your firm choice as not all is lost you still have another option as a backup. Don’t forget about Clearing too.

Still worried about results?

Plan ahead using our Clearing page!

UCAS Application Process

UCAS Applications are no walk in the park.

  • Make sure you give yourself time to do each section and cross check your application.
  • Avoid UCAS panic mode by setting personal deadlines for sections to do on your application, within your spare time
  • Check for grammar and word count
  • Check personal details. Don’t forget your references!

UCAS Unconditional vs Conditional offers

  • Unconditional Offer
    Unconditional offer means that you have received a place with the university with your grades/ results. This is great news and puts some of the pressure off. But do not slack off on revision for your A-levels because those grades will stay with you.
  • Conditional Offer
    You have been offered a place with the university, but it is on the conditions of obtaining the grades in your A-levels to get in. Work hard to make sure that your effort is reflected in your grades.

Useful Information

Useful Takeaways

  • UCAS Deadline: 15 January 2020

Useful websites:

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