Personal Statement Dos and Don’ts

By Middlesex University Modified on January 10, 2019

Your personal statement is the most important part of your application to university.


It explains who you are, why you think you are a good applicant and why you want to study the course you have chosen. It is about 400 words/47 lines and needs to be submitted along with the rest of your application.


  • Structure! Even if you make good points, a poorly organized personal statement makes reading hard work.
  • Show awareness of your subject. Make sure your passion shines through.
  • Grab the reader’s attention. You can use quotes, a zippy first line, or tell a story.
  • Make it relevant and current.
  • Give examples to back up your points: don’t just say “I’m a good team player” without any evidence. How does your reader know this is true? Instead, try something like this: “I’ve developed excellent time management skills through juggling my studies with a part-time job and babysitting my sisters twice a week. Balancing these obligations while still leaving time for hobbies is hard, but I make weekly plans which enable me to organize myself well.”
  • Use all the space – just writing a few lines isn’t enough.


  • Lie. You will be caught out.
  • Use slang or poor English. This is a formal document.
  • Use bullet points. Write in full paragraphs.
  • Get someone else to write it – that includes personal statements found online. Admissions tutors have software which will tell them if something is stolen.
  • Try to include too much. It is better to mention a few skills with examples to show how you developed them.
  • Repeat information that is elsewhere on your application.
  • Mention specific universities. The same personal statement goes to all your choices.

For more tips on writing your personal statement, download Middlesex University’s free personal statement guide here.