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Personal statements: a parents guide

Find out about personal statements and how they can help support your child's applicaiton

The personal statement is synonymous with the UCAS application process; mention applying to university to a graduate for whom the application process is a distant memory and the first thing likely to come to mind is their personal statement. Most students dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to crafting their best statement, but it is important to understand that different universities have adopted very different positions in relation to the personal statement.

Where the personal statement may be less important

Some institutions clearly state that the personal statement does not form a core part of their decision-making process, either for some or all their courses. This may be because the university expects to make offers to a relatively high proportion of applicants, or in the case of more selective courses because the university feels it is fairer to make decisions purely on factors such as predicted and achieved grades, admissions tests, or interviews. In some cases, universities may even categorically state that for certain courses the personal statement will not have an impact on the chances of a student receiving an offer.

Where the personal statement is key

Other institutions, including the University of Bath, consider the personal statement in detail when assessing applications. At Bath we recognise the time and effort that students invest in drafting and completing their statement, and the work of teachers and advisers in encouraging students to produce an effective statement in support of their application. Our Admissions team consider all aspects of each application received, and this includes the personal statement which will be read in full by two members of our Admissions team.

Where universities indicate that the statement forms an important part of their decision-making process, the statement is likely to be especially important when your child is applying for a particularly competitive course or when your child’s predicted and previously achieved grades are similar to, or lower than, those of the majority of other applicants.

Writing a strong personal statement

While different universities take different approaches to the statement, if your child is applying to multiple courses at different institutions it is highly likely that at least some of their choices will use the personal statement to help decide whether to make an offer. UCAS publishes advice on writing an effective statement, but it is also important that students research specific guidance from universities (often found on course pages or in Admissions policy documents) to understand what each institution is looking for.

If your child is applying for a range of courses across different academic disciplines (perhaps Medicine and Biology, or Chemistry and Chemical Engineering), they could also contact some of their choices to see if that institution would consider an alternative statement tailored to a specific course.

Find out more about how to write a strong personal statement

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