Personal Statement
Aims and Objectives
• What Are Universities Looking For?
• What to Include in the Reference
• School Information
• Student Information
• Looking at Real Examples
• Further Information
• Personal Statement Tips
What Are
Looking For?
What Universities are looking for
• Potential for success at Higher Education
• Fair assessment of the student’s abilities,
achievements, skills and attributes
• As directly related as possible to the
student’s desired career path
• Evidence or examples to demonstrate
your assessment
Suitability of a prospective student
A fair analysis of the student in the
context of:
The course
• Skills, abilities and motivations?
• What have they done in school to
support their choice?
Higher Education in general
• What they can bring to the university
A particular profession or career
• Have they done their research?
Make it specific
Put any important messages
at the top of the page
Avoid generic statements
“We recommend *** to your institution”
“*** would make an excellent teacher because
of her ability to interact and engage with
younger children effectively.”
Information that might help
• The student’s personal statement
and application form.
• Course prospectus pages and
• Entry criteria
• Desirable student attributes
• Courses and institutions the student
has applied for.
School Information
Very brief statement of the key information,
putting the reference in context of the
Prospective Student Information
Relevant and important information about the
student and their Motivations, Academic abilities
and achievements, Skills and abilities, Work
Placements, Additional information
School Information
Keep it brief (A few sentences at the
For Example:
The Sixth Form College offers a range of ALevel and BTEC National Diploma
qualifications to 500 sixth form students.
approximately 70 of whom go on to university
each year. All students take a critical thinking
module as part of a non-examined General
Studies Programme. 25% of our students come
from a widening participation background.
General Tips
• Best completed by someone who
knows the student.
• Make it specific to the student.
• Reference to their abilities,
strengths and achievements.
• Some reports can come from other
teachers…but not all.
Motivations and ambitions
• Proposed career ambitions, attitude,
motivation and commitment
• Motivation and commitment towards the
chosen course or career
• Commitment or motivation shown in the
school/college context
• Suitability for their career choice
If you are unsure of the chosen career
path of the student, talk about their
general suitability for Higher Education
Academic Achievement and Ability
• General background of academic
• Current achievements.
• Reference to subjects relating to the
courses for which they are applying.
• Relevant curriculum enrichment and
other activities.
• Potential (other than predicted grades).
Skills and abilities
• Any relevant skills or achievements.
• Powers of analysis and independent
thought – skills that will be useful in
Higher Education.
• Qualities or strengths beneficial to their
chosen course or career choice.
Work Placements
• Relevant work experience, such as work
placements, voluntary work.
• Relevant curriculum enrichment and
related skills.
• The more competitive the course the
more important this element will be.
Additional Information
Additional information:
• Any extenuating circumstances
affecting the student or their
academic achievements
Concerns for or about the student:
• Admission tutors are good at
reading between the lines
Concerns about the student
• Information or concerns about a
student can be delivered subtly
For example:
‘*** is capable of hard work’
could be interpreted as:
‘*** could work hard if they could be bothered,
but they can’t’
• Information that can warn a university
that a student may need a kick start
may be useful
Predicted Grades
• You do not need to input predicted
grades onto the reference unless you
are making a particular point.
• If the predicted grades are not a
reflection of the student’s potential or
abilities, this needs to be explained in
the reference.
Looking at
Real Examples
Examples of referee
references for
applications to
Edge Hill University
• Provide additional information about
the student and a fair assessment of the
student’s skills, abilities and potential
for success in higher education.
• Make it specific.
• A consistent message between the
Reference and the Personal Statement.
Further Information
Useful Websites
Useful Documents
Thank you for listening
Please feel free to contact us:
Daisy Jayes 01695 584258 [email protected]
Chris Bayes: 01695 584198 [email protected]
Ryan Duncan: 01695 584 243 [email protected]
Personal Statements
Why is it important?
• Varying levels of importance on personal
statements – the more competitive a
course, the more important the personal
• For most courses the personal statement
and the application are the only things
that an admissions tutor will look at to
make an offer.
• A very strong personal statement can
create an offer.
What are Universities looking for?
o Do we want this student at this
o Do we want this student on this
The personal statement should provide
all of the information relevant for
admissions tutors to make a decision on
students’ suitability for the course.
What are Universities looking for?
• Qualities and Skills
• Motivation and Interest
• Relevant Experiences
• Dedication, Commitment and
• Preparation
Top Tips
“The statement needs to provoke interest at
the beginning, sustain interest throughout,
and leave an impression at the end”
Admissions Tutor
Research the courses
Students need a good awareness of what
the course will give them
Look at university information
Start Early
Continuous process
Relevant Experience
Test out a career and gain some valuable
Pick the right course
• Will it give students what they want?
• Are they prepared for the demands of
• Career aspirations that match the
• Can they prove/demonstrate that they
want to be on this course?
• Motivation
• Relevant Experience
• Academic Ability
• Personal Qualities and Attributes
• Outside Interests
The personal statement
• Provide details and examples.
• Avoid the generic and boring.
• Modesty can be a good thing.
Spelling and Grammar
• 19% of Primary QTS Applications are
rejected because of poor spelling.
Personal Reflection
Personal Reflection
• Offer thoughts about motivations and
lessons learned.
• Provide analysis of work experiences
and experiences gained.
• Reflect on own skills and abilities.
Demonstrate and evidence
• Provide details and examples to back
up claims.
• Give examples to highlight important
• Start the journey as early as possible.
• Good preparation is obvious in a
personal statement.
• Encourage your students to critically
analyse their own skills, abilities and
Thank you for listening
Please feel free to contact us:
Daisy Jayes 01695 584258 [email protected]
Chris Bayes: 01695 584198 [email protected]
Ryan Duncan: 01695 584 243 [email protected]

Reference Writing and Personal Statement Advice