Personal Statement

What is a personal statement
Personal statements allow students to tell the admission tutor about their subject interest and the process of writing a personal statement can often help a student better understand their academic interests and intellectual motivations. This in itself is an important element in the preparation for any interview.

What a personal statement should contain:
Students are advised to follow the UCAS advice about what to include in their personal statement. At Cambridge, all admissions decisions are based solely on academic criteria (ability, commitment and potential).

Therefore, in their personal statement, Cambridge is looking for an applicant to:
• Demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment for their chosen course
• Express any particular interests within the field
• Outline how they have pursued their interest in the subject in their own time

Such information is often used as a basis for discussion at interview.

How important are extra- curricular activities?
As the admissions decisions are based on academic criteria, a student’s participation (or not) in specific extra- curricular activities is not taken into account (unless it is relevant to the course applied for) and does not affect their chances of being made an offer of a place at Cambridge.

Instead, Cambridge looks at how extra- curricular activities demonstrate other characteristics that will aid students’ transition to life at university, such as how they balance their academic and personal commitments, and have developed particular skills or qualities (such as perseverance, independence, leadership or team-working).

However, students should be advised to consider the importance that their other university choices may place on extra- curricular activities when composing their personal statement.

Further Pointers
• Make a list of all the information you might like the admissions committee to have about you including such things as (a) your personal qualities, (b) your reasons for wanting to pursue the course you have chosen and (c) how you have prepared yourself for the University of Cambridge
• Organise your ideas
• Demonstrate your good qualities and skills through the experience you have had. Use concrete examples and avoid being vague.
• Admissions officers must read countless applications and essays in a fairly short time, so be succinct and concise (but not too brief)
• Use key words and action verbs throughout your statement
• Grammar and spelling check
• For more information about personal statements:
o The Student Room
o Studential