How to structure your Personal Statement

By Haaroon Younis

The single most important thing to remember when structuring and writing your personal statement that it is not an essay! The focus of your personal statement should not be about what theories you are learning at A-level or defining concepts.

It’s as easy as ABC! When writing your statement it is recommended that you use the ABC structure method. Universities want to see examples of transferable skills you have gained and how you plan to develop these skills at University. The ABC structure is perfect for demonstrating just that.

Activity: List an activity you have done. What did you do?

Benefit: What skills did you develop from this activity? How can you evidence these skills?

Course: Apply the skills you developed back to the course. How will this help you in your studies?

Below is an example:

Activity: Part time job in a local café.

Benefit: Time management, team work, use of initiative, customer service and responsibility.

Course: Balance time between education commitments and paid work, ability to use my own initiative to react quickly to change in circumstances and a motivation and responsibility to complete work to a high standard.



It’s important you use paragraphs in your personal statement so that it is easy to read and is organised in a logical structure. Paragraphs should be kept simple and to the point and the ABC method will allow you to do this.

Introduction: 10% of your statement should be your introduction. It should include why you want to study the course? What interests you about the subject area? Read the blog ‘How to write a killer opening’ for more guidance on the introduction.

Academic achievements/knowledge of course (30%): Write about your academic achievements. What academic skills and knowledge do you have that will prepare you to succeed in your chosen subject?

Work experience/volunteering (40%): Write about any skills that you have gained from work experience, employment and/or volunteering opportunities and how these experiences prepare you for university study

Extra-curricular activities (30%): Mention any other achievements or extra-curricular activities that demonstrate you have the relevant skills for the course you are applying to. For example, the Duke of Edinburgh award.

Conclusion (10%): Finish with a brief summary. Why should you be offered a place? Remember what the admissions tutors are looking for and leave them with a good impression. You could use the ‘necklace approach’ explained in this blog here.