Oxford Personal Statement Advice

We hope our collection of Oxford University personal statements provides inspiration for writing your own. Please do not plagiarise them in any way, or UCAS will penalise your application. Our Personal Statement Editing & Review Services are availble if you feel you need a little extra help.

Economics Personal Statement
Examination of any quality newspaper will probably demonstrate that more of the headlines address economic problems than any other topic. The importance and relevance of economic related disciplines to the modern world have led me to want to pursue the study of the subject at a higher level...

Law Personal Statement
The subject of law fascinates me extensively. I am intrigued by developments in the law and the way that it adapts to an ever-changing society. I feel I would be suited to a law degree as I am at my best when challenged, relish the opportunity of lateral thinking and enjoy evaluating the microcosm of human relations...

History and Politics Personal Statement
History and politics have had a profound impact on my outlook. From childhood, the tangible history I found in castles, museums and family photographs appealed uniquely to my imagination. As I grew up my interest in the past introduced me to the political traditions and ideas of my community, and the study of politics became equally absorbing...

Maths and Philosophy Personal Statement
I believe that there are two ways to look at how the world develops: the first is through the progress of history and human civilisation, and the second is through the progress of knowledge and human understanding...

Mathematics and Computer Science Personal Statement
When asked why I like Mathematics, I realised that it is all down to my personality. Being a composed, explicit person, I enjoy the challenge of questions with unequivocal answers. My character’s orderly side draws me enthusiastically towards neat solutions, my creativity gives rise to my acceptance of new ideas and my positive mind results in my wish to succeed...

Computer Science Personal Statement
My three major interests and passions are Computer Science, Maths and Music, and I believe that there is a creative fusion between all these disciplines. I engage wholeheartedly in these areas both in my school courses and out of school, and hope that I will be able to continue doing so on my chosen course and in the extra-curricular opportunities at university...

Economics Personal Statement
When moving from GCSE to A Level I approached the two ‘new’ subjects I had chosen with excitement and some trepidation. I now realise taking Politics and Economics was the right choice. My experiences of A Level Economics have shown me the fundamental part it plays in our lives and I am keen to study it in more depth and be able to use my knowledge to complete individual economic based studies...

History Personal Statement
Recently, I found out that my grandma was gambled into slavery for seven years. She escaped her prison and made her way back to Hong Kong, 300 miles south. I was amazed at how courageous she was. This personal discovery led me to read Jung Chang's 'Wild Swans' which made me both proud and ashamed of my heritage...

Computer Science Personal Statement
I find it amazing to watch as the digital revolution sculpts society at a rate that has never before been seen; there is so much to still be discovered. Quantum computing is a topic that particularly interests me, stemming from my studies and keen interest in physics...

Economics/PPE Personal Statement
My aspiration to study Economics at both Advanced and degree level has stemmed from my lasting interest in current affairs and world development. These issues require an application of Economics in real-life situations and can be related to many diverse subjects such as politics, philosophy and psychology...

English Literature Personal Statement
When I saw Gatz, John Collin's eight hour interpretation of The Great Gatsby, I noticed that Fitzgerald changes the colour of Daisy's hair every time he describes it. It is "like a dash of blue paint", "yellowy" like her daughters and then "dark, shining"...

Biology Personal Statement
From a childhood fascination with prehistoric life to the creation of my science revision YouTube channel (MrBioTom1), my enthusiasm for biology continues to be a major focus and joy in my life. As a child of six reading books about dinosaurs and birds I found comparing their anatomy intriguing and was fascinated to learn that dinosaurs evolved into the birds we see today...

Geology/Earth Sciences Personal Statement
A visit to a collection of minerals and gemstones while holidaying in the Lake District in 2006 opened my eyes to the fascinating subject of geology. Seeing naturally dull rock split open to reveal a myriad of vibrant crystals posed many questions: where had this discovery been made and, more intriguingly, how had it formed? My wish to find out more about these mineral forms and the rocks that had sheltered their intricate beauty started my interest in geology...

Geography Personal Statement
In a dynamic world, the study of geography is increasingly important. The diversity of the subject and the interaction between the physical environment and human population is becoming even more evident with climate change and globalisation influencing our everyday lives...

German and Italian Personal Statement
Foreign languages have always been an integral part of my life as from a young age I have been exposed to other countries and cultures through frequent family holidays to France and Germany. I have always been interested in the logic behind languages...

Psychology Personal Statement
“If she’s smart she will study Medicine.” This is an unwritten rule in my culture - all Nigerian parents want their children to become doctors. What becomes of the aspiring psychologist in the family? I met a junior doctor, at an educational conference, who wanted to specialise in psychiatry...

History & Economics Personal Statement
Is one of the useful lessons of the Great Depression that the European periphery cannot restore its competitiveness whilst fixed to an overvalued currency without inducing a debt deflation trap? A study of economics and history can help illuminate such contemporary challenges...

History Personal Statement
Visits to the national museums of Knightsbridge and the Smithsonian ignited my interest in history. My desire to study history was nurtured following visits to the Normandy beaches which prompted me to research the Second World War and its origins...

Archaeology and Anthropology Personal Statement
Archaeology & Anthropology personal statement For as long as I can remember, I have been skilled and deeply interested in areas of both the sciences and humanities, particularly in human evolution, history and geography...

History Personal Statement
Until I began my A-levels last September, I had never been to school or followed a formal syllabus. My parents homeschooled me. They guided, encouraged, and fed my interests with books, documentaries and discussions...

Maths Personal Statement
The idea of proof has always held a real fascination for me. The process of starting from a simple set of axioms and deriving almost any mathematical truth (putting Godel to one side) is what truly separates Mathematics from any other subject...

Natural/Biological Sciences Personal Statement
Experiencing first-hand life as a human in the natural world, I have the authority to confirm that regardless of previous knowledge, unexplained phenomena still exist. As a scientist, I adore observing the unknown, analysing the known and making decisions accordingly...

Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement
From a very young age, I had aspirations of becoming an engineer, because I wanted to build machines that did not require direct human energy inputs to operate. I achieved this for the first time a few weeks later, designing a vehicle that carried it's energy stored in rubber-bands; it wasn't a roaring success, but the fact that it wasn't perfect only increased my desire to learn more about engineering...

Politics and Economics Personal Statement
Deficits, wars and scandal: this seems to be the current interpretation of Politics today. The global media appear to enjoy taking a destructive stance to economic and political policy. Have we lost our sense of balance and composure? It is this debate that I found both embracing as well as frustrating, with editorials and columns devoted to the more sensational negative news stories...

Medicine Personal Statement
"The aim of Medicine is not to know the disease, but to relieve the suffering it causes." This quotation from Miguel Angel Garcia sums up why Medicine is my career choice. A close relative of mine fought cancer for two years...

English Personal Statement
What I enjoy above all else in a piece of literature is the feeling that it has brought about change, either in me or in some wider context. Literature which offers the opportunity for an adapted way of living or thinking, however slight, is I think a thing to be kept and treasured in our intellects...

History Personal Statement
My decision to study History was never a difficult one. Having always been captivated by the past and its relationship to the present, study at Advanced Level has served only to strengthen my interest...

Economics Personal Statement
Having been born in the UK, with parents from Delhi and Kenya, I feel my background has given me an internationally diverse outlook. In my travels, I have met with both the affluence of Europe and the poverty existing in India...

English Literature and Creative Writing Personal Statement
I once aspired to be a visual artist, a photographer or painter. However, I later discovered the unique ability of poetry and the written word to maintain its power and resonance in a world saturated with images and messages...

PPE Personal Statement
Lester Brown recently stated: Socialism failed because it couldn't tell the economic truth; capitalism may fail because it couldn't tell the ecological truth. My 6th form study of Economics has led me to question the ecological and social price of free market capitalism with its underlying aim for continual economic growth...

Computer Science Personal Statement
Advances in Computer and Information Technology over the past few decades have brought about revolution in science, medicine, education, business, and entertainment. I wish to be part of the future revolution and that is why I want to study Computer Science...

English Literature Personal Statement
I believe that to read English is to read the human being itself: after all, we are all writers. Even in the very act of choosing our words - thinking them, speaking them, physically writing them down - we create something meaningful...

Philosophy, Politics & Economics Personal Statement
I am very interested in the upcoming election and how the different parties' attitudes to business and welfare will affect the vote and the eventual success of the country. I wish to study a course that will provide me with a thorough insight into the political and economic impact of our national decisions...

Psychology Personal Statement
To what extent should we humans accept things the way they are? When should we seek deep meanings and what are the circumstances that convert simple unambiguous certainties into complex facts? These and many other questions have aroused in me a keen interest in Psychology...

Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement
I grew up as a boy who loves robots and motorbikes very much. Thus, I love things that move especially those that are related to engines. I started to be really passionate about mechanical engineering when I learned about the control system when I was in high school...

Human Sciences Personal Statement
Perhaps what makes me different from other University applicants is that I have ambition to understand multidimensional human life. It is not the appeal of a top qualification or the zesty student lifestyle that attracts me to this course; but it is the long-term knowledge and answers to interdisciplinary human problems, and the enigmas that I will commit a lifetime investigating with perhaps no solution, that inspires me to apply...

Medicine Personal Statement
Growing up in a developing country during a war, I have been through a lot. Having spent most of my childhood in hospital, being treated for severe injuries. I have come to realize how incredibly complex and vulnerable the human body is...

Chemistry Personal Statement
Chemistry is in my opinion the most important of the sciences today. As a science of matter and its properties, Chemistry can be applied to almost any situation from forensics through medicine to environmental sustainability...

Engineering Personal Statement
Physics is that branch of science without which science is just like a beautiful lamp with no light. For centuries, mathematicians and physicists have made plenty of scientific contributions thus helping the world make a better place to live...

History (Ancient and Modern) Personal Statement
It is those things we don’t yet know or understand that make history a fascinating, intellectual puzzle. We know a remarkable amount about history and the development of society but new archaeological discoveries, the dedicated efforts of historians, translators and other academics and advancements in areas such as archaeometry mean that the body of historical information is still expanding...

Biology Personal Statement
I can remember my childhood, playing in the garden and exploring why worms come out when it rained. With the help of my ever growing passion for learning, I have found my way into the world of biology...

Law Personal Statement
I cannot remember a person in my life who has had a more significant influence on me than my father. Everything I have achieved with regard to academics, sports, or life in general, I am indebted to him for...

Archaeology and Anthropology Personal Statement
As an immigrant living in Spain, I am constantly reminded of the importance social and cultural factors have on my daily life, the language I speak, and the difference between the relationships I maintain with people from my own country and those I encounter here on a daily basis...

Computer Science Personal Statement
My views about computing changed considerably when I heard about Linux. In the late nineties it was a newer operating system and tasks like installing and configuring were considered to be quite challenging in India...

History Personal Statement
I have always cared passionately about my academic endeavours, from reading as widely as possible in my English and history A levels to carrying out an investigating into the antibiotic effects of indigenous poisonous plants in biology...

Medicine Personal Statement
The human body is undoubtedly one of the greatest natural phenomena known to man, and in its sheer complexity and intricacy is the inevitability of something going wrong, thus highlighting the tremendous role that doctors play in ensuring that the many diverse systems of the body are working flawlessly...

Law Personal Statement
Law is ever changing, whether parliament is passing new legislation, existing legislation is being rewritten or the courts are interpreting laws in different ways. In the case of Anthony Bland the distinguishing of earlier precedents was vital...

History and English Personal Statement
Studying History and English concurrently has appealed to me ever since I recognised the inseparability of the two disciplines closest to my heart. Personally, I believe that the literary style of a piece of writing is as important as scholarly research and I try to make my essays as lively as possible whilst still grounded in solid historical or literary method, dulce et utile, following the example of writers such as Richard J Evans...

English Personal Statement
Recently, I was reading an interview with Francoise Sagan, author of Bonjour Tristesse, when I came across a quote that defined my love for literature. In the passage, the French writer claimed that while “Life is amorphous, literature is formal”...

Economics and Management Personal Statement
My interest in Economics goes beyond an appreciation of statistics and profit margins. In my mind, economics represents the relationship between people and their money – a relationship that dates back to the history of mankind...

German Personal Statement
The study of language has always been appealing and is the focus of much of my time and energy, but the study of the German language is what mesmerises me most. Before understanding German I was first intrigued by its sound, and as I began to learn it, I became fascinated by its complexity...

Law Personal Statement
“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life,” noted Plato, Classical Greek philosopher and student of Socrates, and I hope to live by those words. It has been my desire to study law at degree level since the age of fifteen...

Economics Personal Statement
The ever-changing nature of the human science intrigues me. Newton’s laws of motion will never change, from wherever ‘the ball is dropped’. However, different strategies and policies have to be framed and implemented for each economic problem...

Mathematics and Computer Science Personal Statement
I have found Mathematics a fascinating subject since my early years. I enjoy it as it is challenging and logical. I am particularly interested in Decision Mathematics as it is a field that is directly related to real-life applications of Mathematics and can be used to solve problems, such as finding the optimal solution for transporting materials from one place to another while minimizing the cost...

Japanese & Politics/Religious Studies Personal Statement
England and Japan are two immensely contrasting worlds: this distinctiveness is why the undeniable magic of Japanese culture has always attracted me to study its oriental societies and traditions. I have been enthralled by the Japanese language since I was a young teenager; reading 'Japanese for Busy People' at school and trying to note down homework reminders in Kanji, anything to incorporate Japanese into my daily life...

Chinese Studies Personal Statement
As a pupil in a European school, on occasion I had the pleasure of being lectured about East Asia. Whenever that happened, I found any kind of information imposing. I always pondered why it always had to be cut off and not talked about continuously, like was the case with western countries, whose lectures flowed from one subject on to the next without hesitation...

Physics Personal Statement
I have always been intrigued by the world of physics. From everyday experiences to the most extreme boundaries of today's knowledge, I have always voraciously searched for answers to my questions. As I grew up, the elegance of mathematical demonstrations and of physical theorems fascinated me, and I have often dreamt of making contributions to the unification theory and of improving and simplifying the Navier-Stokes equations...

Electrical Engineering Personal Statement
The defining wonder of today’s age is electricity. In just two centuries, we have come from Faraday’s crude but prophetic experiments to devices just a square inch that can calculate in seconds what the most gifted of human minds might take days...

Medicine Personal Statement
The challenge of spending my working life immersed in the fascinating, ever-evolving world of the medical sciences, and the opportunity to use this knowledge to benefit others, has drawn me to seek a career in medicine...

History Personal Statement - Oxford University
My interest in History was first sparked during a remembrance service at the Menin Gate. Hearing the bugles bellow out the 'Last Post' to a crowd of thousands, instilled in me a deeper appreciation of the past, and the sacrifices that were made to sculpt the world we live in today...

Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE) Personal Statement
In this day and age virtually every aspect of our lives may be considered political. My passion to study Politics stems from this tenet and a belief that a comprehension of Politics is integral to understanding the current state of humanity...

Chemistry Personal Statement
Chemistry explores the properties of all matter and energy in our universe, which eventually leads to breakthroughs that benefit mankind, ranging from how to prevent food from decomposing to understanding what chemicals can help or harm you...

Philosophy Personal Statement (Mature Student)
Since leaving education in 2006 I have always wanted to return; a great love of learning, desire for knowledge and natural curiosity throughout my life resulted in an ambition to teach. It was with this ambition in my heart that I took the plunge and returned to education, beginning my Access course last year with the intention of applying to study for a primary education degree...

Civil Engineering Personal Statement
My decision to study engineering stems from a desire to contribute to the evolution of society through a process that does not just define our environment but our era. My personal inspiration is the Segovia aqueduct, an 800m long, 30 metre high Roman marvel which still stands today...

Ancient and Modern History Personal Statement
What makes history engaging and interesting to me is its interdisciplinary nature and its ability to take you on a journey to the discovery of humanity's past. History has been a constant source of captivation for me, from studying the mythology of Ancient Greece in primary school through to the study of the Russian Revolution at A Level...

Back to:

Your personal statement is your chance to give the Admissions Tutors at the universities that you are applying to a chance to meet the real you, to demonstrate your interest in the course, show what you would bring to the faculty and the university and convince the admissions tutors to offer you a place. You have limited space to express yourself, only 4000 characters or 37 lines in the UCAS box (whichever you reach first) which translates as just over a page of typed A4 – so every sentence in your personal statement will need to pull its weight. Bear in mind that you can only write one personal statement for all of your university choices, so make sure that you are tailoring your statement as much as possible to each of the courses you are applying to – otherwise your tutors might doubt your commitment to their university and course. One thing’s for certain: you won’t come up with a polished personal statement overnight.  It will take many drafts, a lot of editing and a few late-night flashes of inspiration – and it will all be worth it when those university offers start rolling in. To help you get started, we’ve got a few useful tips to point you in the right direction.

What should you include?

Although it’s called a personal statement, the idea is not just to give the Admissions Tutors a potted history of your life to date. You need to be expressing your academic self, your interest in the subject you are applying for and your achievements in that area. Your personal statement is a good place to write about any subject-related work experience you have done, any courses of lectures that you have attended which have advanced your knowledge and will demonstrate that your interest extends beyond the classroom and any books or articles that you have read. Make sure that you are not just listing the things that you have done, try to show what your reading and experiences have taught your and how they have developed your interest and understanding of your subject. You should mention your extra-curricular achievements as well, but the amount of space that you dedicate to this section should depend on the university to which you are applying: if you are applying to Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial, you should keep your extra-curricular activities to a minimum as these universities are focused primarily on your academic achievements.  If you’re applying to a university such as Loughborough, which may be looking at the contribution that you will make to the university as a whole as well as the faculty, then you can dedicate a bit more space to your achievements outside of your subject.

How do you start?

There are about a million ways of starting your personal statement, and there is no one correct way to begin: some people start with a quote which encapsulates their interest, others with an anecdote that explains where their curiosity for their subject stems from. Your opening should set the tone for the rest of the personal statement – showing your enthusiasm and interest in your subject, and introducing the Admissions Tutor to your personality. Don’t ever feel like you need to pretend to be someone else in your personal statement – just make sure you are your academic self.  Speak as you would to your headteacher – clearly, maturely, but retaining a sense of who you are.

How do you finish?

Almost as hard as starting is finishing! Your final paragraph doesn’t have to be long, just enough to round off your statement and reiterate your interest and dedication for your subject.  Watch out that you don’t come across as too arrogant or self-assured here, it can be easy after almost 4000 characters of own-trumpet blowing to get a little carried away!

Is there anything to avoid?

Your personal statement is your space to sell your own subject interest. You haven’t got much room, so make sure that you’re not repeating anything that the Admissions Tutors could find out somewhere else on your UCAS form – you don’t need to list your A-levels or GCSE grades, for example, as these go into the form in a different section. You should aim to be really positive in your personal statement. This is not the place to attempt to explain a lower predicted grade due to a disagreement with a teacher or the fact that you needed to miss school for an extended period of time due to illness.  If there is something in this vein that you feel the Admissions Tutors need to know, ask the teacher writing your reference whether he or she could include this in the reference section of the UCAS form. It’s far better for your teacher to bring this to the Admissions Tutor’s attention and it means you don’t waste space trying to explain yourself – instead you can just dazzle the university with your interests and achievements.

Final advice

It may not be the most exciting activity and after days, weeks and even months of drafting, summoning up the motivation might be a challenge, but proof-reading your personal statement is absolutely essential! You know that feeling you get when you spot a typo in an article, no matter how insignificant, it lowers your opinion of the content of the piece and the author. Admissions Tutors are likely to be sticklers for accuracy, so make sure you get your teachers, friends and parents to proof-read it a couple of times.  One tip we’ve got is to being with the last sentence and work your way through your personal statement backwards, it keeps you focusing on the individual sentence and not the full statement. Best of luck with your personal statement! Look on it as a challenge, but also a very important opportunity to talk about a fascinating subject – you!

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