Words by TSR community

“Do universities actually look at our personal statements” asked TSR member alevelsuck. “I spoke to one of my teachers and he told me that they don't really look at our Personal Statements”.

Uh what?! For those of you that have slaved away for hours this probably feels like a bit of a slap in the face, but is it really true? And if it is true should you put less effort into what you write?

Here’s ten bits of advice from TSR members who have successfully applied to uni:

1. Make your personal statement the best it can be – it will be read

“Be proud of what you write, you've worked hard on everything” said Captain Jack. “This gives you an opportunity to show that. There are some reports of unis not reading personal statements but by and large they will read it if they are considering your application”.

2. Your personal statement is used for applicant screening

“Every personal statement will be read by someone to check that the applicant is applying for the right course” explains PQ. “Many applicants don’t do the basic research and assume that a similar course title means similar course content”.

3. It’s an opportunity to show you are more than just your grades

“An admissions officer wants to know that you are more than just A's” says xSarahSx. “They want to know why you've volunteered, what you are interested in, why you care about your subject. That is why they look at your personal statement.”

Personal Statements - universities reveal all

4. Sometimes how much they read will depend on the course

“Anything where work experience is important you need to talk about it in your PS" advised monkyvirus. "For subjects like maths it is probably the least important (part of your application) but it should still be about maths and why you like it”

5. Not all universities review applications in the same way

“Some may just issue offers to everyone who meets the requirements” said Alexion “but other more competitive ones will actually require you to show some enthusiasm in your personal statement.”

Find your perfect uni in 60 seconds

6. Will the professors want to teach you?

“If they can see that you haven't spent time poring over your personal statement they're going to question whether your lack of effort there reflects your future lack of effort to engage with the course” says elen90.

7. Your personal statement can get you over the line if you’re applying for a competitive course

“With lots of people applying with similar qualifications it’s the only way they can distinguish between applicants” said mb293.

8. Some universities weight the importance of different elements of your application

“You could apply with straight A*s across the board but if your PS isn't really up to scratch it is unlikely you will even get an interview” says VMD100.

9. Swot up, your personal statement will be used in your interview

“They asked me about something I had written in personal statement at my interview, I was taken aback at first and had to really think about it” says Kvothe the Arcane.

10. If your personal statement is poor and you’ve missed your grades prepare to be rejected

“This is the point where super-curriculars, enthusiasm and self-motivation can make up for a missed grade or two” advises PQ. “An applicant without the grades who ran through the motions in their PS isn't someone a university will take a risk on accepting only for them to fail later on”.

More on TSR:

Writing an excellent personal statement in 10 easy steps

Create your Personal Statement with our brilliant builder tool

How to end your personal statement with a bang