Monday, 10 October 2016

Writing an Oxbridge Personal Statement

With the Oxbridge UCAS deadline for 2017 applications racing towards us this Saturday the 20th of October, now is the time to make sure you have everything in order for the best chances at getting to interview stage. As with all universities, your personal statement is a hugely significant part of the application.

But a personal statement for an application to Oxford or Cambridge is not like any other personal statement. This is because the ethos of the Oxbridge universities is different to other universities – what they’re looking for in your personal statement is a show of your passion and knowledge for the subject you’re applying for in order to prove your love and enthusiasm for studying it, and your skills and potential in succeeding in it.

What makes this particularly difficult is that you can only submit one personal statement for all of your UCAS applications to all of your chosen universities. Remember to never mention any university or course by its exact name in your personal statement, as it will go to multiple admissions teams. The important thing is to try to tailor your personal statement for Oxbridge whilst still satisfying the expectations of your other choices. You can’t gear every paragraph just to Oxbridge as you will be missing important details that other universities look for when assessing candidates for their intake. However you can balance this by writing around 90% of your personal statement about your subject passion with the remaining word count, summarize your school and personal achievements such as being a prefect, clubs you have been part of, hobbies and external interests. This should be enough as other universities will likely be aware you have applied to Oxbridge, as your application will be submitted to them months before their final deadline in January.

When writing about your passion for your chosen subject for an Oxbridge application, be sure to discuss in depth your knowledge and further reading around the subject. Refer to specific book titles and even passages if you need to, and discuss your own thoughts on the subject. However, be careful of what you do say – make sure you are confident in your knowledge and have read all the sources you cite in details. This is because Oxbridge interviewers will discuss the topics you have mentioned in your personal statement at length and will expect you to go into real depth in your answers. Make sure everything you claim to have done and read is true – do not embellish the truth because the interviewers will be able to tell.

Our best advice is to have a professional look over your personal statement before you submit it. Our expert consultants can advise on what to write and help you revise your drafts, as well as discuss interview techniques, find you a tutor and more.  Give us a call today on 01865 522066 or email