The personal statement is your opportunity to let training providers know about your qualities, skills and expertise, and why you want to teach.
You can only complete one personal statement for all the choices you make in both Apply 1 and Apply 2. You can’t change it or create different ones for university or school-based choices. The providers you’re applying to understand this, so they won’t be expecting you to say specific things about them or their programmes. However, if you’re applying for programmes in a particular subject or age group, it would be helpful to explain why you have chosen them, and the skills and attributes you have that make them appropriate for you.
I read hundreds of UCAS applications for teacher training every year, and I cannot stress how important the personal statement is.
Claire Harnden, Director of Initial Teacher Training at Surrey South Farnham SCITT
What to include
You do need to think carefully about the things that all your chosen providers will want to know about you. You’ll probably want to include things like:
- your reason(s) for wanting to teach
- evidence that you understand the rewards and challenges of teaching
- details of your previous education and how you have benefitted from it
- any other work with young people, such as helping with a youth club, working at a summer camp or running a sports team
- the range of relevant abilities and skills you can bring to teaching, for example, practical experience, managing people, working with or leading a team, and communication skills
- any reasons why there may be restrictions on your geographical mobility
- why you want to study in the UK, if you don’t currently live here
- whether you’ve taken part in the School Experience Programme (SEP) organised by the National College of School Leadership (formerly the Teaching Agency)
These are the things all training providers want to know – whether they’re School Direct, a university or a SCITT – so there’s no need to worry that you can’t write different personal statements. Read what SCITT director, Claire Harnden, looks for in a teacher training personal statement.
In addition to the details you give in the school and work experience section, you can also expand on your experience of teaching, such as visits to schools, classroom observations or working as a teaching assistant. To help, read Chris Chivers' tips for completing your teacher training application.
Whatever the route, the process will have similar elements, which are worth considering, so that the appliation has the greatest chance of making an impression.
Chris Chivers, experienced ITT tutor and mentor
How to write it
You can use up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including spaces) – whichever comes first. Some word processing packages calculate character and line counts differently from the UCAS Teacher Training system, so you might need to redraft your statement if there’s a discrepancy between the counts.
- Write in English (or Welsh if you’re applying to Welsh providers) and avoid italics, bold or underlining.
- Get the grammar and punctuation right and redraft your statement until you’re happy with it.
- It’s a good idea to write your personal statement in a word processor first, then copy and paste it into your application.
Don’t copy anyone else’s personal statement or from statements posted on the internet. Make sure your personal statement is all your own work.
We screen all personal statements across our Copycatch similarity detection system. If we find any similarity, your application will be flagged – you and all your choices will receive an email alert and this could have serious consequences for your application.
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10 places to get personal statement pointers
- The UCAS website
Start your planning at www.ucas.com/personalstatement. There are tips on how to get started and what to include. It also covers the technical aspects you need to bear in mind, such as the character count.
- Personal statement timeline
Check out our personal statement timeline. It’s packed with advice on how to spread out the planning and writing stages so you’re not cramming at the last minute.
- Our blog
A few years ago we asked uni admissions tutors to tell us what they’re looking for in the personal statement and the advice they shared has been so well received that it’s still our most popular blog post to date! Have a read of it here.
- Teachers and tutors
Speak to your teachers and tutors at school to find out from them what they think your strengths are – they might point out a few areas that you hadn’t even considered, but that are really relevant when it comes to showing that you’d be a dedicated and hard working undergraduate student.
- Open days
Open days are not only your chance to find out what a uni has to offer, but also to find out what they expect from their students. Take the opportunity to ask as many questions as you can - speak to course tutors to find out what they want to see in your personal statement, and what will make you stand out. Find out when open days are happening in our open days search.
- Students’ top tips
No one knows more about the task at hand than your peers. We asked our Facebook fans who had already applied to uni for their personal statement top tips - here’s what they said:
- Video guide
This brilliant video with Jane Marshall from Imperial College has everything you need to know about how to write your personal statement.
- Personal statement mind map
Although it might look a bit chaotic, this personal statement mind map is a great way to get your thoughts in order.
- Search for course details
Every course you can apply for is listed in our search tool, together with entry requirements and a description of what it covers. Find the courses you’re interested in and try to match up your strengths and experiences to the course requirements.
- Friends and family
Once you’ve got your personal statement drafted, try reading it aloud to people you trust. They’ll be able to offer fresh insight in to how your statement flows and any areas you might have missed.