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How to write a winning postgraduate personal statement

The sooner you start to prepare your personal statement, the more time you have to get it right.

Below, we’ve pulled together our three top tips to write a winning postgraduate personal statement, together with the formal criteria for University of Hull applications and how to access further help and support. You’ve got this! 

Top personal statement tips 

Highlight what makes you a great candidate 

It is important to remember that admissions tutors receive a lot of applications, so you must think carefully about what makes you stand out from the crowd. More likely than not, applicants to the same course will have studied the same topics and achieved similar academic results, so what makes you a better candidate? 


As with everything related to academia, it’s all about the subject. While you should obviously reference your academic achievements, particularly if you did exceptionally well, try to focus more on demonstrating your commitment, passion and personal interest in your particular course/subject. That’s something you share with the academics. 


For example, what additional knowledge, insight or transferrable skills have you gained from any extra-curricular activities and any prior work or voluntary experience? Do you have any hobbies and interests that show a long-standing love of your subject, over and above the common ‘I’ve wanted to be XYZ since I was five-years-old’ scenario? 


Want advice on writing a CV for postgraduate study?




Write a concise, clear and compelling case  

Here at the University of Hull, we don’t consider your personal statement to be a test of English language spelling or grammar, though drafting it using a word document makes it easy to run a spelling and grammar check to be on the safe side.  


We also expect you to provide a clear summary of why you are applying to our course and our university, and why we should accept you as a student. Each paragraph should be well structured to make a specific and relevant point in support of your application and written in a way that makes the reader want to learn more about you.  


Since the allotted space for most personal statements is typically less than a full page of A4, you have to fit an awful lot of information into a relatively small amount of words. Jot down the points you feel you must include, then prioritise and edit them down accordingly, repeatedly if necessary.  

Get support with editing and feedback 

Unless you’re already a creative writer, the chances are you’ll need to prepare multiple drafts of your personal statement and application before you’re finally happy with it. Whether you’re applying for training and development, a promotion or a new job, it’s safe to say that this is a process that will continue throughout your professional life. 


Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. In fact, we recommend you ask someone to provide a new, impartial perspective on what you’ve written.


Any professional copywriter will tell you that a fresh pair of eyes can spot errors of spelling, grammar and punctuation that you’ll undoubtedly miss when you’ve read the same words over and over again. Another reader can also let you know what first impression your personal statement gives and provide feedback on any gaps or questions it presents. 


Perhaps get a family member or work colleague to check the statement before you submit your application. You can always ask one of our course advisers to take a look too: phone them on +44 (0)1482 235569 or email

Formal criteria  

Word restrictions and content guidance 

The format and criteria for submitting applications to different universities is rarely the same, so you should always check if there is any specific guidance or restrictions for each university you apply to.  


When applying to the University of Hull, we ask that you limit your personal statement to between 300-500 words and expect you to include the following content: 


  • Why you have an interest in the subject area, especially if it represents a new academic discipline 

  • Your interest in the course and how this supports your career aspirations  

  • How any previous study is linked to the course  

  • Relevant work experience or other experience relevant to the course  

  • Why you would like to study at the University of Hull specifically. 


If you are an international student, you must also provide information about all previous UK study, including any short courses and regardless of whether you finished or passed. 

Next steps 

We’re here to help 

Our friendly team of advisers are on hand to guide you throughout your student journey – from those initial queries when you first begin considering postgraduate education, to choosing the course that’s right for you, making your application, and funding your studies.


Once your learning begins, they’ll also help with your non-academic questions or concerns, and point you in the direction of any additional support you need. 


For advice on the master’s courses we currently offer and how to apply, contact the University of Hull online advisers using the form below: 

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