Teachers' e-guide

Supporting your Oxford Candidates

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Writing a Personal Statement

From Oxford’s point of view, the purpose of the personal statement is to provide additional information in the applicant’s own words about why they have chosen the subject and why they think they are suitable for the course.

Students will be neither successful nor unsuccessful in gaining a place at Oxford on the basis of their personal statement alone. Tutors understand that the UCAS personal statement is written for up to four other university choices and therefore it cannot be tailored specifically for Oxford, especially for those subjects, and combinations of subjects, that few other universities offer. Nevertheless, it is helpful if the student applies to courses that are similar in nature at their university choices, otherwise writing the personal statement becomes more challenging.

Unlike many other universities, Oxford does not use the personal statement alone to make offers, or reject applicants, as tutors have a huge range of more detailed information from the rest of the application beyond the UCAS application. It is worth remembering that all of the following elements are used in order to make these decisions:

  • Previous examinations record
  • A level (or equivalent) predicted grades
  • UCAS school/college reference
  • Submitted work (where requested)
  • Test results (where applicable)
  • Contextual data
  • Interview(s)

However, the personal statement is a helpful tool because it gives the tutors a general picture of the applicant and it may be used in the interview process to find out more about their motivations and interests for studying the subject.