British Pentathlon - Performance

Personal Statements

Making a Personal Statement

With the increasing quantity of students now applying to University with ever improving ?A? level grades [or equivalent], it is becoming more difficult for Universities to objectively separate students? applications on merit. Therefore, your personal statement takes on even greater significance especially as this is often your only contact with the admissions tutor before receiving an offer?or not. Consequently, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start with your motivations in applying for your proposed course of study. In explaining why you want to study the subject, perhaps include:
  • Your favoured areas of study up to now and how these have motivated or inspired you to study them further in higher education. For example, you could reference books, journals or research you have undertaken as part of your AS/A2 levels.
  • Relevant work [and other] experiences that may have contributed to your understanding and consequent interest and enthusiasm for the subject.
  • What you hope to learn during the degree and how this will help you achieve your future aspirations.
  • You can then explain your own personal experiences, which gives you (more than most students) the opportunity to highlight your sporting prowess. However, while it?s good to summarise your main successes, don?t simply reel off a chronological list if achievements.


  • Think of what you?ve learnt through sport and how this has contributed to your personal development, i.e. what transferable skills have you learnt? (see below)
  • These could include effectivetime management, prioritisation, teamwork, dedication, responsibility (i.e. representing your country or being awarded captaincy) etc.
  • Whether the admissions tutor is interested in sport or not, commendable personal characteristics such as the above will make you the type of well rounded, independent, organised and enthusiastic student that they are after.
  • Most Universities are keen to know what you think you might add to their University. Your sporting status obviously speaks for itself but if you have coached or contributed anything else in a wider context then it?s definitely worth mentioning.
  • Finally, explain anything else about yourself that you might think would further illustrate your character and/or suitability to study the courses being applied for. Remember whilst your sporting excellence is a great personal accolade, it is an academic programme that you are applying for.
Definite Don?ts
  • Don?t start every sentence with ?I?.
  • Don?t try to be funny.
  • Don?t waffle.
  • Don?t use unnatural or pretentious language.
  • Don?t oversell yourself; no-one likes a big head!
Definite Do?s
  • Convey motivation and enthusiasm for the course.
  • Try to sound like yourself and not as if you?re writing by numbers.
  • Use continuous prose but be concise.
  • Include 70%-80% of directly relevant information, i.e. academic and personal suitability.
  • Check spelling, grammatical errors and readability, then check it again.
  • Give it to teachers, family or friends to check and then check it once more!
  • And finally, you can call Nick Slade on 0870 759 0574 or email him and he?ll look at it and go through it with you. Good luck!



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