Advice on writing a personal statement for your UCAS application

The purpose of a personal statement

In general, a personal statement is helpful in assessing how you have used the opportunities available to you to prepare for university study. Selectors are looking for:

  • Evidence of an interest in and curiosity about the subject for which you are applying,
  • Evidence of an ability to write clearly and persuasively,
  • Evidence of potential to develop the aptitudes and acquire the skills necessary successfully to complete the degree,
  • Evidence of potential to learn and thrive within a university environment.

Your personal statement in an application to the Courtauld Institute

If you are committed to art history, and are aiming for a place at the Courtauld Institute, your personal statement should be written with our BA Admissions process and selection criteria in mind. A copy of our Admissions Policy and information on our BA Selection Criteria can be found here.

Everyone is surrounded by visual materials, from buildings and works of art to films, photography, fashion, advertisements and computer games. Here are some pointers to what your personal statement might include:

  • An explanation of why some visual materials you have seen really interest you,
  • An account of how your understanding of visual materials has been affected by
  • An article or book you have read (not necessarily art history),
  • A description of how you became interested in art history and what you are looking forward to in studying the subject at university,
  • An analysis of how the skills and knowledge you have gained from the other subjects you have studied have prepared you for a degree in art history.

Above all, we want to gain a clear picture of you as an individual who has the motivation and potential to benefit from a degree course in art history at a specialist institution.