10 Top Tips for a Oxford Modern Languages Personal Statement

3 min read

Your Oxford personal statement is a crucial component in your university application. It gives you a chance to articulate why you’re particularly interested in Modern Languages and to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Additionally, it offers the Oxford interviewer a focal point to base discussions about your personality, interests and deduce your commitment to the subject you’re applying for. To help guide you through writing a modern languages personal statement Oxford application experts have compiled a list of top 10 tips. This also includes everything you should do and not do for your Modern Languages Personal Statement for the Oxford 2024/25 application cycle. 

modern languages personal statement Oxford


Modern Languages have been taught in Oxford since 1724. The faculty is one of the largest in the country, with a total intake of more than 250 students a year (including joint courses). 

Language is at the centre of the Oxford course, making up around 50% of both first-year and final examinations. The course aims to teach spoken fluency in colloquial and more formal situations, as well as the ability to write essays in the foreign language. It also includes the ability to translate into and out of the foreign language with accuracy and sensitivity to a range of vocabulary, styles and registers. You will also develop your reading skills to a high level.

All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT) as part of their application. Separate registration for this test is required. It is also the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered. We strongly recommend making the arrangements in plenty of time before the deadline. For everything you need to know, including guidance on how to prepare, click here.

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Top 5 Tips for an Oxford Modern Languages Personal Statement

Tell your story

Outlining the reasons as to why you want to study Modern Languages, along with relevant experience and skills for the subject, will be how you get the Oxford admissions tutors to notice your university application. Some ways to do this include thinking about your plans for the future. Why have you decided to pursue a Modern Languages degree. You can also include any relevant experience you have.

What makes you suitable

In your personal statement, you must demonstrate what sets you apart from all other students applying for a Modern Languages degree. What skills and relevant experience do you have that will make you a suitable student not only for your degree, but also to be an Oxford student? Make sure to reflect on these experiences as it will show you have insight into what it means to study Modern Languages.

Read around the subject you’re applying for

There are many language podcasts, as well as apps out there for prospective Modern Language students. These include the app ‘Rosetta Stone’, as well as other podcasts for specific languages on Spotify and Apple Music. Additionally, Balliol College has published a reading list of suitable work for students studying Modern Languages. This can be accessed here.

Proofread & read aloud your work

Once you’re happy with the content of your draft, check it, check it and check it again! Useful people to ask to proofread your work include a teacher in the field, a current Oxford student, and a student who is studying Modern Languages. Oxbridge Mind also offers a modern languages personal statement check where experts will provide you with feedback within 24 hours. By allowing people to take a look at your statement, they would be able to pick up mistakes or name improvements that you may have missed.

Why Modern Languages

Why have YOU decided to study Modern Languages at Oxford? What careers will this degree present to you? Examples include translator, academic research, interpreter, and more. Consider your ambitions and how this will benefit you in the future. For example, helping translate books or articles internationally. It could also include volunteering to help vulnerable people, such as refugees or asylum seekers.

modern languages personal statement Oxford

Top 5 things to AVOID for your Oxford Modern Languages Personal Statement

Writing a list of achievements

Make sure each point you list is relevant and backed up by evidence. It will be better to pick some key points or experiences and expand on what you learnt from them. If this is included in your modern languages personal statement Oxford admissions tutors will see that you have reflected on your experiences, and that you have some insight into what a career in Modern Languages would entail.

Don’t write anything that isn’t true

Don’t exaggerate. You may be asked to provide evidence of your stated achievements, or if you are interviewed you may be asked detailed questions about things you’ve mentioned. It will reflect poorly on you if they ask you questions on a scenario you have exaggerated or made up and are unable to answer.

Copying someone else’s personal statements

Don’t plagiarise. Do not copy someone else’s UCAS personal statement or use something you have found on the internet. UCAS uses software to check every personal statement for plagiarism. Not only will you be caught, but it will make your personal statement seem less authentic if it has been copied. 

Not reflecting on or justifying your point

Write succinctly and explain points without repeating yourself. Expand on how you’ve acquired certain skills and why they’re important. Examples include, problem-solving skills, and academia skills. Remember, quality is always better than quantity- it’s better to expand on a few points than to list every point you can without going into detail.

Don’t sound unprofessional

Steer clear of slang, clichés and quotes. It will sound repetitive to Oxford admissions tutors to hear about how students are “passionate” about their subject or that they have a “thirst for knowledge”. Write about your personal experience with your Modern Languages journey, and allow the Oxford admissions tutors to do the rest.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve included everything, speak to one of our experts today and book a modern languages personal statement check and receive feedback within 24 hours.

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