10 Top Tips for a Oxford PPL Personal Statement

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Your Oxford personal statement is something that will set you apart from other applicants. It gives you the opportunity to highlight your strengths, talk about your accomplishments and show the university that you can bring something special to the table. Your personal statement is also a crucial component in your university application as it gives you a chance to articulate why you’re interested in PPL at Oxford and to distinguish yourself from other applicants. 

Additionally, it offers the PPL 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 the process, our Oxford application experts have compiled a list of top 10 tips for everything you should do and not do for your Psychology, Philosophy and Law (PPL)  Personal Statement for the Oxford PPL 2022/23 application cycle.


Psychology, Philosophy and Law (PPL) is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on law, psychology, policy and citizenship. Your personal statement must clearly demonstrate the link between all three domains, demonstrating keen interest in political affairs, discussing legal debates and philosophical questions. Moreover, when planning out your personal statement, make sure you also talk about why you want to study the course at Oxford University in particular, and what makes you suitable for that.

Top 5 Tips for an Oxford PPL Personal Statement

Tell your story

Your story will be what makes your UCAS personal statement unique. Outlining why you want to study PPL, along with anecdotes indicative of your personality and hunger for the subject, will be how you get the Oxford admissions team to notice your university application. Think about your future plans as well with a PPL degree, what you hope to achieve, and why you wish to study at Oxford University.

What makes you suitable

What qualities or experiences do you have that will distinguish you from the other candidates applying for the Oxford PPL course? It’s not enough to list all your achievements; instead talk about what skills you have gained that will not only make you a suitable PPL student, but also a suitable Oxford University student. Make sure to also reflect on the experiences as it will show you have insight into what it means to study PPL.

Read around the subject you’re applying for

Because PPL covers three subjects: philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, it is hard to find information online about PPL as a singular subject. Instead, read articles or listen to podcasts on the subjects separately, such as ‘Lingthusiasm’, or the free Psychology articles published on ‘SAGEJournals’. Furthermore, try doing these things on the walk to school, or in your spare time, because it’s an easy way to improve your extra-curricular knowledge on the subject.

Proof read & read aloud your work

Once you’re happy with the content of your draft, check it, check it and check it again! Any mistakes in your personal statement could count against your application. Ask a teacher in the PPL field or a current Oxford student, or a PPL student who has written a Personal Statement before to read over your statement. This will also prove useful as other people can often find mistakes or improvements that you may have missed.


What made you apply to the field of PPL at Oxford? Think about your future career choices and other opportunities that this career will present to you. Examples include work in the civil service, consultancy, and work in public relations, amongst other opportunities. Consider your ambitions and how they will benefit society. Examples include working with the youth and community, or campaigning for political change.

Top 5 things to AVOID for your Oxford PPL Personal Statement

  1. Writing a list of achievements – Make sure each point is relevant and backed up by evidence. Reflect and expand on some key points to demonstrate your understanding and what you have learnt from them rather than listing achievements which will appear tedious. Talk about the skills you have gained from the work you have undertaken and how these skills have furthered your desire to study PPL, and to study at Oxford University.
  1. 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 you are asked questions about placements or experiences and you cannot answer them because you exaggerated or made up a scenario. 
  1. 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 this, but if you are caught for plagiarism, it will show your personal statement as not authentic. 
  1. Not reflecting on or justifying your point – Write succinctly and explain points without repeating yourself. Examples include problem-solving skills, and communication 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.
  1. 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 PPL journey, and allow the Oxford admissions tutors to do the rest.
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