What’s the thing that really excites you?

Anything at all.

Football? Playing Fifa on the PS4? X Factor? Beer? (I don’t know. I’m 46. I have no idea what you people get up to when you’re not studying maths.)

Do you find it hard to talk about it? I doubt it. You probably talk about it all the time.

If you’re about to write your personal statement, you’re intending to commit at least three years to studying full-time at a university. And spending tens of thousands of pounds to do so.

So you’d better be really sure that this is what you sincerely want to do. You should be genuinely excited at the prospect of spending all that time studying the subject you’re applying for.

If you’re not excited about it . . . well, maybe you should think about things a bit more first. Universities are not going anywhere. There’ll always be the option to go to one. But only do it when you’re certain it’s the right thing for you.

Because if it is, it should be easy to write your personal statement. All you have to do is talk about the thing you can’t wait to do. You’re talking about yourself. You’re talking about your passion. Easy. Just sit down and write.

But if you find yourself staring at a blank sheet of paper and you can’t think what to say . . . well, maybe that’s because applying to university to study this course isn’t the right thing for you. Or, at least, not now.

Don’t let parents or teachers or friends pressure you into applying. Going straight from school to university isn’t the right thing for everyone. It might not be the right thing for you. Think about it. Carefully. Then have another try writing about it. If the words flow easily, you can feel reassured that you are doing the right thing after all.

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. Your enthusiasm needs to be structured and expressed in the right way.

But before I get to the detail, there is one question that needs to be considered.

How important is the personal statement?

NEXT: 6 Does it really matter?