UCAS Personal Statements Removed: What Next For UK Students?

In a game-changing move, the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) has announced the removal of personal statements from the college and university application process. This decision marks a significant shift in how prospective students showcase their suitability for higher education institutions. As the traditional personal statement makes way for new evaluation methods, it becomes essential for future candidates to understand the reasons behind this change and adapt their approach to secure coveted spots at their desired institutions.

UCAS personal statement

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What are UCAS Personal Statements?

In a nutshell, UCAS personal statements are written statements submitted by prospective college and university applicants as part of their application package through the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) in the United Kingdom. Personal statements provide an opportunity for applicants to express their motivations, experiences, achievements, and future goals to admissions committees. They serve as a platform for candidates to showcase their unique qualities, academic abilities, and suitability for the chosen course of study. Personal statements are typically limited to a specific word count and are considered an essential component of the application process, allowing students to stand out from other applicants.

Universities value personal statements for several reasons, as they provide valuable insights into the prospective students and help admissions committees make informed decisions. They allow universities to evaluate the candidates’ personalities, motivation and commitment, skills, experiences, and writing skills. Essentially, they show what is beyond a candidates’ academic achievements. 

UCAS Personal Statements to be replaced in 2024

Nevertheless, using the UCAS personal statements as an admissions requirement have been leading to some rather serious drawbacks. For instance, this system widens the gap between the more advantaged students and students that do not have access to high quality advice and guidance. While candidates can use their own voice and advocate for themselves through these personal statements, many regard them as stressful and difficult to complete without support. 

Therefore, UCAS is designing a new methodology that retains the students’ voices but reduces the accompanying stress. These changes are set to take place no earlier than 2024 for the 2025 applicants. Moving forward, the service will use structured questions that bring focus and clarity for students while reducing the need for support. This method also helps colleges and universities to compare different candidate profiles. In the future, UCAS will also consider the use of multi-media submissions to enhance the new format. 

What can I do to prepare?

The service has been working with various stakeholders to design the structured questions that will replace the UCAS personal statements. So far, they have come up with 6 key areas which you can focus on to prepare for your upcoming application. 

  1. Motivation for course – Why do you want to study these
  2. Preparedness for course – How has your learning so far helped
    you to be ready to succeed on these courses?
  3. Preparation through other experiences – What else have you
    done to help you prepare, and why are these experiences
  4. Extenuating circumstances – Is there anything that the
    universities and colleges need to know about, to help them put
    your achievements and experiences so far into context?
  5. Preparedness for study – What have you done to prepare
    yourself for student life?
  6. Preferred learning styles – Which learning and assessment
    styles best suit you – how do your courses choices match that?

UCAS will continue to refine these areas to account for all relevant factors. So do stay tuned to the official website to stay updated on the latest changes.

Personal Statement Generator

Prepare to stand out with confidence as you embark on your journey to higher education. Our cutting-edge tool empowers you to effortlessly compose personalised statements that capture your unique identity.

Designed with a sleek and user-friendly interface, the Personal Statement Generator lets you infuse your name, university choice, intended major, passions, hobbies, and notable achievements into a compelling narrative. With a simple click, watch as a bespoke statement materialises, reflecting your aspirations and highlighting your distinct qualities.

Personal Statement Generator

Latest Update: UCAS Gender Options in 2024

Besides the updates on personal statements in university applications, there will also be changes made to the gender options. In their aim to be more diverse and inclusive, UCAS is introducing the non-binary option into the 2024 UCAS application. Applicants applying this year will get the below options when it comes to gender identity:

  • Man
  • Woman
  • Use another term
  • Prefer not to say

New Updates for Undergraduate References in 2024

Over the past years, many universities have raised concerns over their difficulties of meaningfully comparing applicant references. They also require more time to screen through the references, lengthening the entire process. This year, UCAS has taken the necessary actions aiming to mitigate these issues. 

Instead of a free text approach, this section will now have 3 structured sections.

  • Enter a general statement about your school/college/centre.
  • If applicable, enter any information about extenuating circumstances which may have impacted the applicant’s education and achievement. 
  • Outline any other supportive information specific to the applicant and relevant to the course(s) applied for that you think universities/colleges should be aware of.

Using this approach, there will be more clarity and confidence to provide more useful information. In addition, this spares the advisers more time for other essential steps in the applicants’ application journey. On top of that, universities will find it easier to look for relevant information when it comes to making selection decisions. 

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