UCAS Personal Statements Are Changing: Here’s What You Need to Know
Personal statements are set to become a thing of the past. The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has introduced a new process for university applications.
Personal statements have always been an essential part of the university application process. However, UCAS has decided to scrap personal statements in their traditional form and they will now be replaced by a new six-question structure.
What is the new application process?
The new application process differs from the original university application process. Initially, university students were required to write a personal statement, which would be uploaded to UCAS Track. Universities would then read the personal statement as part of your original university application and make their offers from there.
This new process will be introduced in 2024. The process will take effect for 2025 applicants.
Under the new process, things are working a little differently. Under the new university admissions policy, you will no longer be required to write a detailed personal statement but will need to answer questions related to six key areas.
Current key areas under discussion are:
- Motivation for course: Why do you want to study the course?
- Preparedness for course: How has your learning thus far helped you to be prepared for your course?
- Preparation through other experiences: What else have you done to help yourself prepare and how and why are these experiences so useful?
- Extenuating circumstances: Is there anything about you the university needs to be aware of?
- Preparedness for study: What have you done to prepare yourself for student life?
- Preferred learning styles: Which learning and assessment styles suit you best?
These questions allow students to present themselves in their own words but with more structure. Teacher references will also change, allowing for more objective comments.
Depending on user feedback, these questions may change in the future.
When does this new process start?
This new process will be introduced in 2024. The process will take effect for 2025 applicants. Those applying to university for 2023 or 2024 will still need to write a personal statement for their application in the current format.
A personalised tool will also launch later this year. This tool will provide applicants with entry-grade reports that will give students a range of the profiles accepted onto similar courses over a five-year period, using UCAS data.
Why is the process changing?
UCAS has decided to change the university application process based on student feedback. This process will now offer greater support for applicants from different academic backgrounds.
Teacher references are changing to allow teachers to make more objective comments regarding students.
UCAS has recently published their own report on current applications, called the Future of Undergraduate Admissions report. This research discovered that, out of 13,000 polled students, as many as 83% found writing a personal statement to be too stressful, while a further 79% found the statement too difficult to write without appropriate support.
Personal statements were not unpopular, however. 72% of students found that personal statements were essential parts of the university application process. Personal statements allowed students to stand out as more than just application numbers and grades and also provided them with a springboard to make themselves stand out from the crowd. These questions will allow students to continue to stand out from other applicants.
How are teacher references changing?
Teacher references are changing to allow teachers to make more objective comments regarding students. Currently, students can pick current or former academic referees, such as teachers, tutors or head teachers; these referees will then write a full reference to their career goals, work experience and predicted grades.
The new application process differs from the original university application process.
This process is set to change slightly for 2025 applicants. Under the new system, the referee will instead answer three structured questions. In these questions, teachers will include a general statement about the student’s school or college, any extenuating circumstances that could affect the student’s exam performances and any other circumstances the teacher feels the university should be aware of.