The UCAS application and UCAS Track process may seem like a long-winded and large project that you spend a lot of time on. Tutors and career advisers begin talking to you about university and UCAS at the beginning of your second year at college or sixth form. The majority of courses ask students to submit their application through to UCAS by January – with the exception of applications to medicine, dentistry and veterinary courses being October. Those three-or-so months are provided for you to spend enough time working on your application and personal statement.
Universities and higher education colleges want students to write about themselves in their own words. Although your application displays a lot of information about you academically wise, your personal statement gives your application a personality.
Your personal statement is a perfect opportunity for you to sell yourself to the universities. On paper, you may have decent AS level results and a nice set of predicted grades. But that is all they have; grades. Through your Personal Statement, you are able to show the institutions why they should have you as a student – because you’re great!
Another reason a personal statement is great for prospective candidates is that it strengthens the entire UCAS application. Students can show their firm and insurance universities that they can not only submit something before the deadline, but they can work under pressure, write a good piece of text and do all of this alongside studying for A Levels. At university, students will need to be able to juggle many projects/essays and independent study sessions, and this will prove it.
It may seem obvious, but a personal statement also shows how well you write and displays your ability to use English grammar correctly. For international students or those where English is not their first language, the personal statement will work alongside their IELTS or English Language test grade.
A personal statement, although much smaller, is similar to what you will be writing at university. Essays, critical evaluations and reports will be flying at you from every subject and module when you start your degree course. It may not be an identical match to the level you need to write at university, but it will at least give you practice.
It is an important document that you submit alongside your application. Therefore, you will definitely (and hopefully) spend time planning, writing, re-writing and creating this wonderful piece of text! University will have you do the same during project work, or when analysing certain academic readings. If your Personal Statement looks sloppy and rushed, the universities will pick up on this; they are looking for students who take care in their work.
Another great reason universities ask you to write a personal statement is to show how independent you are. Although you may ask your teachers or friends to have a look at your statement and provide feedback, they don’t write it for you. Career advisors and tutors will offer guidance throughout the process, but initially, it is solely your work.
The actual application process and different sections don’t allow room for explanation. There will be boxes to check and information to write regarding grades and previous education. However, if you took a gap year after college, the date of your exams will show this, but you won’t have an opportunity to explain why or how you did this. Whereas throughout your personal statement you have several opportunities to expand on things that are in your application, and either explain or support statements.
Which is why it is so important! Universities want to read about you! That is why they ask you to write it, in your own words, about your life – okay not everything about your life. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know every word in the Oxford dictionary, or how to write in long, and super-intelligent sentences. They just want to make sure your voice is being heard, and most of the time they like students’ tones and perspectives coming out through the statement.
Lastly, you really shouldn’t submit your university applications without a personal statement. In very rare cases, where mature students or students who tend to apply to the university directly beforehand may not need to write one. If you’re using a Personal Statement Editor, most won’t allow you to upload, without reviewing, first.
However, in 99.9% of cases – even some applications to the university direct too – ask for a personal statement. UCAS apply and track service is quite handy in that students have to sign off on each section. It can pick up when certain text boxes have been included, and allow individuals to check if everything is completed. For security purposes, students should triple check their personal statement is placed in the application correctly and that it is the final draft. Even ask your parents or teacher to quickly look over your application before you submit it – otherwise, it is too late – to ensure it is all in order.
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