UCAS Is Ditching Personal Statements For University Applicants
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The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is set to ditch personal statements for university applicants, meaning prospective students will no longer be required to provide the written statement within their applications.
According to UCAS, the decision comes following claims that the personal statements favour middle-class students who may have better access to 'high-quality advice and guidance'.
The essay-style statement has long been used as a way for the applicant to express why they want to enrol on their chosen course, outlining their strengths, reasons for their interest and any relevant experience and achievements.
However, advantaged students are believed to benefit more from the personal statements due to their access to greater support.
Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, agrees with UCAS' decision to scrap the statements, saying: “I have always felt that personal statements in their current form favour the most advantaged students. “So I’m pleased that UCAS have confirmed that reform of the personal statement is in their plans so that personal statements work to the benefit of all students.” Instead of requesting the 4,000-character statement, students will instead be asked a variety of questions relevant to the course they wish to study, aiming to 'bring focus and clarity for students, reducing the need for support'.
Questions will be related to the student's motivations for studying the particular course, what they have done to prepare, and any extenuating circumstances. This framework aims not only to benefit students but to make sure university and colleges are provided with the information they need for offer-making.
Kim Eccleston, head of strategy and reform at UCAS, explained in a blog post announcing the reforms: “We believe this will create a more supportive framework, which in turn will help guide students through their responses by removing the guesswork, as well as capturing the information universities and colleges have told us they really need to know from applicants when it comes to offer-making."
The changes will be introduced no earlier than 2024.
The blog post adds: "In a 83% of students surveyed reported that the process of writing a personal statement is stressful, with 79% agreeing that the statement is difficult to complete without support. Based on this feedback, we will be reframing the current format into a series of questions.
"Our engagement to date has identified six key areas: motivation for the course; preparedness for the course; preparation through other experiences; extenuating circumstances; preparedness for study; and preferred learning style."
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