When you think about starting university, you expect to be filled with excitement about what the next three or four years of your life will be like. But you may still be nervous about what the whole experience will be like. This is completely normal, and we've put together some common concerns from students and how to deal with them.
It’s all about you – Smashing that UCAS personal statement.
You’re writing your UCAS application and you come to the most dreaded and yes stressful part of the whole application process the UCAS personal statement. (Read on for our bonus content; top tips for completing your UCAS application form.)
Don’t worry or stress over your personal statement; as long as you plan what you want to say and get it proofread as many times as possible, and where possible by a few different people, it’s actually not that bad.
You can only write 47 lines and a maximum of 4,000 characters. There is also a minimum of 1,000 characters, use your limit wisely. Write in an enthusiastic, concise, and natural style – nothing too complex.
The UCAS personal statement form does not have a spell check and the form will also time out after 35 minutes. So, write the statement in Word, print it, check it and then copy and paste into the UCAS application form when you’re ready to submit.
Be honest and think about what makes you interesting, what makes you special or unique? Try and show your passion for the courses you’re applying to.
Map out your ideas.
Before going in full speed, think about what you want to say, add these as bullet points and then build them up into paragraphs.
Remember ABC when writing your UCAS personal statement.
- Activity: what have you done?
- Benefit: How has this benefited you?
- Course: How is this related to the course that you’re applying for?
Wherever possible evidence your statements using ABC, don’t just list your achievements.
75% of your personal statement should cover your academic strengths, motivations and interests, basically, why did you choose this course? Structure your statement to reflect the skills and qualities the uni’s value most, you could always use the course descriptions to help you.
The remaining 25% of the statement should cover skills not directly related to your application. For example, talk about your personal achievements, career aspirations, life skills and strengths. Try to stand out, but be careful with humour, quotes, or anything unusual – just in case the admissions tutor doesn’t have the same sense of humour as you.
Give yourself enough time to write a UCAS personal statement which showcases you to the best of your abilities.
You can also check out UCAS’ guide to writing a personal statement here.
BONUS: The UCAS Application Form.
Now obviously the actual UCAS application form is a very important part of the whole university application process.
When you’re going through the application form process and completing the personal statement make sure it reflects you and details everything that the university, you’re applying to, need to know about you.
Remember you can only apply once in an application cycle.
- All applications are processed through UCAS.com and the application form is pretty simple to use, so don’t worry too much.
- The education section will detail what you are studying now and what grades you are predicted to get, so you don’t need to include these details in your UCAS personal statement.
- You don’t have to complete it in one marathon section. You can do little bits of the UCAS application form over time. You’re able to save sections and come back to them at a later date. Just remember to keep your login details in a safe place.
- The UCAS application form is split into nine sections and you can’t submit your application until these have all been completed, so there’s no chance of you accidentally missing a section.
- You will need a reference. A reference is a written recommendation from a teacher, adviser or professional who knows you academically. Everyone who completes a UCAS application form will need a reference. See UCAS’ guide to getting a reference here.
- There’s a search function. Within the application form, there is a search function that allows you to search for the universities and courses you want. The form will allow you to edit and remove these as many times as you want before you submit the application form. You don’t need to put them in order of preference and most importantly the universities won’t know who else you have applied to.
- There’s an application fee. To apply to university there is a smallish charge – £20 if you’re applying to just one course, or £26 for multiple courses and for late applications sent after 30th June.
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