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Changes to the UCAS Personal Statement in 2024

For years, the UCAS Personal Statement has been a thorn in the side of applicants to UK universities everywhere - requiring students to spend the best part of several months reading, planning, and writing their magnum opus to impress their chosen universities. This month has brought the news that, as of 2024, UCAS is no longer going to require applicants to write a personal statement when applying for university. In this blog, we’re going to take you through why this change is happening, how the Personal Statement’s going to be replaced, and how this is likely to affect you as an applicant.




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Why the change?

This change has been made in light of arguments by some that the existing Personal Statement system affords an advantage to more privileged students who have greater access to expert guidance and advice. With students from a greater variety of backgrounds attending university at a higher and higher rate every year, UCAS have felt the need to reform the application process with the aim of widening access for all students, irrespective of their knowledge regarding the application process or whether they know someone who has made a successful application before. As reported by The Times, UCAS consulted with 1,200 students, 170 teachers, and over 100 universities and colleges before making these reforms, meaning that the new system is designed with not just universities but also applicants in mind, hopefully meaning that it suits the students applying as much as fitting the universities’ requirements.


What is replacing the Personal Statement?

As of 2024, rather than having an open response box in which to fill in their own, self-constructed Personal Statement of 4,000 characters, students will instead be asked to respond to a series of structured questions which focus on six key areas:


  • Motivation for the course - why do you want to study these courses?

  • Preparedness for the course - how has your learning so far helped you to be ready to succeed on these courses?

  • Preparation through other experience - What else have you done to help you prepare, and why are these experiences useful?

  • 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?

  • Preparedness for study - What have you done to prepare yourself for student life?

  • Preferred learning styles - Which learning and assessment style best suit you, and how do your course choices match that?


What does this mean for my application?

In real terms, this shouldn’t change your Personal Statement process too much - in essence, the new system effectively de-constructs your Personal Statement so that it’s clearer what you should reflect upon and how to structure your answers. Most of these questions focus around topics that you’re likely to be answering in your Personal Statement anyway, so there’s no need to go and completely scrap everything you’ve been thinking of already!



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