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Update on UCAS References for 2024 Entry

As you may know by now, lots of changes are afoot regarding the UCAS application process over the coming two years (check out our blog rounding up the biggest changes for an overview of these)! One of these changes is an update to the way in which teachers will be asked to supply references for their students as part of the application form. This change will come into effect for applicants aiming to start uni in 2024; in other words, this is impacting all UCAS applications from here on out.



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In the past weeks there has been an update on how the reference section of the UCAS application should be filled out that teachers and advisors need to be aware of! UCAS have outlined the three sections of the reference to be defined as:

  1. Enter a statement about your school/college/centre.

  2. If applicable, enter any information about extenuating circumstances which may have impacted the applicant’s education and achievement.

  3. Outline any other supportive information specific to the applicant and relevant to the course(s) applied for that you think universities/college should be aware of.

What we need to focus on here is section 3 of the reference. Where UCAS had previously stated that section three was an optional part of the reference intended for teachers to outline “any other circumstances specific to the applicant that you think universities/colleges should be aware of, or how they can support the applicant” (i.e. intended for support measures and not intended for teachers or tutors to give their personal opinion on a student’s academic ability), section 3 now allows for teachers to give evidence of extracurricular activities, class-based excellence, or other aspects that they deem relevant to the university course their students are applying for.

For further information on this change and a detailed outline of the new reference section of the UCAS application, head to the UCAS website. We particularly recommend this resource from UCAS which gives example responses for each section to demonstrate what is expected of teachers.




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