Is UCAS Scrapping the Personal Statement? UCAS Changes 2023
UCAS, the UK university and college admissions service, has announced the biggest changes to their processes in more than a decade.
In this article, we look past the headlines saying that the personal statement is dead in order to share what the changes will really mean for you, students looking to apply to UK universities.
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that anyone looking to apply to university in 2023/24 will not be affected by the process changes. The admissions process will remain exactly the same for the upcoming admissions cycle, and it’s possible the changes won’t be implemented until 2025. UCAS have yet to identify the exact date changes will come into play, but students preparing for the process this autumn should not panic.
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that anyone looking to apply to university in 2023/24 will not be affected by the changes.
Is UCAS scrapping the personal statement?
Well, the short answer is no, not really.
UCAS acknowledge that the personal statement is a great opportunity for students to show they’re more than just their grades, and it’s also an important prompt for self-reflection, which can help students refine exactly what and where they want to study.
That said, they also acknowledge that the quality of a personal statement can be more of a reflection of the support a student has received from schools or tutors during the admissions process than their own suitability for further study.
In an attempt to reduce this accessibility barrier, UCAS intends to replace the personal statement with a series of short questions and prompts, focusing on topics such as Motivation for Course and Preparedness for Study.
The exact topics, questions and even the number of prompts in this section are still under review, with more details expected to follow later this year (keep an eye on our LinkedIn to be amongst the first to hear when this happens!).
Are there any other changes to the university entry process?
The other changes UCAS have announced won’t affect the elements of the application you need to fill in, but it’s still good to know how they’re changing the back end of the process, and the additional resources they have on offer.
Changes to the academic reference affect the way your teacher, tutor or head of sixth form will fill in their section of the UCAS form. This should broadly be a good thing, making sure references are more comparable between schools, and it won’t change your side of the application in the slightest.
Entry Grades Report
In a move that should prove very useful for prospective students, UCAS has also committed to an improved “Entry Grades Report” tool, which will enable users to see the real grades achieved by students who have actually been accepted onto any given course at any given university. This will improve transparency, as currently the data reflects offers given for different courses, not the grades those students went on to achieve while still being accepted. This tool is expected to launch later in 2023, so this could be of use to everyone with upcoming university decisions to make.
Personalisation of Resources
UCAS has access to unparalleled amounts of data and insights on the university application process, and they’re committed to publishing resources and making this information public.
However, they publish so much that the resulting quantity of content on their website can be, frankly, overwhelming. Their next change will target this wealth of information, and aims to foreground resources that will be most useful for each individual, based on the information you input when you’re making your account.
The aim of this change is to make sure each student knows where to access the best support and most relevant information, regardless of background, school and resources.
Outreach Connection Service
Finally, UCAS has announced the Outreach Connection Service, which will connect students and schools with the full range of support available to them, with a view to improve accessibility and widen participation in higher education. This is an area of particular focus at the moment as the attainment gap widens once more, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
Sophie, OxBright Team
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By Sophie Parker
Our Head of Content, Sophie, is responsible for our blog and our resources. She graduated from University College London, where she read English.