UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It is a registered charity based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire which handles the higher education applications for over 600,000 students on behalf of more than 35,000 universities and colleges annually.
In your Personal Statement you can write freely about yourself and why you want to study the subject, giving examples of your skills, work experience, hobbies and interests to evidence your enthusiasm. There is a particular emphasis on relevant work experience and this is where the Careersnearhere.com noticeboards can be of use.
Like a CV, your Personal Statement is an opportunity to promote yourself to the university and college admissions tutors to try to persuade them to invite you for interview or to directly offer you a place on the course you are applying for.
(1) Complete by the deadline
You’ll need to complete your Personal Statement before the deadline set by your school or college in order to allow staff sufficient time to add their all-important reference for you.
However, there is an official deadline set by UCAS and this varies broadly by subject areas:
- October – for Medics, Vets, Dentists and /or for Oxford or Cambridge
- January – for the majority of undergraduate applicants
- March – for many of the performing arts subjects
(2) Prepare well in advance
Ideally you should also consider the content of your Personal Statement well in advance because:
- you are only allowed a maximum of 4,000 characters so will need to keep it brief and to the point whilst still highly relevant to your application
- although you can apply for up to five courses, you are only allowed one UCAS application with one Personal Statement – even if you’re applying for five different subjects – so it needs to be carefully worded to appeal to all the Unis.
- in practice it can be quite busy during the first term back in Year 13 after the summer break
- it helps to have recent and relevant experience to evidence your genuine enthusiasm for the subject. The earlier you plan, the easier this is.
(3) Take a look at the noticeboards on Careersnearhere.com
This can signpost you direct to talks, events, open days and work experience opportunities which can help you to fill your Personal Statement with recent and relevant evidence of your enthusiasm for a careerpath or Uni.
For detailed advice and guidance, take a look at UCAS.com. This is the main website for UCAs and includes a wide selection of written and video help including a fantastic Personal Statement Tool to guide you through. It should be your first port of call for detailed advice and guidance.
Other websites may be able to help and there’s a list of these on the Advice & Guidance Online page on Careersnearhere.com.
YouTube also has a number of helpful videos in addition to those posted by UCAS.
And for personal guidance, you will need to speak to a Careers Adviser.
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