UCAS: Good Preparation And Personal Statements

We have a new specialist tutor joining our team this week. Amy is an Employability Adviser who can advise students with their UCAS  Personal Statements for entry to UK universities 

In our latest blog, Amy explains the support she can give to prospective university or college students with the UCAS process .. 

UCAS: good preparation and personal statements

The process of applying for university can feel like a big mountain to climb.  As a prospective student, you are likely to be bombarded with information from all directions: school, home, friends, universities and UCAS.  It can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.  As an Employability Adviser, tutor and parent myself, I have a good idea of the pressure young students are under.  My best advice is to begin the process early:

• If you are unsure where to start or what you want to do, seek careers advice first.  You are making a very important decision and it is often worth taking the time to talk things through, getting some help to put a plan in place.

• Attend university open days in the summer– this will give you time and space, over the summer holidays, to think things through. You will be able to visit missed universities, or return for a second visit in the autumn, without missing lessons or trying to manage important decision-making whilst rushing your application to meet the deadline

• Register with UCAS – ask your teacher for the ‘buzzword’ so that you can link your application to your school or college.  This will enable them to check it through and write you a reference.  It will also give you time to familiarise yourself with the system.

• Begin drafting your personal statement over the summer, without the added pressure of school/college work.

Often, students feel that the most stressful part of the UCAS application is writing a personal statement.  It is important because it allows you to stand out from other applicants.  It tells admissions tutors why you are applying, what skills, knowledge and experience you have and what motivates you. Universities use your personal statement, along with predicted grades and your teacher’s reference, to assess your suitability for the courses you have applied for.  So, it is important to spend time on this so that it reflects all you have to offer and what you want to gain.  A good personal statement is well-written, interesting to read and original. Take a look at the UCAS website for some guidance and useful tools to get you started.

Although it may seem early to start thinking about applying for university, many students underestimate how long it takes to write a good personal statement – often involving several drafts, waiting for feedback, editing and time spent cutting it down to meet the strict word count.  It can be a significant source of stress and easy to keep putting it off!  Getting your personal statement ready for September will help you to feel in control, less anxious and able to concentrate on your studies.

With over ten years of experience, in schools and colleges, helping students with their UCAS applications, I offer a personal statement support service through Cardiff & Vale Tutors – giving you expert guidance and peace of mind. Please get in touch for further details.

Results that count!