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Reforming the UCAS personal statement: Making the case for a series of short questions

  • 24 November 2022
  • By Tom Fryer, Steve Westlake and Steven Jones
  • HEPI number Debate Paper 31

The UCAS personal statement is a 4,000 character and 47-line essay that each applicant submits when applying for UK undergraduate programmes.

This paper begins by looking at the limited existing literature on UCAS personal statements before presenting some new analysis of applicants’ draft personal statements.

The authors conclude that, in its current form, the UCAS personal statement is incompatible with the principles of fair admissions outlined by Universities UK and GuildHE.

They propose replacing the long-essay form with a series of a series of short-response questions and explain the benefits that would be likely to result.

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