UCAS Scraps Personal Statement for 2024 Admissions

13 JAN 2023

In a bid to reform college admission procedures, UCAS has announced it will scrap the 4000-character personal statement that all students had to write. Instead university hopefuls will answer a series of short questions from the 2024 admissions cycle.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is making several changes to its admissions process from the 2024 cycle. One of the most significant changes will be the absence of a personal statement. Instead students will answer a series of short questions, the Evening Standard has reported.

Ucas consulted with 1,200 students, 170 teachers, and more than 100 universities and colleges before making the reforms, as reported by The Times. According to UCAS, although 72% of respondents surveyed felt positive about the personal statement, 79% agreed that writing the statement is difficult to complete without support, and 83% said they found the process of writing a personal statement stressful.

The structured questions aim to “bring focus and clarity for students, reducing the need for support”. Kim Eccleston, head of strategy and reform at Ucas, said: “We believe this will create a more supportive framework, which in turn will help guide students through their responses by removing the guesswork, as well as capturing the information universities and colleges have told us they really need to know from applicants when it comes to offer-making.”

Cambridge had announced earlier in the year that they will be making some changes to their admissions testing as they were operationally unsustainable and “to deliver them affordably to students and higher education institutions.”

Here are the changes we can expect in the UCAS from the 2024/25 admissions cycle:

  • The 4,000-character personal statement essay will be scrapped and replaced with a series of questions about the higher education course a student is applying for
  • Several university admissions exams, including BMAT (medicine), ENGAA (engineering), NSAA (natural sciences) and TMUA (mathematical skills) tests, will be discontinued
  • The seven UK medical schools that use BMAT tests as part of their admissions process (Brighton and Sussex, Imperial, Lancaster, UCL, Cambridge, Leeds and Oxford) as well as medical and healthcare schools in other countries will put alternative arrangements in place

So far there is some speculation on what format of testing will replace the exams that are being scrapped. Oxford University is not changing any of its entry-level admissions test. Further, all of these changes are set to take effect from the 2024 admissions cycle - the 2023 cycle will continue as before.

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