UCAS considering scrapping personal statements for fairer application process
UCAS are considering alternative approaches for testing applicants due to concerns that the personal statement model gives middle class students an advantage.
The current application process requires students to share their academic achievements and suitability for a course within a 4000-character limit. UCAS are looking into replacing personal statements with a series of questions to allow for a more “structured” approach where students are prompted to discuss certain things.
“The idea of structured questions means there’s less room for manipulation, gaming, and indeed cheating in this process.”Professor Elliot Major
The reason for the change has arisen from concerns that middle class students receive extra support from parents, teachers, and tutors, who are familiar with the university system and know what students should include in a personal statement.
The higher education minister Michelle Donelan recently corroborated these concerns, saying that “personal statements in their current form favour the most advantaged students and do a disservice to those whose strengths are better tested through other means.”
Professor Elliot Major at the University of Exeter also voiced his support for the change. He said: “the idea of structured questions means there’s less room for manipulation, gaming, and indeed cheating in this process.”
Clare Marchant, the chief executive of UCAS explained the benefits the change will offer students: “We want to simplify the process, offer greater guidance, and help students from all backgrounds have an equal level of support.”
While this remains only one part of the application process for universities, UCAS are yet to make a definitive change.
Editor: Orla Mackinnon