UCAS Updates - Five steps to reform the Undergraduate Admissions Process
On 12th January 2023, UCAS released a new report, Future of Undergraduate Admissions, which outlines five key areas of immediate focus for reform, with the aim to provide transparency and flexibility to all applicants. The outcomes of these reforms are due to be introduced in 2024 for 2025 entry.
"Through these upcoming reforms, we aim to introduce greater personalisation for students making post-secondary choices, give more structure to free text sections of the UCAS application (specifically, the academic reference and personal statement), enhance visibility of the range of grade profiles and deliver new initiatives to support further widening access and participation."
UCAS have consulted widely with 1,200 domestic and international students, over 170 teachers and advisers and over 100 universities and colleges as well as engaging with governments, regulators and the charity sector across the UK.
UCAS have identified that students want the space to advocate for themselves, in their own words, to demonstrate achievements beyond their grades. A UCAS survey of 2022 cycle applicants found most students are in favour of personal statements – 89% of respondents said they felt that the purpose of the personal statement is extremely clear or clear, while 72% felt positive about it. Similarly, teachers and advisers told UCAS that they value the role that the process of writing a personal statement plays in helping their students affirm their choices for themselves. However, 83% of students surveyed reported that the process of writing a personal statement is stressful, with 79% agreeing that the statement is difficult to complete without support.
Based on this feedback, UCAS will be reframing the current format into a series of questions. Our engagement to date has identified six key areas:
- motivation for the course;
- preparedness for the course;
- preparation through other experiences;
- extenuating circumstances;
- preparedness for study; and
- preferred learning style.
"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."
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