Although the normal closing date for applications to UCAS for 2014 is January 15 (correct at time of print), the application deadline for the receipt at UCAS of applications for all medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and veterinary science courses and for all courses at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge is October 15.
Q: I am applying now through the UCAS system for a college place in the UK next autumn. The application requires me to make a personal statement. What should I put in it? How long should it de?
A: UCAS’s own website, at www.ucas.co.uk, gives excellent advice on how to write a personal statement. Just follow the links for “Students”, then “Applying”, then “How to apply”, and you will find a description of all the steps involved, including “personal statement”.
As far as length is concerned, the website advises that you can use 4,000 characters of text including spaces, or 47 lines of text including blank lines, and this usually works out at about 600 words.
Explain why you want to study the course you are applying for.
Practice writing about yourself. Begin by making a list of your hobbies and achievements, and then decide which ones demonstrate your strongest skills and personality.
You could include details of jobs, placements, work experience or voluntary work, particularly if it’s relevant to your chosen course or courses. You should show that you understand what the course involves.
Q: How important is the personal statement in the UCAS application?
A: Some colleges find the personal statements very important, while others do not put much emphasis on them. Since applicants do not know which category of admissions officer or course tutor might be reading their personal statement, they should make it as good as possible.
Q: Does the Irish CAO (Central Applications Office) system require applicants to make a personal statement?
A: There is no provision for standard school-leaving applicants to make any statement, although non-standard and mature applicants should do so.
But the process of writing a personal statement, in which you are required to reflect on your own aptitudes and interests, and on the nature of the course you are applying to, is a valuable one.
School-leaving applicants in the CAO system might learn a lot about themselves and the courses they are applying for, if they prepared a mock personal statement.