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UCAS Personal Statement

BHan98BHan98 Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
I'm an international student studying in the States, thinking about applying to three UK Schools - Oxford, Imperial, and U Manchester.
Here are my questions:
1. Is the UCAS system for every school I'm applying to without supplemental materials (meaning I don't have to write supplemental essays for each school like Common App)?
2. Is there a specific prompt for UCAS Application or it's more of a generic personal statement with regards to my intended major?
3. How should I evaluate my chance of getting into the colleges I'm applying to? I'm aware that Oxford and Imperial are reaches, for everyone of course. But I still want to know the likelihood of getting in. Does passing the entry requirements guarantee conditional offers?
4. Is there an activity section for the UCAS system? I've heard that British schools tend to ignore the EC part, which is very valued in US colleges.

Replies to: UCAS Personal Statement

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 4,955 Senior Member
    1. The beauty of the UK system is that you do one application, for up to 5 specific courses. There are no supplements.
    2. The "Personal Statement" (PS) is where you make your case for why you are a good candidate for the courses you are applying to. As above, all schools see the same essay. The focus is academic, and demonstrates that you know enough about the subject to know your own suitability and interest. Your interest in the subject will show through things you have done beyond classroom requirement- for example, related books you have read, relevant work experience. There is a lot of info on writing your personal statement online, starting on the UCAS website.
    3. There is no 'guarantee' for anybody at any university based solely on test scores (really? how do you think that could possibly work?). However, for Manchester, if you meet the entry requirements, write a decent PS and have a decent LoR, and are a full-pay international student you are very likely to get in to most courses except medicine. Imperial is cagier about their requirements for internationals ("minimum" of 3 5s), and obviously will have higher expectations of all elements of your application. As for Oxford, in addition to the posted requirements, many subjects have an entry test; if you do well enough in the entry test *and* all the other pieces of your application are strong you get invited to interview. On average, they interview about 3x as many people as they accept.
    4. You and/or your GC can mention ECs that are **relevant** to the subject you are applying to study in your LoR / PS.

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,637 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    Agree that Oxford is a reach for everyone except those who are world-class in their subject.

    I don't think Imperial is a reach if you get 5's on all relevant AP's.

    Agree with @collegemom3717 that you likely just need to meet minimum requirements for Manchester (outside medicine).

    In general, UK uni admissions are more predictable than US ones.
  • 4mummy4mummy Registered User Posts: 84 Junior Member
    There ia a UK website called the student room which might help you with information through their forums and a personal statement help section.
  • alcibiadealcibiade Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    Regarding oxbridge, they can ask for additional materials once the common application is submitted. My daughter applied to Cam in 2012 and they requested that she write an additional essay, which was geared to her specific interests and added an additional hurdle before she was offered an interview. At interview, they had read the essay and questioned her about it in great detail. This may have changed recently as more tests are required.
  • KajonKajon Registered User Posts: 4,417 Senior Member
    I don't know about the others, but if you get an interview at Oxford be prepared to discuss what you wrote in your essay. Own it!

    Also, keep in mind that well written recommendations can also play a major role in strengthening your application. Hopefully you will offer some areas of focus to your recommenders. "Billy is really bright, does well on tests and participates in class discussions" can describe a million kids. This is better.... "Billy's depth of knowledge on Y and Z shows his passion for the subject and this really elevates his peers to a higher level of classroom discussion"......etc.. They want to know that the applicant will be successful in his coursework, will be a worthy classmate and will be an engaging conversationalist at dinner by sharing his passion.
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