UCAS Application Questions 2024

If you are reading this, it is likely you have already heard that UCAS are scrapping the personal statement from 2024 onwards.

Looking back, the UK's university admissions service has gradually changed over the years, with the aim of providing a better service to the hundreds of thousands of higher education applicants who use their online systems each year.

This includes the introduction of Clearing Plus in 2020, the release of a new tool called UCAS Hub (that merged UCAS Apply and UCAS Track) in 2021, and the launch of new widening participation questions in 2022.

If you're wondering what's happening next, all the information you need about changes to the UCAS application for 2024 can be found below.

Why is UCAS scrapping the personal statement from 2024?

During their consultation period, in conjunction with the Department of Education, UCAS collected feedback and insights from nearly 15,000 students, universities, colleges, and conservatoires; over 700 teachers and their representative bodies; and sector stakeholders, to create a Reimagining UK Admissions report.

The survey found that students have mixed thoughts about the UCAS personal statement.

Some rely heavily on input from others to make sure they've done a good job and included all the information they are supposed to.

By splitting the statement into sections, it will be clearer to students what supporting information is significant to their application, making it easier to present themselves in the best light, as well as increasing their chances of understanding what they should include.

What will the personal statement be replaced with?

The following sections have been raised for inclusion by admissions staff in universities and colleges. They are intended to help admissions teams assess whether applicants are a good fit for the course, and how they might compare to other applicants for the same courses:

Motivation for course: Why do you want to study this course(s)?

This might be because you want to pursue a particular career path, or simply because you are passionate and enthusiastic about the subject.

By thinking about this question, students can ensure that the course they have chosen will deliver on their expectations, whether this is professional accreditation, a pathway to a specific job role or the opportunity to explore a subject in detail that fascinates them.

Ultimately, universities and colleges want to see that you have checked the content of their course carefully to ensure it is a suitable match for them.

Preparedness for course: How has your learning so far helped you to be ready to succeed on these courses?

This is an opportunity for students to highlight what they’ve learnt from school or college or any other formal learning setting.

This might be an A level curriculum helping them understand the breadth of a discipline and pointing them to further research into where their interests most lie. It may be specific skills and competencies related to the courses they want to go on to study. As always, answers will be personal to each student but key here is demonstration of understanding of what will help them succeed.

Preparation through other experiences: What else have you done to help you prepare, and why are these experiences useful?

The experiences featured here are likely to be varied and may include activities such as self directed extracurricular learning, involvement in sports or social clubs, and employment or other work experience. What all responses should include is a reflection on why the activity is being referenced – what has been learned from it? What skills have been developed? What critical thought has been sparked, and what did the student do next as a result? Why will these things help them on their courses?

Extenuating circumstances: Is there anything that the universities and colleges need to know about, to help them put your achievements and experiences so far into context?

Not all students will feel the need to respond to this question, but for those who strongly feel that they would like to contextualise their application in their own words, this space allows them to do this without 'spending' words they could be using to articulate their skills and suitability for the courses.

Preparedness for study: What have you done to prepare yourself for student life?

Here students are encouraged to reflect on their transition to higher education with more independent learning and in some cases independent living. Again, providers are seeking to understand the extent to which applicants appreciate these changes and understand what they need to do to succeed.

Preferred learning styles: Which learning and assessment styles best suit you – how do your courses choices match that?

Some students may prefer signficant amounts of contact time; others will thrive through independent study. Others may work best through group projects and or through solo work.

Frequent practical assessments may suit some while long written examinations may be the preference of others. Again, providers want to see that students have considered this in making their choices, and want to be confident that the course and student are a good match.

How will the final set of questions be decided?

UCAS have carried out a survey, aimed at capturing wider feedback from customers and stakeholders to help us refine the theme for the questions. Once we have identified these, our user experience team will start to look at how we word the questions so that we can ensure all students understand exactly what is being asked of them. 

When will the changes to the UCAS personal statement occur?

Although UCAS won't be launching their new application process before 2024 (for those starting courses in Sept/Oct 2025), they would still like to hear from prospective applicants so they can gain a better understanding of their own timelines for preparing for this change and will confirm timelines once they have received this feedback.

Will videos be allowed as part of my personal statement in the future?

UCAS is aware that mixed media personal statements may help some applicants. This might be from universities/colleges offering courses where other skills such as performance are more relevant, or from students who feel they can better present themselves in ways other than writing. In splitting the personal statement into sections, we can start to explore combining written and other responses – but as always we will conduct significant customer and stakeholder engagement before making any decisions on this.