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Personal Statements and References

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This section provides an overview of the UCAS application process, including supporting students in writing personal statements and information and guidance for those who have been asked to provide a reference for an applicant to higher education.


The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is responsible for processing applications to higher education courses in the UK. If you are thinking of applying to university or college to do a HE qualification, you’ll probably submit your application online through UCAS. 

UCAS is a central hub of information about Undergraduate courses, where students can explore courses available across the UK. Their website also hosts a range of post-18 options information to inspire and facilitate educational progression, so is a useful resource for both students and practitioners.  

Application Process

Take a look at our UCAS fact sheet here  which explains the application process. Alternatively, download a copy below.

The latest UCAS deadlines can be found on their website.

Personal Statements

The personal statement forms part of the UCAS application process. It gives students the opportunity to explain why they have chosen to apply for a specific course, show their knowledge and understanding of the discipline, and their enthusiasm to study.

Need help writing a personal statement? The video above from UCAS is a great place to start. Take a look at our guide to writing a statement here or download it below.

UCAS also has a number of useful tools to help applicants write their personal statement:

Personal Statement Worksheet

Personal Statement Mind Map

Register on the UCAS website to be able to access their Personal Statement Builder tool. 

Reference Writing

A reference, often supplied by a tutor or teacher who knows the applicant academically, also forms part of the UCAS application process.

As a referee, you are required to give an accurate assessment of the applicant’s suitability for further study to the university or college a student is applying to.

How to write UCAS Undergraduate references gives an overview of what to include in a reference

More information

If your school would benefit from a talk or workshop about UCAS applications or writing references, or you would like more information or guidance please contact: