UCAS Advice from Alex Dyer
Hello everyone, my name is Alex Dyer and I'm the CEO of Tutor House. I’ve been working with students to improve their personal statements for over eight years. I work through personal statements step by step to make sure all the key areas are covered and to give students the best possible chance of gaining a place at University. Do email me to ask further questions: email@example.com
Although the 7-plus exam tends to vary depending on the school, potential students are required to complete a 30-minute maths test as well as a 30-minute English test.
Sometimes the 7-plus includes some form of reasoning test, but again that depends on the school. Your child will also be observed to assess how they approach questions, as well as how they interact with other students.
Your new school may request a report or review from your child’s previous school, and may also interview your child either on their own or in a group. Again depending on the school, this form of assessment may come before the actual written assessment to examine if your child can effectively ‘qualify’ for the next step.
It’s exciting to start applying to University but it can also seem incredibly daunting. For many students, it can be hard to know when to start thinking about your options for further education.
How can I prepare for my university application?
We know that it’s tempting to avoid something that you think might be stressful, like applying for university, but it is super important to keep on top of things now. If you take these steps early on, you’ll reap the rewards when it's time to leave the nest. Trust us, it's worth it!
Yes, the University application process may seem a long way off now, but it sneaks up on you! These next few years, months and weeks are going to fly by and, before you know it, that UCAS deadline will be on top of you.
It is important to start thinking about which university you’d like to go to and which course you’d like to study as early as possible. This is to make sure that you select the right GCSEs and A-levels to allow you to do the course you want. Each individual university will require different grades in different subjects for each course that they offer.
It’s good to have an idea of what you’d like to study before you start your A-levels, otherwise you might not be able to apply for the course you really love. For example, if you want to study Medicine at University the A-level requirements include Biology and Chemistry. Ideally, you’ll know what you want to study at university before you select your GCSEs, as your choices could limit what your school will let you study for your A-levels.
A great way to make sure you are making the right choices in terms of your GCSE options is to hire a private GCSE tutor. They will be able to help you realise where your strengths lie in order to ensure that you are choosing subjects that will allow you to really excel.
They’ll also be able to make you a personalised revision plan when the time comes for you to prepare for your GCSEs, and guide you through the process to make sure you get the best possible grades. Plus, they’ll be there to help you out with any difficult topics and exam worries (don’t worry - we’ve all been there).
Ultimately, it’s never too early to start thinking about your academic future. Tutor House’s tutors are not only exceptional at providing top-quality tutoring, they will also be able to help you every step of the way when deciding which university is right for you. Don't miss out and get in touch with one of our educational experts today.
Planning on Applying to Oxford or Cambridge?
Read our Oxbridge Applications: A Complete Guide blog to find out more about the Oxbridge application process.
How to write the perfect Personal Statement
A personal statement is a sales pitch for a university place. The clues are; `sales’ = sell yourself and `pitch’ = set your stall at their door. Remember, you’ll be up against thousands of others who are also pitching their case to the universities, so whatever you write needs to be good. Before you begin, there are a few basics to bear in mind when it comes to personal statement structure:
- A personal statement should be no more than 4,000 characters long
- It should be typed with 1.5 line spaces
- Always start with a `wow’ sentence to draw in the reader
- Divide the content into four main sections
- Why you want to study the chosen course
- What you’ve done to date that’s relevant to the course
- What key skills have you picked up through work experience
- What other activities make you a more rounded person
- Mention what inspired you to choose the course
- Write from the heart
- Ensure it’s free from grammatical errors
- Be 100% honest and genuine
- Make it attention-grabbing
- Show it to as many people as possible, including parents and teachers
- Sell yourself
You’ve got the line spacing set to 1.5 and an intimidating blank screen in front of you; it’s time to draw attention to your case. The opening sentence is arguably the most important one you’ll write. It will set the tone for the rest of your pitch and draw the reader in. Around 40% of the Personal Statement should be devoted to why you want to study the chosen course, so make sure the opening sentence introduces your reasons and is backed up by the inspirations behind them.
A good example of opening sentences might be “Since working in a nursery for my Silver DofE award my interest in Child Psychology has really grown” or “Reading Professor Stephen Hawking’s `A Brief History of Time’ first awakened my interest in natural sciences, and in particular, physics”.
Ensure you write from the heart; the admissions team wants to know why YOU want to study that course so it’s important to be genuine. Sit down and really work out why you have chosen to apply for the particular university and to study your chosen subject. Ask yourself, did you read a book or see a TV programme that inspired you? Did you read about a particularly inspirational person who works in the same field? Have you always been interested in this degree?
Then present your reasons clearly and concisely, personalise what you say and relate your reasons to your experiences and your source of inspiration. Definitely avoid making statements such as `Because my dad’s a doctor’, or `It was the one thing I could think of that interested me’. As you write, show a good understanding of the course and make sure what you write supports your decision to study it.
Always include some references to books, essays, and any other materials you have read or watched so that you can confidently include them in your personal statement to back up your claims. Students who have an interview as part of their University application - make sure you have actually read or watched these sources! Otherwise you might get caught out by your interview questions.
Use these links to demonstrate your knowledge and solidify in the reader's mind that you have a genuine interest in whatever degree you are applying for.