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The UCAS Thread

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Since we have an Oxbridge thread, and I find some UCAS application processes quite confusing and questions-raising, I thought we might as well have a UCAS thread...

All questions regarding UCAS should be addressed in this thread.

And I want to start first.

Does anybody else think that the 4000 characters limit is too little??? I have only written one paragraph explaining why I want to study in UK, haven't finished and have reached 616 characters. I don't think I could explain eeeeeverything that I'd like to include in my PS then. The mindmap indicates that the length is approximately 600 words, and I think it's very little! D:

What font and size is used in UCAS apply for the PS section? (so I can check my line count as I'm now typing my PS in Word)

Thanks in advance!

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Since we have an Oxbridge thread, and I find some UCAS application processes quite confusing and questions-raising, I thought we might as well have a UCAS thread...

All questions regarding UCAS should be addressed in this thread.

And I want to start first.

Does anybody else think that the 4000 characters limit is too little??? I have only written one paragraph explaining why I want to study in UK, haven't finished and have reached 616 characters. I don't think I could explain eeeeeverything that I'd like to include in my PS then. The mindmap indicates that the length is approximately 600 words, and I think it's very little! D:

What font and size is used in UCAS apply for the PS section? (so I can check my line count as I'm now typing my PS in Word)

Thanks in advance!

It's actually very generous- imagine having 6000 characters! Granted, it would be harder to reach/more to say about yourself, but the 4000 limit is perfect because it prevents the applincant from sounding pretentious and psychologically it looks 'natural'. Not sure how, but it apparently does.

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Guest Apolo

Well, it's very relative. It depends on each person, how you have structured your PS and what you want to talk about...

I myself don't think 4000 are few words... and it kind of helps you to show that you're good at summarising what you want to say by making objective and comprehensible phrases and sentences :)

About the font, it's not fixed. It just needs to be reasonable :) like an arial, 12; times new roman, 11; calibri, 11 - they are all acceptable. Just don't write in comics! It looks very childish!

hope it was helpful :)

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Hmmm but it's the maximum limit anyway so if you were allowed to write up to 6000 characters you can still write like only 4000 or even 3000 :P

But how do I explain everything? Don't I need to elaborate?

What about the other question? I haven't registered to UCAS (want to see the higher education advisor at my school first before registering) so I cannot check myself :/

EDIT: didn't read Apollo's post! ohh so the font can be anything? I'd go with Calibri then lol it'd get me more words on one line so I won't reach the line limit so fast lol

Edited by Desy Glau

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Guest Apolo

Hmmm but it's the maximum limit anyway so if you were allowed to write up to 6000 characters you can still write like only 4000 or even 3000 :P

But how do I explain everything? Don't I need to elaborate?

What about the other question? I haven't registered to UCAS (want to see the higher education advisor at my school first before registering) so I cannot check myself :/

Exactly ;)

You only elaborate what you think it's most important to elaborate. The rest it's basically just mentioning throughout your structure of the PS ;)

The other question is quite obvious, no...? o.O but there are sample PS' on the net. You just need to do a little bit of research :P Harvard uni offers some samples :)

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lol sorry didn't read your post earlier... edited my post.

I don't feel like reading PS that are not meant for UK universities as I don't think they'd actually require the same things?

okay is it even necessary to mention all the co-curricular activities I've taken? or no need? because I asked UCAS on FB and they said extra curriculars are mentioned in the PS since they don't have any particular section for that.

ugh there are just so many things I want to mention in my PS that I don't know what to mention first >.<

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Guest Apolo

It is actually VERY important that you mention extra-curricular and co-curricular activities as they present your skills, abilities and many other qualities! UK and US unis are very interested in knowing what you do and did besides school as it fills your profile as a student. Profile is what they seek mostly. Unis don't mind taking a student with 38 points who does many activities than a 42 points one who does nothing else than studying ;) and that's where CAS helps :)

but basically, it's not very much different what unis in UK and US seek... so it does no harm in reading sample PS directed to other unis. It only helps you to know how to write one :)

Think about it over and over and if you need help, ask for it ;)

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The above's not true in the UK to the same extent as it is for the US and, in particular, Oxbridge admissions tutors have repeatedly stated that extracurriculars have no effect at all on admissions decisions. I dedicated about 25% of my PS to extracurricular stuff.

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Guest Apolo

The above's not true in the UK to the same extent as it is for the US and, in particular, Oxbridge admissions tutors have repeatedly stated that extracurriculars have no effect at all on admissions decisions. I dedicated about 25% of my PS to extracurricular stuff.

Okay. Sorry :S

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haha alright, Apollo don't give me misleading ideas :P I know that US universities don't only look for people who are good academically but also active in sports etc but I kind of feel that UK universities only focus pretty much on academic performances :S

wait can we talk about things we have done throughout our lives? like in the earlier years? or would they not care and only focus on our high school lives?

because I had amazing experiences related to computer in middle school (I want to study computer science so I guess it'd be relevant?) but not in high school. I guess I'll just talk about it if that's fine, and only mention my current activities that aren't so relevant...

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Guest Apolo

If that helped you to decide in the moment of choosing the course, I think it would be interesting to put it :)

and I'm sorry desy :P I thought it was like that because my brother applied to KCL and said so :)

Edited by Apolo

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lol it's fine I was just kidding XD

okay... btw a PS has to be formal right? so no abbreviation..? or would it be fine due to the character limit?

I think you can use abbrev. not sure though. at least every PS I've seen used...

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I think your PS should be above all natural. Not too informal, but you should show yourself by your style of writting. And, very important, it should be gramatically correct! Otherwise they'll think that you you're not taking your application seriously enough to check what you wrote.

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Oh, I think your grammar is great, but you should check it anyway after you write your PS - just in case.

And as for abbreviations - I used them )not all the time, but a couple of times) inj my PS, and nothing tragic happened... yet 8-)

Edited by Slovakov

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okay, since I'm considering using abbreviations in my PS, I wonder if my university(ies) would be familiar with some abbr. like ICAS (International Competitions and Assessments for Schools) and AMC (American Mathematics Contest)? they are seriously wasting my character limits so I wonder if I should just abbreviate them or not :S or can I use footnotes? haha :P

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I haven't used abbreviations like these above, however I've heard that it's better too add an explanation to an abbreviation when you use it for the first time. Nevertheless it would be better if somebody more experienced in this field shared their opinion...

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