ASCL comment on HEPI report on UCAS personal statements

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute, which found personal statements are read for just two minutes on average.
“We know that personal statements in their current form are flawed. They favour advantaged students who are able to compile a wider array of extra-curricular activities and draw on help from family members who are more likely to have gone to university and have experience with submitting personal statements themselves.
“But it is important that there remains something beyond exam grades that gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their aptitude and interest in a course. Breaking down the personal statement into specific questions, as UCAS has committed to doing, feels like a step in the right direction. Careful consideration must be given to the number and type of questions to ensure they are fair to all students. It’s also important that these questions are of more use and interest to admissions tutors than current personal statements, which this survey suggests are often barely read.”