UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

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SteveDH
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:30 pm
Location: Harrow

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by SteveDH »

Guest55 wrote:Before the holiday!
That's really early for 'normal' applications - there really is no need to rush to apply.
quite a few people at my DD's school do Oxbridge, so I think they just want to give people time to think about their statement,
and although the Oxbridge deadline isn't until 15th Oct, her school takes about 10 days to do their side of things, so Midday Friday was their dealine for submitting UCAS applications for anyone considering Oxbridge.
Guest55
Posts: 16254
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:21 pm

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by Guest55 »

Oxbridge is earlier but why does the school need 10 days!

We write most of our references before the summer and then tweak them if results are not as expected; what else does the school have to do?
Y
Posts: 463
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:49 pm

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by Y »

Try using this format in Word:

Courier New 8 point (a fixed pitch font - every character takes up the same amount of space)

Margins: left 2.75 cm, right 2.2 cm
The right indent seems to be fractionally within the right margin, but I can't see where this is set to see what it is in cm. It's barely anything, though.

This gives a character count per line of 93. When my DD pasted this into the UCAS site, the line ends matched exactly with the way they were in the Word doc, (after hitting 'Preview').

Beware that the word count feature (under 'Review' in Word 2007) shows the line count **excluding** any blank lines - so if you want to leave blank lines (assuming you can - I'm not sure I've understood this from the preceding posts), you will need to add those back in to the word count.

My DD's school requested draft PSs from all students before the summer. It's certainly taken the pressure off now!
SteveDH
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:30 pm
Location: Harrow

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by SteveDH »

I'm not sure why the 10 days, but my DD's school does say it checks through the whole application, maybe they just want extra time in-case of problems.
rosie
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 2:02 pm

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by rosie »

If you use the website maccery.com it uses UCAS's method of counting and it also highlights repeated words.
ConfusedAylesburyMum
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:42 am

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by ConfusedAylesburyMum »

My daughter has applied for a PGCE this year. We had major issues with her Personal Statement - on MS Word it was under the character count and neatly laid out. When she copied it into UCAS it all went pear shaped and was way over the line limit. After more jiggling, we still couldn't get it within the limit.

In the end I actually rang UCAS to ask for advice and also say they should make this clearer ie that the line count is far more critical than characters. I was also concerned for the poor Admissions Tutors that end up having to read one huge block of text. As someone who works in communications I know this is not ideal.

They advised me that that is the way it is and the Tutors are used to it so it doesn't matter. I asked if they had plans to improve it to make it better and basically they said No.

We did eventually get it within the limit. But I am sure that this application ended up far shorter than the one for Uni 3 years ago - as I have a copy of both!
franticmum
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:16 pm

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by franticmum »

I wonder whether it is time to update this post and thread, to save people much unnecessary anxiety about the personal statement criteria.

I believe I am right in saying that all the issues with the formatting and word/line count not corresponding between ms word and the final application have now been resolved by UCAS. There is now a place to 'test' out and do a mock PS on their website which does the word/line count calculation for you. Can someone who's used this tool confirm that this is the case?
ToadMum
Posts: 11831
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:41 pm
Location: Essex

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by ToadMum »

franticmum wrote:I wonder whether it is time to update this post and thread, to save people much unnecessary anxiety about the personal statement criteria.

I believe I am right in saying that all the issues with the formatting and word/line count not corresponding between ms word and the final application have now been resolved by UCAS. There is now a place to 'test' out and do a mock PS on their website which does the word/line count calculation for you. Can someone who's used this tool confirm that this is the case?
Not got one applying this year, and I never saw what DS1 was doing with regard to his application, but this is what you get now:

https://www.ucasdigital.com/widgets/per ... html#/main

Is this different?
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx
franticmum
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:16 pm

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by franticmum »

This is the tool.

I've just done a quick test and it appears to be great for starting from scratch, giving you questions you need to address, etc. However, if you've already drafted your personal statement and just want to check the characters, etc, you have to copy and paste your pre-written paragraphs into the suggested question boxes provided. It won't give you paragraphs otherwise despite these possibly being in your word document.

Furthermore, it then converts it into a pdf (which I suppose is good for a draft to show others) but unless you can convert it back to a word document again, you have to re-type it. Whether this affects the formatting of the final application, I'm not sure as we haven't got to that stage yet.

This seems to be my understanding but am happy for someone who's had more experience to correct me or fill in the gaps.
ToadMum
Posts: 11831
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:41 pm
Location: Essex

Re: UCAS Personal Statement Formatting-- Beware

Post by ToadMum »

franticmum wrote:This is the tool.

I've just done a quick test and it appears to be great for starting from scratch, giving you questions you need to address, etc. However, if you've already drafted your personal statement and just want to check the characters, etc, you have to copy and paste your pre-written paragraphs into the suggested question boxes provided. It won't give you paragraphs otherwise despite these possibly being in your word document.

Furthermore, it then converts it into a pdf (which I suppose is good for a draft to show others) but unless you can convert it back to a word document again, you have to re-type it. Whether this affects the formatting of the final application, I'm not sure as we haven't got to that stage yet.

This seems to be my understanding but am happy for someone who's had more experience to correct me or fill in the gaps.
I think you just need a 'proper' version of Adobe Acrobat?
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx
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