Selling Themselves Short: How Inclusive is the UCAS Application Process to Non-traditional Students?
Discussions around inclusive admissions traditionally concern widening access and enabling students from underrepresented groups to enter university. However, the actual process of applying via UCAS is rarely considered. In this study, we address the question, ‘how inclusive is a UCAS personal statement?’ We consider the challenges of applying to university and writing a personal statement from the perspective of mature, former foundation students. By drawing on existing literature, personal statements and student experiences, we highlight the lack of inclusivity. The primary thesis is that the current incarnation of the personal statement needs adjustment as it is not equitable and can marginalise applicants. The study makes suggestions for improving the system and increased information, advice and guidance for applicants.