Layout of the reference Background/context of school Type of activities available to students Range of subjects and typical number of A levels studied by students Widening participation activity
Layout of reference Subject motivation Current achievement in the subject(s) Academic skills Career plan Underperformance Extenuating circumstances Additional Needs
Layout of reference Work Experience Work experience related to chosen subject Skills developed
Layout of reference And finally… Has the student got the ability to succeed academically? Clearly indicate if you would recommend the student What type of student would they be?
Tip 1 Be concise with predicted grades in the summary section
Biology A, Chemistry A, Geography A, P.E. A/B German: A,Mathematics: A,Psychology: A,AS General Studies: B,AS History: A. Biology B, Chemistry C, Spanish C/D Chemistry: A --- Mathematics: A --- History: A --- General Studies: A Not applicable A level Computing grade B A level Mathematics grade B A level Physics grade BAlready has grade C in AS German LAW A, HISTORY A, PSYCHOLOGY A, GENERAL STUDIES No predicted grades supplied English Literature AHistory APsychology A A Level: Geography A, Chemistry B/A, Biology B, General Studies A. AS Level: Physics B Physics A Mathematics AGeography A Production Design B A2 Business and Economics - A, A2 ICT - A, A2 Psychology - A. Biology - AChemistry - AMaths - A Spanish - A Mathematics - A;Chemistry - G A;Biology - G A;General Studies - A; Biology: A, Chemistry: A/B, P.E.:A, History: B/C. Geography APhysics BMathematics A A level Biology grade A, Chemistry grade A and Mathematics grade A Her teachers predict the following grades in the IB Diploma:Biology (H): 6 Chemistry (H): 6 German (H): 6English (S): 6 History
Tip 2 Be aware of negativity All comments should be positive. If in doubt, omit any aspects you feel you cannot comment positively about – omission can be as equally telling. Taken from a School policy document
Tip 3 Dont exaggerate I've noticed also that both teachers and students have the same problem: over exaggeration! Sometimes, reports or statements appear ridiculous, as the student has wanted to 'study the subject since birth' or the teacher feels the student 'is the brightest star in the firmament... skilled at absolutely everything they turn their hand to' (neither of these are actual statements, but I think the idea behind both is becoming prevalent). So, I think a bit more honesty and a bit less exaggeration would be beneficial for all concerned.
Tip 4 Provide information on extenuating circumstances (but beware of data protection issues)
Tip 5 Make sure the reference matches the predictions I can say that most important for me as admissions tutor is that the reference for a student and the prediction of grades on the UCAS forms are strongly related, so that especially in borderline cases we have good arguments to take the students at the end, for example in Clearing.
Time The importance of starting early DEADLINES (09 Entry) –Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry, Vets - 15 th October 2008 –Most courses - 15 th January 2009 Get it checked, double checked etc etc
What Admissions Tutors are looking for A clear, well written UCAS application form Why this subject? Knowledge of the subject Aspirations Enthusiasm Work Experience, Volunteer Work Extra-curricular activities Evidence of relevant skills
Avoid…. Defining the subject Too much gushing Embroidering the truth Being too quirky –Conscientious, not wacky
From the horses mouth A good personal statement should make it clear why the candidate wants to read their particular subject and supply concrete evidence of that enthusiasm. It should reflect the distinctive style and characteristics of its author…The worst statements are polished but boring. Nicholas Shrimpton Vice-Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University Education Guardian
From the horses mouth II You should check that your personal statement is expressed in accurate and logical English. You should write in a clear and coherent manner, and are advised to avoid pomposity and platitudes, and not to make strained attempts to appear funny or different. Entry Profile on UCAS website from Bristol University
From watching and reading Sherlock Holmes, Cracker, CSI and Crime watch, my interest in criminology has developed. Criminology has always had a glamorous image but it is more than that it deals with criminals and supports the justice system. Criminology is all about crime and punishment. It is an exciting inter-disciplinary subject which draws on Sociology, Psychology and Law to help examine how crime is defined, why people commit crimes, and how society responds to crimes. Criminology
Examination of any quality newspaper will probably demonstrate that more of the headlines address economic problems than any other topic. The importance and relevance of economics and related disciplines to the modern world have led me to want to pursue the study of the subject at a higher level. I am particularly interested in the behaviour of firms and organizations from an economic standpoint. During my study, I have come across many real life complexities and, while attempting to apply theoretical ideas, I have developed a keen interest in analyzing and understanding how the world of business is influenced by economics. Economics
Examination of any quality newspaper will probably demonstrate that more of the headlines address economic problems than any other topic. The importance and relevance of economics and related disciplines to the modern have led me to want to pursue the study of the subject at a higher level. I am particularly interested in the behavior of firms and organizations from an economic standpoint. During my study, I have come across many real life complexities and, while attempting to apply theoretical ideas, I have developed a keen interest in analyzing and understanding how the world of business is influenced by economics.
Dentistry Dentistry is a subject I have become interested in through personal experiences. This includes having orthodontic treatment myself and through discussions with friends that are undergraduate dental students. My interest in dentistry has been furthered through work experiences I have undertaken, which has given me an insight to many branches of Dentistry. The strong practical element is what especially draws me. I enjoy using manual skills to network and build computers. This requires operating in a small space within a computer cache using tools in a delicate environment. I have shadowed two dentists in general practice for a month, both offering NHS and private treatment. I have also gained experience in two hospitals. Firstly with my orthodontist for two weeks in Queen Marys where I learnt to make dentures. The other being for a couple of days in Orpingtons Oral and Maxillofacial department. All dental shadowing was done this Summer. Furthermore I attended dental lectures in a Medisix course held at Nottingham University. It was evident to me that there is a common thread of skills running through the people working in all dental environments. These include close teamwork, leadership and excellent communication skills…
I am fascinated with dentistry because I love to network and build computers. If I spoke these words aloud, many people would scratch their heads and appear confused. At first glance, this statement appears absurd. On a closer look, however, it makes perfect sense. When I work on computers, I must operate within a tiny space inside a computer cache, taking extreme care to avoid damaging the delicate equipment. As a dentist, I will also perform my duties within the smallest of spaces, using tiny instruments on fragile surfaces. Of course, there is a crucial distinction between building a computer and providing dental care. While both fields allow me to employ my manual skills, only one has the significant interpersonal component that I seek in a career. While I am grateful to the computer technician who corrects glitches in my operating system, I have far more gratitude to the orthodontist who straightened my teeth as a child… Dentistry £ 129.99!!
Cheaters WILL be caught 5% of applicants borrow from websites 234 applicants - dramatic chemistry set incident aged 8 370 applicants – a fascination with the human body! 175 applicants – an elderly or infirm grandfather UCAS now runs anti-plagiarism software – Similarity Detection