What Universities Are Looking For

Britain’s universities are amongst the best in the world, and they are therefore looking for prospective students of the highest quality.

Most important of the things universities are looking for is, of course, grades. Exam results are the best objective marker of academic quality the universities have access to, and should be comparable nationally. Many universities, particularly at the higher end of the league tables, will have grade cut offs, and will automatically discount candidates with too few A or A* grades at AS level or even at GCSE – this is simply a way of dealing with the vast number of applicants they get.

Universities are educational institutions, however, and they are looking not just to bring in quality, but to teach and develop their students. This means that they aren’t just looking for past academic success; rather they are looking for academic potential, of which grades can be a good and easily comparable indicator.

Your personal statement’s first job, then, should be to convince the admissions tutor reading it that you have the potential to be an excellent student. This is not just a matter of pointing to your prior academic achievements: it is necessary to show your insight and enthusiasm into the subject, your general intellectual ability, your positive personal traits, and the skills that you could bring to your course.

A personal statement is not a CV though, and you are not applying for a job or a specific role. Universities are looking for candidates who will be bright and engaged, who will respond well to the intellectual environment a university offers, and who will contribute to this environment. First and foremost contribution means intellectual contribution: good students breed more good students, and the more good students a university brings together, the better their learning environment will be.

Contributions to the environment can also be made outside of the classroom. Many universities are looking for prospective students who will be able to participate across campus life, be this through sport, music, theatre, student politics or simply by being a friendly, pleasant person. It is important to note, however, that these kinds of contribution are almost always a secondary concern for admissions tutors, so should not form the core of your personal statement.

Finally, and perhaps most trickily, universities are looking for candidates who are capable of jumping through hoops, in this case the hoops of the UCAS application system. This means that they are looking for people who are capable of producing good application forms, of finding good references, and of writing excellent personal statements. In addition to all that a personal statement can communicate about you as an individual, it is also important in and of itself: it is important to be able to demonstrate that you can perform necessary tasks.

This is why having a perfect, error-free personal statement is so essential: it gives universities what they want. Our Editing and Writing services are designed to produce the kind of perfect personal statements that can only be created with years of experience – they are designed to produce the kind of personal statements that are exactly what the universities are looking for.