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“Overdue” changes to Ucas’ personal statement should be welcomed but much more needs to be done to truly “level the playing field” in UK university admissions, according to experts.

The 4,000 character-long statement that allows applicants to demonstrate their skills and experience outside of their formal grades is likely to be replaced by a series of six structured questions that focus on areas such as the motivation and preparedness for the course and extenuating circumstances.

Ucas – which has launched a consultation on the proposals – has said the change will create a more “supportive framework” compared to the old system, which was widely seen as favouring more affluent applicants.

“It’s great that Ucas has finally agreed that the personal statement needs an overhaul, but it’s a pity a little more thought wasn’t put into the proposed replacement questions,” said Steve Jones, professor of higher education at the University of Manchester, who added that he felt there were too many questions and they overlapped too much.

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