The approach to the written requirements for the common app and UCAS is fundamentally different. UCAS requires a personal statement, which is limited to 4,000 characters, while the Common App requires an essay of 650 words.
A great UCAS statement addresses a fundamental question, “Why do you want to study this particular subject?” A student should be able to convince his/ her reader why he/she genuinely wants to study this chosen subject at university and demonstrate his/her suitability for the course by offering unique insights into this subject. For this reason, students are often discouraged from applying to vastly different courses, as this would undermine the quality of their UCAS statement.
The common app essay, on the other hand, ask for students’ personal reflection. A great common app essay will share insights into how you have grown or changed; your identity, interest, or passion.
Stylistically, the common App essay is often highly personal and requires students to demonstrate their story-telling technique, while the UCAS statement takes a more formal or academic tone. Students must be careful not to use their UCAS statement or common app essay interchangeably.
The way to approach US and UK applications is different, with UK universities focusing more on subject passion and knowledge and US colleges evaluating students holistically. Students need to pay attention to the nuances and plan ahead for any standardized tests or interviews required.
Whether it is the UCAS statement or the common app essay, both pieces of writing take a lot of introspective reflection, writing, revision, and proofreading. If a student is applying for both US and UK universities, make sure to leave enough time to work on the essay as well as the statement.
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