In 2011, 8,458 university applicants were flagged up as having similarities in the personal statements, compared to 2,450 in 2010, according to figures obtained from admissions body Ucas by Radio 4′s You and Yours programme through a Freedom of Information request. In 2008, 3,098 applicants had their statements flagged.
As part of the application process, would-be students are asked to write a personal statement containing their achievements, skills and any information they feel will make them stand out from the crowd.
Ucas uses specialist software called CopyCatch to check personal statements against others in the system for similarities. The sharp rise in the number of flagged applicants between 2010 and 2011 was down to the introduction of a more stringent threshold for picking up these similarities, Ucas said.
Any statements that are flagged up are checked, and that information can be passed on to the university a student is applying to. It is down to the institution to decide how to deal with the situation, which can range from putting a warning on the student’s application or asking for the statement to be re-written, to doing nothing, You and Yours found.
Areas to think about:
- You will get caught if you copy someone else’s personal statement. Instead, you should think about how to construct a good personal statement that shows you understand what medical schools are looking for. What attributes and experience do you think medical schools are looking for?