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how to write a UCAS REFERENCE

Discussion in 'Mature Students' started by nsaeed1, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. nsaeed1

    nsaeed1 New Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    Likes Received:

    Im a phd student (in holland), and have asked my supervisor to write my ucas reference, but i would like to provide him with an outline to the stuff he needs to include, (because he hasnt been a uscas referee before and tips which would make it a stronger reference. has anyone got any clues? ideas?
    ps im applying ot post grad medicine..
  2. wior85

    wior85 New Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Likes Received:
    hi, this was posted on the personal statement thread from manch med school. Im a grad applicant aswell, and, though this is not spedcifically for grad applicants, i think it broadly applies:


    This likely to be written by your Head Teacher, College Principal or the head of your year/Form Tutor. Mature students should approach an academic supervisor whenever possible, a ‘character reference’ is not sufficient. We do, however, want to know what the writer of the reference thinks about you as a whole person, not merely about your academic achievements and potential. Please ensure that whoever is writing the reference sees a copy of these guidelines.

    The areas in which we require information comprise:

    Commitment to medicine
    Whilst the length of time that a student has been committed to a medical career may be relevant here, it is not the only factor. Equally important are the steps that the student has taken to confirm this commitment [work experience in a caring role – see above, talking to medical and paramedical professionals and even work experience in other areas which have convinced thestudent that those areas are ‘not for them’]. Some insight into the student’s awareness of the realities, advantages and disadvantages of a medial career, would be useful here.

    Staying power/perseverance
    This section could equally be titled ‘commitment to academic study’. Whilst we are obviously interested in whether the student works at an appropriate level of intensity, inputs work on time and is reliable, some insight into the students’ interest and enthusiasm for the subject would also be useful. ‘Late developers’ should not be disadvantaged by this process. We are keen to hear about students who have blossomed in their interest and commitment relatively late in their school career or as a graduate or other mature applicant.

    Communication skills
    The ability to communicate is essential to the practice of medicine. However, communication is not merely about articulation and vocabulary, but it is also about listening. Thus whilst we are interested in students’ contributions to class discussion and extra curricular activity, we would be pleased to hear about how the student relates to others, in particular the less gifted students or younger students, and how well they accept criticism.

    There is clearly some overlap here with ‘communication’ but information in this section should primarily deal with how the referee feels about the student’s ability to care and empathise [is there practical evidence of this?], and how the student sees him/herself in the school and wider community or in the case of mature applicants in the workplace or in higher education.

    Intellectual potential
    This is not only evidenced by GCSE grades and achieved or predicted A-level grades or degrees. It is important for the referee to tell us about ‘late academic developers’ e.g. the student who achieves the bare minimum GCSE grade ‘A’ passes but is likely to blossom at ‘A’ level and beyond. Other evidence of intellectual potential beyond the mere ability to pass exams is important here.

    Leadership qualities
    These may be displayed within the school or in the wider community. Appointment as a prefect is an example. However, the University is
    aware that not all schools operate a Prefect system. Being a Prefect of course does not necessarily imply good leadership skills, and further evidence for such skills should be offered in this section. The opinion of the referee is important. Where a school or college has had little opportunity to assess this area, we would encourage the referee to obtain independent information from other sources.

    Team work
    These skills may be demonstrated either within or outside school. We recognise that not all students have sporting aptitudes, but participating in sport is not the only way in which students can excel in this area. Social and charity involvement would be relevant here as would membership of a team in class practices, field trips, hikes, expeditions etc. will also be important. Once again, Manchester Medical School recognises that not all schools and colleges will have equal opportunities to assess teamwork skills and therefore where such opportunities do not exist within school, we strongly encourage the referee to obtain independent information from other sources.

    Mitigating Circumstance
    The Medical School strongly recommends that in addition to all the above sections, any mitigating circumstances which may affect not only academic performance but any aspect of the information contained in the UCAS form should be included in the referee’s report. These may be personal or family illness,other family circumstances, change of teachers during a course, problems with school facilities, etc., etc. These will be taken into account in the admissions process at all stages.

    Reproduced with permission from the Medical Admissions Office, University of Manchester.

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