New resources – UCAS reference & personal statement support for teachers & adult learners

The Make Happen team are often asked to support with UCAS application guidance and personal statement writing, and with the January deadline quickly approaching it has been a busy term working with staff and students to help them create stand out university applications.  

This year, we also collaborated with Gateway Qualifications who were seeking some help with the delivery of virtual sessions for both students and staff on their Access to HE Diploma (a course to prepare post-19 learners for university).  

The Resources

At Make Happen, we designed a series of virtual webinars to support staff and students with the different challenges of a UCAS application. Find all the resources from this project on the Make Happen Academy. You can also view a broad range of resources on our website, including those specifically for adult learners:

  • For staff: How to Write a UCAS Reference and Support Personal Statement Writing
  • For students: Introduction to UCAS and Personal Statements
  • For students: Writing Your Personal Statement


The Project

One of the main challenges for Access to HE students, is that they are often dealing with very short timeframes from starting to completing their intensive course, often within one academic year.  During this time students need to choose their university course, and complete their application. Alongside this, the tutors have only just met their students so it can be challenging to provide the right guidance and even provide an appropriate predicated grade for their university applications. Furthermore, those wanting to go into medicine or dentistry, are required to meet an earlier application deadline in October which is not too long after only just starting their course!   

Make Happen took this all on board to provide support. Utilising expertise across the team and partner universities, we sought the right guidance and information for the students and staff. Whilst speaking to local universities, including Cambridge and Oxford, we discovered that they have an application deadline later in the academic year for those studying on an Access course (compared to those studying more traditional qualifications) because of these barriers (hurrah!). We put together a pack with guidance specifically for students on an Access course and adult learners which was shared during the virtual sessions. This included information like the application dates and any up-coming events and activities for adult learners that may help with their university decisions and applications.  

We delivered a session on an introduction to university applications and personal statement writing guidance where students found out more about the process, where and how to apply and write a great supporting statement. Those that attended had the opportunity to ask advisers questions to help improve their own statements and one attendee commented that “The webinar was useful and informative and organised well and the handouts are helpful”.  

In addition, we provided a staff focused session to help provide tutors with a basic understanding of the UCAS Hub, how to support their students’ statement writing and write the supporting reference. Again, this was gratefully received, with several attendees commenting on how “informative” it was and came away with “lots of practical tips”. 

We will be delivering virtual sessions again with Gateway Qualifications in the future. Keep an eye on our events page for up-coming virtual or in-person projects. Or get in contact with us to discuss how we can support your school, sixth form, or college.  


< Back to news

"Watch our on demand webinars for support on writing UCAS references and personal statements"