Pgce Personal Statement Character Count

 
  1. *grumbles consistently* So it says our personal statement can be 4000 characters long, at maximum, and no more than 47 lines, right? That's fair enough, but it's not true!

    I've been working on my personal statement for weeks, and now I'm told that the piece of writing (which is 3998 characters, and 46 lines) is too long. By 16 characters. I don't really see how this works. I opened it up in Notepad and I carefully edited line by line, making sure it'd fit in, and despite this, it still won't fit.

    I really really would rather not cut anything out, I've dropped enough already, and now find UCAS is unable to get their character limit sorted - this is ridiculous!

    Surely I cannot be the only one with this problem? Has anyone experienced or dealt with this problem before? Goodness knows when I'll get my application sent off now!

    Last edited by YellowJane; 05-10-2014 at 20:41.
  2. I think there are different ways of calculating characters. I came across a similar issue (I also had a ~10 character difference) and I'm assuming it's because notepad and UCAS have different ways of calculating characters - I'm guessing it's to do with spaces (maybe UCAS counts line breaks as characters). I wouldn't get angry with UCAS, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with it, it's just a difference. It shouldn't be too hard to reduce your character number though. If I managed to come down from 8000 to 4000 characters, you can get down from 4016 to 4000!
    (Original post by YellowJane)
    *grumbles consistently* So it says our personal statement can be 4000 characters long, at maximum, and no more than 47 lines, right? That's fair enough, but it's not true!

    I've been working on my personal statement for weeks, and now I'm told that the piece of writing (which is 3998 characters, and 46 lines) is too long. By 16 characters. I don't really see how this works. I opened it up in Notepad and I carefully edited line by line, making sure it'd fit in, and despite this, it still won't fit.

    I really really would rather not cut anything out, I've dropped enough already, and now find UCAS is unable to get their character limit sorted - this is ridiculous!

    Surely I cannot be the only one with this problem? Has anyone experienced or dealt with this problem before? Goodness knows when I'll get my application sent off now!


The personal statement is your opportunity to let training providers know about your qualities, skills and expertise, and why you want to teach.

You can only complete one personal statement for all the choices you make in both Apply 1 and Apply 2. You can’t change it or create different ones for university or school-based choices. The providers you’re applying to understand this, so they won’t be expecting you to say specific things about them or their programmes. However, if you’re applying for programmes in a particular subject or age group, it would be helpful to explain why you have chosen them, and the skills and attributes you have that make them appropriate for you.


I read hundreds of UCAS applications for teacher training every year, and I cannot stress how important the personal statement is.
Claire Harnden, Director of Initial Teacher Training at Surrey South Farnham SCITT

What to include

You do need to think carefully about the things that all your chosen providers will want to know about you. You’ll probably want to include things like:

  • your reason(s) for wanting to teach
  • evidence that you understand the rewards and challenges of teaching
  • details of your previous education and how you have benefitted from it
  • any other work with young people, such as helping with a youth club, working at a summer camp or running a sports team
  • the range of relevant abilities and skills you can bring to teaching, for example, practical experience, managing people, working with or leading a team, and communication skills
  • any reasons why there may be restrictions on your geographical mobility
  • why you want to study in the UK, if you don’t currently live here
  • whether you’ve taken part in the School Experience Programme (SEP) organised by the National College of School Leadership (formerly the Teaching Agency)

These are the things all training providers want to know – whether they’re School Direct, a university or a SCITT – so there’s no need to worry that you can’t write different personal statements. Read what SCITT director, Claire Harnden, looks for in a teacher training personal statement.

In addition to the details you give in the school and work experience section, you can also expand on your experience of teaching, such as visits to schools, classroom observations or working as a teaching assistant. To help, read Chris Chivers' tips for completing your teacher training application.

Whatever the route, the process will have similar elements, which are worth considering, so that the appliation has the greatest chance of making an impression.
Chris Chivers, experienced ITT tutor and mentor


How to write it

You can use up to 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text (including spaces) – whichever comes first. Some word processing packages calculate character and line counts differently from the UCAS Teacher Training system, so you might need to redraft your statement if there’s a discrepancy between the counts.

  • Write in English (or Welsh if you’re applying to Welsh providers) and avoid italics, bold or underlining.
  • Get the grammar and punctuation right and redraft your statement until you’re happy with it.
  • It’s a good idea to write your personal statement in a word processor first, then copy and paste it into your application.

Don’t copy!

Don’t copy anyone else’s personal statement or from statements posted on the internet. Make sure your personal statement is all your own work.

We screen all personal statements across our Copycatch similarity detection system. If we find any similarity, your application will be flagged – you and all your choices will receive an email alert and this could have serious consequences for your application.


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