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UCAS references vs CommonApp URGENT!

Hello,

I'm applying via common app for this next coming season and I'm looking to get the ball rolling in terms of references. I asked a couple teachers for references and they both agreed; however, my head of year said that all teachers write references for their students for UCAS anyways so they will use those references for CommonApp. In the US, I'm presuming that references are different and also more important than the ucas UK application.

Is there any difference in a UCAS reference letter to CommonApp reference letter from teachers? Will it be fine if I just use my UCAS reference letters as my CommonApp letters?

Thanks
Sorry this may be a bit late but here's some advice...

It's "dangerous" to use the same references in my opinion; UCAS references are generic and don't count for anything in the U.S! The references are an important part of the application - do not take them lightly!!! Even the head of year one (guidance counsellor) needs to be different to what he/she might say on UCAS.

The most important point with references is that they have to be SPECIFIC to the individual - cannot stress this enough! They are important because it lets someone else talk about you're achievements rather than yourself - and so essentially backup what YOU have said in your application.

If you want some documents to give your teachers about references for US applications PM me.
Reply 2
Original post by SolsterManzzi
Sorry this may be a bit late but here's some advice...

It's "dangerous" to use the same references in my opinion; UCAS references are generic and don't count for anything in the U.S! The references are an important part of the application - do not take them lightly!!! Even the head of year one (guidance counsellor) needs to be different to what he/she might say on UCAS.

The most important point with references is that they have to be SPECIFIC to the individual - cannot stress this enough! They are important because it lets someone else talk about you're achievements rather than yourself - and so essentially backup what YOU have said in your application.

If you want some documents to give your teachers about references for US applications PM me.


I disagree SolsterManzzi on one point. I also advise that you do not send the same reference letters to both UCAS and Common App. While SolsterManzzi says that the UCAS reference is more generic, I disagree.

As an American I can vouch for that. Here in America you do not enter your faculty until your 3rd year in college. Therefore, American teachers generally write about their students personality, performance in their class etc (no relation to how they would perform in their intended college major -- like UCAS reference) It is also advised you get one math/science teacher and one humanities teacher. There is a strong emphasis in the US for students to be well-rounded.

Are you applying to US universities from the UK? If you have an more questions I would be happy to answer, just PM me.
Original post by ckotool
I disagree SolsterManzzi on one point. I also advise that you do not send the same reference letters to both UCAS and Common App. While SolsterManzzi says that the UCAS reference is more generic, I disagree.

As an American I can vouch for that. Here in America you do not enter your faculty until your 3rd year in college. Therefore, American teachers generally write about their students personality, performance in their class etc (no relation to how they would perform in their intended college major -- like UCAS reference) It is also advised you get one math/science teacher and one humanities teacher. There is a strong emphasis in the US for students to be well-rounded.

Are you applying to US universities from the UK? If you have an more questions I would be happy to answer, just PM me.


It's actually quite astonishing how some UCAS references are near identical for some people. Some students at our school found errors (wrong names midway through the reference, wrong grades...) in their references hours before they were submitted - and this is to oxbridge. This just goes to show the 'nature' of our references. I go to a pretty good school in the uk

The UK 'university' application process is simpler compared to that of US ones.
In the UK, I would probably say only two things count: interviews and grades (references are pretty minor) IF this is solid then you are pretty much guaranteed oxbridge. If your grades are poor, but you do remarkably well in your interview then you have a decent chance as well. However, if your interview does not go as well as you hoped - but you have very, very good grades - then you could get rejected. This is just my opinion.

UK oxbridge weighting: interview > grades > references extra-currics are minor

For US applications, you really need to have a solid application - particularly if you are an international applicant, even more so if you are international and asian (grades).
(edited 9 years ago)
Original post by Tigress6281
Hi I am applying to US unis from UK, any tips for the common app regarding the personal essay? Is it the same as a personal statement? And do I need to get my A levels converted into a GPA or something?


Original post by ckotool
I disagree SolsterManzzi on one point. I also advise that you do not send the same reference letters to both UCAS and Common App. While SolsterManzzi says that the UCAS reference is more generic, I disagree.

As an American I can vouch for that. Here in America you do not enter your faculty until your 3rd year in college. Therefore, American teachers generally write about their students personality, performance in their class etc (no relation to how they would perform in their intended college major -- like UCAS reference) It is also advised you get one math/science teacher and one humanities teacher. There is a strong emphasis in the US for students to be well-rounded.

Are you applying to US universities from the UK? If you have an more questions I would be happy to answer, just PM me.


Hi I am applying to US unis from UK, any tips for the common app regarding the personal essay? Is it the same as a personal statement? And do I need to get my A levels converted into a GPA or something?
Original post by Tigress6281
Hi I am applying to US unis from UK, any tips for the common app regarding the personal essay? Is it the same as a personal statement? And do I need to get my A levels converted into a GPA or something?

The common app essay is VERY different from a personal statement. I highly recommend just going on Youtube and watching a few 'reading the essays that got me into X university' videos to get the general idea of what they're about. As for advice, I cannot recommend reading this enough:
https://www.hackthecollegeessay.com/uploads/1/0/9/5/109505679/hack_the_college_essay_2017.pdf

No, you don't need to convert your A-levels. US universities will be familiar with both GCSEs and A-levels so your school will just submit those.
(edited 1 year ago)

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