Write on Point – widening participation to university through UCAS support

Tom FryerTom Fryer, a PhD student from the University’s Institute of Education, developed a project which aims to widen participation to university by supporting students from under-represented backgrounds with their UCAS personal statements.

Tom was inspired to start Write on Point after noticing the wealth of research showing inequalities in access to support for getting into university. UCAS personal statement can be a stressful period for many people and Write on Point aims to ensure that everyone is able to receive high-quality one-to-one advice.

The project has supported over 1,400 students since it started in 2015, increasing university access and reducing the stress around the UCAS personal statement. In 2020/21, 89% of students received an offer from their first-choice university.

Write on Point recently won a 2023 Making a Difference Award. See Tom’s interview for the Manchester Evening News at the Awards:

We asked him a few questions about his project and what winning this Award means to him:

 Tell us about how it felt to win a Making a Difference Award 

It was fantastic to see my work with Write on Point recognised by winning a Making a Difference Award, although this was definitely a surprise! And, it was great to hear about all the ways people are addressing social responsibility at the University.

What advice would you give for future entrants?

I would say to people considering entering the Making a Difference Awards, just give it a shot and don’t stop yourself from entering  for fear of seeming self-promotional!

Is there any one you’d like to thank?

 I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has helped and supported Write on Point over the years, whether designing websites, delivering feedback, or helping with our impact evaluations. A particular shout out goes to Steve Jones who’s always supported my attempts to make a difference around university admissions.

So what is next for you?

I am now in the process of producing research that informs and contributes to the ongoing consultation on UCAS personal statement reform, much of which builds upon  my experiences with Write on Point. The current proposal is for the personal statement to be modified to a series of short-response questions, which has the potential to make the university admissions process substantially fairer.

Watch this short video to find out more about Write on Point.