Character Count: UCAS Vs. Word

This is a recurring problem for many students when preparing their university application using UCAS.

Hours, days, weeks and even months have been spent writing the perfect personal statement. Commas have been cut, shorter words have been used and the end result is a personal statement exactly on the 4,000 character limit. Then the personal statement is carefully cut and paste into the online UCAS application only to find that it is over the limit.

Let us start with clarifying what are the UCAS personal statement online application limits

• 4,000 characters (including spaces, full stops etc)


• 47 lines of 95 characters per line (including spaces, full stops etc)

So, how to make sure you are working to these limits?

  1. One way is to cut and paste your UCAS personal statement into the online application after your first draft. (Just be careful not to submit!) This will help you understand how large a difference there is in the character count of your computer compared to the online application form.
  2. When using Word use the font, Courier New at size 8 with the default margins. This should represent reasonably well how many characters per line the online application form will allow (it will give you approx. 94 characters per line).

A false economy is removing lines between your paragraphs. It may give you one more line, but all that bunched up text will be harder for the admissions officer to read.

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