What does it look like? The opening... Main body... The rest... Conclusion... Arresting & Original! Why are you going to be the best student of...? Activities and Positions Last impression!
The opening... MUST... Grab the attention of the admissions tutor. Be interesting and insightful. Show why you want to study this course in a ‘nutshell’. Successful applicant As a child I was inquisitive and liked to see how things worked, often dismantling objects beyond repair in this quest for knowledge. This process of investigation, discovering, learning and rebuilding continued through Lego until I discovered Design Technology.
Avoid commonly used openings … I am currently studying a BTEC Diploma in... From a young age I have always been interested in... For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with... Academically, I have always been a very determined and... But … don’t struggle over the opening sentence. Write the rest and come back to it later.
Chemistry is an infinitely diverse subject. Perhaps the greatest aspect of this subject is its vast breadth; it is the fulcrum of the explanations of so many of the processes around us. A compelling example of this occurs when haemoglobin alters its structure when different ligands are present, as it demonstrates how the placement of electrons in orbitals can change the shape of the complex metal ion. This exemplifies why I would relish the opportunity to study Chemistry to a higher level: the explanations that it provides underpin so many other branches of science. During a university residential summer school, I spent valuable time studying Aerospace Engineering, and having the opportunity to attend lectures and practical sessions increased my knowledge greatly. I particularly enjoyed learning about variances in pressure over an aerofoil due to rotation, including the applications and limitations of this, and testing the Young’s Modulus of many different materials. This experience coupled with Physics has developed my determination to complete a degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Main body MUST... Explain motivation and commitment to chosen subject. Include reasons for choosing this course. Highlight experiences of this subject. Show your interest and ability in this subject. Give evidence of what you have done to find out more about your chosen subject. Make links to your future career plans or aspirations. Things you might mention... Books, newspapers, magazines, journals etc Trips, public meetings, courses, taster days, workshops and conferences. A project or coursework piece that you particularly enjoyed. People you have interacted with; experts or professionals. Placements and work experience. Summer schools. Evening classes, clubs, adult education
Main body cont.. Successful applicant My academic studies have translated well into my work experience. From my time spent at Windmill Veterinary Centre, I have learned about the anatomy of animals, from radiographic imaging and watching operations. My knowledge of human anatomy from Biology studies allowed me to see the differences between species, and studying the nervous system was useful when I monitored a dog with poisoning. The drug action of phenobarbitone interested me. It resulted in higher concentrations of chloride and hyperpolarisation of the resting membrane potential, reducing the frequency of seizures. Similarly, performing biochemistry and haematology blood tests utilised my knowledge of chemical elements. Veterinary medicine embraces my fascination for science, as I love the relevant and infinite nature of science. “The Double Helix”, J Watson, portrays this, but also shows the social and competitive aspects of science. I enjoy reading the New Scientist to further my scientific knowledge, and have attended talks by Sally Wise MRCVS on equine health. She stressed the importance of research in the challenge to eradicate disease, such as the battle against laminitis.
Main body cont.. My work experience has enabled me to understand the true meaning behind a statement that I heard at a University Open day, that "Law is a framework for seeking to address problems in society" as I oversaw first hand, how the law worked to deter crime. Whilst shadowing legal advisors at the Magistrates court for work experience, I was able to observe thirty nine court hearings and three court trials. The tasks carried out such as examining the arguments of the prosecutor and defence, and collating notes on the offenses presented before me, has shown me some of the key skills necessary in order to prosper in law, for instance investigating data to solve problems and preparing technical or research reports. The skills learnt from my AS level subjects studied have supported me well in increasing my appetite for law. Studying Religious Studies facilitated my perseverance, as I viewed it to be both challenging, yet rewarding. The logical structure of learning the technical terms within religious studies is a skill that has aided me in my competence to study law as it coincides well with the logical, yet creative thinking of the law. It is my belief that the aptitude of my skills for interpreting, scrutinising and analysing in depth, large pieces of text, developed whilst studying English Literature and Language, will translate well into my studies in further education as it is from this subject that my proficiency to defend a position, a belief and a conviction came to life.
The rest... MUST... Include anything that shows you have general skills and qualities that are valuable to all students. Be different to the subject specific skills you have discussed in the main body. Examples... Positions of responsibility. Contributions to the community; at school, home or elsewhere. Sports. Hobbies. Time spent abroad or travelling. Worthwhile gap year plans.
The rest cont.. Successful applicant Through playing the cello in various orchestras, netball for school and volunteering for charity events, I have pursued a variety of interests, gaining invaluable experiences. I have completed the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh awards, developing my leadership and teamwork. Through commitment as a junior leader at various youth groups, my relational skills across all ages has grown. Being part of a large multicultural faith community has allowed me to see issues within my immediate society from various viewpoints. Events like ‘Slum Survivor’ where we built and lived in a slum dwelling for a weekend, gave me opportunity to personalise what I had learnt about Sao Paulo and the great need in developing nations. Working part time as a sales assistant at JJB Sports, my role involves working within a team and answering queries, involving fast thinking. The current recession has hit JJB Sports hard; it has been an intriguing experience to see its effects on a business. The introduction of a CVA, the accused price fixing, forming of a cartel and employment structure changes, were great opportunities to look at the theory behind real events taking place around me.
Conclusion You MUST end in one of the following effective ways... 1. Summarise the whole personal statement. Assert that you are capable and keen – gets the job done – most common ending – not particularly creative! 2.Echo the very start – a circular structure which gives the same idea as the opening with a fresh idea or twist! Successful applicant Psychologically the MOST powerful! I appreciate only too well that I have merely scratched the surface of the subject at school. I now wish to deepen my knowledge at university. To quote Waugh, I want to be able to ‘do myself full justice on the subject of Pindar’s Orphism’, although Donna Tart’s book Secret History suggests that I should avoid proving too deeply the Orphic Mysteries! I hope that my commitment to and love of Classics will endow me with sufficient skill to study this demanding but rewarding subject.
Don’t... Lie! Test their plagiarism software – it is highly sophisticated and will pick up anything over 30% similarity. Pay anyone to write your personal statement. Underestimate how important this is in determining your future. Leave it to the last minute. Words/phrases to avoid... Passionate Always Never Nothing Awful Bad Fault Hate Mistake Panic Problems I
How much do I have to write? Electronic application. About 500 words (4000 characters including spaces). This is about 1 side of A4. Write in Microsoft word.
Now what … 1.Plan your personal statement – Use your ‘All about me’ booklet – Spider-diagram / bullet point ideas. Remember … You’ve got the summer to get any more evidence you need! Get advice off the UCAS website
Now what cont… 1.Draft your statement – Show your draft to ONE person at a time for feedback. (subject teachers, form tutor etc) 2.Write your final statement – Get it proofread. (Literacy coaches)