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Thread: University Applications - Personal Statements

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    Default University Applications - Personal Statements

    daughter wants me to help her with her personal statement for her uni application but not having a clue about it don't know where to start helping her - any pointers as to what needs including??

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfly View Post
    daughter wants me to help her with her personal statement for her uni application but not having a clue about it don't know where to start helping her - any pointers as to what needs including??
    The thing I remember being told was "be honest" - speak about yourself, not about what you think the people want to read. You need to stand out, and not just follow the formula. She should talk about her skills, about extra-curricular activities she does. Show them that you will be a benefit to the university socially as well as academically.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ó I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

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    Usually the teachers at school go over what you are supposed to put in your personal statement, but as Alan16 said, just be honest about yourself and good luck with the applications to the various places. I wish your daughter all the best for the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan16 View Post
    The thing I remember being told was "be honest" - speak about yourself, not about what you think the people want to read. You need to stand out, and not just follow the formula. She should talk about her skills, about extra-curricular activities she does. Show them that you will be a benefit to the university socially as well as academically.
    thanks Alan16!

    oh dear she's no chance if needing to be honest! mind you she does want to study biomedical sciences and there are a fair few undiscovered cultures growing in her bedroom so maybe she can use them as an example of her skills

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    Here are two websites with information about applying for university:

    http://www.hss.ed.ac.uk/Undergraduat...infomature.htm - that is for applying to the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.

    http://www.scieng.ed.ac.uk/Undergrad...20A-Levels.asp - that is for the College of Science and Engineering.

    They are from Edinburgh University which is probably the most difficult university to get into in Scotland. From experience I can tell you that there standards are high, but it is well worth the effort.

    I hope they come in useful.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ó I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

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    Quote Originally Posted by achingale View Post
    Usually the teachers at school go over what you are supposed to put in your personal statement, but as Alan16 said, just be honest about yourself and good luck with the applications to the various places. I wish your daughter all the best for the future.
    The teachers do go over it in school, quite thoroughly. But make sure you add your own touch to it, and don't just right about the things the teacher tells you to right - it will not stand out then.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ó I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

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    thanks again Alan, she is also considering applying for Politics and International relations and has that as her choice for 2 uni's but the 1st link there shows that International Relations has had particularily high demand for the past 3 years and politics is another high demand subject.

    She was talking about writing her personal statement to cover off both bio science and P&IR however after reading that I think I will try to convince her to apply for just the one subject and have a much stronger PS instead of a dual weak one as there is not much in common between the two

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    It's all about selling yourself to the point of being cringeworthy. As brits its something that is beaten out of us at a young age. No wonder we find it so hard!

    My friend asked me to critique her personal statement. This is it...

    Throughout my life, I have always taken a keen interest in those around me. A number of experiences have helped me to realise the value of human life, and the effect our ideas and decisions have on others. In an attempt to further understand humans, as individuals and within society, I have undertaken A -levels of social sciences, and I feel that I am gaining a valuable insight into human interactions through this.

    I am particularly interested in child development, including its effects on adult life, and on the resilience of human nature. Reading auto-biographical novels such as Dave Pelzer’s “A Child Called It” has sparked an emotive interest into the early experiences of children, which has led to an interest in psychology in general through the understanding of the human mind and our perception of events in our lives. Having undertaken work experience at a day care centre, I was intrigued as to the possible impact day care had on children and their cognitive and social development. Having volunteered at Penniwells RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) Centre since December 2003 has taught me a great deal about how strong the human spirit is. A young girl with cerebral palsy that I regularly help to ride once told me that she felt great compassion for a man she had met that was suffering from mental illness, and felt that she was “very lucky, because at least her brain was working properly”. It is this kind of attitude from which I strive to understand the workings of the mind, because I feel that we owe it to other people to try to understand, and not to judge.

    Volunteering at this association has taught me a lot of skills, including formal and informal interactions with clients and their families, as well as organisational aspects such as being given the responsibility of sole charge of a yard full of horses. I took part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, gaining my Bronze, and through my participation in the scheme I have learnt important team building skills, as well as exploring different activities through the required sections. To enhance my sportsmanship and leadership skills, I took part in and passed a Junior Sports Leadership Award, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as I was able to learn off others and share my experience within a sporting setting.

    Within the school environment I have been an active member of the community, being elected by the Senior Management Team to the role of Senior Prefect, among which duties involved break time supervision of lower school students and some administrative duties within specific departments. This role has also involved showing prospective parents and students around the school, and I gladly take on the responsibility of this to give back to my school what it has given me, a great deal of confidence and a strong work ethic. Within the Physical Education Department I was chosen as a Games Captain, responsible for the implementation and upkeep of a variety of sport groups for lower years, and for an impressive record of service myself to a large variety of teams, including football, cross country, athletics, rugby and netball. I have always enjoyed being involved in enhancing the experience of school for everyone I can, because I firmly believe that there is a lot more to education than just standard learning within the National Curriculum, and that a variety of interests can enhance social and cognitive development. I have also been involved in the tutoring of maths to underachieving pupils, as part of a school initiative to encourage young adults to assist other student’s learning. This has helped my learning, as I am required to look at things from an alternative viewpoint, to expand my teaching skills through tailoring them to the needs of the individual.

    I am employed at a Riding School in Stanmore part-time, which allows me to pursue my interest in horse riding as a hobby, whilst learning valuable attributes that will help my career in future, such as dealing with the general public and clients, and time management. I am also involved in horse welfare decisions and am required to use problem solving skills on a daily basis. In my spare time I enjoy the challenge that horse riding brings, a chance to further not only my ability but also that of the horse I am riding, and I am a keen participant in dramatic productions, mainly behind the scenes, but I have also been in the chorus on a few occasions. Reading is a great passion of mine, whether it be fiction, autobiographical or factual, and I am especially fascinated with certain time periods of history, for example the obedience of many Germans under the reign of Hitler, or the genocide in Rwanda.

    I think there is a lot to be learnt from studying the minds and choices of the human race, and that within the study of psychology for scientific purposes, I think it is important we also learn something about ourselves as humans.

    I plan to take a gap year and therefore wish to apply for deferred entry because I would like to take a year out to experience a wider range of life to allow my perception of the world to mature. I am hoping to spend 4-6 months volunteering abroad, allowing me to come into contact with a large variety of people and to encounter cultures that are different from my own. I also hope to gain responsibility and independence though undertaking full time work and some travel, to allow my perspectives on life to broaden and to complement my further study the year after.

    The only thing I could add to this was that I would have added a paragraph about why I wanted to go to the university and what it could offer me (why I had picked them over the dozens of others) - stroke their egos lol.

    She got into Oxford by the way

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfly View Post
    mind you she does want to study biomedical sciences
    Make sure she goes to a university that is accredited with the IBMS and CPA or she could find herself doing another year when she qualifies. I think we may have already discussed this in person though???????

    Edit 2 - but I think the person I am thinking of has already started the degree so maybe I am wrong...

    Having done the degree myself I can recommend it
    Last edited by Leanne; 18-Nov-09 at 20:43.

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    How about this for a personal statement. It's a genuine statement and the writer now attends NYU.

    IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO KNOW YOU BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:
    ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A PERSON?


    I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the areas of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.
    Occasionally, I treated water for three days in a row.
    I woo women with my sensuous and god like trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am as expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
    Using only a ghow and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When Iím bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.
    I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I donít perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400.
    My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
    I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
    I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven.
    I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin.
    I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

    But I have not yet gone to college.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan16 View Post
    Here are two websites with information about applying for university:

    http://www.hss.ed.ac.uk/Undergraduat...infomature.htm - that is for applying to the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.

    http://www.scieng.ed.ac.uk/Undergrad...20A-Levels.asp - that is for the College of Science and Engineering.

    They are from Edinburgh University which is probably the most difficult university to get into in Scotland. From experience I can tell you that there standards are high, but it is well worth the effort.

    I hope they come in useful.
    It is a sad situation, if true, that someone studying at the "most difficult university to get into in Scotland" cannot even tell the difference between their and there.

    But to OP - her guidance teacher should go over it with her (assuming she is still at school) and there is plenty of time yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity View Post
    It is a sad situation, if true, that someone studying at the "most difficult university to get into in Scotland" cannot even tell the difference between their and there.

    But to OP - her guidance teacher should go over it with her (assuming she is still at school) and there is plenty of time yet.
    Wow, I made a grammatical mistake. Somebody call my DoS, I'm not fit to be here!

    There is plenty of time left, but you don't want to leave it too late. I had a friend who was clever enough to get in to any uni he applied for, but he left his PS until the last minute and had to rush it, and he didn't get where he wanted to go. My PS went through about half-a-dozen drafts before it was finished, so the sooner she starts the better.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ó I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan16 View Post
    Wow, I made a grammatical mistake. Somebody call my DoS, I'm not fit to be here!
    That's a point though - what will the uni make of crap spelling?
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    Think of what makes her want to do the course and why what she is as a person makes her the best person for it.

    Also, I'd wager that St. Andrews is the most difficult university in Scotland to get in to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BNL Are Me View Post
    Also, I'd wager that St. Andrews is the most difficult university in Scotland to get in to.
    Why is that? Best teaching, best employment prospects or snob value?
    On a slightly different note, I've always wondered how an individual with a degree in the history of art can get a job anywhere except in an art museum. Anyone care to enlighten me?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubthumper View Post
    Why is that? Best teaching, best employment prospects or snob value?
    On a slightly different note, I've always wondered how an individual with a degree in the history of art can get a job anywhere except in an art museum. Anyone care to enlighten me?
    Probably a combination of those things, it is a good university though, as is Edinburgh. Scotland's ancients will always have a lot more applicants than the more modern universities.

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    I'm thinking of going to university. Scottish ones only, which one should I go to?
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    I was probably being rather blasť about it as my personal statement was a rush job and I still got unconditional offers to all the universities I applied for (including all the Scottish ancients) but I have recently been looking into returning and it does some to be more competitive now.

    Dragonfly - if her grades are good enough the personal statement won't matter much, in my experience anyway, unless she is applying to a top English University or a vocational course. If she is undecided between the International Relations and Biomedical subjects then I would say let her go for both. On the other hand there is the fact (in Scotland) that no matter what subject you apply for on the UCAS form you can do 3 subjects of your choice in first year and then choose later what to specialise in (again given it is not a vocational or a set course) so bear that in mind too.

    Tubthumper - what subject are you looking to do? Times league tables are good (there are others and I look through a mixture but Times seems to be the best). Also I assume you would be a mature student? Some Unis are better at providing for that than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity View Post
    Tubthumper - what subject are you looking to do? Times league tables are good (there are others and I look through a mixture but Times seems to be the best). Also I assume you would be a mature student? Some Unis are better at providing for that than others.
    I'm thinking electronics (you're right, mature student). Edinburgh could be good as that's where I'm from, however anything would do. As far as improved employment prospects are concerned which establishment would give me the best chances?
    Last edited by Tubthumper; 19-Nov-09 at 00:23.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubthumper View Post
    I'm thinking electronics (you're right, mature student). Edinburgh could be good as that's where I'm from, however anything would do. As far as improved employment prospects are concerned where would give me the best chances?
    The Times "Good University Guide" lets you search by subject and includes employment prospects: http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/tol_...12&y=14&sub=24 . Edinburgh is the best in Scotland for employment prospects in this subject in these tables. But there are tables from other sources so it is best to search through them to get the full story.
    Also keep in mind UHI (who do a Bsc in electronics at Thurso and Inverness colleges) and the Open Uni - these institutes tend not to be on league tables but can be a lot more flexible and good for employment because the studying style etc. shows you have initiative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubthumper View Post
    That's a point though - what will the uni make of crap spelling?
    I was careful with my personal statement. Here it is supposed to be casual.

    Quote Originally Posted by BNL Are Me View Post
    Also, I'd wager that St. Andrews is the most difficult university in Scotland to get in to.
    I'm just going on my personal experience. Last year, loads of people got offers from St Andrews, but less got offers from Edinburgh. When it comes to league tables Edinburgh/St Andrews are normally fairly close together at the top of the Scottish list. I suppose it may also depend on your subject to some extent as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tubthumper View Post
    I'm thinking of going to university. Scottish ones only, which one should I go to?
    I would not hesitate to recommend Edinburgh. St Andrews is also a very good university, but if you want a bit of asocial life as well I would definitely say go for Edinburgh or one of the Glasgow unis. But it depends on your subject as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity View Post
    Dragonfly - if her grades are good enough the personal statement won't matter much, in my experience anyway, unless she is applying to a top English University or a vocational course. If she is undecided between the International Relations and Biomedical subjects then I would say let her go for both. On the other hand there is the fact (in Scotland) that no matter what subject you apply for on the UCAS form you can do 3 subjects of your choice in first year and then choose later what to specialise in (again given it is not a vocational or a set course) so bear that in mind too.
    The personal statement matters. You can have good grades, but if you just write a load of rubbish in your personal statement, you're not going to get a lot of offers. Especially now when there seems to be more competition than ever for places.

    Also, that isn't true about the 3 subjects. When you go into first year you have to do the subject you choose, and lots of subjects have an additional course which they force you to take, especially in the science. Really you only have the third one and that is severely restricted due to lecture times/tutorial times of the first two courses.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ó I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost

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