WRITING THE UCAS PERSONAL STATEMENT
Guidance on UCAS website Key points to consider What to include Dos and don'ts Size and presentation Similarity detection
One Year………… 234 ‘personal’ statements contained the following comment: "Ever since I accidentally burnt holes in my pyjamas after experimenting with a chemistry set on my eighth birthday, I have always had a passion for science.“ Plagiarism will be detected and will rule you out of the selection process = DON’T COPY
UCAS: Points to consider Explain why you want to study the course you are applying for. If you mention your personal interests and hobbies, try to link them to the skills and experience required for the course. TWO THIRDS OF PS should be about academic interests. The personal statement could be used as the basis for an interview, so be prepared to answer questions on it. BUT this may be the only written work that the course tutor sees before making a decision: make sure it is organised and literate. Get the grammar, spelling and punctuation right.
Who are you writing for?
Good writing has a clear sense of the audience being written for Your audience will be a selector, a university lecturer or professor who has a high level of achievement in and knowledge of your chosen subject Someone who wants to read something new interesting, original and not obvious
What do they aready know? All the obvious things to say about their subject That the subject is interesting What the subject covers All the clichés typical students come up with in Personal Statements
What do they want to know? Which parts of the subject interest you and why Things you want to find out more about in the subject Original insights you have gained from reading and going beyond your A levels Things that you have done which show commitment to the subject eg work experience, things done on your own initiative, theatre visits, voluntary work especially if relevant to the chosen course
Avoid clichés I have been interested in philosophy all my life (all???) I feel global warming is a really important issue (Which aspect?) I feel that genes are fundamental in shaping human behaviour (say something original !) You need team work and communication skills and I have got them (where is the evidence? Leave this to your referee.) Maths is important for helping us understand all sorts of things (give an example)
For example……… NOT ‘History is important because it helps us understand the present.’ BUT ‘ I have developed a particular interest in the role of the wicker basket in medieval Albanian society, both its role as a utilitarian object and its function as a symbolic and unifying cultural artefact.’
Avoid cliché books ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ for Maths ‘A Brief History of Time’ for Physics Show that you have explored beyond the obvious in your reading and say something original about the books you do mention Make sure they are books you can talk about if interviewed
Avoid exaggerated language Maths is……… ‘amazing’ ‘incredible’ ‘fantastic’ ‘unbelievably interesting’ ‘captivating’ Say something more thoughtful and less predictable
How should you say it? Persuade them that you are like this don’t just claim it? Be specific to YOU Use evidence from work experience Use evidence from achievements Use evidence from voluntary activities BUT not, for example, ‘I am a good at team work because I play in a team’.
How to find out about subjects and courses RMG Director of Higher Education [Mrs UCAS] i/c all things connected with Universities
ASK subject teachers and Guidance staff
Mrs Mandley Head of Careers & Work Experience Coordinator
Mr Hunt Academic Tutor i/c Extra Exams: BMAT/UKCAT/ELAT /HAT/PHAT etc etc
Mr Culver Asst. Director HE i/c Oxbridge & Extended Project
Mr Wood GAP Year Co-ordinator
Ms Jordan [KJ] EMA Co-ordinator i/c the universe
Entry Profiles on UCAS website especially ‘What skills, qualities and experience do I need?’ Look up your chosen academic subject on Wikipedia: history, scope of subject, current issues Introductions to subject / text books The Library – periodicals and articles