Friday, 2 August 2013

Personal Statement

Perran - not worrying about his personal statement this year.
I asked Carenza, what the new Year Thirteens should be doing right now, and she said,

“Definitely working on their personal statements.” 

If you wait until term time, it can begin to look like an unassailable mountain and will take time away from your schoolwork. 

I have heard all sorts of statistics about the composition of your personal statement, but common advice from admissions tutors seems to be “Two thirds (or more) subject-based to one third (or less) extra-curricular.” 

It can often be that although you love a subject in school, you haven’t yet done very much about it on your own initiative.  If your personal statement is looking a bit light in this area, read some books (teachers and university websites may offer suggestions), watch documentaries.  Attend relevant exhibitions and public talks.  (For these, local museums, research establishments and universities may offer opportunities.)  If you can fit in a week of appropriate voluntary work, even better.

Extra-curricular material should be phrased in terms of personal qualities which will help with your degree, e.g. “I have learnt to manage my time in order to attend practices as a regular and enthusiastic member of the school football team.”  “I thrive on team-work, as is shown by my three-year membership of the fund-raising group for the local hospice.”

The best thing about writing your personal statement now is that it’s only a draft, so there’s not too much pressure. Plus, there’s still a month left of your holidays in which to fill the gaps you find.