The Personal Statement Help forum was created in late 2005 following an idea by Lord Huntroyd and has always been a private forum viewable only to the PS Helpers and moderators.
Personal Statement Help forum was originally created as a single forum, but as the forum became more popular, the number of statements submitted became too big for a single forum. Four subject discipline sub-forums were created in 2006 to allow helpers to concentrate on those statements in which they had experience. These sub-forums had the same privacy controls as the main forum and consisted of:
Humanities and the Arts
Maths, Computing and Physical Sciences
Medical, Health and Life/Biosciences
Social Sciences and Law
Following long awaited technical development work in September 2012, these sub forums were removed and all personal statements now enter into the same single forum. PS helpers have the ability to filter this forum to only show their specialist subject area(s) rather than all of the applications awaiting review.
Rewards for PS Helping
Riches were first introduced as an incentive in 2006 from the site administrators. Riches are the TSR form of currency and may be used to buy subscriptions to the site. Subscriptions give users additional site functionality such as coloured usernames and access to special subscriber forums.
In August 2011, the site owners decided to reward PS Helpers with Amazon vouchers in recognition of their hard work and contribution to TSR. However, it is still possible to receive riches instead, if that is your preference. Both of these rewards are generally given out mid month during busy periods, for the previous month. However, Personal Statement Help remains a free service to applicants as all helpers are volunteers.
Moderation and Quality Control
No further significant changes occurred in PS Help until July 2008,
In 2008, a dedicated minimod to PS help was appointed in the form of F1 fanatic. Due to the intensive administration required for the forums, a new form of moderator, the "forum assistant", was created specifically for PS Help to help tag statements and deal with issues. In April 2010, the growth of PS help led to the appointment of a second PS help moderator: secretmessages. Following a meet between the FAs and admins from TSR in early 2010, it was decided that the current PS help FAs would be made moderators to allow them access to moderator only tools to allow them to do their jobs more efficiently, and 2 further forum assistants would be appointed for each sub forum to aid with the day to day management and responding to applicant queries. In mid 2012, additional forum assistants were appointed bringing their total to 12.
As of September 2012, the PS Help Mods are:
An additional forum called “Ask A PS Help Mod” is visible only to the thread starter and the PS help moderators. The purpose of this forum is for administrative issues, questions and PS help applications and is not for the posting or reviewing of personal statements.
PS Help has always had strict controls on who can be a PS Helper by insisting proof of being at university or a graduate. PS Helpers who reapply to university or apply for postgraduate courses in medicine, dentistry, law or teaching are required to leave the PS help user group whilst making their application. In 2008, a mentoring scheme to support new helpers in finding their feet was set up to ensure the quality of the reviews. Helpers are provided detailed guidance on their first three reviews and graduate from the mentoring scheme after their mentor is satisfied with their first three reviews, or more if necessary.
However, we remain a voluntary contributing service and we will never be in a position to offer professional advice. A personal statement is just that and it is always down to the discretion of the applicant whether or not they choose to agree with or follow our advice. All we ask is that we are shown courtesy for giving up our time to write reviews.
Ever Increasing Popularity
Over the years Personal Statement Help has grown in size very quickly and it has been a challenge to meet the ever increasing level of demand for reviews. We are still a relatively small group of helpers with many demands on our time in the real world with both work and social commitments. We are always looking to increase our number to help meet demand for PS reviews. During the 2008-9 cycle we saw over 2400 statements submitted to PS help and this number has increased each year with approaching 4000 reviews in the 2011-12 application cycle.