Mathematics is a degree that is well desired by employers, and therefore it is a popular choice for undergraduates. If you want to take that subject at university you will need to impress with your personal statement.
Your personal statement gives you a chance to provide more detail about your academic, work and life experience that will catch the admission tutor's attention.
That's not very specific what to include though, is it? That is why we went the extra mile and asked universities to provide us with some top tips that will help you succeed.
Scroll down to see what they said, but if you're interested in finding even more help for your personal statement then be sure to visit our stock of great mathematics personal statements.
"Tell us why you began to love mathematics!"
Mathematics admissions tutors want to know whether you have the motivation, as well as the ability, to succeed, so make sure you provide evidence why you are excited by the subject.
What inspires you? Perhaps it’s a book by someone like Ian Stewart, Alex Bellos, Edward Frenkel or Marcus du Sautoy; a mathematics masterclass you attended, a TV programme, or a film like The Man Who Knew Infinity or The Imitation Game.
So tell us why you began to love mathematics! If you have helped younger students with maths or done relevant voluntary work, that can also impress.
"We want to see evidence of a well-rounded and mature personality"
There are certain things that I normally look for in a Personal Statement. Most importantly is evidence of enthusiasm for the subject (extra study undertaken or self-study over and above school work.) The most common mistake I see is a submission where the student waffles on about having a love of mathematics without saying why exactly, or what excites/motivates them.
Furthermore, I want to see an awareness of what university mathematics is, and how it differs from A Level mathematics, as well as showing an appreciation of the potential applicability of mathematics.
When looking at individuals, we want to see evidence of a well-rounded personality and some degree of maturity. Finally, don't forget to indicate as to why you have applied at Derby, or any university, to study mathematics.
"Show that you're a good communicator and can work in a team"
When writing a personal statement for mathematics, our personal tutors are looking for a genuine interest in studying maths.
Demonstrate that you have researched the course and understand which skills are required to be successful at the course, but also which skills you need to be successful at university life.
Admissions tutors like to see that you are computer savvy as the use of computers is imbedded within the course, something which you will find out from your research.
Students should also show that they are good communicators and can work as a team. This could be demonstrated through extra-curricular activities such as math challenges you’ve taken part in or could be helping a younger sibling with their homework.
"Highlight what makes you unique"
As admissions tutor at Reading I read a lot of UCAS applications. There are two main things that make a personal statement stand out from my perspective.
The first is enthusiasm for the subject, now I don’t mean the typical ‘I’ve like maths from a very young age’, more why you like it, and how does your interests fit in with the institution? For example, Reading is well known for it’s meteorological applications, did you know Mathematics can be applied there? How about the applications to computer science like through internet cryptography.
The second is to highlight what makes you unique. Why should I spend time reading your application over the other hundreds that I receive? Have you done some extra curricular things above what everyone else with an A-level has?
Remember if you manage to convince the admissions tutor that you’re an interesting and qualified candidate you’re far more likely to get in.
"A willingness to learn by getting things wrong is important"
Avoid grand statements like 'mathematics is the language of the universe...' and focus instead on what personally motivates you to study mathematics. It is OK to choose to study mathematics because you want it to lead to a high-paid finance or analyst job – not everyone does it just for the love of numbers and being career-focused is a good thing!
Anything extra-curricular you do relating to maths should be mentioned (have you done work experience in an accountancy firm? Taken part in maths clubs or contests?)
We value a love of problem-solving above all else, but a willingness to try things and learn by getting them wrong is important too. The maths you’ll learn at university goes far beyond A-level and you’ll benefit from a positive approach to new and difficult concepts. If you can demonstrate this in your personal statement you’ll have a really strong application.