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    American application essays are completely different from the UCAS personal statement, and because I don't know anyone who's gone through the UK admission process (or even has a clue about it), I'm feeling a bit lost.

    I get the impression you're not supposed to dazzle the readers with your creativity or writing style, but be rather straightforward and explanatory. Is this right?

    Format? Spend a few lines/paragraph answering each question, do it in the most logical/natural order, or does it not matter?

    It isn't really an "essay" as such, so do I need to put in a more formal introduction or can I pretty much just jump right in?

    I am not applying for the same course at each university - how do I handle this in the personal statement? Do I address each course individually anyway, or try to be sufficiently vague (I doubt this) so that it applies to most of my courses? Will unis get confused/upset/offended about this and hold it against me?

    How modest should I be? Is a "I'm brilliant, look at me!" sort of thing good or bad?

    More questions might come to me later, but thanks a ton to anyone who cn help me.
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    (Original post by ylime)
    American application essays are completely different from the UCAS personal statement, and because I don't know anyone who's gone through the UK admission process (or even has a clue about it), I'm feeling a bit lost.
    Bless.
    I get the impression you're not supposed to dazzle the readers with your creativity or writing style, but be rather straightforward and explanatory. Is this right?
    As a lecturer from Manchester University recently said to me, "Don't tell jokes; what you find funny, the reader will almost certainly not." I expect the same goes for your 'creative' writing! Just tell them about yourself in a straightforward manner, like you said.
    Format? Spend a few lines/paragraph answering each question, do it in the most logical/natural order, or does it not matter?
    What do you mean 'each question'? You're just writing your name, address etc, and then your statement. :confused:
    It isn't really an "essay" as such, so do I need to put in a more formal introduction or can I pretty much just jump right in?
    Either would do really. But I also heard that you're supposed to spend the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the statement talking about the subject, why you want to do it etc, and the last bit is more about yourself specifically. It should all be formal.
    I am not applying for the same course at each university - how do I handle this in the personal statement? Do I address each course individually anyway, or try to be sufficiently vague (I doubt this) so that it applies to most of my courses? Will unis get confused/upset/offended about this and hold it against me?
    Yes, they would. Actually, I think they would just ignore your application! Exactly how many different ones are you applying for? You've not got that much space really. Think about it: which candidate is going to get in?... the one who has written specifically about one course and their unfaltering enthusiasm for the subject since they were 4 ; or the one who can't seem to have made up their mind, and has written a paragraph on each. It doesn't make you look committed in any sense. And commitment is what universities are after; they don't want to waste time and money on a drop-out! Also, if your courses are too different, e.g. Anthropology and Computer Science, then you're lost really.
    How modest should I be? Is a "I'm brilliant, look at me!" sort of thing good or bad?
    If you don't sell yourself, who will? They're not psychic you know. Arrogance is however, uncalled for.
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    Most people fill up the first paragraph of their statements with "I'm interested in x subject because..." (not necessarily in those precise words, obviously). Um...what different courses are you applying for? Are they all sort of within the same area, or are they completely randomly different? Whichever, you want to talk about the subjects you're doing now, what your interests (academic) are and why, and then move on to your extra-curricular stuff - instruments/sports you play, what you do in the few spare minutes you have outside studying. Mention the skills these things have given to you.
    It is completely different from the American style, but loads of people post their statements in this forum, so have a look around and how they're generally structured and what people tend to say. That ought to help you a bit.
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    The general advice on format that our school suggested we follow was something allong the lines of...

    P1 - grab the readers attention, and say exactly why it is you want to do the subject

    P2 - write about what you have done to follow the subject so far - eg. what books you've read, seminars/lectures/extra classes you've been to to further your interest.

    P3 - Academic subjects, what you've learned - but try and relate it immediately to the subject (eg. for philosophy: "I enjoy the rigorous logical thought required in A Level Mathematics and feel that it is directly applicable to problem solving in philosophy")

    P4 - extra curricular activities, either related to your subject, or that show particular achievements/qualities etc and generally give the impression that you're a well-rounded individual

    P5 - short and sweet - sum up why they should take you, and leave them with your enthusiasm/passion directly in their minds.


    Hope that helps you a bit. I didn't really follow, strictly, the guidence they gave us, i just wrote what seemed to work, but it'll certainly give you a starting point if you're a bit lost!

    As for creativity - i, personally, think there is a strong case for some creativity, but be careful because it might not be to everybodies taste - accept that you may be taking a risk - equally they may then remember you and it could pay off. Writing style is probably the most important bit - make it clear, concise and succinct. But above all, make sure your passion and enthusiasm for the subject comes through!

    What subject are you applying for? If you like i'll pm you my personal statement so you can see an example - i've been told that it's a good one - just please don't use it yourself!

    where you thinking of apply btw? (just out of curiosity, it really doesn't make a difference...)
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    Well, I'm applying for Modern Languages at most of my unis...but international relations and history at LSE. I think there's a logical connection there and a lot of what I have to say could be interpreted either way, but it will probably look odd at LSE if I spend most of my time talking about languages specifically. Perhaps I just won't apply to LSE.

    The list (no order):
    Cambridge (Clare)
    Warwick
    Exeter
    Bristol
    LSE
    Durham

    All right. Thanks a lot everyone, it helps a lot.
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    (Original post by ylime)
    Well, I'm applying for Modern Languages at most of my unis...but international relations and history at LSE. I think there's a logical connection there and a lot of what I have to say could be interpreted either way, but it will probably look odd at LSE if I spend most of my time talking about languages specifically. Perhaps I just won't apply to LSE.

    The list (no order):
    Cambridge (Clare)
    Warwick
    Exeter
    Bristol
    LSE
    Durham

    All right. Thanks a lot everyone, it helps a lot.
    I doubt you'll get into Cambridge - but good luck. play_the_world was spot on in what he said. You can't be long winded; be to the point, coherent and don't be afraid to praise yourself. Good luck!
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    (Original post by Don Corleone)
    I doubt you'll get into Cambridge - but good luck.
    Aren't you jumping the gun a bit?

    Ylime, if you would like someone to read over your statement, let me know. I studied Modern Languages myself (Oxford), so may be able to help.

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    (Original post by Manatee)
    Aren't you jumping the gun a bit?

    Ylime, if you would like someone to read over your statement, let me know. I studied Modern Languages myself (Oxford), so may be able to help.

    No. To be made an offer by Oxbridge, you have to be seriously sure about what you want to do; clued up about everything. Everything has to be perfect - you can't be incoherent about what you actually want to study in a PS. Only the best go to Cambridge/Oxford. If this person is not totally sure about what he is truely interested in studying, and does not show passion for a particular subject, Oxbridge wouldn't give them the time of day, sorry. So, I reiterate, no, I am not jumping the gun.
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    (Original post by Don Corleone)
    No. To be made an offer by Oxbridge, you have to be seriously sure about what you want to do; clued up about everything. Everything has to be perfect - you can't be incoherent about what you actually want to study in a PS. Only the best go to Cambridge/Oxford. If this person is not totally sure about what he is truely interested in studying, and does not show passion for a particular subject, Oxbridge wouldn't give them the time of day, sorry. So, I reiterate, no, I am not jumping the gun.
    To be fair, you could be passionate (and very knowledgeable) about more than one subject. I agree, though, that referring to other subjects in your personal statement would not create the right impression if you're trying to get into Cambridge, unless those subjects are obviously related.
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    Just to add an irrelevant point, Da Vinci was interested and obviously talented in the sciences and the arts. Sciences ranging from physics to medicine and arts... well, we all know abt his famous paintings.
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    (Original post by Manatee)
    To be fair, you could be passionate (and very knowledgeable) about more than one subject. I agree, though, that referring to other subjects in your personal statement would not create the right impression if you're trying to get into Cambridge, unless those subjects are obviously related.
    I am not refuting the point that you cannot be passionate about multiple subjects; you can, in my eyes. I am just stating that Oxbridge won't approve of such incoherency.
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    (Original post by soonalvin)
    Just to add an irrelevant point, Da Vinci was interested and obviously talented in the sciences and the arts. Sciences ranging from physics to medicine and arts... well, we all know abt his famous paintings.
    *yawns* Riveting... :p:
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    (Original post by Don Corleone)
    I am not refuting the point that you cannot be passionate about multiple subjects; you can, in my eyes. I am just stating that Oxbridge won't approve of such incoherency.
    You don't know that
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    Well, I can see the relationship between languages and international relations/history. You seem to recognise the links, so you can concentrate on those in your personal statement. Besides, even if you go to LSE, presumably you'd still like to keep up your modern languages? And if you do a MFL degree, you'd still have an interest, and possibly a career, in international relations.
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    (Original post by LH)
    You don't know that
    Oxbridge have a choice between two candidates for a final place. Both have 10 A*s at GCSE, and both have AAAAa in the same subjects at AS/A-Level. Candidate A, has a way of coherency and certainty about them, they are sure of what they want to do and they are passionate about one course only. On the other hand you have Candidate B who has applied for a different subject at a different University and in their personal statement, exercise a lack of decision and seem torn apart.
    Provided this lack of decision exercised in the PS is the only distinguishing factor, I know who I'd put my money on to get that last place.
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    1. I sort of doubt I'll get into Cambridge too - but is that a reason not to apply? Of course not. I would still love to go.

    2. I'm applying to schools in the US too - two even early decision (thanks to different deadlines), so this is not the end of my world.

    3. Sorry, I don't see a written guarantee that I'm going to be incoherent anywhere.

    4. I am totally sure what I am interested in. As I said, if I think that I can handle the MML/international relations statement, where the connection will hopefully be apparent through my experiences and future/career plans, I'll do it. If not, I can drop LSE from my list without being too traumatized.

    Everyone else, thanks a lot. I feel like I've got something to go on now and I'll let you know how it progresses.
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    Pardon me but, why do you want to study in the UK and pay international fees? The quality of higher education in the US is equal if not better (i.e. Harvard, Yale etc.). Makes no sense travelling across the atlantic for something similar and at a much higher cost.
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    International fees at a UK uni will be no more (and probably a bit less than) the tuition I'd pay at a college here. I'm applying to colleges in the US too (but not Harvard and Yale, I have no desire to go to those schools and am certain that I wouldn't get in) - I have two early decision schools so I may not even be able to accept any offer I may receive from a UK uni. I do believe that the much higher endowments etc of US universities results in a higher quality of education in some fields, particularly sciences, but in studying MML state-of-the-art facilities and research is not as relevant. In the UK, I can focus on a subject rather than wasting time with distribution requirements. It's a different experience. Then we could get into my much more superficial reasons...
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    (Original post by ylime)
    International fees at a UK uni will be no more (and probably a bit less than) the tuition I'd pay at a college here. I'm applying to colleges in the US too (but not Harvard and Yale, I have no desire to go to those schools and am certain that I wouldn't get in) - I have two early decision schools so I may not even be able to accept any offer I may receive from a UK uni. I do believe that the much higher endowments etc of US universities results in a higher quality of education in some fields, particularly sciences, but in studying MML state-of-the-art facilities and research is not as relevant. In the UK, I can focus on a subject rather than wasting time with distribution requirements. It's a different experience. Then we could get into my much more superficial reasons...
    distribution? Is it the requirement of freshers to do general education?
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    (Original post by soonalvin)
    distribution? Is it the requirement of freshers to do general education?
    Yeah.
 
 
 

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