Oxbridge Personal statements Watch

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dappleddawndrawndauphin
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#21
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#21
(Original post by Willa)
I have a rather controversial view regarding Personal statements. Instead of reiterating it here I'll direct you to a post I made a year ago detailing my opinions. I believe you are right to think that oxbridge are looking for something different to the "I like my subject. I also like to play sports. I am a lovely person who makes lots of friends" formula. You can either take my advice or not, people seem to be put off by my advice because it can be difficult to get right, but I have had feedback from those who have successfully pulled it off, thanking me after they had a good response regarding their Personal statements.

The most important thing to remember though is that the personal statement is actually quite low down on the pecking order...your academic record and interview will be significantly more important than your personal statement.

Either way, here's the link to my advice: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/t45713.html
I read your post on PS's; obviously an English one would be different to physics, so I'm assuming that you'd substitute talking about a complex area of physics with some analysis of why you enjoy an author who engages with more complex ideas, etc. I agreed with some of what you said, although I do remember the Durham undergraduate admissions tutor emphasising that they wanted to know about your extra curricular activities and that you have a well rounded life, etc. I've attempted a compromise, with a short opening paragraph summarising why I love the subject, then longer paragraph describing why I've enjoyed my AS courses and what I've gained from them,etc. The longest paragraph describes which authors I have particularly enjoyed and why, then there's a brief paragraph describing my academic interests (e.g. public speaking) and a bit about musical interests, etc (you can say what you like about this being totally irrelevant; yes academic interests are far more important but at York and Durham they stressed that they wanted to know a bit about this). Finished with brief para about my proposed future career and suitability for the course.

I got the impression that of all the universities I visited, Cambridge was the only one where they just didn't give a toss about your non-academic interests! But in the end, it's just one of 6 universities you're applying to, so you have to compromise and aim your PS at all 6 as well as you can
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Profesh
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#22
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#22
(Original post by kay123)
Hiya

I was wondering if the UCAS personal stament for people applying to oxbridge would have a slightly different tone to the usual personal statement
This might sound like a bit of a silly question but having written my first draft of the PS it seems to be a bit informal possibly beacuse I haven't used long and difficult words...I would have thought that to apply to oxbridge the tone and lang you use would be really important right?
If anyones got any examples of persnal staments for oxbridge that I could just use to figure out what the apporpraite style would be I would really appreciate them...
Thanks
'Difficult' words are liable to improve your prospects, if at all, only in conjunction with a valid context; seriously: I can only surmise the number of applications whose substance has been overshadowed (if not eclipsed altogether) by self-conscious and uncharacteristically over-wrought verbiage, often rife with malapropism. As with all walks of communication you should be sure to look up the pertinent vocab. where necessary; but if you're certain that you might convey the same information using less words then, by all means, do so. Bear in mind that Oxbridge discriminate primarily on the basis of interview; one of the core tenets of their methodology is, in fact, to expose those whose references and/or personal statements belie their true (lack of) potential: if you can't do justice to the vocabulary cited on your personal statement, in person, then a pretence of eloquence will probably do more harm than good.
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Niccolo
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#23
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#23
(Original post by Profesh)
'Difficult' words are liable to improve your prospects, if at all, only in conjunction with a valid context; seriously: I can only surmise the number of applications whose substance has been overshadowed (if not eclipsed altogether) by self-conscious and uncharacteristically over-wrought verbiage, often rife with malapropism. As with all walks of communication you should be sure to look up the pertinent vocab. where necessary; but if you're certain that you might convey the same information using less words then, by all means, do so. Bear in mind that Oxbridge discriminate primarily on the basis of interview; one of the core tenets of their methodology is, in fact, to expose those whose references and/or personal statements belie their true (lack of) potential: if you can't do justice to the vocabulary cited on your personal statement, in person, then a pretence of eloquence will probably do more harm than good.
Out of interest, did you employ the same (occasionally superfluous) style of written communication when constructing your own personal statement as part of last year's applications process that you use when posting on these boards? Did you apply to Oxbridge, and if so, how did the admissions tutors react to your undeniably eloquent yet sometimes opaque manner of expressing yourself?
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Profesh
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#24
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#24
(Original post by Niccolo)
Out of interest, did you employ the same (occasionally superfluous) style of written communication when constructing your own personal statement as part of last year's applications process that you use when posting on these boards?
Approximately, yes.

Did you apply to Oxbridge, and if so, how did the admissions tutors react to your undeniably eloquent yet sometimes opaque manner of expressing yourself?
Nope.
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Niccolo
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#25
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#25
(Original post by Profesh)
Approximately, yes.



Nope.

That is an excellent piece of work, i must say. But it does seem to be significantly less verbose than the vast majority of your posts on here.
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Willa
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#26
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#26
(Original post by *Bethany*)
I read your post on PS's; obviously an English one would be different to physics, so I'm assuming that you'd substitute talking about a complex area of physics with some analysis of why you enjoy an author who engages with more complex ideas, etc. I agreed with some of what you said, although I do remember the Durham undergraduate admissions tutor emphasising that they wanted to know about your extra curricular activities and that you have a well rounded life, etc. I've attempted a compromise, with a short opening paragraph summarising why I love the subject, then longer paragraph describing why I've enjoyed my AS courses and what I've gained from them,etc. The longest paragraph describes which authors I have particularly enjoyed and why, then there's a brief paragraph describing my academic interests (e.g. public speaking) and a bit about musical interests, etc (you can say what you like about this being totally irrelevant; yes academic interests are far more important but at York and Durham they stressed that they wanted to know a bit about this). Finished with brief para about my proposed future career and suitability for the course.

I got the impression that of all the universities I visited, Cambridge was the only one where they just didn't give a toss about your non-academic interests! But in the end, it's just one of 6 universities you're applying to, so you have to compromise and aim your PS at all 6 as well as you can

i was told to talk about myself as well by admissions tutors at all these places like durham and warrick etc. But I really think they put far too much emphasis on it. Yes you need to mention it, but only as a passing matter. I think in my PS my tone was almost like "oh and btw I do this and this and this outside of studies, but talking about that dulls me, let's get back to discussing that interesting area of my subject which I was talking about earlier"
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Profesh
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#27
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#27
(Original post by Niccolo)
That is an excellent piece of work, i must say. But it does seem to be significantly less verbose than the vast majority of your posts on here.
The vast majority of my posts on here are not written to the purpose of securing acceptance at highly competitive 'Russell Group' universities to commence a study of Law, beginning October this year. I surmise the opposite to be equally true of your typical 'TSR' prospect: that they would not compose a personal statement in syllabically truncated, 'txt' vernacular, any more so than might I using my own, distinct brand of aesthetic and grammatically anal prose.
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Niccolo
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Profesh)
The vast majority of my posts on here are not written to the purpose of securing acceptance at highly competitive 'Russell Group' universities to commence a study of Law, beginning October this year. I surmise the opposite to be equally true of your typical 'TSR' prospect: that they would not compose a personal statement in syllabically truncated, 'txt' vernacular, any more so than might I using my own, distinct brand of aesthetic and grammatically anal prose.
Yes, clearly. I was merely commenting on the fact that your personal statement seems to be significantly different in style to your posts, when you yourself declared it to be 'approximately' similar. And trust me, you would be surprised at the quality of language found in some personal statements, even from some supposed 'straight-A' kiddies. But that law personal statement was a stellar piece of writing indeed...
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nepali_babu
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#29
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#29
dont know if this is true..bt i heard dat oxbridge dont reli care about ppls extra curricular activities as much as mayb some otha unis wud do. they jus mainly concentrate on the grades. basically lukin for da geeks..no offence. went to this presentation by some1 frm oxford nd she ws sayin all this. :eek:
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samd
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#30
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#30
I have heard that they are seeking academic potential.
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Che!
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#31
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#31
(Original post by samd)
I have heard that they are seeking academic potential.
Yeah that's true...I hope
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Mata
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#32
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#32
I have no idea what they're seeking exactly. I'm just hoping I'm it.

Sent my ucas forms through yesterday. My personal statement was what it says on the tin - 'personal', as in not solely about the subject, but also how I felt about the subject and what made me want to take it etc, written in my own style.
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Willa
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#33
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#33
personal statement isn't really much of a big deal at oxbridge if you ask me. It's far more important to have a good academic record and have a good interview performance
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FranzFan
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#34
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#34
Is it a good idea to write anything in the 'optional additional personal statement' box in the Cambridge application form which is additional to your ucas personal statement?
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Willa
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#35
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#35
(Original post by FranzFan)
Is it a good idea to write anything in the 'optional additional personal statement' box in the Cambridge application form which is additional to your ucas personal statement?
there's a simple test for whether or not you should write in that box....

Sit down and think if there is anything special you need to say to the admissions tutors that is relevant to your application that couldn't have been said by anybody. (This means things like "I think the cambridge course is so unique" or "I think the university is a superb place to further understanding" are NOT worth mentioning)
If after 10 minutes you haven't thought of anything....then don't write anything in the box.


Seriously...if it requires more than 10 minutes to think of something relevant that isn't generic "kiss arse" comments, then it really isn't worth mentioning....just leave it, it really wont matter!
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