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    My careers advisor advised me to cut down on how much literature I talk about, this confused me because i've devoted one paragraph to English Literature and one to American literature. I've explained why I like the authors and mentioned periods in Lit I enjoy.Surely as an English candidate it's of the utmost importance I demonstrate the aspects of it I enjoy?
    They aren't massive paragraphs either so I'm slightly confused and stressed.

    She also criticised my language use because I used words like 'fervent' and 'infinite' claiming it sounds like I'd been overly influenced by victorian literature but I was trying to demonstrate my enthusiasm in an eloquent way and trying to avoid cliches!

    Oh and she asked why I'd mostly mentioned classic novels over modern but I just picked books I enjoyed that showed I could read at an advanced level.

    I feel like she destroyed my PS in half an hour! I've shown it to a friend on here and they think it's great and they'd tell me if it was crap.Any help would be appreciated!
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    Ask other people, like actual English teachers who've had experience with PS/UCAS stuff, careers advisors usually talk **** (especially those waste of time career talks in year 10/11) well in my school they did anyway...
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    Just do what feels right and hope for the best. Nobody can tell you what university admissions officers are looking for in undergraduates.
    Better yet, ring up the admissions officers at the university and ask them what they expect of a student on their course.
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    I've looked at lots of successful examples online and I set out mine with a similar structure, with the emphasis on lit and not ECs which is a mistake I made at first.

    She just destroyed it though. :emo:
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    From what you're saying it sounds like your careers advisor is talking rubbish. Not uncommon, in my experience.

    Post it in the help forum if you want some specific advice on it.
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    Look at university websites - English Pses are requested largely as a show of academia. You have to write about texts in an English PS and keep ECs to a minimum. Here's Leed's one which I found really helpful.
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    I've just sent mine off for English Lit and History today. It was mainly talking about lit and how it influenced me, and also how i hoped to increase my reading and analytical skills in the future etc etc blah blah There was one small paragraph which told of my voluntary work in a school, only bc i wanted to tie in the fact that i would be progressing onto a PGCE at the end of my degree.

    Tutor said it was great, just right for the degree so I sent it straight away!
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    (Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
    She also criticised my language use because I used words like 'fervent' and 'infinite' claiming it sounds like I'd been overly influenced by victorian literature but I was trying to demonstrate my enthusiasm in an eloquent way and trying to avoid cliches!
    I'd just like to make a point or two about that aspect of what you have written. First of all, you have failed to avoid cliches if you have used any word that is a synonym for enthusiastic.

    Secondly, stating that your interest is fervent or infinite is, frankly, completely overblown, so I agree with your teacher.

    Thirdly, claiming something is absolutely not demonstrating it. You can demonstrate your interest by describing your actions and the benefits you have gained from them; the whole should demonstrate your interest without actually needing to stating it.

    Making claims of interest or ability in a personal statement is boring and not very convincing when trying to sell yourself.
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    Honestly, I don't think you can talk about literature too much in a personal statement for English. The teachers at my school have thing about extra curriculars being REALLY important, but honestly if you're applying for top universities, they're not. They want to see that you're intelligent and passionate about the subject.

    However, it sounds like she might be right on the language front, maybe tone it down a bit?
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    I'd just like to make a point or two about that aspect of what you have written. First of all, you have failed to avoid cliches if you have used any word that is a synonym for enthusiastic.
    :ditto:
    They're all dreadfully overused. My personal pet hate is 'enthralled', which seems to be particularly popular with English applicants.:erm:
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    :ditto:
    They're all dreadfully overused. My personal pet hate is 'enthralled', which seems to be particularly popular with English applicants.:erm:
    They are enthralled by the use of 'en'. Just look at the similarities between the word 'enthralled' and 'English!
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    They enthralled by the use of 'en'. Just look at the similarities between the word 'enthralled' and 'English!
    Interesting. I never thought of that. That might also explain 'engrossed', although that one isn't anywhere near as popular.*

    *NB: This does not mean that it's a good idea to use it.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    I'd just like to make a point or two about that aspect of what you have written. First of all, you have failed to avoid cliches if you have used any word that is a synonym for enthusiastic.

    Secondly, stating that your interest is fervent or infinite is, frankly, completely overblown, so I agree with your teacher.

    Thirdly, claiming something is absolutely not demonstrating it. You can demonstrate your interest by describing your actions and the benefits you have gained from them; the whole should demonstrate your interest without actually needing to stating it.

    Making claims of interest or ability in a personal statement is boring and not very convincing when trying to sell yourself.

    I didn't say my interest was fervent or infinite.
    I said something like ''I have a fervent will''
    and ''The content of English is infinite'' or something along those lines.

    My PS certainly isn't perfect but she tore it to shreds and made me feel like crap when I know it's not that bad. :o:
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    (Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
    I didn't say my interest was fervent or infinite.
    I said something like ''I have a fervent will''
    and ''The content of English is infinite'' or something along those lines.
    That makes little difference. It is overblown, and claiming you have a fervent will makes you sound like a character from a bodice-ripper. And the content of English is infinite comes across as pseudo-intellectual and specious nonsense.

    Those writers of personal statements who go into thesaurus-searching mode don't seem to realise that simple language really is more effective, more honest, easier to read, more easily capable of being believed and, very importantly, uses less space.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    That makes little difference. It is overblown, and claiming you have a fervent will makes you sound like a character from a bodice-ripper. And the content of English is infinite comes across as pseudo-intellectual and specious nonsense.

    Those writers of personal statements who go into thesaurus-searching mode don't seem to realise that simple language really is more effective, more honest, easier to read, more easily capable of being believed and, very importantly, uses less space.
    Yeah I understand what you mean,
    I'm trying to strike the balance of a well written personal statement
    that shows I'm articulate without straying into being ostentatious.
    I'm reworking it now anyway so hopefully I'll get it right.
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    (Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
    Yeah I understand what you mean,
    I'm trying to strike the balance of a well written personal statement
    that shows I'm articulate without straying into being ostentatious.
    I'm reworking it now anyway so hopefully I'll get it right.
    My advice to you would be to leave articulacy aside and focus on content. I've been a PS-helper for a year now, and I've read and reviewed quite a few English statements. If there's a pattern, it's that the best statements aren't the ones whose writers set out to impress with their vocabulary and clothe even the most banal statements in obscure terms (which they often don't actually know how to use correctly). It's not particularly impressive, especially if you read several of them. In fact, those statements tend to be quite tiresome to read, because of course it's obvious what they're trying to do - and if it's obvious to me, I'm sure it'll be equally obvious to the tutors who will go on to read the statements...
    I'd say it's far more important that your statement demonstrates that you actually have something to be articulate about than that it screams "look at me, I know what 'eschew' means".
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    My advice to you would be to leave articulacy aside and focus on content. I've been a PS-helper for a year now, and I've read and reviewed quite a few English statements. If there's a pattern, it's that the best statements aren't the ones whose writers set out to impress with their vocabulary and clothe even the most banal statements in obscure terms (which they often don't actually know how to use correctly). It's not particularly impressive, especially if you read several of them. In fact, those statements tend to be quite tiresome to read, because of course it's obvious what they're trying to do - and if it's obvious to me, I'm sure it'll be equally obvious to the tutors who will go on to read the statements...
    I'd say it's far more important that your statement demonstrates that you actually have something to be articulate about than that it screams "look at me, I know what 'eschew' means".
    :ditto:

    The most relevant definition of articulate includes the words able to express thoughts and feelings easily and clearly. Those people that search the thesaurus for obscure or long words in an attempt to impress are not being articulate, and aren't being very impressive either. It is all a question of the statement being fit for purpose.

    Admissions tutors have little time to read what is set before them and it is in the candidate's favour if the PS is both quick and easy to read and understand.

    A current bugbear that illustrates how using unusual words can trap you is the word academia, which people seem to be using a lot at the moment without understanding what it actually means - and here's a clue: school pupils have no experience of it.
 
 
 
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