Brutal opinions welcomed! Advice wanted from mature student (22) Watch

crystal1330
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Hi All,

There are so many people on here that have been through the process of applying to every possible University, that I figured this would be a good way to get honest opinions about my profile and how I should choose my Universities for next year.

I will be 22 when applying next year, so considered a mature student. I have not had the best of high school educations and will not be applying with A levels. Stupidly, I dropped out towards the end of my As, I was taking Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, English and Critical thinking. In that order the grades I was getting were B B A A A. (Science wasn't my strong point!)

I am aiming to work my butt off this year on the Cert to HE Legal Methods course this year, to get a high distinction. This is a replacement to my A levels, its level 4, so equal to a first year of uni and apparently well respected by the likes of Oxbridge, Kings etc.

My UCAS will essentially consist of this;

A PS that will include mention of;

- The running of my small but successful business, how it has given me responsibilities and help become organised etc.

- My voluntary work experience with Amnesty international (I do not have any other!)

- My Access to Health Sciences result 12 Distinctions, 4 Merits and 1 Pass (though I will not be using this as a route in). Mention that I am currently studying the Cert to HE in Legal Methods, aiming for a high distinction (im really going on assuming here as I have no way to know yet)

- My experience shadowing a Barrister to Fraud, Rape and Murder trials in Crown Courts and the Old Bailey.

- Vocational achievements such as a fire fighting week course that I won an award for, 2 week Army Barracks course as part of an old BTEC, which I explain shows discipline and highlights my hard work ethic.

- Hobbies such as riding that I enjoy to relax, reading and research into historical and current legal issues in my spare time.

- I am part of my local debating group, that will hold discussions on debates of local issues, such as a local man being convicted of murdering his Daughters rapist etc etc.


I will not be submitting my UCAS until October. As a mature student without A levels, am I missing anything? Are there things I need to go and do, so that I can add them to my PS that will really help show off my application?

Also, I have only done one LNAT practice and scored a very average score or below, it was 19! I plan to take one again this week, this time taking my time to really concentrate as my first one I done between completing work tasks :-/

I want to establish what the Top Universities really want to see in a student that is not providing A levels as their entry requirements. I know many people have gone on to Top Unis after doing well in the Cert to HE, so im not worried about that, more so about my lack of interesting things to discuss on my PS!

I hope to apply to Kings, UCL, Oxford and I am not sure of the final two. I will be applying for Law Undergrad.

Sorry for the essay but I wanted to give a clear picture so that you can scrutinise my application better :-)

THANK YOU
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Alex360
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(Original post by crystal1330)
Hi All,

There are so many people on here that have been through the process of applying to every possible University, that I figured this would be a good way to get honest opinions about my profile and how I should choose my Universities for next year.

I will be 22 when applying next year, so considered a mature student. I have not had the best of high school educations and will not be applying with A levels. Stupidly, I dropped out towards the end of my As, I was taking Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, English and Critical thinking. In that order the grades I was getting were B B A A A. (Science wasn't my strong point!)

I am aiming to work my butt off this year on the Cert to HE Legal Methods course this year, to get a high distinction. This is a replacement to my A levels, its level 4, so equal to a first year of uni and apparently well respected by the likes of Oxbridge, Kings etc.

My UCAS will essentially consist of this;

A PS that will include mention of;

- The running of my small but successful business, how it has given me responsibilities and help become organised etc.

- My voluntary work experience with Amnesty international (I do not have any other!)

- My Access to Health Sciences result 12 Distinctions, 4 Merits and 1 Pass (though I will not be using this as a route in). Mention that I am currently studying the Cert to HE in Legal Methods, aiming for a high distinction (im really going on assuming here as I have no way to know yet)

- My experience shadowing a Barrister to Fraud, Rape and Murder trials in Crown Courts and the Old Bailey.

- Vocational achievements such as a fire fighting week course that I won an award for, 2 week Army Barracks course as part of an old BTEC, which I explain shows discipline and highlights my hard work ethic.

- Hobbies such as riding that I enjoy to relax, reading and research into historical and current legal issues in my spare time.

- I am part of my local debating group, that will hold discussions on debates of local issues, such as a local man being convicted of murdering his Daughters rapist etc etc.


I will not be submitting my UCAS until October. As a mature student without A levels, am I missing anything? Are there things I need to go and do, so that I can add them to my PS that will really help show off my application?

Also, I have only done one LNAT practice and scored a very average score or below, it was 19! I plan to take one again this week, this time taking my time to really concentrate as my first one I done between completing work tasks :-/

I want to establish what the Top Universities really want to see in a student that is not providing A levels as their entry requirements. I know many people have gone on to Top Unis after doing well in the Cert to HE, so im not worried about that, more so about my lack of interesting things to discuss on my PS!

I hope to apply to Kings, UCL, Oxford and I am not sure of the final two. I will be applying for Law Undergrad.

Sorry for the essay but I wanted to give a clear picture so that you can scrutinise my application better :-)

THANK YOU
I'm not a mature student, but I did write my Law personal statement last year. The points you have in your statement are good. As long as you keep it focused throughout addressing how it all relates how law, how it highlights your passion and what you took away from it that would enable you to be a good law student. There is a bit too much on the Vocational/hobbies/debating section e.g. Fire fighters course isn't really relevant. The debating point - is a good point as it shows you're analytical but it once again talks about rapes, murder which are cases you saw whilst shadowing a barrister. Maybe instead you could say you watched the cases and then debated them the barrister or questioned the justification (showing your inquisitive and eager to learn), because lot's of other undergrad statements talk about debating societies as they don't really have much experience unlike yourself. You're also find that you'll be way way over the word limit too. On the structuring you don't have to follow the typical structure outlined on the UCAS website either, it may benefit you to structure it with the most impressive part of your application - Amnesty International perhaps. You don't need to discuss in detail about your Access Course, the distinctions, merits and passes will be entered under a separate section in your UCAS statement, but you can discuss modules you enjoyed, law books you read as research for essays which you found interesting etc.
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LewisC
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Hello all, I am a current GCSE student going onto a-levels next year. I'm just curious on what you university students got at GCSE level and what a-level's you took and what you achieved in those. It would be a real help if you replied, thanks.
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by LewisC)
Hello all, I am a current GCSE student going onto a-levels next year. I'm just curious on what you university students got at GCSE level and what a-level's you took and what you achieved in those. It would be a real help if you replied, thanks.
I suggest you make a new thread as this one isn't really aimed at your question and you may not get many relevant answers.
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crystal1330
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(Original post by Alex360)
I'm not a mature student, but I did write my Law personal statement last year. The points you have in your statement are good. As long as you keep it focused throughout addressing how it all relates how law, how it highlights your passion and what you took away from it that would enable you to be a good law student. There is a bit too much on the Vocational/hobbies/debating section e.g. Fire fighters course isn't really relevant. The debating point - is a good point as it shows you're analytical but it once again talks about rapes, murder which are cases you saw whilst shadowing a barrister. Maybe instead you could say you watched the cases and then debated them the barrister or questioned the justification (showing your inquisitive and eager to learn), because lot's of other undergrad statements talk about debating societies as they don't really have much experience unlike yourself. You're also find that you'll be way way over the word limit too. On the structuring you don't have to follow the typical structure outlined on the UCAS website either, it may benefit you to structure it with the most impressive part of your application - Amnesty International perhaps. You don't need to discuss in detail about your Access Course, the distinctions, merits and passes will be entered under a separate section in your UCAS statement, but you can discuss modules you enjoyed, law books you read as research for essays which you found interesting etc.
Thank you very much!

I have managed to do a draft within the word and 47 line limit as I haven't put too much emphasis on the courses, I just mentioned them to show extra curricular actives I participated in during college etc. I have used about two lines for that, do you think its unnecessary?

I agree with your point about the shadowing, I have mentioned that I would be given the Barristers documents for that Day, so read over during the trial and then have a discussion with the Barrister after, who would ask me to summarise the evidence/ arguments put forward during that Day.

I will focus more on the "what I took from it" idea. I don't want my personal statement to look like an essay of a CV.

I feel my PS is still lacking something unique that will stand out. Ive got time to participate in other things before I submit it, I just cannot think of what. Do you think work experience at a Chambers would be impressive, even if it was just a Day as I think I can get away with not specifying the length of time? Its probably something I could wangle from now until October. Any other ideas?

Do you mind me asking how your application went last year and if you got a place, if so where?

Thanks again!
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crystal1330
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(Original post by carnationlilyrose)
I suggest you make a new thread as this one isn't really aimed at your question and you may not get many relevant answers.
Hello,

As a mature student, applying to Uni through a Cert to HE, I cannot comment on GCSEs/ A levels from a personal point of view. However it appears that if you intend on applying to Law, universities favor History, Politics, English, A language etc at A level.

I have heard some people mention that taking one Science shows diverse ability and may help but the Top Universities appear to favor traditional subjects in the humanities.

If I was to take A levels and start again, I would take History, Politics, English and Psychology. If I had to drop one at A2, it would be Psychology.
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Forumfinder
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I think the personal statement sounds strong. Better than what I did. You've experienced a lot and seem well rounded which is great. If it runs too long, you could always cut out the hobbies bit.
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Carnationlilyrose
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(Original post by crystal1330)
Hello,

As a mature student, applying to Uni through a Cert to HE, I cannot comment on GCSEs/ A levels from a personal point of view. However it appears that if you intend on applying to Law, universities favor History, Politics, English, A language etc at A level.

I have heard some people mention that taking one Science shows diverse ability and may help but the Top Universities appear to favor traditional subjects in the humanities.

If I was to take A levels and start again, I would take History, Politics, English and Psychology. If I had to drop one at A2, it would be Psychology.
Think you've quoted the wrong person.
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crystal1330
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(Original post by carnationlilyrose)
Think you've quoted the wrong person.
Hehe..thank you :-). My mistake! Thats what happens when I try to do about 100 things at once!
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crystal1330
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(Original post by Forumfinder)
I think the personal statement sounds strong. Better than what I did. You've experienced a lot and seem well rounded which is great. If it runs too long, you could always cut out the hobbies bit.
Thanks, im glad to hear some people think its a good PS so far. The general feedback im getting is to take out the hobbies, I agree its not really relevant to Law and I can show im proactive by mentioning other things that DO relate to Law.

Im going to take them out and concentrate of something a bit more interesting and relevant!
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crystal1330
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MORE PS QUESTIONS:

I think it may be good to mention my recent travel to Peru and replace it with the hobbies info. If I do this, I still need to make it relevant to Law or at least skills relevant to Law. I didn't go to Peru to volunteer but I did stay in a hostel that happened to cater for underprivileged young people attending the university. My Day trip happened to get cancelled and I ended up helping out at the hostel and getting involved with the young people.

My questions are, is it and would it be wrong to stretch the truth to say that whilst taking a trip to Peru, I volunteered at a hostel for underprivileged, local University students or is this dishonest because this was not the purpose of my trip, it was not formal, I have no official record of it and didn't organise it before hand?

Thanks!
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Hasty
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Well you seem to have a pretty strong application there. I've just got into UCL for Law this year as a nature student. Looks good.


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crystal1330
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I just completed the practice test again and scored a not so very impressive 19 :-/.

I did however do the test in 50 minutes, I had about 40 minutes left, so I may increase marks by 1 or 2 by taking more time to read them but I still not not feel happy with such a score!
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crystal1330
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(Original post by Hasty)
Well you seem to have a pretty strong application there. I've just got into UCL for Law this year as a nature student. Looks good.


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Congratulations!

Do you mind me asking what you scored on your LNAT?

Thanks
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Hasty
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(Original post by crystal1330)
Congratulations!

Do you mind me asking what you scored on your LNAT?

Thanks
As a nature student? I should reread what I am posting!

I got 27. I was very happy with my score. I didn't do any practice tests under the proper conditions and didn't (naughtily) do any practice essays. If you're practicing at least give yourself the proper amount of time haha!


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crystal1330
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(Original post by Hasty)
As a nature student? I should reread what I am posting!

I got 27. I was very happy with my score. I didn't do any practice tests under the proper conditions and didn't (naughtily) do any practice essays. If you're practicing at least give yourself the proper amount of time haha!


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Thats a brilliant score! I would be more than happy with a 23, I think its a respectable score. I know that I struggle to "see the point" sometimes and this is a big problem when it comes to the LNAT. I did find, on the questions that I bothered to take the time to read the question before and then during each question, combined with a process of elimination of the answers, I scored higher. As opposed to others, that I just skimmed the text and picked something because I was getting agitated. I need to teach myself some patients and time management I think!
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Hasty
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(Original post by crystal1330)
Thats a brilliant score! I would be more than happy with a 23, I think its a respectable score. I know that I struggle to "see the point" sometimes and this is a big problem when it comes to the LNAT. I did find, on the questions that I bothered to take the time to read the question before and then during each question, combined with a process of elimination of the answers, I scored higher. As opposed to others, that I just skimmed the text and picked something because I was getting agitated. I need to teach myself some patients and time management I think!
Definitely 23 would be great!

As you probably know the average was 21, so as part of an overall application anything from a bit below this and beyond shouldn't hinder your application.

Well, yes and no. I always found in the couple of practice multi-choice tests I did, like you I was skimming the entire thing in 10-15 minutes. On the day, taking my time, I only just got to the end, actually had to rush a few I'd flagged (flagged far too many!).

P.S. Thank you!
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crystal1330
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Thanks for your feedback. I will work on my "LNAT" skills and only hope that by using all the time available, that I may be able to increas to 21 and if I do, I think that's a good addition to my application. 23 is my target. I don't think 19 would be the end of the world, so thankfully I'm not completely disheartened!
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Alex360
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(Original post by crystal1330)
Thank you very much!

I have managed to do a draft within the word and 47 line limit as I haven't put too much emphasis on the courses, I just mentioned them to show extra curricular actives I participated in during college etc. I have used about two lines for that, do you think its unnecessary?

I agree with your point about the shadowing, I have mentioned that I would be given the Barristers documents for that Day, so read over during the trial and then have a discussion with the Barrister after, who would ask me to summarise the evidence/ arguments put forward during that Day.

I will focus more on the "what I took from it" idea. I don't want my personal statement to look like an essay of a CV.

I feel my PS is still lacking something unique that will stand out. Ive got time to participate in other things before I submit it, I just cannot think of what. Do you think work experience at a Chambers would be impressive, even if it was just a Day as I think I can get away with not specifying the length of time? Its probably something I could wangle from now until October. Any other ideas?

Do you mind me asking how your application went last year and if you got a place, if so where?

Thanks again!
I've PM'd you
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