teacher is trying to make me write a general p.statement for a language course? Watch

rebeccahann
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so after harassing everybody i could possibly imagine, im having a lot of trouble writing my personal statement. First, i had written it however i felt fit, I am aiming towards Korean studies with Japanese at Sheffield University. I went to an open day and asked the head there in regards to what they look for personal statements. he simply told me to not worry, and that as long as it portrayed passion and enthusiasm, then it will show how much you want to do the course etc.
and so, i wrote my personal statement pouring with passion and my love for the culture, languages, etc.

As a standard procedure in college, i gave this statement to my personal tutor. she then gave me it back a few days later and basically told me it wasnt academical (despite it being written so academically because i also study english) and that i needed to include my skills and technical stuff.
now, ive looked at example personal statements for the same subject through the ps area of this website, and i found one that applied for the same thing, without ANY mention of their skills or what kind of student they are etc, and just spoke about their passion and all the things that interested them about south korea... and they got offers from all 3 universities with 2 extra ones for a similar course. :confused:

so what im trying to get at here, is because its a language course i'm applying for... do they really care what 'skills' you have like silly cliche things of 'i am a hard worker and work well in groups'? my teacher is desperately trying to completely strip the passion out from my statement and make it into a generalised, standard one that other people will write for the more common, mainstream subjects. :mad:

I have a feeling she hasnt really dealt with a languages student before, so she's just trying to make it like everyone else's. after editing it to her standards, i've just read over it and it's just absolutely awful. i'm appalled she even thinks it can be sent to a university like that. it's kind of became unpersonalised and it sounds like i have no passion or interest in the course or the east atall. :mad:

has anybody had this problem when applying for a rather unusual course before? its kinda like my teachers don't really know what to do with me.
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purple_panther
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No!!! Don't listen to her! You do what feels right and make sure your passion for the subject comes across. Your personal statement has to be personal to you (clue in the name) and you should talk about what attracts you to it and your motivation for wanting to study it. That's what really will convince the admissions tutors that you are the right person for the course and have the passion and a genuine interest. It shouldn't just be a list of skills everyone else will have from studying the same subjects. Nonetheless, it is useful to include a little bit on that but maybe just a small paragraph, a couple of sentences. It's better to name a skill you have, say where and how you developed it (this is evidence that you actually have this skill) and link it back to why it's an important skill for a linguist. And just leave it at that. Like I said there is no need to go on and on about this. Don't change your personal statement completely just for the sake of your teacher. After all they are not the one competing for a university place. As long as you're happy with it they have no right to make you write about something you don't want.
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Asklepios
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As above really, but to add you should consider using PS help on TSR

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rebeccahann
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(Original post by Asklepios)
As above really, but to add you should consider using PS help on TSR

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ah, i considered using a ps helper but the waiting time was 14 days! again, my college is trying to push everyone to send theirs off before then :mad: so im not sure. but i guess its worth a try anyway, eh!
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BankOfPigs
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A general principle I'd follow is show not tell. Instead of explicitly saying "I work well in groups", try and come up with a situation that implies this but is related to your course.
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rebeccahann
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(Original post by purple_panther)
No!!! Don't listen to her! You do what feels right and make sure your passion for the subject comes across. Your personal statement has to be personal to you (clue in the name) and you should talk about what attracts you to it and your motivation for wanting to study it. That's what really will convince the admissions tutors that you are the right person for the course and have the passion and a genuine interest. It shouldn't just be a list of skills everyone else will have from studying the same subjects. Nonetheless, it is useful to include a little bit on that but maybe just a small paragraph, a couple of sentences. It's better to name a skill you have, say where and how you developed it (this is evidence that you actually have this skill) and link it back to why it's an important skill for a geologist. And just leave it at that. Like I said there is no need to go on and on about this. Don't change your personal statement completely just for the sake of your teacher. After all they are not the one competing for a university place. As long as you're happy with it they have no right to make you write about something you don't want.

ah thankyou so much. this is just what i needed to hear to confirm that i should ignore her lol. i was doubting myself and if i should listen to her or not. her place as a teacher kinda worried me if i went against her advice. however from what you've said i think i can get a pretty good grasp of what to put back into it. thanks
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rebeccahann
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(Original post by BankOfPigs)
A general principle I'd follow is show not tell. Instead of explicitly saying "I work well in groups", try and come up with a situation that implies this but is related to your course.
would this work when i've explained how i've visited taiwan and helped taiwanese friends in a group to better their english for their studies?
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BankOfPigs
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(Original post by rebeccahann)
would this work when i've explained how i've visited taiwan and helped taiwanese friends in a group to better their english for their studies?

In this case it doesn't necessarily sound like you are working together, but more that you are helping them, ie a one sided relationship.

What you are implying is that you are a helpful person and interested in developing people's language skills.

If you want to talk about team work I'd try and talk about some sort of 'project' you were involved in that required you to work together with others. If you can talk about overcoming a difficulty, that's even better as you are implying perseverance and tenacity.

You ideally want to be showing off all your amazing experiences to suggest that you have amazing traits. Don't be too subtle of course, but bluntness 'I work well in a team' is useless as it's a blanket statement and lacks sophistication (even if you back it up later).

By the way, I do english lit and I actually found that it hampers my ability to write these sort of things. English promotes a style of going deep into one thing, but you really don't have the space for that in a PS. The blunt writing style it promotes (where you are literally indicating 'im talking about structure now') makes other writing seem potentially messy.

Form tutors by the way are generally a bit clueless (from what I've found) about this. They are too used to writing generic statements that work for all subjects and their standards might be low if your form mates write poorly. Better ask someone higher up (head of year / head teacher / head of language department).
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SlowlorisIncognito
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Unless you are applying for a voccational degree, your soft skills won't really be of interest to admissions tutors. They can infer the skills you have gained from your extra curricular activities, and they will know what skills your accademic study has given you. This means talking about soft skills is also a waste of characters that could be used to discuss things more relevant to the course.

In light of the advice you recieved from Sheffield, I would be asking your teacher to justify her advice. Why is she saying this?

If her answer is that it has worked for students in the past, you need to explain that not all personal statements are looked at very closely, and if you have good grades it is possible to get an offer despite your personal statement. Say that you want to follow the advice you were given by Sheffield.

If she is basing it on specific advice, explain that different universities may be looking a slightly different things, and you want to follow the advice you have been given by your first choice.

I do think it could still be worth posting your PS for review. The 14 days is an average wait time across all subjects, and so it may be possible for you to get a review before this. If you are getting bad advice from your teacher, then it is best to get advice from elsewhere. You could also point out that as she has asked you to redraft it, you now need more time to finish it.
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nic-nac
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Especially if it's a new language you haven't formally studied before so you don't have any qualifications in it, it's good to mention extra curriculars that are relevant that give you (transferrable) skills.
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rebeccahann
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(Original post by BankOfPigs)
In this case it doesn't necessarily sound like you are working together, but more that you are helping them, ie a one sided relationship.

What you are implying is that you are a helpful person and interested in developing people's language skills.

If you want to talk about team work I'd try and talk about some sort of 'project' you were involved in that required you to work together with others. If you can talk about overcoming a difficulty, that's even better as you are implying perseverance and tenacity.

You ideally want to be showing off all your amazing experiences to suggest that you have amazing traits. Don't be too subtle of course, but bluntness 'I work well in a team' is useless as it's a blanket statement and lacks sophistication (even if you back it up later).

By the way, I do english lit and I actually found that it hampers my ability to write these sort of things. English promotes a style of going deep into one thing, but you really don't have the space for that in a PS. The blunt writing style it promotes (where you are literally indicating 'im talking about structure now') makes other writing seem potentially messy.

Form tutors by the way are generally a bit clueless (from what I've found) about this. They are too used to writing generic statements that work for all subjects and their standards might be low if your form mates write poorly. Better ask someone higher up (head of year / head teacher / head of language department).


thanks. I've managed to finish it off by going to the head of languages in my college. She cut through it and told me where I was going right in it, which was a huge relief in comparison to what i received from my form tutor.

And referring to what you've said about studying english and it hampering your ability to write simple things...i really couldnt agree with you more about that. I'd started off with this ps 1,400+ characters over and i wanted to cry everytime i took anything out of it, in fear i wasn't expressing myself enough. I only study English Lang at A level, so i can't even imagine how much more english literature at university promotes writing deeper into things too. It's honestly really hard, right?

I'm not really aware of how other students in my form group write, but i cant imagine it will be very great as i've overheard quite a few of them just taking her advice on written expression without even questioning it... which is a little worrying to say the least.

Gunna take this ps to the language head again and see what she thinks of it. I've steered well away from the blunt statements and i guess i've just kinda blended them in with the experiences and extra things that i've done related to korean language. fingers crossed!
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