Mentioning books in Personal Statement

Watch
This discussion is closed.
ruhig
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#1
Hello! Hopefully I will be going to uni next year.. However I'm (still..) working on my personal statement.. I want to apply for Psychology Now, I'm quite stuck on something: as I don't have Psychology as a subject, I've read about it (textbooks and others) before making my choice.. However, I don't know what to mention in the personal statement. How specific should I be when mentioning a book? And how do I know if it truly is relevant? I don't want to state the obvious or make a fool out of myself.. For example, would "The language instinct" by S. Pinker be too much of a "pop" psych book? What about "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Kahneman?
0
lipslikemorphine
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#2
Report 6 years ago
#2
(Original post by ruhig)
Hello! Hopefully I will be going to uni next year.. However I'm (still..) working on my personal statement.. I want to apply for Psychology Now, I'm quite stuck on something: as I don't have Psychology as a subject, I've read about it (textbooks and others) before making my choice.. However, I don't know what to mention in the personal statement. How specific should I be when mentioning a book? And how do I know if it truly is relevant? I don't want to state the obvious or make a fool out of myself.. For example, would "The language instinct" by S. Pinker be too much of a "pop" psych book? What about "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Kahneman?
You don't need to really mention specific books.
"I have a deep interest in psychology and have spent a lot of time reading and doing research outside the curriculum"

Something like that would do.
0
BerlinFilmFan
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#3
Report 6 years ago
#3
(Original post by ruhig)
How specific should I be when mentioning a book? And how do I know if it truly is relevant? I don't want to state the obvious or make a fool out of myself.. For example, would "The language instinct" by S. Pinker be too much of a "pop" psych book? What about "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Kahneman?
(Original post by lipslikemorphine)
You don't need to really mention specific books.
"I have a deep interest in psychology and have spent a lot of time reading and doing research outside the curriculum"

Something like that would do.
I hope I don't come across as unfriendly, but I really strongly disagree with the advice that you don't have to get specific. On the contrary, all the best advice I have ever heard always emphasises being very specific, in the sense that you need to show that you have actively engaged with the text.

The thing is, *anyone* can write "I have a deep interest in psychology and have spent a lot of time reading and doing research outside the curriculum". That's precisely the trouble with that sentence. It may be completely true - but if you say it like that, then how can you prove it?

If, however, you write a quite specific thought to a specific book eg "I found Steven Pinker's theory of blah blah blah convincing, although I question whether x, y, z…" - well then, you've proven that you do really know the book, at least a little bit.

Think of the difference between talking to someone about something you really know a lot about (whether it's football or a TV show or whatever) and trying to politely chat about some subject you know little about. In the first case, you could talk for hours in a lot of detail, in the second case, you can just spout some generalities.

So - what you're looking to do is to write something a bit more in depth about an interesting book or two on your subject. Of course, the whole statement is so short, you don't have much space to write a very long essay, even if you could! You really need two or three good, concise, specific and personal thoughts.

Indeed, in general, the best advice for all aspects of your personal statement is BE SPECIFIC!!! Good luck to you!
5
lipslikemorphine
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#4
Report 6 years ago
#4
(Original post by BerlinFilmFan)
I hope I don't come across as unfriendly, but I really strongly disagree with the advice that you don't have to get specific. On the contrary, all the best advice I have ever heard always emphasises being very specific, in the sense that you need to show that you have actively engaged with the text.

The thing is, *anyone* can write "I have a deep interest in psychology and have spent a lot of time reading and doing research outside the curriculum". That's precisely the trouble with that sentence. It may be completely true - but if you say it like that, then how can you prove it?

If, however, you write a quite specific thought to a specific book eg "I found Steven Pinker's theory of blah blah blah convincing, although I question whether x, y, z…" - well then, you've proven that you do really know the book, at least a little bit.

Think of the difference between talking to someone about something you really know a lot about (whether it's football or a TV show or whatever) and trying to politely chat about some subject you know little about. In the first case, you could talk for hours in a lot of detail, in the second case, you can just spout some generalities.

So - what you're looking to do is to write something a bit more in depth about an interesting book or two on your subject. Of course, the whole statement is so short, you don't have much space to write a very long essay, even if you could! You really need two or three good, concise, specific and personal thoughts.

Indeed, in general, the best advice for all aspects of your personal statement is BE SPECIFIC!!! Good luck to you!
If you look at most personal statement guides most of them mention that they aren't looking for a list of books. They already have their own.

A comment or opinion on something that he/she has read outside of school is good but she doesn't need to mention every single book because most of the time it will come across as generic. Anyone can talk about a book/author - its even more boring if she doesn't have a particular interesting view on it.

Mention books if you want, just don't let it be your whole PS.
0
BWV1007
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#5
Report 6 years ago
#5
It doesn't matter if the book is too popular, given that it's a good book. Mention whichever you think you're most familiar with.
0
gr8wizard10
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#6
Report 6 years ago
#6
I went overboard and mentioned a relevant documentary. Innovative thinking right?
0
Pedd
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#7
Report 6 years ago
#7
Yes, do mention if they have in any way shaped your thinking in your area of academia! It shows dedication, interest and analytical skills if you do it right!

I've mentioned a few political texts in mine.
0
Nimzowitsch
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#8
Report 2 months ago
#8
Actually those two books are mentioned in recommendations to read for example in Cambridge, so those popular science~psychology books are relevant. I also suggest reading Kahneman's research of ego from 2002( He received a Nobel prize for that).
0
X
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Are you confident you could find support for your mental health if you needed it in COVID-19?

Yes (18)
21.69%
No (65)
78.31%

Watched Threads

View All