Geography PS Watch

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undiscovered
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#1
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Bearing in mind that i am going to be applying to "top" universities such as Durham, Notts, Bristol etc, please can i have constructive criticism on my PS...oh and can you tell me roughly how many words it should be if i'm going to apply online? x

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Ellie4
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Hey. I think you've got a really good basis there. The only thing I will say is that in places it seems a little colloquial. I think the opening is interesting, as so many people use the old cliched 'Ever since I was young' or whatever. Also, in the third paragraph you seem to switch between your interest in geographical issues and your extra-cirricular activities. I'd leave all the ec cir's for a small paragraph of their own, unless there are some which are directly applicable to geography. Good start though!
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undiscovered
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(Original post by Ellie4)
Hey. I think you've got a really good basis there. The only thing I will say is that in places it seems a little colloquial.
Yeah when i read it back i think that too, in parts. :/ I just looked at your profile and see you're doing geog too
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Ellie4
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(Original post by SiAnY)
Yeah when i read it back i think that too, in parts. :/ I just looked at your profile and see you're doing geog too
Sure am I'm not planning to do it at uni as a pure subject, but I'm applying to land economy which incorporates it with law and economics.
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undiscovered
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(Original post by Ellie4)
Sure am I'm not planning to do it at uni as a pure subject, but I'm applying to land economy which incorporates it with law and economics.
Ooh sounds good x
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babyboo
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(Original post by SiAnY)
{Edit} I want to changed the second sentence! {/Edit}

Bearing in mind that i am going to be applying to "top" universities such as Durham, Notts, Bristol etc, please can i have constructive criticism on my PS...oh and can you tell me roughly how many words it should be if i'm going to apply online? x


Geography matters. Without Geography, we would literally be nowhere! It affects the lives of the six billion of us inhabiting this planet. Complex interactions between humans and our environment affect the world in such a diverse area of ways on local, regional and global scales. For a few years now, I have been certain that Geography is ‘the subject for me’ and therefore the one I wish to continue studying at a higher level. I particularly like the way that Geography spans the social and physical sciences. My choosing of A-level subjects was based around this as I chose Sociology because of the overlaps with the human Geography and Biology links to physical geography topics such as ecosystems. My main interests in Geography lie in urban, rural and retail change and development and the scope for future research within these areas is enticing. I have subscribed to Geography Review magazine, which I find particularly interesting as it includes articles on contemporary issues such as international migration.

My hard work and commitment to Geography has been rewarded through my receiving of the Year 9 Geography Award and the GCSE Local Studies Award for Humanities. A contributing factor to my winning of the GCSE Award was my coursework for which I scored full marks and was the only person in my year to do so. Fieldwork is an element of Geography that I relish as it enables greater appreciation of the surrounding world and put theory into practice. For my Personal Investigation at A2 I am conducting an enquiry into [will write in when decided]. The variety of skills offered by a Geography degree, such as cartographic ability, computer literacy and numeracy enhance the value and attractiveness of a subject I am already extremely passionate about.

Outside sixth form hours I am learning web design using HTML, and I am currently in the process of designing a website for students regarding [will write in when decided]. I regard intellectual stimulation very highly and get this by watching documentaries and quiz programmes on television. Earlier this year I found a documentary on “super-cities” quite thought provoking – will England end up as one huge conurbation? As a resident of the New Forest this would concern me very much, especially as I like taking walks through the countryside during my spare time. Keeping active is important to me and throughout school I have been involved in sport – I have represented my school and the New Forest at cross-country and represented my school at 1500m. I also received a five-star athletics award and medals for being a runner up on sports day. Every year I participated in all House sports teams and the House quiz team.

During Year 10, I undertook a work experience placement at a local playgroup, which helped develop both my interpersonal skills with both young children and adults and ability to work as part of a team. In Year 11 I was elected a prefect and my duties included supervising the younger pupils in the lunch queue and general patrolling of the school to sort out any pupil problems. Having positions of responsibility is something I enjoy and at university I look forward to being actively involved in clubs and societies.

I hope that by studying Geography at such a high level I will gain a deeper understanding of the world around me. The skills gained through such a degree will be extremely useful not only for my future career but also for life.
good n interesting to read but it sounds a lil bit slangy at the begining try changing the highlighted bits to sound more formal. xxxx
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Nima
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You have already wrote your personal statement?! WOW, I think it's personally to early yet..
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Ellie4
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(Original post by bono)
You have already wrote your personal statement?! WOW, I think it's personally to early yet..
It's pretty impressive. I can't even decide which degrees to apply to! I'm so damn contrary
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Geogger
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#9
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I've amended bits, but its reads pretty well for a first effort. I think one of the earlier posters was right - a bit more on subjects and a bit less on extra-curricular stuff would be better balance. You have 47lines with 1.5cm margins on the Electronic Application method! (Yours is about 45 I think)
Geography matters. Without Geography, we would be nowhere! It affects the lives of the six billion of us inhabiting this planet. Complex interactions between humans and our environment affect the world in such a diverse ways on local, regional and global scales. For several years, I have been increasingly certain that Geography is ‘the subject for me’ and therefore the one I wish to continue studying at a higher level. I particularly like the way that Geography spans the social and physical sciences. My choice of A-level subjects was based around this as I chose Sociology because of the overlaps with the Human Geography and Biology links to physical geography topics such as ecosystems. My main interests in Geography lie in urban, rural and retail change and development and the scope for future research within these areas is enticing. I subscribe to Geography Review magazine, which I find particularly interesting as it includes articles on contemporary issues such as international migration.

My hard work and commitment to Geography has been rewarded through my receiving of the Year 9 Geography Award and the GCSE Local Studies Award for Humanities. A contributing factor to my winning of the GCSE Award was my coursework for which I scored full marks and was the only person in my year to do so. Fieldwork is an element of Geography that I relish as it enables greater appreciation of the surrounding world and put theory into practice. For my Personal Investigation at A2 I am conducting an enquiry into [will write in when decided]. The variety of skills offered by a Geography degree, such as cartographic ability, computer literacy and numeracy enhance the value and attractiveness of a subject I am already extremely passionate about.

Outside sixth form hours I am learning web design using HTML, and I am currently designing a website for students regarding [will write in when decided]. I value intellectual stimulation very highly and enjoy watching documentaries and quiz programmes on television. Recently, I found a documentary on “super-cities” quite thought provoking – will England end up as one huge conurbation? As a resident of the New Forest this would concern me very much, especially as I like taking walks through the countryside during my spare time. Keeping active is important to me and throughout school I have been involved in sport – I have represented my school and the New Forest at cross-country and represented my school at 1500m. I also received a five-star athletics award and medals for being a runner up on sports day. Every year I participated in all House sports teams and the House quiz team.

During Year 10, I undertook a work experience placement at a local playgroup, which helped develop both my interpersonal skills with both young children and adults and ability to work as part of a team. In Year 11 I was elected a prefect and my duties included supervising the younger pupils in the lunch queue and general patrolling of the school to sort out any pupil problems. Having positions of responsibility is something I enjoy and at university I look forward to being actively involved in clubs and societies.

I hope that by studying Geography at degree level I will gain a deeper understanding of the world around me. The skills gained through such a degree will be extremely useful not only for my future career but also for life.
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undiscovered
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(Original post by bono)
You have already wrote your personal statement?! WOW, I think it's personally to early yet..
Yeah, i got bored one day last week :P
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amyitfc
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(Original post by SiAnY)
Yeah, i got bored one day last week :P
i think that you've got an excellent basis here, especially for it being so early. i only wrote my personal statement after the as exams.took me ages to get it into a state that could be handed in, and yours nearly is with some tweaking.
i think its probably a bit long, and some bits need to be formalised, but you'll be amending and reamending it over and over again before you send in your ucas form so im sure it will be fine. perhaps a bit less description of your sporting interests, mention them though - you want to emphasise the skills and what you have learnt from your activities more ie sell yourself on being a prefect etc.

an idea - perhaps find a quote by a professor or someone about how great it is that geog spans human & physical?
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amyitfc
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also im not sure that you should spend so long talking about coursework - everyone does it, after all - everyone whos applying will be doing an investigation
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undiscovered
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(Original post by amyitfc)
also im not sure that you should spend so long talking about coursework - everyone does it, after all - everyone whos applying will be doing an investigation
Good point
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katiyakat
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Actually not everyone does do coursework - I didn't/haven't .

WARNING: I am very picky about spelling/grammar and sentence phrasing. Don't take it personally.

It's a good start overall and I'm impressed at your organisation!

1. The opening is a little stop-start. Perhaps reduce the first 3 senetences into 2?
2. I would advise picking one or two issues which you find particularly interesting and expanding on why rather than mentioning lots in passing - 'urban, rural and retail change' are 3 huge and very different areas!
3. 'I regard intellectual stimulation very highly and get this by watching documentaries and quiz programmes on television.' is a hideous sentence! The first bit sounds pretentious and the grammar is yucky.
4. On a finickity note - you capitalised 'Human Geography' but not 'physical geography'
5. Watch the grammar.
6. Travel is always a good thing to mention with a Geography PS. Have you been anywhere slightly off the wall and very geographical? I talked about a trip to Morocco and how it had opened my eyes to the true extent of globalisation (you can buy Coke all the way up the highest mountain in North Africa - who knew?) You can relate all travel to Geography somehow, no matter how standard your destination.
7. It's always better to mention books thn TV documentaries.

On a general note - it's best to get your teachers to mention things like how hard you work and gaining full marks in coursework because such things always sound better coming from someone else.
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undiscovered
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(Original post by katiyakat)
Actually not everyone does do coursework - I didn't/haven't .

WARNING: I am very picky about spelling/grammar and sentence phrasing. Don't take it personally.

It's a good start overall and I'm impressed at your organisation!

1. The opening is a little stop-start. Perhaps reduce the first 3 senetences into 2?
2. I would advise picking one or two issues which you find particularly interesting and expanding on why rather than mentioning lots in passing - 'urban, rural and retail change' are 3 huge and very different areas!
3. 'I regard intellectual stimulation very highly and get this by watching documentaries and quiz programmes on television.' is a hideous sentence! The first bit sounds pretentious and the grammar is yucky.
4. On a finickity note - you capitalised 'Human Geography' but not 'physical geography'
5. Watch the grammar.
6. Travel is always a good thing to mention with a Geography PS. Have you been anywhere slightly off the wall and very geographical? I talked about a trip to Morocco and how it had opened my eyes to the true extent of globalisation (you can buy Coke all the way up the highest mountain in North Africa - who knew?) You can relate all travel to Geography somehow, no matter how standard your destination.
7. It's always better to mention books thn TV documentaries.

On a general note - it's best to get your teachers to mention things like how hard you work and gaining full marks in coursework because such things always sound better coming from someone else.
Woah thanks, i like people like you who give no-nonsense advice. I haven't really travelled at all. I've never been abroad (my family are exactly rich) and i've only been out of this country twice (to Wales.) I know i have a lot of work to do on it yet but i thought i'd start it early to give me a bit of a headstart and loads of time for re-writing it etc. Thanks again x

PS: It's quite weird that i'm doing English Language and am predicted an A and got an A* at GCSE and i can't even write a personal statement properly. Lol.
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katiyakat
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Wales is the Geography capital of the universe so having been there is definitely a good thing . Whereabouts did you go? Wherever you went and whatever you did, it is possible to relate it to Geography very convincingly.

Another really good Geography thing to have done and be able to write about is conservation. I went on a National Trust conservation week last summer (loooooong story!), but various friends did local conservation and mentioned that instead.

Personal Statements are very difficult to write, but you've got a good start and are waaaaaaaaaaay ahead of the rest of the pack!
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undiscovered
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(Original post by katiyakat)
Wales is the Geography capital of the universe so having been there is definitely a good thing . Whereabouts did you go? Wherever you went and whatever you did, it is possible to relate it to Geography very convincingly.

Another really good Geography thing to have done and be able to write about is conservation. I went on a National Trust conservation week last summer (loooooong story!), but various friends did local conservation and mentioned that instead.

Personal Statements are very difficult to write, but you've got a good start and are waaaaaaaaaaay ahead of the rest of the pack!
Where did i go? Hmm, i'll have to think about that hehe. I went to St Clears in Carmathenshire. It was the holiday from hell (hehe i have a looooong story too!), .
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Lucy
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#18
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I think katiyakat has made some pretty good points which should be very useful. Overall I think it's a pretty good personal statement for a first go (though you will probably find that you will constantly change it to finally produce something which is quite different).

-> even though it is a good idea for your PS to sound flowing and natural, it's still a bit too informal. I like your idea of making an interesting start but find "Without Geography, we would be nowhere!" too flippant.
-> some of the sentences are a bit 'awkward' e.g. "My choosing of A-level subjects was based around this as I chose Sociology because of the overlaps with the human Geography and Biology links to physical geography topics such as ecosystems." Try reordering/chopping sentences to make them concise and clear.
-> I wouldn't dwell too much on your school awards as 1) you received them quite a while ago and 2) I would leave your referee to say how wonderful and clever you are (otherwise you risk sounding arrogant). Try to show your commitment to Geography outside of your school/subjects because tbh geography school work is hardly as stimulating as you would want it to be. Mentioning a few related books you have read outside the geography syllabus (and your opinions on them) may be a good idea.
-> rule of thumb for a good format is 2/3 academic/commitment to subject and 1/3 extracurricular. I am estimating your extracurricular section is about a half of your PS so far.
-> in your extracurricular section try to say what you have learnt from your described activities rather than just listing them.
-> cut out some details to make it more concise (yet it still puts the point across) e.g. "As a prefect in Year 11, my duties included supervising and offering support to the younger pupils in my school." Petty details can be excluded e.g. "Keeping active is important to me and I have thoroughly enjoyed representing my school and my county at cross-country and 1500m." (that is if New Forest if a county, I have no idea :confused: ) This also means that you don't have to repeat the words New Forest (they do not care where you live) and represented.

Anyway, this is all nitpicky stuff so I'm sorry if I sound harsh (because that is not my intention despite how horrible I am sounding ) - my first draft was incredibly crappy compared to yours anyway You don't have to pay a blind bit of notice anyway
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katiyakat
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#19
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I agree entirely with everything Lucy said - all very useful pointers/tips.

One thing to add, just so that you know; personal statement writing can be quite a painful process! I must have been through at least 50 drafts and spent a cumulative total of many many hours on mine. One of the most frustrating things was having to cut the length down more and more even after I'd 'finalised' it, just so that it would fit onto the online UCAS form. Many people had less trouble, some had more. By the end, every single word counted and I could practically recite the thing from start to finish. However the result was that I was pleased with the actual final version and I had prompt offers from all the Universities I applied to (although Oxbridge is obviously a bit different) so I'd say that it was worth it .
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