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    Just thought i'd offer my advice on what to do personal statement wise. This generally applies to people applying to the pretty decent universities (probably from that top 20 list that they've got).

    Firstly, I can't believe how much of their personal statement people devote to talking about themselves. It's called a personal statement because you write it, not that it's written about you! I am confident in saying (although you may well disagree) that admissions officers aren't interested in you. Yes I'm sure you're a lovely person, but that counts for very little in this personal statement crap. So what should you be saying?

    Talking about how you're "devoted to study, motivated, organised" etc is just a waste of time. If you're applying to a good university, the officer will expect that of you as a given. No, the way to catch their eye is to suck up to them! And how do you do that!? You talk about the stuff they find interesting: Their subject.

    Now what i mean by that is as follows (Since i consider myself a physicist, i will use physics in my examples): You dont start with a paragraph talking about how much you looove physics, and that you read loads of books on it and stuff, because once again, that's talking about YOU. Stop talking about YOU! What you need to do is pick something very specific in your subject, but something advanced - not covered in your syllabus - something you'll be studying at university. I picked a topic called Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED) - you don't need to know what it is, but i can assure you that you dont cover it at 6th form college. It needs to be a reasonably wide area of your subject, not something too specific (you can't be enthuastic about a tiny aspect of a subject, that just makes you sound narrow).

    By starting your PS talking about a complex subject within your chosen subject, you instantly (without even saying it) show that 1. You like your subject, 2. You read around your subject, 3. You want to learn more about your subject and university is where you want to do it.

    You need to have a reference point in your chosen area - i read a short well known book about QED, and referred to things from there....you can throw in a few quotes from that reference (but nothing witty - admissions officers arent in the mood for bullsh*t).

    I reckon you need to devote about a third (or maybe a half) of your whole PS talking about this one chosen area. But it is important to show that you've thought about what you've read about in your reference point - this is perfectly done by leaving a few open questions; as for QED i think i used something like "But how something that is proven to be physically accurate actually works defies me - and i fear that this question is unanswerable by all, because it is beyond human thinking". It's basically getting the admissions officer to think how they would answer your question. Whatever you do, don't sound menacing or challenging, just make it sound like you are hugely interested in your subject, but can not understand it without their expert help, and you would greatly desire to spend the next 3 years discussing these matters and others like it with similar minded individuals.

    OK, so now you're either a third or halfway through and if alls well you've got the officer sitting their, interested - they can connect with you because you are asking the questions that they probably asked at your age - you are TALKING THEIR LANGUAGE. It's then time to show yourself off: at this stage it's time to drop in a few book titles that you've read, maybe touch on other areas of your course that interest you. Here you can actually briefly mention how you want to continue your learning, and university is the ideal environment to get your queries answered and to feed your desire to understand their subject.

    OK so now you can have a paragraph (a short one mind you) to sell the rest of yourself - talk about your interests other than your subject - try and think of the unique and unusual (for example, once a week for 6 months i did fencing - to drop this in i said "I enjoy experiencing the arts, and have even tried my hand at the martial art of fencing" - so not only have i shown off about the unusual fact that i have done fencing, i have shown i enjoy other arts, e.g. music, art, drama).

    Then you're left with 2 or 3 lines, and all there is left to do is think of something memorable (but not cocky or arrogant), something that sums up why you should be given a place (dont say that of course)...you suggest it by appealing to what they are after - an inquistive, dedicated, open minded individual.

    There, i think that's all i've got to say. This can sound like you're being very daring with your PS, but officers are looking for the unusual - but that the seriously unusual!
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    just out of interest... where did you apply and what were your offers?

    my personal statement wasn't great (it wasn't total crap though) but i still managed to get 6 offers, but i think that's because i applied to an undersubscribed course (cos it is half maths)... dare i be cynical and say you ps possible wasn't as great and radical as you think but if you have good predicted grades for a course like physics it isn't really that important.

    lou xxx
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    Of course, you're clearly the most arrogant man alive.
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    Yep, how can someone post that without justifying why we should consider him/her an expert?!
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    i'm not considering myself an expert at all - i'm just saying how i think people can make their personal statements more interesting - stand out. If you don't think this works, then fine, it's just advice, i'm only saying it because it worked for me, and it worked for quite a few colleuges.

    For the guy who was interested - i got my 6 offers from durham, warrick, bristol, imperial, bath and cambridge.


    I'm sorry if I came off arrogant, i'm just passing on what i was told by people who i greatly respect. I remember writing my personal statement and thought it was brilliant. The teachers i showed it to all said it was brilliant, how I'd talked about how I like to do all this extra curricular stuff and read loads of books on my subject etc etc. So because I was getting all this good feedback, I didnt bother showing it to my reference writer (the teacher I truly respected) until a week before the deadline. I showed it to him and he just laughed and said "Stop talking about yourself you idiot - I'm not interested in you, you suck, I'm interested in physics, talk about physics". It hurt like hell and I just felt really embarrassed. So i took a shot at what he suggested and it paid off - a fellow colleague didnt trust his advice and stuck with his original version - he got turned down by 3 universities

    I'm only offering advice because other people do the same. I have been to conferences where admissions officers have talked about what they want to see - and fine, yes the stuff about "you" is what they want to see if you are unable to talk about your subject. (Ok I can see why that sounds arrogant)

    OK OK, I'm sorry I'm really sorry - just ignore this advice if you want, do your personal statement how whoever you respect tells you to do it. I'm just telling you what the person I respect told me to do.
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    I think that's good advice, or at least an interesting idea.

    Willa please check your private messages.
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    Did u read Richard Feynmans(soz abt spelling) QED? I still havent got around to reading that. We did do a bit of quantum in our AS physics course and his name is meantioned a bit in our text book. I really enjoy quantum and wish I was continuing physics to A2 but i have to quit for other reasons.
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    yes it was feynmans 4 lectures on QED - i highly recommend it, an excellent introduction to the complexities of quantum light
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    I think it's excellent advice (because I did the same... hehe). That should go up on your website loftx
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    (Original post by blissy)
    That should go up on your website loftx
    I am already involved in talks with the relevent parties :cool:
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    Good advice Willa.
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    Willa, You could sound arrogant with that kind of advice, yep, but I personally think it's brilliant advice! Cus I personally got quite bored with some personal statements posted on here and elsewhere and indeed those were PS all about "you" - now I've only read a few. Imagine how bored the admissioner is by the time they reach your PS! Saying that, my PS right now IS all about me at this point - maybe that's why I can't be bothered to edit it further (how lazy can I get?)

    But Willa you certainly have a point. People in general though just don't like blunt advice due to pride and what not - saying that, I'm not keen on blunt advice but that depends on whom it's coming from! Actually, I'm contridicting myself - I prefer the truth, whatever it might be.
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    this seems like pretty damn good advice mate, im using it rite now actually.
    just one question: how much detail should i go into about my topic? im hoping to do maths an i dont think i can go into much detail without hitting some equations-which i dont really want to be writing out
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    good advice, I agree, but for most applications for the top unis (such as Willa applied to) the personal statement does not guarantee you a place. Many of the "top" unis interview canditates and set tests which are primarily used alongside predicted grades and references to decide whether or not an applicant should be offered a place.

    So although your PS is vital, it will probably only get you an interview - not a place.
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    My personal statement advice -
    Don't just highlight your academic side. They WANT to know other interests - that you have a life outside college, so mention stuff like if your on the basketball/football team etc.
    You get marked on your personal statement, out of 30. (awarded in 10,15,15) I can't remember properly but I think 15 is for your academic side, 15 for how much you are suited to the degree and 10 for hobbies and outside activities. I know this because I requested feedback from Manchester Uni along with some others - and this is what I was told.
    You really have to sell yourself - there is no room for modesty.
    If you have work experience (eg. for Law) mention it and what you gained. If you took part in any National competitions (eg. National Bar Mock Trial Comp) - mention it.
    PS is v.important. My mate got AAAAA and didn't get into ANY universities because her PS was not brill.
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    (Original post by Misbah Imtiaz)
    You get marked on your personal statement, out of 30. (awarded in 10,15,15) I can't remember properly but I think 15 is for your academic side, 15 for how much you are suited to the degree and 10 for hobbies and outside activities. I know this because I requested feedback from Manchester Uni along with some others - and this is what I was told.
    I'm pretty sure it dosn't work like this for all unis. Different subjects and unis place different amouts of emphasis on different bits of the personal statement, but usually they give you an idea of the sort of things they're looking for in their prospectus or on the website.
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    (Original post by toad)
    this seems like pretty damn good advice mate, im using it rite now actually.
    just one question: how much detail should i go into about my topic? im hoping to do maths an i dont think i can go into much detail without hitting some equations-which i dont really want to be writing out
    well have the equations got a famous name? Everyone knows pythagoras's theorem, and the equation which goes with it. So if you're wanting to discuss why you find a particular theorem so interesting, mentioning it's name should suffice (the tutor should know what you're on about if it's well known). Then you just go on to explain how you intrepret it, why it is important to mathematicians or whatever, and then why you find it so bizarre/interesting.


    Give about 1/3 to a half of your PS on this ONE single topic area. After you've done that first paragraph and the second paragraph talking about all the extra books you've read etc etc, you should have used between 2/3 and 3/4 of the space.


    Sorry for the late reply, I thought this thread had bitten the dust!

    if you post your PS up on studential.com then we can review it for ya!
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    (Original post by Willla2)
    if you post your PS up on studential.com then we can review it for ya!
    Just to clarify - if you post your ps up make sure you do it through the personal statement review section (http://www.studential.com/psreview/) rather than the profile section. I haven't really made the distinction clear yet.
 
 
 
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