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Zoology Personal Statement watch

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    Hi,

    I first wanted to apply for animal behaviour and realised that there was realistically only one decent university that I wanted to go to (I'm aiming for Russell Group) so to widen my search slightly I have decided that I would apply for Zoology instead as they often have a main component of animal behaviour in them. Slight issue is that a lot of work that I have done in the past year has been to do with animal behaviour but I suppose I can still include it in my statement.

    I'm going to talk to my biology teacher tomorrow about what else I should put in for a Zoology personal statement and which unis he would recommend as being the best to get into (after all it's the uni you go to not the degree you get there that people look at) and get some help because animal behaviour was a lot more specific so I knew what to write about!

    Just wondering if anyone has any advice for me, any recommendations on books I can read like a lunatic while I write this personal statements, good unis for the subject etc?

    My heart has and always will be set on Exeter but I'm considering Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool maybe and Manchester maybe. I know St Andrew's is good as well but I really don't want to go and live in Scotland!

    Thanks very much

    P.S. if you could quote this in your answer it would be appreciated so that I get the notification for it!
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    Revision/learning material: https://wordery.com/the-zoology-colo...QKwaAg7B8P8HAQ
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    The link doesn't seem to be working but I looked it up and it actually looks so useful, thank you so much!
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    A couple of things to correct you on there. The Russell group is a group of research intensive unis so unless there's a specific bit of research you may want to be involved with or a specific lecturer you want to learn from it doesn't mean much to an undergrad. Your involvement in research isn't likely to be high. Second, if you're looking for a career in the field it's very much about what you studied and less about where you did so so go with courses that interest you most and through which you'll gain the maximum exposure to things that interest you and will help with your career. Your PS should be about your specific academic interest in the subject, why you want to study it at uni and what you've done to prepare for uni. Have a look at course reading lists to get an idea of what will be taught and read around those.
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    (Original post by liquity)
    Just wondering if anyone has any advice for me, any recommendations on books I can read like a lunatic while I write this personal statements, good unis for the subject etc?

    My heart has and always will be set on Exeter but I'm considering Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool maybe and Manchester maybe. I know St Andrew's is good as well but I really don't want to go and live in Scotland!
    I would highly recommend The Selfish Gene for zoology students. I remember referencing it in my personal statement (I read Natural Sciences specialising in zoology). Those unis you reference are all good. Maybe also consider Bristol, and Oxford and Cambridge both have fantastic zoology departments.

    A nice thing to do in your personal statement is to refer to a current development of controversy in the field, which will show you are keeping up with the field and thinking at an advanced level. Read New Scientist or Scientific American (or even Nature and Science if you dare) to get some subject matter.

    (Original post by alleycat393)
    A couple of things to correct you on there. The Russell group is a group of research intensive unis so unless there's a specific bit of research you may want to be involved with or a specific lecturer you want to learn from it doesn't mean much to an undergrad. Your involvement in research isn't likely to be high. Second, if you're looking for a career in the field it's very much about what you studied and less about where you did so so go with courses that interest you most and through which you'll gain the maximum exposure to things that interest you and will help with your career.
    This is a bit misleading. Where you go does matter, especially when aiming for very competitive jobs or further study. I would consider a zoology degree from Cambridge much more highly than one from Lincoln (nothing against Lincoln, just plucked it at random). A more prestigious course is harder to get onto, you will be taught at a faster pace with more able peers, and by important figures in the field. And you will get some opportunities to interact with them, especially as you get into the final year, do projects, and maybe get advice on further study.

    I would almost always recommend people go a university with the highest entry standards they can achieve.
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    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    This is a bit misleading. Where you go does matter, especially when aiming for very competitive jobs or further study. I would consider a zoology degree from Cambridge much more highly than one from Lincoln (nothing against Lincoln, just plucked it at random). A more prestigious course is harder to get onto, you will be taught at a faster pace with more able peers, and by important figures in the field. And you will get some opportunities to interact with them, especially as you get into the final year, do projects, and maybe get advice on further study.

    I would almost always recommend people go a university with the highest entry standards they can achieve.
    First off, I didn't say it doesn't matter. I said it matters less. I was correcting this misconception: it's the uni you go to not the degree you get there.

    Second, I wouldn't advise students to only look for prestigious courses. Unis that offer courses can have all the prestige in the world but if the course isn't right for you there's no point in doing it. But I do agree that in extreme cases such as Cambridge vs Lincoln, for example, Cambridge would win unless Lincoln is offering a specialist course which Cambridge doesn't.

    Finally, in the unis I've studied and worked in (all Russell group), the 'heavy-weights' doing the award winning, 'sexy' science can usually opt to be hidden away from undergrads and do no undergrad teaching at all (including projects). They may be involved in postgrad teaching and/or research though.
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    A couple of things to correct you on there. The Russell group is a group of research intensive unis so unless there's a specific bit of research you may want to be involved with or a specific lecturer you want to learn from it doesn't mean much to an undergrad. Your involvement in research isn't likely to be high. Second, if you're looking for a career in the field it's very much about what you studied and less about where you did so so go with courses that interest you most and through which you'll gain the maximum exposure to things that interest you and will help with your career. Your PS should be about your specific academic interest in the subject, why you want to study it at uni and what you've done to prepare for uni. Have a look at course reading lists to get an idea of what will be taught and read around those.
    Look, I want to go to a Russell Group uni because I've always been more research based anyway and all the teachers at my school will recommend them for sciences. I have the ability to get into them and looking at the courses they actually look the best as they offer modules I'm interested in. And of course I'm not going to ignore the degree whatsoever, Zoology is what I have always wanted to do and is the only thing I can imagine myself doing at uni, but I don't want to go to a uni like Bangor for example which is slightly ridiculed at my school because we have the ability to go to much more prestigious unis with better courses.

    But thanks for the PS advice, I am focusing it a lot around my interest in the animal behaviour section of uni courses and I am picking them based on how many animal behaviour modules I can take also.
    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    I would highly recommend The Selfish Gene for zoology students. I remember referencing it in my personal statement (I read Natural Sciences specialising in zoology). Those unis you reference are all good. Maybe also consider Bristol, and Oxford and Cambridge both have fantastic zoology departments.

    A nice thing to do in your personal statement is to refer to a current development of controversy in the field, which will show you are keeping up with the field and thinking at an advanced level. Read New Scientist or Scientific American (or even Nature and Science if you dare) to get some subject matter.

    I would almost always recommend people go a university with the highest entry standards they can achieve.
    I will have a look into that as I have only read animal behaviour books so far! Going to go and find myself a copy on Amazon now

    I was considering Bristol but my biology teacher said it can be really hard to get into because it's ridiculously popular, I have also looked on various course comparison sights and it has a very low student satisfaction so I am slightly dubious about that? Met a girl who was doing vet school there and she talked mostly about the nightlife instead of how good her course was, the only think she said was how basic the first year was i.e. being taught how to put a headcollar on a horse! I know I'm not doing veterinary but it's slightly worrying that despite work experience that people are meant to have gotten beforehand that they're being taught things like that. And as for Oxford and Cambridge, I would love to consider it but I'm not getting predicted any A*s

    Ah okay, that is really good advice about controversy in the field, I'll scour the school's copies of the New Scientist because the subscription is so expensive!

    And that's what my school says, if you have the ability then apply for unis with the higher grades because you'll be taught at a level that suits you etc!
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    (Original post by liquity)
    Look, I want to go to a Russell Group uni because I've always been more research based anyway and all the teachers at my school will recommend them for sciences. I have the ability to get into them and looking at the courses they actually look the best as they offer modules I'm interested in.
    If you have your heart set on a Russell group, feel confident that you can get in and think they offer the best courses then by all means go for it and good luck! All I'm trying to make you aware of is that a Russell group course is no different from a course at a non-Russell group good uni in terms of how much research you may actually be exposed to. Besides, at your stage it's highly unlikely that you have a realistic idea of what a research environment is like or learning in one is like even if you consider yourself 'research based'.

    Just a couple of final notes:
    If you're worried about quality of course another thing to look at is accreditation by the Society of Biology. This is by no means something to choose unis by but it gives you an idea of what requirements the courses meet.

    Your typical school teacher has only ever been a student at a uni, hasn't necessarily worked in one and certainly hasn't necessarily taught in one so unless they have a vast amount of experience with particular unis or inside knowledge of them, I wouldn't go solely by their recommendations.
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    If you have your heart set on a Russell group, feel confident that you can get in and think they offer the best courses then by all means go for it and good luck! All I'm trying to make you aware of is that a Russell group course is no different from a course at a non-Russell group good uni in terms of how much research you may actually be exposed to. Besides, at your stage it's highly unlikely that you have a realistic idea of what a research environment is like or learning in one is like even if you consider yourself 'research based'.

    Just a couple of final notes:
    If you're worried about quality of course another thing to look at is accreditation by the Society of Biology. This is by no means something to choose unis by but it gives you an idea of what requirements the courses meet.

    Your typical school teacher has only ever been a student at a uni, hasn't necessarily worked in one and certainly hasn't necessarily taught in one so unless they have a vast amount of experience with particular unis or inside knowledge of them, I wouldn't go solely by their recommendations.
    I thank you for your warnings but I'm sure my teachers have a pretty good idea of which universities are the best for their subject considering they help many pupils a year get into universities and they know how to get me there. I will have a look for the accreditations. And of course I don't know exactly what a research based environment is but I know I'd rather be doing research than doing a load of essays. But thanks for the advice
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    Right, it doesn't sound like I'm likely to get through to you but I actually like helping students and am not one to give up, so here's hoping. Teaching misinformed first year undergrads who come to us with some unrealistic expectations bothers me so please bear with me. You may not take my advice but other people reading this may find it helpful.
    I'm not saying that your teachers recommendations are not going to get you into uni. I'm saying that teachers are less likely to know about differences between courses than people like myself who work in the field and teach the courses.
    Secondly, if you think that going to a Russell group uni will get you more involved in research and writing less essays you're sadly mistaken. Writing is an essential academic skill and integral to the research process and writing essays is a great way to develop the skill. I teach on some of the biological sciences based modules, including zoology ones, at a Russell group uni and our students, including masters students, certainly spend a lot of time writing essays. And I can second that as someone who did an undergrad degree at a Russell group uni too.


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    Echoing what alleycat has said above me... If you don't even believe that, a number of unis will have details on how you are assessed on their websites (but of course, some unis will have more information than others - you can always ask at open days)
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    (Original post by liquity)
    And of course I don't know exactly what a research based environment is but I know I'd rather be doing research than doing a load of essays.
    You won't be doing any real research as an undergrad. You will be writing essays, whatever uni you go to.

    The advantages of a RG uni are not how you work, it's the amount of content, the prestige of the name, working with more able peers, and being taught by more research active staff.
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    (Original post by liquity)
    Hi,

    I first wanted to apply for animal behaviour and realised that there was realistically only one decent university that I wanted to go to (I'm aiming for Russell Group) so to widen my search slightly I have decided that I would apply for Zoology instead as they often have a main component of animal behaviour in them. Slight issue is that a lot of work that I have done in the past year has been to do with animal behaviour but I suppose I can still include it in my statement.

    I'm going to talk to my biology teacher tomorrow about what else I should put in for a Zoology personal statement and which unis he would recommend as being the best to get into (after all it's the uni you go to not the degree you get there that people look at) and get some help because animal behaviour was a lot more specific so I knew what to write about!

    Just wondering if anyone has any advice for me, any recommendations on books I can read like a lunatic while I write this personal statements, good unis for the subject etc?

    My heart has and always will be set on Exeter but I'm considering Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool maybe and Manchester maybe. I know St Andrew's is good as well but I really don't want to go and live in Scotland!

    Thanks very much

    P.S. if you could quote this in your answer it would be appreciated so that I get the notification for it!
    I did my undergrad in zoology at Bristol and would highly recommend it - the course is a lot more academically rigorous than at Leeds and Exeter (I did my masters at Leeds and much of it was on a level with my undergrad study, and I had a friend studying at Exeter simultaneously). I do honestly believe the name helps as well. The top researchers there do get involved with undergrads, so you can end up with some really good contacts.

    As for your personal statement you just need to be able to show you're passionate about the subject! I just wrote that I'd wanted to be a marine biologist since I was two, I loved the natural world, I was going on a research expedition in my year out and I could scuba dive. Extra curriculars are good, I didn't put down any extra reading but if you want to go down that route I'd recommend the red queen by Matt Ridley (although buy it second hand because the bloke who wrote it is a total jerk and I don't want to line his pockets!)
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    What were your A level results? I've heard it's very competitive at Bristol as most people apply with AAA

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    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    You won't be doing any real research as an undergrad. You will be writing essays, whatever uni you go to.

    The advantages of a RG uni are not how you work, it's the amount of content, the prestige of the name, working with more able peers, and being taught by more research active staff.
    (Original post by alleycat393)
    Right, it doesn't sound like I'm likely to get through to you but I actually like helping students and am not one to give up, so here's hoping. Teaching misinformed first year undergrads who come to us with some unrealistic expectations bothers me so please bear with me. You may not take my advice but other people reading this may find it helpful.
    I'm not saying that your teachers recommendations are not going to get you into uni. I'm saying that teachers are less likely to know about differences between courses than people like myself who work in the field and teach the courses.
    Secondly, if you think that going to a Russell group uni will get you more involved in research and writing less essays you're sadly mistaken. Writing is an essential academic skill and integral to the research process and writing essays is a great way to develop the skill. I teach on some of the biological sciences based modules, including zoology ones, at a Russell group uni and our students, including masters students, certainly spend a lot of time writing essays. And I can second that as someone who did an undergrad degree at a Russell group uni too.


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    Okay let me get something clear. I know I will be writing essays. I know that and I knew it before I made that comment, what I meant is that I don't want to be doing as many as say and English degree. Also, patronising me as if I don't have a clue what I'm on about doesn't make me want to listen to you. I am sticking with applying to the Russell group unis as their courses look the most appealing to me anyway, I'm not doing it just for the name so please get that out of your head.
    (Original post by redferry)
    I did my undergrad in zoology at Bristol and would highly recommend it - the course is a lot more academically rigorous than at Leeds and Exeter (I did my masters at Leeds and much of it was on a level with my undergrad study, and I had a friend studying at Exeter simultaneously). I do honestly believe the name helps as well. The top researchers there do get involved with undergrads, so you can end up with some really good contacts.

    As for your personal statement you just need to be able to show you're passionate about the subject! I just wrote that I'd wanted to be a marine biologist since I was two, I loved the natural world, I was going on a research expedition in my year out and I could scuba dive. Extra curriculars are good, I didn't put down any extra reading but if you want to go down that route I'd recommend the red queen by Matt Ridley (although buy it second hand because the bloke who wrote it is a total jerk and I don't want to line his pockets!)
    I am definitely considering Bristol! Loads of people who were able to go to the open day (I wasn't as my mum was busy at the time) said they really liked it, although general student satisfaction on various websites seems to be low? That's my only worry. And thanks so much, I've tried to only put down the relevant things to the course because of the limited characters and I'm like 2 under! I see, okay thank you this has been helpful
    (Original post by kattoo)
    What were your A level results? I've heard it's very competitive at Bristol as most people apply with AAA

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    I got ABB but I am retaking exams in both the Bs that I got to hopefully boost them up to an A. I am getting predicted 2 As at least and I just need to find out about the third
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    (Original post by liquity)

    I am definitely considering Bristol! Loads of people who were able to go to the open day (I wasn't as my mum was busy at the time) said they really liked it, although general student satisfaction on various websites seems to be low? That's my only worry. And thanks so much, I've tried to only put down the relevant things to the course because of the limited characters and I'm like 2 under! I see, okay thank you this has been helpful

    I got ABB but I am retaking exams in both the Bs that I got to hopefully boost them up to an A. I am getting predicted 2 As at least and I just need to find out about the third
    In my experience the student satisfaction for Bristol overall is brought down by the engineering and physics departments - which seemed on a mission to make their students as miserable as possible. Everyone I know really enjoyed the biology/zoology course. It really is academically rigorous as well, which is a major bonus.

    In short I wouldn't let student satisfaction put you off
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    I'm predicted AAB but only have biology and two 'softsciences' would they still consider me?

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    (Original post by kattoo)
    I'm predicted AAB but only have biology and two 'softsciences' would they still consider me?

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    I took biology geography and psychology at a level and got accepted into Bristol so I wouldn't worry
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    (Original post by liquity)
    Okay let me get something clear. I know I will be writing essays. I know that and I knew it before I made that comment, what I meant is that I don't want to be doing as many as say and English degree. Also, patronising me as if I don't have a clue what I'm on about doesn't make me want to listen to you. I am sticking with applying to the Russell group unis as their courses look the most appealing to me anyway, I'm not doing it just for the name so please get that out of your head.
    First off, apologies if you thought I was patronising you as that was not my intention. As I've said before if you have your heart set on an RG then go for it and good luck. It's your application so you're welcome to do what you like with it. We're just here to advise based on our experience. Also there are lots of other students who may read this thread and find it helpful so this isn't only about whether you want to take the advice or not. Anyway, you've had some really good advice in this thread from lots of different people so good luck with your application




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    (Original post by redferry)
    In my experience the student satisfaction for Bristol overall is brought down by the engineering and physics departments - which seemed on a mission to make their students as miserable as possible. Everyone I know really enjoyed the biology/zoology course. It really is academically rigorous as well, which is a major bonus.

    In short I wouldn't let student satisfaction put you off
    Ah okay, I'll put it back in my shortlist then! Academically rigorous if probably more my style! Are there any other units you know that zoology is good for?

    (Original post by kattoo)
    I'm predicted AAB but only have biology and two 'softsciences' would they still consider me?

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    As long as you have biology I think you're fine, sometimes they prefer another science but look on the entry requirements

    (Original post by alleycat393)
    First off, apologies if you thought I was patronising you as that was not my intention. As I've said before if you have your heart set on an RG then go for it and good luck. It's your application so you're welcome to do what you like with it. We're just here to advise based on our experience. Also there are lots of other students who may read this thread and find it helpful so this isn't only about whether you want to take the advice or not. Anyway, you've had some really good advice in this thread from lots of different people so good luck with your application




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    Okay thanks very much
 
 
 
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