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Should I talk about my year out of university in my personal statement? Watch

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    I had to take a year out of university (between 2nd and 3rd) to retake an exam I failed in 2nd year. I had mitigating circumstances for it, it involved the death of someone close to me. I had a professional write a letter to the university stating that in their professional opinion my exam result was affected by the loss. However, as a result of taking this year out I was able to work as a mathematics coach full time in a school providing intervention for students attaining below target grades in mathematics. I even get to go to teacher training events, and I've had leadership roles in helping new coaches who come to the school. I feel like I've learnt so much from this experience and it has been really good for me... But should I talk about it? I know I should definitely get my supervisor to mention why I had to retake the exam in his reference and why I took the year out and explain the situation, but do you think it will hurt my chances to talk about my gap year in a positive light? I want to apply for a Mathematics MSc so do you think it is worth talking a substantial amount about my work experience? Or is it too irrelevant and I should just mention it briefly with other hobbies and things I do?

    Thanks for your support and advice in advance!
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    If it has made you a better applicant, yes by all means. If you feel you need to explain yourself, then let your referee do it instead and save yourself the characters for something else!!!
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    Always play down any negatives - you have completed your degree successfully, so don't mention the year out specifically.

    You can play up the Maths experience stuff to make it sound like you did it as a placement, vacation job, part-time job etc, without dropping yourself into the possibility of looking a bit fragile/unreliable/flakey by having taken a year out.

    Your referee doesn't need to say anything more than something like 'despite some personal family issue in her 2nd year Betty showed enormous determination and achieved a good degree result' etc - again they don't need to mention the actual year out.
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    but if I say it was part time or a vacation job I would be lying and they could ask to contact the place and they will say I worked there full time for a year? How is that possible if I don't mention the year out? Also the year I started and finished wouldn't add up.
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    (Original post by chees006)
    but if I say it was part time or a vacation job I would be lying and they could ask to contact the place and they will say I worked there full time for a year? How is that possible if I don't mention the year out? Also the year I started and finished wouldn't add up.
    Firstly, I said 'make it sound like' not openly lie. There is a difference,
    And no University is going to 'contact the police' about a PS are they.
    Its increasingly possible to to a 4 year degree, so 'dates' will not look that odd at all.

    You have asked for advice. Here it is. Play down/disguise the negatives, This is what I would encourage any of my ex-students to do in these circumstances.
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    I wouldn't say try and hide it but don't dwell too much on the negative. I'd rather have it brought up at interview and discuss it rather than be caught trying to hide it. But definitely focus on the positives, what you learnt and how it's made you a better applicant and let your referee explain the details.
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    (Original post by returnmigrant)
    Firstly, I said 'make it sound like' not openly lie. There is a difference,
    And no University is going to 'contact the police' about a PS are they.
    Its increasingly possible to to a 4 year degree, so 'dates' will not look that odd at all.

    You have asked for advice. Here it is. Play down/disguise the negatives, This is what I would encourage any of my ex-students to do in these circumstances.
    Not sure why you are replying in a bad mood, even if you make it look like that it would be easy to discover the case and it would still be lying and falsely representing information.

    In case it hasn't occurred to you my concern was rejection because I lied or falsely represented myself, not that they would actually call the police... I was hoping you would provide more information on what you would do to make it seem less bad, that is why I replied what I did, you don't need to be condescending. I appreciate you taking the time to reply nevertheless
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    I wouldn't say try and hide it but don't dwell too much on the negative. I'd rather have it brought up at interview and discuss it rather than be caught trying to hide it. But definitely focus on the positives, what you learnt and how it's made you a better applicant and let your referee explain the details.
    Okay Thanks I'll do that, I definitely won't make it the focus of my application haha
 
 
 
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