Personal Statement question: naming books? Watch

username1370769
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Hi! Obviously you can't use italics in your personal statement.

When naming books that you have read, is it necessary to put quotation marks around the titles? I would normally just italicise the titles but this isn't possible in a personal statement.

Quotation marks would add, in my case, another 10 characters, and I'm already 50 characters over despite redrafting and cutting down my character count significantly (my first draft was 6000 characters) so I cannot really afford to waste characters.

Would it be poor form to not put the titles in italics?e.g. I would normally write: Albert Camus' L'étranger

Can I put: Albert Camus' L'étranger

or should it really be: Albert Camus' "L'étranger"

I'm applying to Oxford so I really want to be careful that I don't make any glaringly obvious mistakes...
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Quamquam123
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(Original post by BEARichards)
Hi! Obviously you can't use italics in your personal statement.

When naming books that you have read, is it necessary to put quotation marks around the titles? I would normally just italicise the titles but this isn't possible in a personal statement.

Quotation marks would add, in my case, another 10 characters, and I'm already 50 characters over despite redrafting and cutting down my character count significantly (my first draft was 6000 characters) so I cannot really afford to waste characters.

Would it be poor form to not put the titles in italics?e.g. I would normally write: Albert Camus' L'étranger

Can I put: Albert Camus' L'étranger

or should it really be: Albert Camus' "L'étranger"

I'm applying to Oxford so I really want to be careful that I don't make any glaringly obvious mistakes...
The general rule of thumb is that on the computer, book titles are put in italics and when handwritten, book titles are presented like your last option. Hope this helps and good luck.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by Quamquam123)
The general rule of thumb is that on the computer, book titles are put in italics and when handwritten, book titles are presented like your last option. Hope this helps and good luck.
It rather misses the point of his question, which was specifically about a UCAS PS, where you cannot use italics.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by BEARichards)
Hi! Obviously you can't use italics in your personal statement.
Your OP raises three questions, the more important pair of which are not the one you asked. The PS is a piece of formal writing, and that should suggest the correct answer to you: use quotation marks, it is what they were invented for.

You are counting characters. The more important limit is the number of lines (47). No well presented PS will have more than 3,200 to 3,600 characters in it because of the need for inter-paragraph blank lines. See my profile for advice on that.

Five books sounds to be rather a lot to be mentioning, and you might do better to concentrate on just two or three and discuss what you have gained from reading them, lest you make the PS appear as a mere list.
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sindyscape62
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(Original post by BEARichards)
Hi! Obviously you can't use italics in your personal statement.

When naming books that you have read, is it necessary to put quotation marks around the titles? I would normally just italicise the titles but this isn't possible in a personal statement.

Quotation marks would add, in my case, another 10 characters, and I'm already 50 characters over despite redrafting and cutting down my character count significantly (my first draft was 6000 characters) so I cannot really afford to waste characters.

Would it be poor form to not put the titles in italics?e.g. I would normally write: Albert Camus' L'étranger

Can I put: Albert Camus' L'étranger

or should it really be: Albert Camus' "L'étranger"

I'm applying to Oxford so I really want to be careful that I don't make any glaringly obvious mistakes...
I'd advise using quotation marks although it probably wouldn't make a huge amount of difference as long as it's clear what the book title is. About your character count problem, the easiest way to bring it down in to take some of those books out of the personal statement- 5 is unusually high and it would be better to discuss in a lot of detail one or two books.
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username1884577
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You put the book title in quotation marks, and then by (author)
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ConicalFlask
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Would

Collins advanced science textbook on human biology

Be acceptable? It seems more a description than a book title to me.
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sweeneyrod
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(Original post by ConicalFlask)
Would

Collins advanced science textbook on human biology

Be acceptable? It seems more a description than a book title to me.
Capitalise each word.
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sweeneyrod
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(Original post by BEARichards)
Hi! Obviously you can't use italics in your personal statement.

When naming books that you have read, is it necessary to put quotation marks around the titles? I would normally just italicise the titles but this isn't possible in a personal statement.

Quotation marks would add, in my case, another 10 characters, and I'm already 50 characters over despite redrafting and cutting down my character count significantly (my first draft was 6000 characters) so I cannot really afford to waste characters.

Would it be poor form to not put the titles in italics?e.g. I would normally write: Albert Camus' L'étranger

Can I put: Albert Camus' L'étranger

or should it really be: Albert Camus' "L'étranger"

I'm applying to Oxford so I really want to be careful that I don't make any glaringly obvious mistakes...
Yes, use quotes. I think this: "L'étranger" by Albert Camus looks best, although it is slightly longer. In this specific case (foreign book title) I think you could get away with not having quotes, but I think it's better to cut whole sections of your personal statement to make it fit, rather than filling it with slightly awkward phrasings that each save a couple of characters.

An additional problem you will have: UCAS doesn't allow special characters, so you'll have to work out what to do with your "é". In this case, I'd just call it "The Stranger" (which has the added bonus of sounding a little less pretentious).
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Good bloke
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(Original post by sweeneyrod)
Yes, use quotes. I think this: "L'étranger" by Albert Camus looks best, although it is slightly longer. In this specific case (foreign book title) I think you could get away with not having quotes, but I think it's better to cut whole sections of your personal statement to make it fit, rather than filling it with slightly awkward phrasings that each save a couple of characters.

An additional problem you will have: UCAS doesn't allow special characters, so you'll have to work out what to do with your "é". In this case, I'd just call it "The Stranger" (which has the added bonus of sounding a little less pretentious).
No. In fact you have pointed out a problem in the OP I hadn't spotted. It should be "L'Etranger" as "etranger" should have an initial capital and upper case letters lose their accents in French.
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UCLScienceMan365
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I would definitely recommend using quotes - that's what i did in my PS many years ago - and then making other parts of your PS more concise.
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username1370769
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Thanks guys! I ended up managing to cut out the characters elsewhere by rewording some phrases etc., which allowed me to add in the quotation marks
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by BEARichards)
Thanks guys! I ended up managing to cut out the characters elsewhere by rewording some phrases etc., which allowed me to add in the quotation marks
I just wanted to echo what Good bloke said about not mentioning too many books - universities are not interested in you simply listing impressive sounding books you've read. They want to understand what you thought about those books and how that has resulted in you wanting to study that subject. This is why it's a much better idea to focus on 2-3 books.
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username1370769
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
I just wanted to echo what Good bloke said about not mentioning too many books - universities are not interested in you simply listing impressive sounding books you've read. They want to understand what you thought about those books and how that has resulted in you wanting to study that subject. This is why it's a much better idea to focus on 2-3 books.
Thank you! It was actually 4 books and 1 song, but one of the books was named quickly in my intro with barely anything about it (it sounds like it shouldn't work, but it did!) and the other 3 are written about in more detail covering the 2 subjects I'm applying to study!
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JN17
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Personally I wouldn't write about 3 books & a song in detail on a PS, takes far too much space (if in enough detail) and takes space away from mentioning other things you've done. I'd advise writing only about 1-2 books (excluding the intro) in detail to make your point and ask a teacher to mention in a reference that you read a lot around your subject or something of the sort.
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