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What to include in a Computer Science Personal Statement

So I've recently decided to apply for Computer Science at Uni. However, I've done little to nothing regarding this specific course, the only thing I do is self teach myself different languages. What can I do to make my personal statement better? Getting work experience/placement would be out of the question for me, as I live in a kinda isolated area and I would need to travel a good 20 mins to get to the closest town that is still pretty small
Original post by solark
So I've recently decided to apply for Computer Science at Uni. However, I've done little to nothing regarding this specific course, the only thing I do is self teach myself different languages. What can I do to make my personal statement better? Getting work experience/placement would be out of the question for me, as I live in a kinda isolated area and I would need to travel a good 20 mins to get to the closest town that is still pretty small

In your personal statement, it is supposed to ultimately convey why you want to study Computer Science in the first place (how did you become interested in CS). Having work experience won't really make a difference to your uni application anyway though it is beneficial to have.

Do you study a computer/IT related subject? - you could mention the specific principals that you've learnt and why it has interested you.
- Mention about your career goals and what you want to get out of the degree
- You could speak about your achievements i.e have you been part of any teams or participated in DofE.
- If you've learnt a programming language mention some mini projects you've done or if not you could start one, for instance, you could create a mini game during the Holidays, there are many tutorials to help on YouTube, Codeacademy etc.

These are some of the things I mentioned in my Comp Sci PS and managed of obtain a place at a top 20 university.
Reply 2
work experience in the field is not really that necessary. just show you're really passionate in the subject, by for example as you mentioned self teaching languages, maybe you read about IT related news on a certain website? mention a very recent example. also how your courses are helping you understand the skills you need to study cs. (logical, analytical, language etc.). if that is not enough, perhaps start a relatively small project or you could help around the stack exchange website, but i doubt that is necessary.
What do you like about computer science.
Artificial intelligence?
Machine learning?
Software design?
Game development?
Data analysis?

Then go and find a book and read it. You don't have to read all of it but just skim through it and pick out one or two points to talk about.

For instance :
"I'm particularly fascinated with artifical intelligence, the possibilities for which are endless. Reading the book "X", I became interested in how machine learning works and the algorithms behind it. I decided to take my research further and attempted to create a simple machine learning program using "Y" which really showed me the... "

You get the idea. Don't lie though since if you are called up for an interview they'll probably catch you out.

Good luck.
Original post by solark
So I've recently decided to apply for Computer Science at Uni. However, I've done little to nothing regarding this specific course, the only thing I do is self teach myself different languages. What can I do to make my personal statement better? Getting work experience/placement would be out of the question for me, as I live in a kinda isolated area and I would need to travel a good 20 mins to get to the closest town that is still pretty small

Passion. Many see CS as a meal ticket, so demonstrating that you're passionate about it is important. You should do your own projects - either lots of small ones, or fewer, large ones. It amazes me that so many CS courses say that no prior knowledge is required, when it is so easy to get now.

If trying lots of languages is your thing, then I'd give your views on the relative merits, for your projects, on your PS.
I structured mine into 5 parts:

Why I'm interested in CS and why I think I'm the right kind of person to study it. Try to avoid cliches, but this is hard because the truth isn't very original so just be honest.

The study you've done in preparation for a CS degree and what about them you enjoy most. Include current college courses and any self-learning and online bits you've done along with the aspects you most enjoyed and found challenging.

What makes me a rounded person. I think this is probably the most important bit because you're among a sea of other intelligent, hard working hopefuls and you want to stand out not just academically, but as a person. In here I spoke about my musical interests including bands I've played in and what transferable skills that developed. And I also spoke about time backpacking and travelling, again drawing upon transferable life skills that demonstrates.

My employment background, past and current. Keep it brief and stick to relevant skills discussion.

Finally my ambitions and how a CS degree will help me achieve that. I stuck a reference to current news in CS in here to demonstrate my interest as well.
Original post by solark
What can I do to make my personal statement better?


You will likely be amazed at the number of personal statements I read that don't do any of these three things:

Mention concrete examples of problem solving, programming, software development, and/or algorithm design

Provide a link to an open-source repository, on a website like GitHub (www.github.com), for software you claim to have made

Explain your aspirations, and how you think the degree will help you to fulfill those aspirations


Original post by solark
Getting work experience/placement would be out of the question for me, as I live in a kinda isolated area


If you have access to the Internet, you can get experience in computing.

Do something entrepreneurial!

You could invent a new tool using an Arduino. You could build an app for Android. You could contribute to an open-source project. You could even make a game! More than 1/4 of my students get involved in start-ups before the finish their degree. They make things that others find useful and then they sell them.
Reply 7
Thank you all for your responses and suggestions, you have been a major help! I have started getting acquainted with different programming languages on codecademy, finished the python course and I am now starting with JavaScript. How advantageous would that be and how could I mention it in my personal statement without just stating 'I learnt how to program in this and that languages'? :smile:
Original post by solark
I learnt how to program in this and that languages


I like to see evidence of, or at least a well-explained concrete example of, how applicants have applied their programming skills. Simply, after you've completed a course, make something.
Reply 9
Original post by Falmouth Uni Games Academy (Computing)
I like to see evidence of, or at least a well-explained concrete example of, how applicants have applied their programming skills. Simply, after you've completed a course, make something.


I have made very simple things as part of the course, such as a battlefield game, an alarm clock and a simple calculator.
Original post by solark
I have made very simple things as part of the course, such as a battlefield game, an alarm clock and a simple calculator.


Mention one of these in your personal statement then---you could even expand upon and extend it if you wanted to.

:smile:
Original post by Falmouth Uni Games Academy (Computing)
You will likely be amazed at the number of personal statements I read that don't do any of these three things:

Mention concrete examples of problem solving, programming, software development, and/or algorithm design

Provide a link to an open-source repository, on a website like GitHub (www.github.com), for software you claim to have made

Explain your aspirations, and how you think the degree will help you to fulfill those aspirations




If you have access to the Internet, you can get experience in computing.

Do something entrepreneurial!

You could invent a new tool using an Arduino. You could build an app for Android. You could contribute to an open-source project. You could even make a game! More than 1/4 of my students get involved in start-ups before the finish their degree. They make things that others find useful and then they sell them.

Can you put links in a personal statement? would the link even work? as im thinking of using it for my own
Reply 12
Original post by unknownJ12
Can you put links in a personal statement? would the link even work? as im thinking of using it for my own

I would recommend against doing that. Admissions staff are not going to click on random links from people they don't know. Additionally, they may not even have the time to explore what's on the link.

Also this thread is 6 years old, please don't bump old threads; you're better off starting your own.
(edited 5 months ago)

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