geeeek
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What do oxford uni love to see in personal statements? Also would mentioning being a scholar at my current college be right to mention?
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donnaseemchandra
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Capital letters(!)
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shonakitty
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(Original post by geeeek)
What do oxford uni love to see in personal statements? Also would mentioning being a scholar at my current college be right to mention?
It really depends what you're studying?
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geeeek
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(Original post by donnaseemchandra)
Capital letters(!)
what do u mean?
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donnaseemchandra
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A good question. Here's a resource that might help:

http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/en...dfs/PC_cap.pdf

Hope this helps!

Note: Don't worry if you find the extension activity challenging (it's meant to be (!!!!))
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HoldThisL
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I'll give you a brief overview of my personal statement.

Introduction - why I like my subject (brief, avoid cliches), why my A levels suit my degree course.
Paragraph 1 - reference to a political philosophy book I've read and what I thought about it in comparison to modern day UK.
Paragraph 2 - reference to another political philosophy book about morality I've read with reference to a modern problem.
Paragraph 3 - reference to my EPQ and how it's improved me as a student.
Extra curricular - brief semi-related things about me I've tried to relate to my course.

Something to bare in mind, universities don't want well rounded people, they want people who are bloody good at the subject they are applying for so show that if someone gives you 10 books to read on your subject you will read them and take in what they have to say.
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Ed5
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(Original post by geeeek)
What do oxford uni love to see in personal statements? Also would mentioning being a scholar at my current college be right to mention?
Google is your friend, there are thousands of articles on this already as well as threads on TSR. If you have more specific questions then fire away, otherwise the answers you're looking for are already out there!
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geeeek
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(Original post by Ed5)
Google is your friend, there are thousands of articles on this already as well as threads on TSR. If you have more specific questions then fire away, otherwise the answers you're looking for are already out there!
Hi, I am looking to study econ and management, i have discussed an economics topic and my management skills. What else should i include?- maybe hobbies? or would that be irrelevant
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geeeek
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(Original post by HoldThisL)
I'll give you a brief overview of my personal statement.

Introduction - why I like my subject (brief, avoid cliches), why my A levels suit my degree course.
Paragraph 1 - reference to a political philosophy book I've read and what I thought about it in comparison to modern day UK.
Paragraph 2 - reference to another political philosophy book about morality I've read with reference to a modern problem.
Paragraph 3 - reference to my EPQ and how it's improved me as a student.
Extra curricular - brief semi-related things about me I've tried to relate to my course.

Something to bare in mind, universities don't want well rounded people, they want people who are bloody good at the subject they are applying for so show that if someone gives you 10 books to read on your subject you will read them and take in what they have to say.

Thank you! Also do oxford like to see diversity- if i were to include my religious background and how im from an ethnic minority? or would that put my application at risk
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auburnstar
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“Tutors at Oxford are only interested in your academic ability and potential. They want to see that you are truly committed to the subject or subjects you want to study at university [...]
Tutors will read your personal statement to try to understand what has motivated you to apply for their course. It’s a good idea to evaluate your experiences, to show what you have learned from them and how they have helped develop your understanding of your subject [...]
If you use your personal statement to demonstrate your academic abilities and your engagement with your subject or subjects, then your application will be memorable for all the right reasons.”

(from the official website)

To answer the ethnic minority question and religious bg, declaring either of these things is optional (you do so on the UCAS form) and it wouldn't make a difference to your application (your postcode, school attainment information and what sort of school you went to eg state/private/other would inform contextualisation for widening access).
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C_Yap
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Give more info on what you plan to study, because it differs depending on the course. In general though, they place strong emphasis on what you've done to demonstrate strong interest in your subject (e.g. books, lectures, competitions etc). Try to link these to why you want to study your subject.

Here's how I'm structuring mine for Bio NatSci:

1. Brief intro (3 lines)
2. Read a book and then linked it to a research project. I specifically mentioned what I learnt from doing my own research.
3. Went to a masterclass and linked it to a book and also an article from new scientist.
4. Presented my something to my class and I linked it to a podcast on Radio 4. Also mentioned national competitions I've taken part in as well as the undergraduate practicals I've done at a university.
5. 1 to 2 lines on extracurriculars and then summed up why I want to study natsci.

If you want advice on your personal statement, you could talk to teachers in your school and get opinions on how to improve it.

They place no importance on the extra-curriculars that you do, but it is good to mention a few anyway since oxbridge isn't the only university you will be applying to.
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Ed5
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(Original post by HoldThisL)
Something to bare in mind, universities don't want well rounded people, they want people who are bloody good at the subject they are applying for
Second part is true, but the first part is very misleading advice. In truth if you fail to extend yourself as a person beyond the confines of academic interest, you will be at a disadvantage to other candidates. I'm not sure who told you this, but I hope you still have time to change your PS!

(Original post by geeeek)
Hi, I am looking to study econ and management, i have discussed an economics topic and my management skills. What else should i include?- maybe hobbies? or would that be irrelevant
Absolutely! As I've said above, it's important to show you are a real person with interests outside the subject like hobbies, and these do not all have to relate to economics. Make sure to convey passion (without using the word passion as it's a big cliche) in both your subject and in anything else you enjoy and it'll be a strong PS.
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sindyscape62
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(Original post by Ed5)
Second part is true, but the first part is very misleading advice. In truth if you fail to extend yourself as a person beyond the confines of academic interest, you will be at a disadvantage to other candidates. I'm not sure who told you this, but I hope you still have time to change your PS!



Absolutely! As I've said above, it's important to show you are a real person with interests outside the subject like hobbies, and these do not all have to relate to economics. Make sure to convey passion (without using the word passion as it's a big cliche) in both your subject and in anything else you enjoy and it'll be a strong PS.
What you're saying does not apply to Oxbridge applications, and is extremely misleading. From Cambridge's admissions FAQ:

"Your participation (or not) in specific extra-curricular activities that aren’t relevant to the course applied for are not taken into account and don’t affect your chances of being made an offer of a place at Cambridge."

From the Oxford's online personal statement guide:

"There’s a myth that Oxford is looking for the most well-rounded applicants, and that you will only be offered a place if you have a long list of varied extracurricular activities. In fact, extracurricular activities are only helpful in so far as they demonstrate the selection criteria for your course."

You might also want to read this article.
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Ed5
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(Original post by sindyscape62)
...
That's surprising! However, assuming OP is also applying to other unis, I'd stand by my advice. Cambridge themselves said this in the FAQ just below your own quote:

...However, when composing your personal statement, you should consider the importance that your other university choices may place on extra-curricular activities.
There are a lot of fair points in that article too, but it does sound like this opinion is more or less limited to oxbridge. If most unis only looked at academic ability, there wouldn't be much need for a PS in the first place!
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sindyscape62
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(Original post by Ed5)
That's surprising! However, assuming OP is also applying to other unis, I'd stand by my advice. Cambridge themselves said this in the FAQ just below your own quote:



There are a lot of fair points in that article too, but it does sound like this opinion is more or less limited to oxbridge. If most unis only looked at academic ability, there wouldn't be much need for a PS in the first place!
If the OP is applying to Oxford then the other unis they're applying to are probably going to be prestigious as well, and therefore also fairly uninterested in extra-curriculars that aren't course related. For example from Warwick:

"Although we are keen to hear about your work experience and extra-curricular activities, they should not dominate your personal statement; remember that you are applying for an academic course of study, and the limited space available to you for your personal statement should predominantly focus on this."

And from the Imperial personal statement guide:

"Remember: the person reading your statement is an academic who has devoted their life to a subject you claim to have an interest in. Therefore, the main focus of the statement should be your interest in the course and there should be plenty of relevant academic and/or vocational examples you can include to prove your interest."

The overall sense you get from reading what these unis say is that they are primarily interested in academic stuff and extracurriculars related to the course, but that other extracurriculars don't play a major role.

Also, remember that the OP is going to be applying to most of these other unis with predicted grades above their standard offer, and a very strong academic background worthy of Oxbridge. They are unlikely to be rejected based on extracurriculars when they're probably going to exceed the enterance requirements. The only exception to this is I think Durham, who do specifically ask for stuff unrelated to the course. This is an exception though.

Also I find it strange that you say there wouldn't be much point to a personal statement if unis only cared about ability. Personal statements are meant to be academic, and demonstrate interest/dedication in the course and further reading- they've never been anything to do with presenting yourself as "well rounded."

I'd say non-course related extracurriculars should be one paragraph maximum, and there should be some effort to link back to the course by saying you've developed skills like teamwork/responsibility/time-management. Anything more then it seems like you don't have much to say on the course.
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stimtothesky
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(Original post by sindyscape62)
What you're saying does not apply to Oxbridge applications, and is extremely misleading. From Cambridge's admissions FAQ:

"Your participation (or not) in specific extra-curricular activities that aren’t relevant to the course applied for are not taken into account and don’t affect your chances of being made an offer of a place at Cambridge."

From the Oxford's online personal statement guide:

"There’s a myth that Oxford is looking for the most well-rounded applicants, and that you will only be offered a place if you have a long list of varied extracurricular activities. In fact, extracurricular activities are only helpful in so far as they demonstrate the selection criteria for your course."

You might also want to read this article.
I think it's important to recognise the difference between extra-curricular and super-curricular: universities are interested in super-curriculars but not in extra-curriculars. Super curriculars are activities relating to the subject (further reading, masterclasses, etc), which you're probably already doing.

Not really sure what I've added here to be honest- maybe it'll be helpful for someone? Hope everyone has a great day!
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Ed5
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(Original post by sindyscape62)
If the OP is applying to Oxford then the other unis they're applying to are probably going to be prestigious as well, and therefore also fairly uninterested in extra-curriculars that aren't course related. For example from Warwick:

"Although we are keen to hear about your work experience and extra-curricular activities, they should not dominate your personal statement; remember that you are applying for an academic course of study, and the limited space available to you for your personal statement should predominantly focus on this."

And from the Imperial personal statement guide:

"Remember: the person reading your statement is an academic who has devoted their life to a subject you claim to have an interest in. Therefore, the main focus of the statement should be your interest in the course and there should be plenty of relevant academic and/or vocational examples you can include to prove your interest."

The overall sense you get from reading what these unis say is that they are primarily interested in academic stuff and extracurriculars related to the course, but that other extracurriculars don't play a major role.

Also, remember that the OP is going to be applying to most of these other unis with predicted grades above their standard offer, and a very strong academic background worthy of Oxbridge. They are unlikely to be rejected based on extracurriculars when they're probably going to exceed the enterance requirements. The only exception to this is I think Durham, who do specifically ask for stuff unrelated to the course. This is an exception though.

Also I find it strange that you say there wouldn't be much point to a personal statement if unis only cared about ability. Personal statements are meant to be academic, and demonstrate interest/dedication in the course and further reading- they've never been anything to do with presenting yourself as "well rounded."

I'd say non-course related extracurriculars should be one paragraph maximum, and there should be some effort to link back to the course by saying you've developed skills like teamwork/responsibility/time-management. Anything more then it seems like you don't have much to say on the course.
All good points! If it wasn't clear, I was trying to stress the importance of a balance of each - you're exactly right that the subject should come first, and that interests outside of the course should only play a small (but important!) part.

Thanks for providing some good counter. Hopefully this has been very useful to OP!
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sindyscape62
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(Original post by Ed5)
All good points! If it wasn't clear, I was trying to stress the importance of a balance of each - you're exactly right that the subject should come first, and that interests outside of the course should only play a small (but important!) part.

Thanks for providing some good counter. Hopefully this has been very useful to OP!
Yep, I think knowing how much extracurricular stuff is enough is key for a personal statement.

It's just frustrating when you come across some people here who tell applicants that they're never going to get an offer if they don't have a whole pile of stuff that they do outside of the subject - there are still so many myths about Oxbridge.

Anyway, glad we came to an agreement and sorry if I came across a bit aggressive in some of my posts.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by geeeek)
Thank you! Also do oxford like to see diversity- if i were to include my religious background and how im from an ethnic minority? or would that put my application at risk
It wouldn't put your application at risk but such things don't really belong in a personal statement tbh :nah: As a PS Reviewer here, my advice is generally to keep religion out of personal statements/uni applications
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auburnstar
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
It wouldn't put your application at risk but such things don't really belong in a personal statement tbh :nah: As a PS Reviewer here, my advice is generally to keep religion out of personal statements/uni applications
Unless, of course, you're applying for Theology (im sorry i couldnt resist that one)
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