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Have your say: 19 successful opening lines of Oxbridge personal statements Watch

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    What does it take to get into Oxbridge? Following this year's UCAS deadline day for Oxford and Cambridge applications, we've taken a look back at successful personal statements from previous years...

    Here's 19 successful opening lines of Oxbridge personal statements :awesome::awesome::awesome:

    Have you applied to Oxford or Cambridge this year? Maybe you’re already studying there?

    What tips would you give to future applicants when writing their statements?
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    Pretty sure you can't study Architecture at Oxford, let alone with Fine Art... :erm:

    That said, it's interesting to see what openings PSes have used in the past. I really would advise against using quotes, or mentioning one's religious background (whether current or not) in a personal statement tbh. Those are always my big 'no-no's in reviews I do on here.

    My personal statement started off by mentioning Tom and Jerry, and ended by quoting The Sound of Music. How I got in is still beyond me :lol:
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    My personal statement started off by mentioning Tom and Jerry, and ended by quoting The Sound of Music. How I got in is still beyond me :lol:
    It was personal :yes:
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    This is a bit of a silly article - Oxbridge put far less emphasis on the PS than universities that don't interview or use entrance exams.

    Implying that because these applicants got an offer was down to the PS (or their opening line) is misleading.
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    If Oxbridge really consider every element of each application in context, a strong PS won't outweigh a weak academic record. So I wonder whether how far a sample of opening sentences from successful candidates' PSs truly reflect "how to do it well". Maybe some of them are more like, "You can write a PS as pretentious as this and still get in" (yes, I'm looking at you, examples 12-15).

    But "Que sais-je?" as my mate Montaigne used to say.
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    Pretty sure you can't study Architecture at Oxford, let alone with Fine Art... :erm:
    Whoops, my bad, was meant to just be Fine Art. Thanks for spotting - have amended now
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    It's important to remember that should anyone use these lines, it will be flagged in the plagiarism software... As well as the caveats PQ mentioned
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    This is a ridiculous article. An honest title would be 'The opening lines of the personal statements of 19 people who were offered a place at Oxford and Cambridge.'

    It says stupid things based on pure speculation. E.g. #19. The argument is this: The general advice is not to start with a quote. But this person started with a quote and got in. This proves (it says 'proves'!!) that sometimes it can be good to start with a quote. (Backed up with an explanation of why it's supposedly a good use of a quote.) Obviously it proves nothing of the sort. Hundreds of applicants start their personal statements with quotes. Some of them sound OK, some of them sound silly, and all of them sound pretentious. But it doesn't really have any bearing on the quality of their application as a whole, and it certainly won't get them ruled in or ruled out.

    Applicants to Oxbridge should pay no attention to this article.
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    Gonna read this later so subbing the thread.:cool:

    The comments so far don't fill me with hope though.
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    I'm a current Oxford student and my only advice for writing personal statements is to show why you love your subject, but be concise - you only get a limited number of words and wasting two sentences on something which could be demonstrated in one will lose you the opportunity to mention other things in there.

    Spoiler:
    Show

    P.S: I didn't use any quotes!
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    “In the sciences, every answer raises a new question, particularly 4 metres 33 centimetres”

    "Like many, my love of music was first cultivated through being beaten to practice the piano."

    “I aspire to make a difference to people's lives; to be the mouth when they have the words, but no voice, particularly the lives of Russian oligarchs completing their next corporate deal"



    “Physics is bizarre and extraordinary and fails to explain everything from quarks to galaxies particularly at the same time."

    “It began with tales of gory mummies and eccentric monarchs, but I eventually got through my art history course at St Andrews and met my wife, Kate"

    "Growing up in a Roman Catholic household has meant I’ve always been exposed to the Bible, but Father O'Kelly found out and put a stop to that telling me that this is what the Protestants who went to hell did"

    "Ever since my earliest years, I have been fascinated by milk and packaging materials.”

    “I very much enjoy using analytical thinking, in conjunction with a calculator, to reach gratifying solutions to mathematical problems.”

    “In the 5th century AD, Martianus Capella defined what we now call the seven ‘Liberal Arts’: a set of subjects considered essential for a free person’s education but I want to read music instead”

    "In arriving at the decision to read a literature-based degree I have come face to face with what I believe to be the fundamental tasks of literature: to put food in authors' mouths"

    "Literature acts as a frame to view the world. By interpreting the intricate, constructed ideas of some of the great minds, like Shelley and Shakespeare, but unlike Milton who was blind"
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    Some more trufull PSs.

    "I want to beat my annoying cousin Kevin, who is at UCL"

    "Science is full of contested facts and competing theories, I want to use Oxford's reputation so people will take my mediocre work seriously"

    "Do you know my dad is a multi millionaire and your college needs a new roof?"

    "I couldn't get into Harvard so I am trying Oxford"
 
 
 
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