So for the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to create my personal statement but as a mature student (21, will be 22 if I start next year) I'm kind of stumped as to what to write. The main reason I didn't start Uni as soon as I finished Sixth Form was I simply didn't feel ready for it, I didn't feel as though I would have been able to give it my all. I don't have much work experience that I can write about (3 months proper work experience but I am earning money by doing a job during these 3 years I haven't been in education, it's just not really a job that they'd be interested in me writing about, basically I got paid to play games).
The subject I wish to take is Computer Science but I don't know how to express my interest in it without sounding really forced and fake. I've read a lot of the personal statements on this website and a lot of them sound really forced to me. I have got some knowledge on Computer Science already, but not enough to create a project as proof of my interest in just a few months, I've basically only completed the courses on codecademy but doing so I've realised how interesting the subject is and it's what has made me want to take it as a Uni course and prospective career.
So basically my question is, does anyone have any advice on what I should write on my personal statement without having any long-term work experience that I can write about?
Thank you for any help you can provide.
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Personal statement questions watch
- Thread Starter
- 30-10-2017 01:15
- 30-10-2017 01:24
25 > is classed as a mature student.
- 30-10-2017 20:30
Disclaimer - mature student, 1st year compsci undergrad.
Firstly, not being ready for uni after 6th form is not a bad thing. You can spin it in your PS about how you wasn't 100% and wanted to take some time out from education to get some real work experience whilst you evaluate your options and to make sure that you are now completely confident with your decision to continue your studies.
Get a nice big blank piece of paper and start a mind map(used to call it brainstorm, but I think that is not pc now?). Write computer science in the middle and jot a few things down when they come to you. Don't rush it and you don't have to do it straight away. Give yourself a week or something and the ideas will come.
Things to think about:
- Why computer science - specifically?
- Where do you want to go with your degree? Any career you want or company or area you want to work in?
- What interests you about CS? Is it programming? Problem solving? Are you interested in how technology works or how websites work? Is it video games? AI? Do you wonder how Alexa or Siri understand and process human speech? Do you like puzzles? Do you have a keen eye for details?
In respect of not sounding forced and fake, there must have been some experience or experiences in your life that lead you to CS, so what are they? If the reasons are legit, then you will not sound fake and if asked about them; also in an interview situation your body language help will communicate your interest. If a friend asked you "why do you want to study CS?", what would you tell them? It would also be good to talk about the online resources you used such as Codeacademy, but you can elaborate and talk about how it has made you want to delve deeper in to the subject area.
Once you have a few points to talk about, your PS statement will all come together. Take a point or two and see if you can build a paragraph or a couple of sentences around them. When I did mine, I struggled to start and looked at loads of examples, but when the ideas and reasons started to flow I had far too much to put within the 4000 char limit. And remember 4000 chars is not 4000 letters - it includes spaces and punctuation, so you really don't have a lot of space to fill up.
If there is anything I can help with, please let me know. Other than that GL.
- 30-10-2017 21:08
I think the post above really gets to the heart of the matter and is some excellent advice. I am 31 and have just completed the final draft of my personal statement. I can tell you that the first draft is worlds away from what I have just submitted.
I started by reading all of the "good" examples that are found on TSR, and by this I was looking at those where offers had been given for Oxford/Cambridge etc. Firstly, define your target Uni's and have a look at how others approached their personal statement and start of by mimicing its layout.
Once you have the layout, you can then work on the actual content of the statement itself. Some practical examples of what you need to do:
- You need to show that you want to study the subject - explain why! If you cant explain why then you really need to drill down to what you like. I want to study law, because I love all the stupid little bits within an act that get defined. I said about that!
- You need to show your passion for the subect - write down everything about the subject that interests you, what you know and more importantly, what you dont know and want to learn about. Look at course structures for the Uni's you are applying for and see what floats your boat if you are lost for ideas.
- Then, tell your story and why you are going to be a great student. Have you done extracurricular work? Have you taught yourself a programming language, if so - why? What did you learn on that journey, how did that affect you. Lets look at what you have mentioned regarding playing games - was this on a professional level or through QA? If it was professionally, you will have an understanding of the application in a manner not seen by many, I imagine this excites you and how you manipulated this was probably beneficial to you. If you were a QA tester, you will know about the relationships between things (You can see I have no clue about programming). Just dig in to those experiences and pick them apart
- Within those experiences, talk about your achievements
There are literally..... well, theres probably so much information out there about writing personal statements that its counter-intuitive to read it all. Try to find some reputable sources and go from there. I wanted to apply to RG Unis so I looked up interviews with their admission tutors, what they said they looked for, looked on the website etc and just tried to cram it all in.
It will take a number of drafts to perfect it, but in the end it will be worth it.