Not using the name of the course you're applying for in a personal statement Watch

Tolly
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I'm applying to do Geology at university and am currently in the process of writing a personal statement. I was told by my school not to specifically mention the name of the course in my personal statement. My problem is that in order to show that I've done a lot of "super-curricular" activities, I have attended a lot of "Geology Taster Sessions" (3 in total, at 3 different universities). I know this may seem like a stupid question, but it's still okay to include them, right? They were all called "Geology Taster Sessions" or "Introductory Talks on Geology" and so they all have the name of the course in the title. I don't want to not include them at all just because I've been told not to include the name of the course. Any clarification would really help! Thanks
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Xarao
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The reason why you're told to not mention the name of the course is because you may decide to apply for another course later on down the line.

If you're 100% certain that is the course you want to do, it doesn't really matter.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Tolly)
I'm applying to do Geology at university and am currently in the process of writing a personal statement. I was told by my school not to specifically mention the name of the course in my personal statement. My problem is that in order to show that I've done a lot of "super-curricular" activities, I have attended a lot of "Geology Taster Sessions" (3 in total, at 3 different universities). I know this may seem like a stupid question, but it's still okay to include them, right? They were all called "Geology Taster Sessions" or "Introductory Talks on Geology" and so they all have the name of the course in the title. I don't want to not include them at all just because I've been told not to include the name of the course. Any clarification would really help! Thanks
Why have your school said not to mention the name of the course? That sounds like unusual advice. It would only really apply to people applying for similar but related courses with different names, but even then it would be fine to mention taster sessions or introductory talks by name.

You'll get far more benefit out of including them than not, so I would include them! Don't forget to talk about why you enjoyed the sessions and how they furthered your desire to study geology though, rather than just name dropping.
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_gcx
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Seems like bizarre advice to me. No, don't worry and it just seems a bit strange to omit the name of the course entirely. (courses you're applying for should really be similar enough for this not to be an issue) Indeed, if it's unclear that the statement is about Geology then something has gone very wrong!
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Tolly
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That's such a relief! Thanks and I definitely will. I think they said that for the reason you've put about courses having similar names.
(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Why have your school said not to mention the name of the course? That sounds like unusual advice. It would only really apply to people applying for similar but related courses with different names, but even then it would be fine to mention taster sessions or introductory talks by name.

You'll get far more benefit out of including them than not, so I would include them! Don't forget to talk about why you enjoyed the sessions and how they furthered your desire to study geology though, rather than just name dropping.
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Tolly
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That makes a lot of sense. Thank you!
(Original post by Xarao)
The reason why you're told to not mention the name of the course is because you may decide to apply for another course later on down the line.

If you're 100% certain that is the course you want to do, it doesn't really matter.
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Xarao
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Why have your school said not to mention the name of the course? That sounds like unusual advice. It would only really apply to people applying for similar but related courses with different names, but even then it would be fine to mention taster sessions or introductory talks by name.

You'll get far more benefit out of including them than not, so I would include them! Don't forget to talk about why you enjoyed the sessions and how they furthered your desire to study geology though, rather than just name dropping.
(Original post by _gcx)
Seems like bizarre advice to me. No, don't worry and it just seems a bit strange to omit the name of the course entirely. (courses you're applying for should really be similar enough for this not to be an issue) Indeed, if it's unclear that the statement is about Geology then something has gone very wrong!
It's actually very common advice from colleges/sixth forms when writing a personal statement.
(Original post by Tolly)
That makes a lot of sense. Thank you!
No worries, hope it all works out.
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Tolly
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Thanks! I did think it was a bit weird when they told us not to, but I won't worry about it now
(Original post by _gcx)
Seems like bizarre advice to me. No, don't worry and it just seems a bit strange to omit the name of the course entirely. (courses you're applying for should really be similar enough for this not to be an issue) Indeed, if it's unclear that the statement is about Geology then something has gone very wrong!
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Good bloke
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(Original post by Tolly)
I'm applying to do Geology at university and am currently in the process of writing a personal statement. I was told by my school not to specifically mention the name of the course in my personal statement. My problem is that in order to show that I've done a lot of "super-curricular" activities, I have attended a lot of "Geology Taster Sessions" (3 in total, at 3 different universities). I know this may seem like a stupid question, but it's still okay to include them, right? They were all called "Geology Taster Sessions" or "Introductory Talks on Geology" and so they all have the name of the course in the title. I don't want to not include them at all just because I've been told not to include the name of the course. Any clarification would really help! Thanks
Youy appear to be on the brink of filling your PS with a list of events you have attended called things like 'geology taster session', or titles that closely resemble this. Do you need to be reminded that space is precious and such repetition is boring, wasteful and needless?

You are applying to study a subject, by the way, not a specific course, and subject names are common nouns that do not take initial capital letters in English (unless they are languages, of course).

What might work is something like 'I have attended several events intended to give a flavour of the subject and ...'. Even this couyld be shortened.
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by Tolly)
That's such a relief! Thanks and I definitely will. I think they said that for the reason you've put about courses having similar names.
That makes sense up to a point, but you certainly shouldn't worry about mentioning things that can really strengthen your application because of it.

(Original post by Xarao)
It's actually very common advice from colleges/sixth forms when writing a personal statement.

No worries, hope it all works out.
Well in my opinion, it's poor advice for most students. Most students won't change their mind when applying, and it has the potential to make the initial PS look weaker either due to unusual word choices or due to looking like the student isn't committed when they actually are!

If a student does end up changing their mind, unis will usually be aware it's a change of mind, and if it's a very different course, they will often allow the student to submit a secondary PS.
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Xarao
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(Original post by SarcAndSpark)
Well in my opinion, it's poor advice for most students. Most students won't change their mind when applying, and it has the potential to make the initial PS look weaker either due to unusual word choices or due to looking like the student isn't committed when they actually are!

If a student does end up changing their mind, unis will usually be aware it's a change of mind, and if it's a very different course, they will often allow the student to submit a secondary PS.
There was also another reasoning why you shouldn't mention the course name and that's because not all courses from the universities are identical.

For example, Student A wanted to do Computer Science at University A, but if he doesn't get in, he would rather do Software Engineering at University B. Now, these courses are similar in certain concepts but definitely not identical. However, if in his personal statement he writes only about computer science, in theory, it'll make his application weaker for University B as it's not tailored towards that specific course but rather something almost entirely differently. This was just one other example I was given by the teachers a couple of years ago.

Whether it has an impact or not, who knows but it's what almost everyone is being told nowadays. Guess it has its pros and cons.
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Interrobang
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Mentioning the subject is different to the course name - some unis will call their courses different things, even if they cover similiar things. If all your courses are geology related, then you can mention the subject (just not 'BSc Geology' for example)
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Polaristellar
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(Original post by Xarao)
For example, Student A wanted to do Computer Science at University A, but if he doesn't get in, he would rather do Software Engineering at University B. Now, these courses are similar in certain concepts but definitely not identical. However, if in his personal statement he writes only about computer science, in theory, it'll make his application weaker for University B as it's not tailored towards that specific course but rather something almost entirely differently. This was just one other example I was given by the teachers a couple of years ago.

Whether it has an impact or not, who knows but it's what almost everyone is being told nowadays. Guess it has its pros and cons.
Universities know that courses tend to differ from uni to uni so it is highly unlikely that the application would appear weaker in such instances. As I recall, if you apply to two very different subjects (I think med students do this sometimes? Medicine for four choices and biomed / something vaguely related for the fifth) they cater their personal statements towards medicine and are sometimes asked by the fifth uni to provide a separate statement tailored to the other subject – but this is only for when subjects are really quite different.

(Original post by Tolly)
I'm applying to do Geology at university and am currently in the process of writing a personal statement. I was told by my school not to specifically mention the name of the course in my personal statement. My problem is that in order to show that I've done a lot of "super-curricular" activities, I have attended a lot of "Geology Taster Sessions" (3 in total, at 3 different universities). I know this may seem like a stupid question, but it's still okay to include them, right? They were all called "Geology Taster Sessions" or "Introductory Talks on Geology" and so they all have the name of the course in the title. I don't want to not include them at all just because I've been told not to include the name of the course. Any clarification would really help! Thanks
I applied for planetary sciences and geology and talked about both, since they're related enough. Absolutely fine to talk about the geology taster sessions – I wouldn't be too concerned about omitting things as your school says. I don't want to provide unsolicited personal statement advice and all, but feel free to message if you do want any! I'm doing geology at Imperial.

Good luck with your application.
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