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Oxbridge personal statement

Hi guys I’m in yr12 and I joined my schools ‘pathway to oxbridge’ society because I thought ‘why not give it a go’.
I have a school trip to Cambridge uni in 2 weeks time so that should be fun.
I’m likely to apply for chemistry at Oxford seeming as I have the subjects and grades for that.
I wanted to ask, when writing a personal statement for such institutions, how do you stand out?
Everyone applying will have incredible grades so how does Oxford really choose the applicants?
On the personal statement, do they look for the fact that you can play grade 7 on the guitar? Or do they look people who have done the junior maths challenge, chemistry Olympiad etc??
This would clear a lot of things and I’m going to start diving into some more research about applications:smile:
Original post by Anonymous
Hi guys I’m in yr12 and I joined my schools ‘pathway to oxbridge’ society because I thought ‘why not give it a go’.
I have a school trip to Cambridge uni in 2 weeks time so that should be fun.
I’m likely to apply for chemistry at Oxford seeming as I have the subjects and grades for that.
I wanted to ask, when writing a personal statement for such institutions, how do you stand out?
Everyone applying will have incredible grades so how does Oxford really choose the applicants?
On the personal statement, do they look for the fact that you can play grade 7 on the guitar? Or do they look people who have done the junior maths challenge, chemistry Olympiad etc??
This would clear a lot of things and I’m going to start diving into some more research about applications:smile:


I’m a current offer holder for chemistry at Oxford. Hopefully this makes me somewhat qualified to answer.

As chemistry is a very academic subject, unless you can find some way of describing how playing grade 7 on a violin has benefitted you academically, there is no benefit in writing about it. Absolutely write about the maths challenges you have participated in and about the olympiad, as you should be able to easily write about ways in which they have helped you.

Other things you need to think about should include interview preparation. Arranging mock interviews and maybe offering tuition to get practice with thinking out loud. After all, your interview performance is more important to your application than your personal statement.
Reply 2
Original post by TypicalNerd
I’m a current offer holder for chemistry at Oxford. Hopefully this makes me somewhat qualified to answer.

As chemistry is a very academic subject, unless you can find some way of describing how playing grade 7 on a violin has benefitted you academically, there is no benefit in writing about it. Absolutely write about the maths challenges you have participated in and about the olympiad, as you should be able to easily write about ways in which they have helped you.

Other things you need to think about should include interview preparation. Arranging mock interviews and maybe offering tuition to get practice with thinking out loud. After all, your interview performance is more important to your application than your personal statement.

Wow congrats about Oxford !!
I haven’t actually done the senior maths challenge, but I did do the junior maths challenge at secondary school and I got a bronze award. I’m guessing that would be no use though?
I am going to ask the school if they have anything going on so I can write about.
And yes in our school society, they are making us do wider reading and presenting it infront of the group (I did mine about the importance of organic chemistry last week). I learnt a lot!
If you don’t mind me asking, what questions did they ask you? Of course I’m aware that they won’t be the same, but I’m just wondering what the style of it was!
Apparently they’re really complex so many congrats to you for smashing them :smile:
Reply 3
When writing a personal statement for competitive institutions like Oxford or Cambridge, it's important to highlight your academic achievements and passion for your chosen subject. In addition to exceptional grades, you can stand out by showcasing your extracurricular activities and experiences that relate to your field of study.

Admissions officers are looking for students who have a deep interest in their chosen subject and have demonstrated a willingness to pursue it beyond the classroom. This could include participating in science fairs, conducting independent research, or taking part in relevant clubs or societies.

While a talent like playing a musical instrument or sports can be impressive, it's not typically a deciding factor in the admissions process. However, if you can demonstrate how this talent relates to your academic pursuits, such as being part of a science-themed music club, it could add to your overall application.

Remember, your personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your strengths and interests, so make sure you tailor it specifically to your desired course and institution. Also, be sure to demonstrate a clear understanding of the university and its academic programs, as well as how you would contribute to the campus community.

Good luck with your application!
Original post by Anonymous
Wow congrats about Oxford !!
I haven’t actually done the senior maths challenge, but I did do the junior maths challenge at secondary school and I got a bronze award. I’m guessing that would be no use though?
I am going to ask the school if they have anything going on so I can write about.
And yes in our school society, they are making us do wider reading and presenting it infront of the group (I did mine about the importance of organic chemistry last week). I learnt a lot!
If you don’t mind me asking, what questions did they ask you? Of course I’m aware that they won’t be the same, but I’m just wondering what the style of it was!
Apparently they’re really complex so many congrats to you for smashing them :smile:


Thanks for the kind words.

A bronze in the junior maths challenge isn’t actually a bad result. If anything, you could even try writing about how you have improved your critical thinking and mathematical skills since then.

To prevent breaking the code of conduct, I can’t actually tell you precisely what I was asked. What I can tell you is that the problems start off at an A level standard and may progress more towards degree level material covered in the first year of the chemistry course.

Hopefully it will come as no surprise that past A level exam papers, C3L6 and Olympiad questions are very good preparation.

Edit: this is really insightful as to what an Oxford chemistry interview is like: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M_Ulc5q2bvI
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by zac777
When writing a personal statement for competitive institutions like Oxford or Cambridge, it's important to highlight your academic achievements and passion for your chosen subject. In addition to exceptional grades, you can stand out by showcasing your extracurricular activities and experiences that relate to your field of study.

Admissions officers are looking for students who have a deep interest in their chosen subject and have demonstrated a willingness to pursue it beyond the classroom. This could include participating in science fairs, conducting independent research, or taking part in relevant clubs or societies.

While a talent like playing a musical instrument or sports can be impressive, it's not typically a deciding factor in the admissions process. However, if you can demonstrate how this talent relates to your academic pursuits, such as being part of a science-themed music club, it could add to your overall application.

Remember, your personal statement is your opportunity to showcase your strengths and interests, so make sure you tailor it specifically to your desired course and institution. Also, be sure to demonstrate a clear understanding of the university and its academic programs, as well as how you would contribute to the campus community.

Good luck with your application!

Brilliant response. And completely agreed.
Reply 6
Interesting, that was AI generated. Thank you for taking part in my research
Original post by TypicalNerd
Brilliant response. And completely agreed.
Original post by zac777
Interesting, that was AI generated. Thank you for taking part in my research

Interesting. It’s fascinating how far AI has come if it really is capable of making such detailed responses. Having reread the post, I suppose the paragraph on additional talents did seem a little off.

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