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Personal Statement opening lines - passion or realism? Watch

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    (Original post by nuodai)
    Neither of your opening statements say why you are passionate about literature, or why you are interested in it. They're both very generic and could have been written by anyone... and, as others have said, starting a PS with "from an early age" is very overdone (and I'd avoid starting it with the word "I"). I could bash it a bit more but, out of the two, the second one is definitely better. But why, why, why are you interested in it? You're not interested in it because it has been the foundation of your learning (whatever that means), nor are you interested in it because you've made a big impact in it academically (the inverse is more likely); be more specific. WHY?

    Repetition intended for impact.
    Well don't worry, I've ironed out any cliches like 'from an early age,' I agree it sounds terribly common.

    It's very difficult to pin-point simply WHY I like English, as there is no clear-cut answer. You can't define passion (I should know, having studied Enduring Love for a year ). On one side it's the flexibility of the subject, the capacity for rigorous analysis and the thrill of developing a new perception. On the other, it boilds down to the fact that I love a good book.

    I'm trying to develop a sentance that shows passion anchored in realism. That is, a genuine belief that I'm suited to the course and an ultimate ambition after university.
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    I'm not really sure, but I think passion?
    I'm writing my English statement at the moment too and my opening line is about where my passion for the subject derives from
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    (Original post by tsxmitw)
    On one side it's the flexibility of the subject, the capacity for rigorous analysis and the thrill of developing a new perception. On the other, it boilds down to the fact that I love a good book.
    Why not say so then?

    Three more things. It is really not a good idea to be posting what might be the final version of parts of your PS in public, bearing in mind that the UCAS plagiarism checkers are likely to pick up on it. Post the completed draft in PS help for a confidential review instead.

    English students are expected to be able to spell correctly, and your consistent use of "sentance" augurs badly.

    The word passion is another grossly over-used one.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Why not say so then?

    Three more things. It is really not a good idea to be posting what might be the final version of parts of your PS in public, bearing in mind that the UCAS plagiarism checkers are likely to pick up on it. Post the completed draft in PS help for a confidential review instead.

    English students are expected to be able to spell correctly, and your consistent use of "sentance" augurs badly.

    The word passion is another grossly over-used one.
    Rest assured none of these examples will become part of my personal statement, I am well aware of the dangers of plagiarism. I now feel happy with an opening line that aptly conveys why I am enthusiastic about the subject.

    This sentence, I shall certainly not be posting online.

    Apologies for the spelling errors, I was posting rather late last night.
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    first is soooo cliched... please don't use it!
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    (Original post by Skadoosh)
    I've heard 'from an early age...' is a bit cliche.
    yeah i went to a med open day and the lecturers slated it and said they put every one with that line at the bottom of the pile. :P
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    I made a semi joke in my opening line:

    'As a young adolescent, I longed for Hogwarts as much as my contemporaries...'

    It did the job.
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    For me, the function of literature is to capacitate your understanding for situations that you will probably never experience yourself, by drawing on fragments of emotions you *have* experienced and have stored in your poetic memory, rearranging them and inflating them so you can feel something that seems completely new...
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    No, not generally. The problems with quotations are threefold: (a) they waste space as you have to give the quotation and then explain why you think it is relevant to you and your application; (b) admissions tutors are actually interested in what you have to say about why you want to study the subject you are applying for, and why you have potential to succeed at doing so - not what someone who never met you said apropos something else entirely; and (c) unless the person you are quoting actually said it about you, it is completely irrelevant and just another cliche.
    Nice try, but my proviso "if used well" doesn't leave room for it to be questioned.

    When a quotation is used well: a) one doesn't necessarily need to explicitly explain the quotation or justify its use, b) admissions tutors accept that one finds meaning in a simple sentence expressed by another individual on the topic at hand, c) there is nothing at all to suggest said quotation should have been used about the person writing the PS.

    My quotation was from Javier Solana and he said something about human history. I used it because it was: a) a succinct expression of my own feelings and b) a fantastic way of introducing an element of debate about the historical perspectives regarding human history, thus providing a theme that transcended my entire PS.

    As further proof of the fact that your generalisation was a little too general, my PS was held to be one of the best for the subject in recent years at my firmed university, which is, according to Times-QS, in the global top 10.

    EDVB
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    (Original post by ExDeusVenitBritannia)
    Nice try, but my proviso "if used well" doesn't leave room for it to be questioned.

    When a quotation is used well: a) one doesn't necessarily need to explicitly explain the quotation or justify its use, b) admissions tutors accept that one finds meaning in a simple sentence expressed by another individual on the topic at hand, c) there is nothing at all to suggest said quotation should have been used about the person writing the PS.

    My quotation was from Javier Solana and he said something about human history. I used it because it was: a) a succinct expression of my own feelings and b) a fantastic way of introducing an element of debate about the historical perspectives regarding human history, thus providing a theme that transcended my entire PS.

    As further proof of the fact that your generalisation was a little too general, my PS was held to be one of the best for the subject in recent years at my firmed university, which is, according to Times-QS, in the global top 10.

    EDVB
    Good for you - we are clearly in the presence of great talent, though you don't seem to understand that my weasel words, "in general", trump your "if well used". If. Almost nobody is capable of working in the medium that competently.

    Last year I reviewed approximately 80 personal statements on TSR and saw many more. I can't actually remember a well-used quotation from among them (though there were probably one or two). There were, on the other hand, rather a lot of badly-used, irrelevant, space-wasting ones that were used in a vain attempt to be original and memorable.

    Everything you say in your statement is, directly or indirectly, about you and your application - it is a waste of space if it isn't. One of the points the admissions tutors I have spoken to have agreed on regarding the PS is that they want to hear what you have to say about yourself.

    Once in a blue moon a candidate, through exceptional talent with words, will break all the obvious advice and produce a minor masterpiece, but this is both extremely rare and very dangerous to attempt. Very few candidates have the command of English and the creative talent necessary to achieve this, and the vast majority need to be warned off making the attempt in their own interests.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Good for you - we are clearly in the presence of great talent, though you don't seem to understand that my weasel words, "in general", trump your "if well used". If. Almost nobody is capable of working in the medium that competently.

    Last year I reviewed approximately 80 personal statements on TSR and saw many more. I can't actually remember a well-used quotation from among them (though there were probably one or two). There were, on the other hand, rather a lot of badly-used, irrelevant, space-wasting ones that were used in a vain attempt to be original and memorable.

    Everything you say in your statement is, directly or indirectly, about you and your application - it is a waste of space if it isn't. One of the points the admissions tutors I have spoken to have agreed on regarding the PS is that they want to hear what you have to say about yourself.

    Once in a blue moon a candidate, through exceptional talent with words, will break all the obvious advice and produce a minor masterpiece, but this is both extremely rare and very dangerous to attempt. Very few candidates have the command of English and the creative talent necessary to achieve this, and the vast majority need to be warned off making the attempt in their own interests.
    Good, you accept that it can be done, though you don't seem to understand that my proviso "if well used" does not imply in any sense at all that quotations are generally well used, which really makes redundant your focus on how quotations are generally useless in personal statements.

    In short, you've got the wrong end of the stick because I've long known how dangerous quotations can be, hence my original proviso of "if well used".

    EDVB
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    (Original post by ExDeusVenitBritannia)
    Good, you accept that it can be done, though you don't seem to understand that my proviso "if well used" does not imply in any sense at all that quotations are generally well used, which really makes redundant your focus on how quotations are generally useless in personal statements.

    In short, you've got the wrong end of the stick because I've long known how dangerous quotations can be, hence my original proviso of "if well used".

    EDVB
    When giving advice to applicants in general, who are not known to be communications geniuses (as I was), I think I'll stick with tips that are more likely to do them good than harm.
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    For my PS I've just sort of leapt into talking about certain types of literature, and my conclusions and perceptions.
    I've structured it like:
    1. Romanticism - discussion and personal conclusions.
    2. The pastoral conceit in literature
    3. The Jewish question in literature
    4. Other subjects and relation to English
    5. Extra curricular.

    I'll probably have to cut one of the first 3 out but is this ok? I just seem to be writing more of an abstract to a lecture than a statement about myself. I thought I was showing my passion, and not telling it; is it better to do that?
 
 
 
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