Mathematics degree personal statement example (1e) Oxford offer

This is a real personal statement written by a student for their university application. It might help you decide what to include in your own. There are lots more examples in our collection of sample personal statements. 


Mathematics is a subject that attracts me because of its beauty and its intricacy. My passion for this subject has developed because of its ingenuity; the challenging task of solving difficult problems, subsequently recognising a more lucid, smarter solution that can be adapted to be used in similar problems in the future.

"Ingenuity in Mathematics" by Ross Honsberger is an example of a text that has fuelled my drive to widen my mathematical knowledge. I find it fascinating how perplexing problems, which initially seem impossible, but by thinking imaginatively, have numerous methods to finding solutions. The essay 'Probability and pi' appeals to me because of the incredible result of how pi relates to the probability of picking two numbers.

Attending a Financial Mathematics Day at Morgan Stanley has helped me to understand how crucial Mathematics is to the financial sector. For instance, the use of the exponential function in continuous compounding interest is an example of how Mathematics can simplify problems and how compound Poisson calculations can be use to model the trends of economic data. These two examples have shown me how Mathematics can model distributions of the world and has reinforced my desire study the subject further.

From reading "What is Mathematics?" by Courant and Robbins, I was given an insight into university Mathematics. I particularly enjoyed the recently added chapter by Stewart on Fermat's Last Theorem. This shows how one conjecture can unnerve mathematicians globally for over three centuries. To understand many of the solutions within this text, I often repeated the calculations as Courant has said, "you cannot learn music only by listening. When reproducing the calculations, I am able to further understand the concepts, and be able to use some of the imaginative techniques in the future.

Currently, I am participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award scheme. Participating in the bronze award has helped develop my ability to work in a team and tested my determination and motivation. The award has increased my motivation for cycling, after which I have cycled in events for charitable purposes.

For the past three years, I have been teaching and coaching GCSE students in Mathematics. This mentoring has helped consolidate my own mathematical knowledge by explaining and justifying mathematical concepts to the group. From the progression of the mentoring, I learnt how important it is to express mathematical ideas both clearly and concisely, and this has been reflected in the way I answer mathematical questions myself. As a result of my charitable work, I was awarded a Millennium Volunteers award.

I have also participated in the Young Enterprise scheme. The experience gained from this was invaluable and it had a particular input on my ability to communicate ideas in a clear way. As the Operations Director, this proved essential, as I often had to describe methods of production, justify choices of raw materials and explain the production line to my peers. Due to the commitment of the board members and our creative approach, our firm won 'The Most Innovative Product' Award.

My passion has inspired me to continue my education to a higher level in Mathematics and I am sure that this challenge of improving my Mathematics will be one that I will thoroughly enjoy.

Universities Applied To:

  • Oxford - Offer AAA
  • Imperial - Rejection
  • LSE - AAA
  • UCL - AAA
  • Warwick - AAB+STEP/AAAA


Reviewer comment:

  • Good start to the personal statement but you could add a book read here to show exactly what and why it has interested the applicant about maths.
  • Text is used well to explain the interest of the applicant, however it would be good to rephrase this paragraph in a more positive tone.
  • Great exploration of some career options through the work experience which shows the applicant is thinking about their future.
  • Section about Courant could be more concise. It is best not to waste space on quotes and instead explain why this interested you.
  • Extra-curricular section is too long, it should be about 20% of the personal statement.
  • Final paragraph is a bit repetitive
  • Some incorrect capitalisation of words