I am currently finishing off studying my degree at Oxford University, and holding offers for further study at the universities of Edinburgh, LSE and King’s Cambridge.
The following helped me with my applications!
What is it?
The University application involves completing a UCAS form of your top 5 universities where you would like to study for Undergraduate Courses. This involves writing a Personal statement of 4,000 characters or 47 lines of text. These statements cause endless worry. 4,000 words sounds a lot, but trying to persuade a university you are passionate, intelligent and better than the other candidates ideally would take a lot more than 4,000 words.
This statement aims to show your interest in the course you have chosen, how you can contribute to the course and fellow students, relevant experience/skills and your interests beyond academic grades.
At the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, all admissions decisions are based solely on the applicants ability to demonstrate an ability to show their ‘ ability, commitment and potential.’
They offer four guiding points for all applicants, but before you start try brain storming why you are applying for your course and why a university should take a risk with you:
- Explain their reasons for wanting to study the subject at university.
- Demonstrate you enthusiasm and commitment for your chosen course.
- Express any particular interests within the field.
- Outline how they have pursued their interest in the subject in their own time.
Admissions people want to see you are genuinely interested in your chosen subject, be that by reading around the subject or ideally going out and getting some experience shadowing or working along side someone already in your chosen field.
UCAS recommends structuring your personal statement by considering the following:
- Why are you applying?
- Why does this subject interest you?
- Skills, knowledge, achievements and experience you have that will help you do well.
- What makes you suitable for the course?
- Which of your skills and experiences are most relevant?
Check course listings to see what level of understanding you need to have and what qualifications or skills they are looking for.
Try and link your experience to the skills and qualities mentioned and you can put them into a structure that is most relevant to the course providers.
To ensure you stand out try and you have the words free consider adding in course non-academic information. You will then need to relate what you have done to why it will help with your degree or career plans?
Although it may sound obvious proof read your application and ask someone else to read through your work, spelling and grammatical errors can make your work look careless.
Following the following link for degree specific examples of past undergraduate applicants:
This link, designed by UCAS where you will eventually send your Personal Statement, offers a video on step to step guidelines on ‘how to write your personal statement.’