Personal Statements 2017-12-19T09:49:45+00:00
PERSONAL STATEMENT

I am enthralled by analysing problems and reaching a conclusion; and so I have chosen my University course to be Accounting. For quite some time now I have wanted to enter this field, as it requires a multiplicity of skills including a high level of reasoning and logic. I believe that I would be suitable for this course as I encompass all of these skills. This course is going to assist in elevating me, into the world of financial accounting. I would like to move into a possible career as a professional accountant as I believe doing this course with a scientific background like mine would aid me to be a success, as years of science and empirical knowledge have moulded me into a determined, persistent and an extremely hard working student.

– Words like ‘enthralled’ are unnecessarily over-the-top.
– We know you have chosen accounting, so rephrase that first sentence to something more specific about accounting; analysing and solving problems applies to most degree courses.
– Admissions tutors do not like vague statements such as ‘For quite some time now I have wanted to enter this field’ – instead use your personal reason for wanting to study the degree, such as a current news story, personal trigger or how it relates to society.
– It is not clear why a scientific background would help with accounting.
– Do not make claims such as ‘I encompass all of these skills’, instead demonstrate them throughout your statement.
– You repeat that you want to become an accountant.
– Watch out for overly long sentences – the last one in this paragraph (beginning ‘I would like to move into a possible career…’) is far too long.

When I undertook work experience at the Central Claims Group, I worked alongside the company accountant when running the books and also on keeping tabs on company income, expenditure and profit. I also dealt with customers, who were keen to receive a substantial amount of compensation. I came to realise that if I kept a cool head and analysed the situation I would often get more success with clientele and I would be less likely to make a mistake in the running of the account balancing.

– Mentioning relevant work experience in your personal statement is good but add in more detail about how this will help the academic study of accounting.
– Talk about what you learnt whilst on placement with regards to ‘company income, expenditure and profit’ rather than customer service.
– You imply that you found the work experience stressful, and that you needed to keep a cool head; you should rephrase this.
– Also, do not mention the likelihood of you making mistakes! Instead talk about the importance of accuracy.
– This is the only relevant experience related to accounting in the entire statement, so you need to expand on it.

I am currently studying Biology which has made me think with an open mind when confronted with facts and figures. I am also studying A-Level Chemistry which will aid me in mathematical and complex areas of the accounting degree. The third A-Level I am studying is Theology and Philosophy which will assist me in comparing and contrasting numerous logical outcomes; facilitating me to choose the most suitable one. I have gained various skills such as problem solving in Chemistry, to analytical skills in Theology and Philosophy, and reasoning skills.

– We already know from your UCAS form which subjects you are studying, so if you are going to mention them and link them to skills you are gaining, you have got to make sure it is highly relevant to your chosen degree, not just generic skills, eg why, for example, will the facts and figures encountered in a Biology A-Level be helpful for studying accounting?

Attending the Pure Potential programme at Manchester University gave me detailed interview skills which are greatly significant. I have also been participating in the Manchester Access Programme held by Manchester University, which has given me a preview of University life, teaching me how to use extensive sources such as University libraries when acquiring background knowledge on the academic essay MAP assigned me to complete. Having helped out with college open days and also attending the philosophical debate club regularly I am an active member of Holy Cross College. I am also part of a group of 20 students who are going to go to Morocco in the summer of 2009 as part of a post college trip organised by the biology department. In my free time, I have a part time job in a call centre from which I have learnt vital communications skills and also taught me to balance a part time job with AS and A-Level studies. I have also been attending karate classes for over 10 years and as a result achieved a black belt 3rd Dan and the status of a sensei which is basically an instructor. Having been a member of St John’s Ambulance for over decade I have completed an impressive 100 hours of voluntary work on various duties including football matches, carnivals and parades. Because of my long term commitment I have been given the title of Cadet Sergeant and am a respected and valued constituent.

– This paragraph is too long, you should split it into two, one on experiences relating to university life, and one on non-relevant extra-curricular activities.
– You are trying to cram too much in, it reads like a check list instead of prose.
– Remove ‘sensei which is basically an instructor’ and replace with just ‘sensei’.
– The word ‘impressive’ sounds boastful, let the figure of 100 speak for itself.

Overall I believe I have the aptitude and drive to pursue a degree in accounting and an eagerness to further my knowledge and understanding on the subject I have a great affinity for. I would be delighted if I were able to continue to study this discipline at your prestigious institution.

– Be careful about using phrases like ‘your prestigious institution’ – the universities know that you have applied to five and that consequently you are unable to make a tailored application to each one.

This personal statement has some good aspects but needs work; to improve it you need to dedicate much more of it to your chosen degree course, and much less on your extra-curricular studies. Including any recent developments in the world of accounting, a demonstration of commercial awareness or how accounting relates to current affairs would be impressive. Also, you could make your language a bit tighter, less floral and avoid very long sentences.

The financial market is one of the most influential in the world today and of great importance for both the international success and competitiveness of the UK and for the continued success of the financial services sector as a major UK export. I have sustained a keen interest in finance since an early age and this has been developed and strengthened by my study of mathematics and economics. My ambition to become a Chartered Accountant in the future was further strengthened after recently attending an open day at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, at which I was given an insight into the accounting profession and the various areas of accountancy. Additionally, my work experience placement at HSBC working in a variety of departments has given me an experience of the financial world and how it functions. Studying economics has further developed my enthusiasm to study accounting and finance at degree level.

– This introduction is too long and includes lots of things in not enough detail, it is better to pick one or two things, and expand on others later in the statement.
– The first sentence is merely a factual statement, and you do not demonstrate your understanding of it – admissions tutors do not want to see their subject described, they want to see your understanding of it.
– Admissions tutors do not like vague phrases such as ‘since an early age…’
– You mention that you study economics currently twice.
– The first sentence should read ‘The UK financial market…” being specific is important, don’t lose your reader straight away by not being clear!

– You should not be squeezing your two highly relevant and excellent work experiences here in your introduction.

In economics, I particularly enjoy analysing and evaluating the successes, failures and consequences of various macro-economic policies. The other subjects that I study at A2 level are Maths, History and Biology. History like Economics has refined my ability to research a topic, select key information and use it to make focused evaluations. The study of Mathematics and Biology have improved my research and number skills and presented me with the kind of problem solving challenges I enjoy.

– Admissions tutors already know what you are studying because they can see your UCAS form, so listing them is a waste of precious space.
– Give an example, preferably outside the curriculum, of a failure and consequence of macro-economic policy.
– Don’t forget that all your competitors for a university place will be studying A-Levels or equivalent, so have a think about how you are going to make your current studies stand out – linking them to your chosen degree more specifically is a good way to do this.

Additionally I am participating in the Young Enterprise group, which is running at college this year. These achievements demonstrate my motivation and commitment to study.

– Seeing as you have chosen Accounting & Finance as a degree, you should be expanding on the Young Enterprise much more and linking this to your course; perhaps your current studies of economics have helped you refine the business plan? This should have an entire paragraph dedicated to it.

Outside of academic life I participate in and enjoy a range of sporting activities. Football and Cricket has helped me develop my commitment to teams and my fitness programme leading to ‘The Race for Life’ raising money for Cancer Research has helped me to persevere and succeed in a challenge. As a member of St John Ambulance, I completed the ‘Young Lifesaver Plus’ award, attended public events on a volunteer basis such as the Bristol Half Marathon and also gave time to organising and leading events as a cadet corporal. Furthermore, I was also  named ‘Cadet of the Year’ at my division. Again I need to have good communication skills and show emotional intelligence when dealing with a variety of people and situations. As deputy head girl at my secondary school I was able to not only hold a position of responsibility but also debate matters with peers and take issues to staff and governors. I have part-time employment in a retail store where I have been able to improve my communication skills acquiring knowledge of customer service and the retail business; through experiences such as accounts targets and the importance of individual performances to the company. Furthermore, I am currently working towards my standard level award within the company.

– It is far better to discuss your activities and let this be evidence of your skills and attributes than to tag ‘and this shows my XXX skills’ after each one.
– Avoid repetition, one example that demonstrates a specific skill is fine. Space is tight in a personal statement, repeating that you have strong communication skills is not the best use of this space. Instead try to use different examples to demonstrate as many different skills as possible. Again, try and then go on to link these skills back to why they will be useful on the course/as a university student.
– There is far too much detail on your extra-curricular activities, it would be better to expand on the work experience you briefly mention in your introduction.

My interests outside of college have enabled me to work well on my own initiative and as part of a team. They have also aided my organisational and time management skills. I am mature, confident and self-motivated, all qualities that I believe are critical to a successful university experience. I relish the opportunity to study accounting and finance to degree level and hopefully beyond.

– This sounds like a check-list of skills! The first two sentences are superfluous and should be removed.

Overall this statement shows promise but the contents needs to be prioritised. The focus should be on the degree course, so expanding on the excellent work experience opportunities you have been lucky enough to have would greatly improve it. The evidence is there, it just needs to presented differently! You should also demonstrate more clearly that you understand what the course entails.

I consider Financial Management (including accountancy) to be a very fulfilling and rewarding career. The ability to assist businesses in maximising their income and profits as well as stream lining the business processes appeals to me. A week of work experience helped confirm this, and also reinforced my desire to pursue a career in Finance. I was not only able to observe the work in the office, but also to assist, in albeit a minor way. Although I enjoy all my subjects, I particularly enjoy mathematics, and am looking forward to learning in detail how mathematic related areas can help in life. It will undoubtedly help in my chosen career. I participate actively in class discussions, voice my opinion when necessary and am comfortable with raising issues with my teachers on topics that I am unclear about.

– This paragraph has far too much information in not enough detail, it is much better to choose one or two strong reasons to want to study a subject than try and cram lots in the introduction.
– Admissions tutors want to see a focus on the academic study of their subject, not so much your chosen career.
– It would be better to discuss work experience later in the statement, and include far more detail – it is not clear what you did, who you worked for or why it was relevant to your chosen degree.
– The phrase ‘how mathematic related areas can help in life’ is very vague.
– The final sentence does not belong in the introduction!

The ability to interact with people of all ages is an important skill. My part-time job as a shop assistant, as well as my role as a Year 8 form assistant helped me to enhance this skill, especially when dealing with people in unfamiliar situations. I am generally very approachable and have found this has helped me to work well with all age groups. I enjoy Gymnastics and have qualified as an Assistant Gymnastics coach. I have also received the Community Sports Leadership Award. These allow me to regularly coach young children and organise sports activities at school. This gives me a great sense of achievement. Both awards helped to build on my confidence, leadership qualities and communication skills. To help give me a basic introduction to the finance area, I participated in the Young Enterprise Award. Within the award, I was given the role of financial manager and here I had to deal with shares, methods to maximise profit and manage the accounts. The activity helped to influence my career choice. I have received the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards. The activities involved helped to build and enhance my teamwork and organisation skills. As part of the activity I volunteered weekly at a Brownies club, which I enjoyed thoroughly and this helped further improve communication skills.

– Of all of these extra-curricular activities, participating in the Young Enterprise Award is clearly the most relevant to your proposed degree therefore this should be given more emphasis and more detail in it’s own dedicated paragraph
– You should not discuss anything not directly related to your degree course until the penultimate paragraph.
– Why is working with people of all ages relevant to the degree of Accounting and Finance?

I enjoy meeting and interacting with people of all ages, which is not only important in a career, but also vital in a university environment. I have enjoyed taking part in dance productions and feel that I can work well as part of a team. I particularly enjoyed dancing in formation in the Regional Latin American Championships, in Blackpool Tower. Dancing along with gymnastics is a passion, and I hope to continue with these at university, I am at ease when working with computers. Computers considerably enhance the running of all businesses. I relax by listening to music, reading and exercising. As well as participating in gymnastics and dance, I also run regularly, as I believe it is important to be challenged both physically and mentally.

– There is far, far too much emphasis on your extra-curricular activities and nowhere near enough on your dedication to, and passion for, Accounting and Finance.
– Go into further detail about how ‘Computers considerably enhance the running of all businesses’ and discuss this in specific detail academically because this sentence is very vague.

I am very committed to succeeding at a career in the finance area and I am determined to attain the grades necessary for entry into business school. I am also thoroughly looking forward to an exciting, challenging and successful time at university!

– It should go without saying that you hope to get the grades, and by mentioning this you call into question your ability to get them.
– Do not use exclamation marks in your personal statement, it is a formal document.

Overall, there are some good aspects of this personal statement but you need to focus a lot more on Accounting and Finance; we recommend that at least 2/3 of the statement should be about your proposed subject, while the remaining 1/3 is reserved for extra-curricular activities. Perhaps you could talk about potential modules that you will study whilst at university and highlight any preparatory reading that you done. What recent developments in the world of finance and accounting that are particularly relevant or interesting?

Throughout my life I have constantly changed my goals and aims to try to find the perfect match for my personality. It was only recently, after going on a work experience placement, and taking part in the Young Enterprise scheme that I have finally found that match. It is from these important experiences that I have learnt that I really enjoy the challenges which business and more specifically, finance and accounting present.

– This opening paragraph makes you sound fickle; the admission tutor would be concerned that you would change your mind again.
– This paragraph should be focussed on why you want to study the subject specifically, not how recently you decided; we suggest deleting it completely and starting again.

My most engaging subject at A-Level has been economics because of how extensively economic laws and concepts apply in the real world and especially in industry. For example, recently, there was a lot of talk on America’s trade deficit with China which culminated in Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States. This story was significant for me as I am very interested in the current rapid growth of the Chinese economy and the effects this is having with its trading partners. This is because I believe China is becoming the most important economic power in the world.

– You do not really demonstrate that you understand this news story fully. Why did Hu Jintao visit the US and what was the outcome? Why was the story significant for you personally? What effects does China’s rapid growth has on its trading partners? What evidence is there that China is becoming the most important superpower, and what impact might this have on the world?

In July I organised a work experience placement with Chevron – a large American oil company. My placement was in the credit department which deals with clients who purchase large quantities of oil directly from the company. This experience was so important to me because I was able to see in person how large companies deal with their clients from a financial perspective. Following on from this, I have taken on two more placements at the same company in the ICT department and the BRES (Business and Real Estate Services) department. I decided that by working in multiple areas in the same large corporation, not only could I see the different aspects of a working company, but I could also see the links between each department and how they work together. Last summer, I was able to earn money by tutoring fellow classmates in maths and ICT. This helped them to achieve better grades than predicted and helped me to learn that organisation is even more important when others are dependent on you.

– How does a large company deal with clients from ‘a financial perspective’? You need to make it clear you understand what you are saying by explaining what you mean.
– Similarly, how do each department work together? How does this relate to your chosen degree?
– Your work helping fellow classmates is not related to work experience and therefore shouldn’t be in this paragraph.

I took part in the Young Enterprise scheme in which I was able to perform a varying range of roles from ICT to finance. It was here when I really started to take my interest in business further, and began to read up on the legal side of corporate accounting which helped me to keep on top of the company’s financial situation and to record transactions in the most efficient manner. After completing the Young Enterprise scheme, I decided to take my interest in the legal ramifications of business further, by reading the ‘Companies House’ website, and other websites such as ‘HM Revenue and Customs’ and ‘businesslink.gov’.

– Explain what you read up about that you then directly used for your Young Enterprise company, and don’t be afraid of using accounting jargon.
– What did you discover on these websites, and how does this relate to your chosen degree?

In order to satisfy my urge to organise and take on challenges, I have worked extensively as a member of the audio visual team at school. This has enabled me to be creative as I have had to design sound systems which both work, and meet the specifications of the director. I also had the opportunity to take on the senior role of Deputy Stage Manager for a school play for which I had to liaise between the director, the cast and the crew as well as fix any problems which arose. Recently I decided to take this hobby further and benefit the community at the same time by joining the hospital radio station at Northwick Park Hospital. As well as forcing me to improve my communication skills and charisma, I have also had to address my time management in order to allocate enough time to both the hospital, my academic work and other activities. I also enjoy playing tennis and badminton regularly with friends and I am constantly trying to improve my technique so that eventually I will be able to play in competitions.

-The first sentence in this paragraph reads very strangely!
– This paragraph shows that you have done a lot of things outside the classroom, which is good, but it is not a conclusion in itself. You need to add a separate conclusion to round off your statement.

Overall this statement needs work to prove that you have thoroughly researched the course, and you need to link the excellent work experience you have done to your degree – currently the links are tenuous at best!

1 Corinthians 12:9: to another the gifts of healing by that one Spirit. This biblical quote was read to me when I was 13 and I knew that my future lay with caring for others. I believed it was my chance to have an ethical profession I could be proud of. I looked into several different options including medicine, however while on Medlink I discovered that nursing offered more personal interaction with the patients.

– Starting your personal statement with a quote is only acceptable if you go on to explain why you have used it, however in this case it is not a convincing reason for choosing the degree course.
– You could expand on this and discuss why nurses play such an important role in patient care.
– Expand on your experiences at Medlink in a different paragraph, don’;t try to squeeze it into your introduction. Was it a conference that you attended? What was it on? Go into further detail on why you chose nursing over medicine.

I have spoken to several qualified nurses and students who have given me a wealth of information on the subject. One student’s experiences of working with patients who have renal failure and with patients in post-op care sounded intriguing.

– There is not nearly enough detail given here! What sort of care was required? Why was it intriguing?

I am interested in surgery, which has stemmed from an early memory of having an operation on my neck. I had to stay overnight and come back to have the stitches taken out. Since then medical programmes on television that involve surgery have fascinated me. One that was remarkable involved a liver transplant, another one I remember clearly was the removal of a brain tumour; the balance between life and death is a humbling thing. However neither of these compares to seeing live surgery from a lecture hall at Nottingham teaching hospital; I was able to ask the surgeon questions as he preformed surgery on a woman’s spine to alleviate the pressure on her vertebra which was causing sciatica.

– Try not to use television programmes or early memories as evidence of your interest, or at least galvanize these with further academic research.
– The second half of this paragraph is much more impressive; you have demonstrated initiative in exploring your proposed subject by undertaking work experience, however you should link it directly to nursing. What sort of after-care would these patients require? How would one patient’s care differ from another?

Over several years I have volunteered at a Level one sheltered housing complex for the elderly. This involves helping at social functions such as afternoon teas and coffee mornings; I do small tasks as well as chatting to residents. Some of the residents lack family contact and enjoy being able to have a conversation with a younger person. I have also helped the manager with paperwork.

– Link this experience to nursing. How could chatting to elderly residents be useful? What skills did you pick up? Did it make you more aware of sensitivities that nurses face?

I sometimes baby-sit for young children ranging between 4 months and 4 years. This is a responsible job which I enjoy as it is always varied. For two weeks I did work experience in an office doing chores including filing and sorting mail. I can see how necessary correct documentation is, as all files will need to be checked if a problem arises, this is not unlike keeping hold of patient records so that they can be checked effortlessly.

– Again, link the baby-sitting experience to nursing.
– You have linked the importance of accurate filing to nursing which is good.

I love to be challenged; this can be seen in my current part-time job. I applied to Sainsbury’s and was given the job of working on the meat counter. As a vegetarian this is one of the worst jobs, however I do not like to give up and took it on with a relish. I do not regret my decision as I have made many good friends and love the interaction with customers. I am now referred to as ‘The Vegetarian Butcher’ by both colleagues and customers. This means I cannot be squeamish, which will be useful in consideration to the things I may have to deal with as a nurse!

– Beware of using humour in your statement, many admissions tutors would rather this document was kept formal.
– This section is longer than it needs to be, reduce it to one or two sentences.

I have always enjoyed group participation. I belong to the Rangers; which do a number of different activities. I also have a passion for dancing; since I was six years old I have attended classes and taken exams in Latin American, Ballroom and disco. I danced competitively which involved solo and team work, and I have helped young students at my dance school.

– Be careful of grammar and punctuation here.
– You will need to expand on what sort of activities the Rangers do.
– You have demonstrated dedicated and commitment through your dancing, which is good.

I attend prayer meetings daily and Christian Union at school. I have taken part in a programme designed to get young people into science called S.P.L.A.T.S. This involves sixth formers teaching science to middle school aged children through practical experiments. I underwent two days of training before taking on the role of teacher. Although it was hard work I found it both fun and satisfying seeing the children’s delight at some of the things they managed to achieve.

– How did teaching sciences to younger years help your understanding?
– How did this experience help you with your career goal?
– This is a weak and rather abrupt ending to the personal statement as it does not focus closely enough on the proposed course of adult nursing.

Overall, the statement is quite good as it demonstrates that you have the right skills to succeed in this line of work, but more links back to the chosen field would improve it significantly. You clearly researched the proposed subject through undertaking several work experience placements, and extra-curricular activities prove your resilience. You could also focus more clearly on demonstrating a wide knowledge of the issues affecting a job in adult nursing; reading about contemporary ethical issues could be very impressive to the admissions tutor. 

1 Corinthians 12:9: to another the gifts of healing by that one Spirit. This biblical quote was read to me when I was 13 and I knew that my future lay with caring for others. I believed it was my chance to have an ethical profession I could be proud of. I looked into several different options including medicine, however while on Medlink I discovered that nursing offered more personal interaction with the patients.

– Starting your personal statement with a quote is fine as long as you explain why it has inspired you, but it is not clear.
– Your second sentence doesn’t quite work; it implies you were given a chance to choose career aged 13.
– It would be good if you could expand on your experiences at Medlink? What did you do and why do you prefer more personal interaction with patients?

I have spoken to several qualified nurses and students who have given me a wealth of information on the subject. One student’s experiences of working with patients who have renal failure and with patients in post-op care sounded intriguing.

– Why was it intriguing? What did they tell you? This paragraph is too short.

I am interested in surgery, which has stemmed from an early memory of having an operation on my neck. I had to stay overnight and come back to have the stitches taken out. Since then medical programmes on television that involve surgery have fascinated me. One that was remarkable involved a liver transplant, another one I remember clearly was the removal of a brain tumour; the balance between life and death is a humbling thing. However neither of these compares to seeing live surgery from a lecture hall at Nottingham teaching hospital; I was able to ask the surgeon questions as he performed surgery on a woman’s spine to alleviate the pressure on her vertebra which was causing sciatica.

– You are cramming a lot into one paragraph! You could go into more detail about your own operation; have you since read up on the medical procedure you had?
– TV is generally considered weak evidence of your passion for the subject, but if you have seen documentaries then mention their names here, and go into detail about what you watched rather than the brief mentions you have provided.
– You should expand your experience at Nottingham considerably; what questions did you ask the surgeon? What did you learn about medical procedures generally, and sciatica specifically? Consider dedicating an entire paragraph to this highly relevant procedure! What role did the doctor play, and what role did the nurse play? Why are both roles essential?

Over several years I have volunteered at a Level one sheltered housing complex for the elderly. This involves helping at social functions such as afternoon teas and coffee mornings; I do small tasks as well as chatting to residents. Some of the residents lack family contact and enjoy being able to have a conversation with a younger person. I have also helped the manager with paperwork.

– This is highly relevant experience! Talk about the importance of patient / carer relationships, what you learnt about developing rapport, patient confidentiality, any difficult situations that arose etc.

I sometimes baby-sit for young children ranging between 4 months and 4 years. This is a responsible job which I enjoy as it is always varied. For two weeks I did work experience in an office doing chores including filing and sorting mail. I can see how necessary correct documentation is, as all files will need to be checked if a problem arises, this is not unlike keeping hold of patient records so that they can be checked effortlessly.

– Do not put your baby-sitting experiences with your office work, discuss this in a separate paragraph about patient records and accuracy.

– Consider combining the volunteering at the elderly home with the baby-sitting; compare working with the elderly to working with babies and toddlers. What skills are required for each audience? What challenges did you face?

I love to be challenged; this can be seen in my current part-time job. I applied to Sainsbury’s and was given the job of working on the meat counter. As a vegetarian this is one of the worst jobs, however I do not like to give up and took it on with relish. I do not regret my decision as I have made many good friends and love the interaction with customers. I am now referred to as ‘The Vegetarian Butcher’ by both colleagues and customers. This means I cannot be squeamish, which will be useful in consideration to the things I may have to deal with as a nurse!

– Although this is an interesting anecdote, it is not quite right for a personal statement. Try rephrasing it, and talking about it in a more serious way to demonstrate your determination and commitment.

I have always enjoyed group participation. I belong to the Rangers; which do a number of different activities. I also have a passion for dancing; since I was six years old I have attended classes and taken exams in Latin American, Ballroom and disco. I danced competitively which involved solo and team work, and I have helped young students at my dance school.

– Be clear what the Rangers are, and explain briefly what activities you take part in

I attend prayer meetings daily and Christian Union at school. I have taken part in a programme designed to get young people into science called S.P.L.A.T.S. This involves sixth formers teaching science to middle school aged children through practical experiments. I underwent two days of training before taking on the role of teacher. Although it was hard work I found it both fun and satisfying seeing the children’s delight at some of the things they managed to achieve.

– This is a weak ending to the personal statement as it does not focus closely enough on the proposed course of adult nursing.
– Combine the two paragraphs above and add a completely separate conclusion.

Overall, the statement is a good start as it demonstrates that you have the right skills to succeed in this line of work. You have clearly researched the proposed subject through undertaking several work experience placements, and extra-curricular activities prove your resilience. To improve it, you could focus more clearly on demonstrating a wide knowledge of the issues affecting a job in adult nursing; reading about contemporary ethical issues could be very impressive to the admissions tutor.

The exploration into ancient civilisations is a journey into a world unknown to most. Yet the ancient customs and achievements of these people have shaped the outline of humanity. Edgar Allan Poe once defined classical antiquity as “the glory that was Greece, the grandeur that was Rome!” Let’s not forget the Egyptians, whose advanced architectural structures and revolutionary methods of irrigation, created an empire that would be remembered for thousands of years.

– This is a good opening. It immediately captures the admissions tutor’s attention and demonstrates very well your enthusiasm for your proposed degree.
– Avoid using phrases like ‘let’s not forget’ – they are too informal and make the personal statement come across as too chatty. Forgetting the Egyptians, as one of the most famous of ancient cultures, is something that anyone is unlikely to do.
– If you are going to quote someone like Edgar Allan Poe, try to think a little more about what his purpose in saying this was. The nineteenth century’s obsession with all things Greek and Roman, especially the ideas of Empire and culture that are associated with these two ancient civilisations, clearly informed his opinion. Is there any difference between what people in the nineteenth century thought about ancient Greece and Rome, and what we think about them now? The first and second world wars had a huge impact on the way that the classical civilisations were thought of.

I want to study ancient history at university because I have been deeply fascinated by the subject for a number of years since hearing stories of Greek mythology at Primary school. The tales of the Minotaur in the labyrinth, Daedalus and his son Icarus flying too close the sun with their wax wings were just the door to a new world of discovery. The beliefs and cultures of these ancient people are a massive contrast to that of today’s society yet in some aspects we could be thought of as very similar.

– A weaker paragraph; try to avoid talking about your interests at primary school. The admissions tutors are interested in what you are like now, and not what you liked reading aged six. Talking about mythology from a child’s perspective is not very impressive and in no way related to your proposed university degree.

My sixth form does not currently offer Ancient History as part of the syllabus; however I have not let this deter me. For my work experience in year 12 I travelled down to Swansea University where I volunteered for a week at the distinguished Egypt Centre, which is based upon items from the collection of Sir Henry Wellcome. Here I learned about the two main aspects of Egyptian time; life and death. I was shown how to mummify a mummy and then perform this in front of the public, and taught ancient Egyptian games including my particular favourite, Senet.

– This paragraph is a lot better since it deals with recent experiences that are highly relevant to the  proposed degree course and demonstrate your interest in the subject outside of the school curriculum.
– To improve it, you should give a little more information about the collection at the Egypt Centre, and to discuss how these ancient artefacts could be used to gain a deeper understanding of the past. Studying ancient history is of course a very different discipline to studying more modern history because the source material is both scarce and particularly biased. Archaeological evidence is therefore a lot more relevant to the study of ancient history and sometimes can give us an idea about the life of ordinary humans that we wouldn’t otherwise get from the historical documents, since they are written by the rich and privileged.
– You should also make this paragraph a little more academic-sounding; whilst being able to mummify a mummy is of course interesting, it is not as relevant to a university degree and makes it sound a little bit like a school trip rather than an academic work experience placement.

I hope to re-visit the Egypt Centre over the forthcoming year as I gained invaluable knowledge and experience from my visit. As part of my sixth form life I feel it is important to be involved in external activities, for example I am entering the Duke of Edinburgh at Gold award. This will involve strenuous activities, determination and a constant amount of effort from my self. I hope this will increase my confidence, organisation skills and help me to meet a variety of new people. Another way I am trying to improve these skills is through my part-time job at Blacks; an outdoor shop which caters for outdoor enthusiasts. It has helped me to appreciate the money I earn and encourage me to use it wisely. Having a part time job has also helped to increase my personal skills and sharpen my memory.

As a year 12 student I enjoyed the opportunity of taking part in a reading scheme with younger students with learning disabilities. I found that playing an active role in various charity fundraising events greatly improved my communication skills, organisation and leadership qualities. These along with other hobbies require good time management and dedication on my part.

Undertaking a sign language course further developed my communication skills, to the extent that I am currently enrolled in a higher level course at the local college. As a volunteer for the British Red Cross, I thoroughly enjoy learning and practicing new skills and working with the public.

For two years I have been studying the shukokai style of karate at John Lynn’s black belt karate academy and I am currently on brown belt tabs. As well as learning self defence, I have learnt self-control, concentration, respect, courtesy and a number of other defining qualities.

– These last few paragraphs are well-written, but not directly relevant to the study of ancient history, and therefore too long. There should be more focus on the proposed university degree in this statement, and the extra-curricular paragraphs should be condensed into one.

A degree in Ancient History would open up many possibilities including staying on at university and applying for a postgraduate degree. After this I hope to pursue a career as a historian or a job where I can continue to explore and delve into the past and eventually become a lecturer in my chosen field. History may be a thing of the past but it is always defining our future.

– This is a good conclusion. Mentioning any career aspirations (especially if they are relevant to your proposed subject) can be extremely beneficial, since they demonstrate your long-term enthusiasm for the subject.

All in all, this is a good statement and your enthusiasm comes across very well. What needs to be improved on is the balance between extra-curricular achievement and proposed degree subject; at least 2/3 of the statement should be dedicated to ancient history.

It would be lovely to see more evidence of wider reading, and some more details about particular aspects of ancient history that you find interesting. Ancient history is not limited to the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, and it is a shame that the student has chosen to focus on the most obvious parts of the course. Try to make your statement stand out by talking about, for example, Ancient Mesopotamia. It will demonstrate that you have researched the course content carefully and that you know what to expect at degree level.

Animal Behaviour is a subject I want to study because I find the natural world highly fascinating. I have been involved with animals for most of my life, having a range of pets at home. During my work experience, I originally aspired to be a vet, and worked in a Veterinary Practice and at a Hedgehog Rescue Centre. This gave me a good understanding of what measures are needed to care for them.

– This is a weak introduction; citing pets as your inspiration for studying a subject at degree level is not what admissions tutors are looking for.
– You have not made it clear why you changed your mind from aspiring to be a vet, so it’s not worth mentioning.
– You are vague and unclear about ‘what measures are needed’

I carried on Biology to AS-Level and found that I enjoyed the physical side of the subject, as it allows me to understand the anatomy of animal life. Biology limits the amount of study that focuses on animals, hence why I decided to choose Animal Behaviour, as it only revolves around them. Animals are a subject that younger people enjoy. I have developed this love as I have grown up and have also found a more scientific path connected to them.

– The admissions tutor knows what AS-Levels you are studying from the rest of your UCAS form so don’t waste precious space repeating this information.
– Go into detail about an aspect of animal anatomy that you found interesting, and talk about what you have learnt as a result.
– It is not a good idea to speak negatively about Biology as a subject, instead talk about what you have done outside the curriculum to further your interest.
– The phrase ‘animals are a subject that younger people enjoy’ is confusing, and makes you sound immature.
– Discuss this ‘scientific path’ you speak of in some detail, give examples.

For a part time job, I joined up with a dog kennels nearby, where I walked and cleaned the dogs, and sometimes, helped out in the cattery. Again, this helped me develop skills with animals, because I had a lot of interaction with them.

– This section is very vague, what skills did you develop? How will this be useful to the degree course? Did you notice anything different between the treatment (and behaviour) of dogs and animals from your work experience? Is there a specific species or genus of animals that you would like to look at in particular? Or that you find particularly fascinating?

I want to study Animal Behaviour because I would like to carry on my interest for animals, and become a professional within the subject. It would be fascinating to be in a job that will help me interact with them, and share my skills with the public.

– The placing of this paragraph is odd, it would be better as your conclusion.

My Duke of Edinburgh Award has taught me many skills. I have completed both my Bronze and Silver awards. It taught me to be a good leader, as after completing my Silver Award, I was also awarded the Ranger of the Year Award, for taking almost full control and successfully guiding my group to our destination. Also, I feel that this helped me to plan my time well and meet deadlines, as part of the award is to meet time limits. Problem solving is also a skill I gained from the experience, during the walk. In situations, where the group either couldn’t work out where to go, or could not decide among each other, I kept a calm tone and managed to discuss my reasoning in a mature manner. Obviously, this award means that teamwork is a major skill to learn. This shows that not only can I been an individual worker, but also can work in a team.

– The first two sentences of this paragraph are very short! Merge them into one that flows better.
– You should demonstrate you understand what makes a good leader and time planner, rather than simply state that you have these skills.
– This paragraph is very wordy and doesn’t flow well at all. Use the STAR method of describing what you did (Situation, Task, Action, Relevance).

I am a Young Leader with a Girl Guide unit in Middleton. I have been doing this for about 2 years and feel that I have become a good role model and someone to talk to. My job is to help the guide leader and organise events for each session. I have taken part in many charity events, such as concerts and fairs, and have also organised some fun events, all of which have been a major success. This shows that I can be consistent and dedicated at all times. I can come up with some ideas when placed on the spot, and can also develop on other people’s ideas.

– Like the previous paragraph, it is important to highlight the skills that you have picked up from extra-curricular roles, but the experience of working as a Young Leader could have been grouped with the Duke of Edinburgh section.
– It is far better to talk about skills you are developing rather than using statement such as ‘I feel that I have become…’ and ‘this shows I can be…’.
-Again, we suggest rewriting this section.

Bird watching is a hobby I have discovered myself. My house is situated in an area where I can see many birds, mainly Starlings and Sparrows, and study how they act. I enjoy watching BBC’s ‘Springwatch’ and ‘Autumnwatch’. I take in a lot of information from this and enjoy the variety of animal life involved. These programs actually helped me to discover what I desired to carry on in life, as it viewed some jobs that involved animals; therefore I decided to take Animal Behaviour.

– This extra-curricular activity is much more relevant to the degree and therefore should be moved further up the statement, before DofE
– Give us an example of animal behaviour that you have observed.

I will be successful with this course because I take enjoyment from the subject and wish to carry on my hobby to degree level. This would then make a future job much more enjoyable rather than just an occupation, which would be a good benefit. All my hobbies and relevant experience revolve around animals which have not only taught me a few things about the animal world, but have encouraged my interest in them. Animal Behaviour seems the perfect choice, because I think I will do well, and at the same time will be able to take enjoyment from my studies, helping me to learn with ease.

– You shouldn’t make statements such as ‘I will be successful…’
– Don’t refer to your academic degree choice as a hobby, it sounds trivial!
– We suggest deleting this entire paragraph and replacing it with the previous paragraph which is a better conclusion.
– Add something about how much you are looking forward to university life outside of academia.

Overall this is a weak statement that needs work. You have done plenty of things which can be used as evidence of your interest in the subject, but you don’t write about them in a way that really makes the reader understand why you are so interested in the subject. You need to show you understand what the course involves; at the moment the emphasis is more on a general fondness for animals rather than an interest in studying them. You should also reword the way you describe your non-academic achievements to sound more like a mature and independent student.

From an early age art has been part of my life, from drawing family Christmas cards and designing gardens to doodling on every piece of paper within reach. This is why Animation appeals to me as a career. I am fascinated at the amount of expression that can be put into a character that is created from human imagination, and has the capacity to stir an audience into laughter or tears at the merest movement.

– It would be better to include a more concrete early experience as your reason for wanting to study the subject.
– Change ‘career’ to ‘degree’.
– The last sentence is excellent.

My interest increased further after viewing an exhibition of work from computer animation students at The Russell Coates museum locally. I was amazed at the incredible effects they managed to achieve through using the computer packages, not only this but the wide variety of animation styles meant that each of the clips was individual to the creator. Since then I have been more and more aware of animation in the media and I really want to create my own.

– By going to a museum in your spare time to see a relevant exhibition you demonstrate genuine interest in your subject.

Currently I attend evening courses in life drawing at the Arts Institute in Bournemouth and will soon start another in animation. This will give me valuable experience and also complement my A level subjects. My A level studies involve creativity, initiative, technical understanding and adaptability. Unfortunately my AS grades in Physics and History are not what I and my teachers think I am capable of achieving so I will be retaking some unit exams.

– Mentioning your life drawing classes is excellent, try to link it to animation, what specific skills apply to both?
– Do not talk about any negative points in your personal statement. The admissions tutor will already know that you are retaking some units so don’t waste your characters talking about this. Focus on the positives!

Of all my subjects I feel Art has developed my skills the most. By researching and emulating styles of established artists I have been able to use their influence in my own work. Emphasis on evaluating what works and what does not has encouraged me to be more adventurous in the size and style of my art. Being a detailed worker, this has been invaluable in broadening my horizons and not being afraid to try something different. I plan to develop my skills further next year with an Art Foundation course.

– An excellent link between the skills gained from your current studies and how they will help at degree level.

Although being adventurous is important I think the very best results in any subject come from knowledge of technical aspects in order to use that as a basis for development. Studying product design has shown me that a number of issues have to be brought together to achieve something worthwhile, for example; material properties, manufacture methods, aesthetics and ergonomics combine to create a product that works. This has to be put into consideration with an understanding of the culture and beliefs of the user. Studying Modern History has linked with this; as well as encouraging me to make my own judgement on issues and factors which lead to a major event, it has made me aware of how the slightest action made by one person can affect so many different people.

– You have demonstrated the link between your current studies and your future studies well by talking about how subjects like product design, and even history, has shaped your understanding of design.

I spent my Year 10 work experience at Bournemouth University’s design department and used CAD programs to model my ideas for products. This was the first time I had combined creativity and computing and I loved it, especially manipulating small aspects of the design to make what I was drawing more personal. My part-time job as a cleaner may not be as much fun but has made me much more responsible and less dependent on my parents financially. This year I was also given a valuable opportunity to work as a designer for my headteacher updating the school map. Working as his client allowed me to be original and inventive for a real project.

– Your work experience at Bournemouth was highly relevant, and it should not be in the same paragraph as your cleaning job.
– You can combine the design of the school map with the Bournemouth experience because these are highly relevant to each other.
– For both of the relevant experiences it would be good to go into further detail about the software you used and the end result of your tasks.

A big part of my life outside school is archery. I am currently on the Olympic Development scheme for 2012 which involves daily training and frequent visits to Lilleshall National Sports Centre. Most of my weekends are spent travelling around the country to compete which requires dedication, commitment and hard work to fit in school work and other activities. So far it has paid off as I have represented my country as part of the Great Britain team in six events internationally. It has given me the most amazing experiences and allowed me to meet wonderful people from other nations and within the very supportive team. From being a naturally quiet person this experience has made me a more confident and aware individual.

– This is an excellent experience and you are right to include it and go into detail, however it could be a bit shorter, and it does not serve as a conclusion.
– Finish your personal statement with a strong closing sentence or two! Your summary will be the last thing the tutor will read so it needs to be punchy and concise.
– Be careful of saying ‘ a naturally quiet person’ because this infers you lack confidence, just focus on what a positive experience it has been.
– You should add the cleaning job to this paragraph, then add a conclusion in a separate paragraph consisting of 2 sentences.

Overall this is a very good, well-written statement that provides plenty of evidence for why you have chosen the subject, and you demonstrate a clear interest through activities and work experience outside of school.

I became enthralled by Anthropology and Archaeology as I gained a deeper insight into each discipline during an enrichment course studied alongside my AS Levels. I was drawn to unearth the subjects as thoroughly as possible, reading around the area, visiting museums, attending talks, studying countless documents in various media and undertaking additional study outside of college to complement my A-levels. I felt compelled this was the field I wanted to study at university. Although the majority of my conviction is for Anthropology, I am also very eager to delve thoroughly into its relationship with its material aspect, Archaeology.

– You to explain exactly what this ‘enrichment course’ was.
– Don’t state that the majority of your interest in in Anthropology!! When applying for combined honours you must treat each subject equally.
– You use rather over the top language, the admissions tutor would rather just see concrete evidence of what you’ve done, seen or read, rather than sentences like ‘I felt compelled this was the field I wanted to study at university’.
– Be specific about all the excellent activities you claim you have done; which museums, books, talks etc.

I believe that my A-level choices of English Literature, Modern History, Maths and Geology provide an excellent mix of strengths relevant to the degree. I will be able to write fluent, analytical essays while also demonstrating incisive logical reasoning and meticulous practical skills. I am also undertaking an Extended Project related to Cultural Anthropology, which has helped me prepare for the independent research proficiency required at university. My project is linked to a two-week expedition to Nepal which took place in August. I organised this trip independently and lived with Nepali people, toured Kathmandu, Chitwan, and the villages of the Himalayan foothills surrounding Pokhara and witnessed many displays of the colourful, distinct culture. In addition I have taken the initiative to undertake an Open University course: ‘Archaeology: The Science of Investigation’ which is developing my scientific techniques as well as allowing me to investigate sites across the world, deciphering long lost living environments and the significance drawn from the most humble artefacts. The level of learning is equivalent to that at the first stage of higher education study.

– You don’t need to state which subjects you are studying; the admissions tutor will see this from the rest of your UCAS form, and therefore it is a waste of precious word count.
– Beware of using your current studies as a reason for making you a suitable candidate; don’t forget that every single one of your competitors will be doing the same or similar qualifications!, so you won’t stand out!
– Your trip to Nepal is excellent experience; this should be the focus of this paragraph, adding as much relevant detail as possible that relates back to your degree course.

At A-level I have greatly valued the opportunity to explore topics such as the rise and fall of communism in History, and I was curious to learn about how this political system has succeeded and failed in very small and large societies. For example, isolated peoples such as those of the tiny island Anuta, which I studied for a short time during my Enrichment course, manage to share and equally contribute to the community whilst working in harmony with the environment. The study of poetry and novels such as Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in English Literature helped me develop a sense of perspective regarding the effect of colonialism, for example on the Igbo people of Nigeria. My essays on other literary works have also all allowed me to scrutinize the human phenomena of class, gender, death and relationships. Geology is giving me the scientific basis which will be required at university and the extensive study on fossils this year is helping me research objects, and become comfortable with the terminology of biological classification.

– This paragraph is a far better explanation of how your current studies will help you at degree level than the previous section.
– You can improve this by adding a few texts you have read outside the curriculum as a result of being inspired in the classroom.

I am a member of the Royal Anthropological Institute and I enjoy having free access to Anthropology Today. I am proficient in IT which has been fundamental in my part-time job of one year as a customer service representative, where I deal diplomatically with a large variety of different people, problems and opinions. My interests outside of academia include athletics, travel and cooking. Last year I completed a course at the Cambridge Cookery School where as well as learning to cook dishes from alternate cultures, I learned about the health and ethical issues associated with food. The anthropology of food is also a rewarding topic I touched upon in my Extended Project and would like to revisit.

-Tell us a bit more about what you have read in Anthropology Today!
– Anything directly relevant to your chosen degree should not be in the same paragraph as your more general work experience and hobbies.
– Otherwise this is a good paragraph, brief but well-rounded, and with a final link back to one of your chosen subjects.

I believe that the degree is the perfect meeting point for my skills. I look forward to reading Archaeology and Anthropology in a most challenging and stimulating academic environment and then to advancing my knowledge through postgraduate research, and beyond that careers in media or authoring offer fulfilling possible career routes.

– This is a good conclusion – you have demonstrated how his or her skills are best suited to studying this degree, and given some indication as to what she or he would like to do after graduating.

Overall this is a good start at your personal statement, but needs tweaking before it can be submitted. Avoid long sentences and the repetition of words in the same sentence. As a subject that requires a great deal of essay writing, you will need to demonstrate your ability to write coherently and elegantly.

I have always been fascinated by the way in which people across the world live out their lives. I have often wondered why bigamy is acceptable in some places and forbidden in others, or why women are seen as leaders within certain cultures and are inferior in others. As an anthropologist, I would hope to gain knowledge of why and how our cultures mould us and why we differ on a global scale in terms of the rules we abide by. I have endeavoured to explore various aspects of the subject by reading relevant books such as “Introducing Anthropology” (M. Silvers) and “The Solomon Islands” (B. Burt).

– You shouldn’t say ‘I have always…’ in your personal statement; try to remember the trigger that got you interested.
– Otherwise this is a good introduction.

I completed work experience in a company that made and sold costumes with influences from many different cultures. At the time of work experience, a number of orders were being taken for the Notting Hill Carnival, which takes its influence from the Caribbean. I was asked to initiate ideas as part of a group for a headpiece for carnival, which required research and careful consideration for those wearing the piece. It was vital to keep the design in line with the Caribbean style and the high standard that the company expected, and when the task did not go to plan, it was up to the group as a whole to target the problem and provide a suitable solution. It was also beneficial for me to create a headpiece that was not at all associated with my own culture, and enabled me to implement ideas that were slightly unusual.

– The link between this work experience and anthropology in tenuous; if you are going to use this example try discussing what you discovered about Caribbean culture or history.

My A-level subjects this year have given me the skills I need to become a successful student of anthropology at university. Having studied English, I have gained the analytical skills needed to study anthropology, as well as the ability to put forward ideas and discuss them in depth. I have also learnt to accept other peoples’ ideas irrespective of my own, something vital when studying anthropology. Studying French has not only given me the ability to talk with other French-speaking people around the world, but has also given me an insight into French culture and how it differs from my own. This has been especially so when studying French literature and having discussions about politics, environmental issues and social issues such as drugs. Studying Biology has helped me to understand how our bodies function on a practical basis. As well as this, I have been introduced to some of the evolutionary theories that endeavour to explain our existence, helping me immensely in terms of the physical aspect of anthropology. Psychology, being a social science, has put demands on both my critical abilities and my awareness of the wider world in terms of social influence, abnormalities, human memory, attachment and stress. Studying Psychology has shed a new light onto the social and cultural factors affecting human behaviour, which is the key component upon which anthropology is based.

– Remember that all your competitors for this course will also have studied A-Levels (or equivalent) and therefore citing them as reasons for making you a successful student will not make you stand out.
– You should also talk about any skills as being in development, not that you have acquired them already.
– This paragraph is far too long and covers only what you learn in school. Pick a couple of relevant topics and talk about this has led you to investigate anthropology further, being sure to use examples from outside the school curriculum.

I believe that it is important to balance both academic learning and extra-curricular activities. I have been playing the violin for 6 years and am at a grade 7 standard. This has shown my commitment and determination to excel and also gives me a sense of achievement. I was a co-organiser of the school gospel choir for a year, which displays both my organisational skills and my ability to lead and be part of a team, as involvement of the whole choir was crucial. In addition, I was a volunteer at the North London Hospice charity shop in Golders Green. This was a valuable experience, as I learnt the importance of time management and communication skills, as well as the ability to use my initiative and take responsibility. Last year, I had the opportunity to help organise a charity fashion show helping to raise over £500 for Water-Aid on behalf of Envision. This encouraged me to use many skills including teamwork, time management and task supervision. I am an enthusiastic and dedicated student and feel that I would gain an immense amount whilst studying anthropology.

– Let the admissions tutor draw their own conclusions from your activiites, rather than tell them that this shows your commitment and determination. You have taken part in an impressive array of extra-curricular activities, which will speak for itself.
– You need to have a separate conclusion from the rest of the paragraph where you summarise the attributes that make you a suitable candidate and express enthusiasm for university life.

Overall this is a well-written statement that just needs a bit of tweaking and prioritising to make it excellent, with much more of a focus about what you have done and read outside of the classroom.

My passion for designing and making started when I was 8 years old. I was always very involved in making things out of paper and card. It felt very rewarding after finishing a long project that it made me want to feel that sense of accomplishment again and again. This I think steered me into studying Graphics at GCSE then Design & Tech at A level.

– Although it can be a good idea to include a personal trigger, it needs to be more specific than this.
– This is not a convincing reason to dedicate years of study to a subject such as architecture, in fact this same principle would apply to many degree disciplines.
– The admissions tutor will already know what you chose for GCSE and A-Level so it is pointless to repeat this information.
– Using the phrase ‘I think’ is not a good idea as it makes you come across as unsure.

I have chosen to do Architecture because it is very diverse and allows me to make my own mark. I believe it is all about what you personally make of it and I’m strongly motivated to excel. I am looking forward to studying the module on humanitarian architecture, and have recently read ‘Design Like You Give A Damn’ by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr. I particularly enjoyed reading about a project in Kosovo that exhibited the power of design to improve lives.

– This is a formal document, use ‘I am’ not ‘I’m’.
– The reasons given for studying architecture are weak and vague.
– Develop details on what you read in the book or about the Kosovan project much more; you could give a more concrete example of how design can improve lives.
– You need to make sure you have properly researched the courses at each of your chosen universities – will the module on, humanitarian architecture, be available at all of them? Your statement needs to match to all five choices, not just one.

I was fortunate enough to visit Granada, Spain to see the palaces of ‘La Alhambra’, which was an amazing experience, as I had a knowledgeable tour guide and was able to learn a lot about them.

– You must provide more detail; how is the visit to Granada relevant to an Architecture degree? Did the trip prompt any further reading or research? What aspects of the local architecture did you admire? Why?

Being half an hour away from London, I am able to take day trips to admire the stunning buildings and I am enjoy visiting the V&A Museum and the Science Museum on a regular basis. I am also a big fan of the ‘Wonderworks’ building in Florida on International Drive which I had the pleasure of visiting on a family holiday.

– What makes a building ‘stunning’?
– What exhibitions have you seen at the museums that are relevant to architecture?
– What are the key differences between the designs of these two museums?
– Why, specifically, are you a fan of the Wonderworks building?

The other two A-levels I study are both very relevant in preparing me for University. In Mathematics I have improved considerably in terms of logical reasoning, critical thinking and problem solving and Chemistry enables me to apply my knowledge to facts on a larger scale to make an accurate prediction about a problem. All of which will be helpful to me. I’ve always been a very able Mathematician and it has been an interest of mine from a young age, consequently I have entered the ‘UK Junior Mathematical Challenge’ and was very proud to have received bronze award.

– Architecture involves precision and a great deal of mathematics, try to connect the subjects in a far more specific way; the skills you have given could apply to any degree.
– In a similar way, can you describe how your understanding of chemicals might help you understand materials used in buildings? Again, you have been too vague.
– It would be good to include examples in this section.
– The last sentence could be removed.
– Mentioning any prizes that you have won is good.
– Remove the entire last sentence up until, ‘I have entered…’ .

In school I am part of the choir and orchestra. Through it I have met people who like myself excel in music and make it a very different environment to socialise in as well as learn something new. I help contribute to the orchestra by playing the flute. I have been playing the flute since I was in year 3 so music has always been an interest of mine. Within this time I have achieved ‘The ABRSM – Grade 2’. I have recently taken an interest in the drums too. I have received awards for ‘Services to the school’ three years running for all my in school efforts.

– You use unusually short sentences in this section, turn it into prose that flows better.
– Mentioning these extra-curricular activities shows you are well-rounded – do you intend to continue to play at university?
– A little detail on why you won awards for services to the school would be interesting.

Out of school, I have worked in a charity shop ‘Banardos’ and have taken part in a work experience programme in ‘Lewisham Hospital’ assisting in Radiology. They both have given me insight into working life and have taught me a range of skills such as handling money, talking to customers and patients and to feedback to superiors, hence improving my communication skills. I found that I was good at meeting deadlines, working without supervision for long periods of time and carrying out tests accurately and quickly. During the holidays I baby-sit a younger sibling for usually 7-8 hours on weekdays. This helped me to understand younger children and has given me experience on how to handle and talk to them.

– This demonstrates roles of responsibility outside of school and is good, but could be shorter.

Upon finishing my degree I hope for not only academic achievement, but also personal development such as leadership skills, taking roles with higher responsibility, interpersonal skills and using initiative. This course will let me do exactly that and give me a sound foundation to becoming a successful architect.

– The candidate links their conclusion back to the course, which is good.

Overall, this statement needs work. The introduction is particularly weak, and sets the tone for the rest of the statement which is not nearly academic enough, nor does it demonstrate an understanding of the skills and knowledge required on such a rigorous course as architecture. There is also too much emphasis on non-relevant extra-curricular activities, the focus must be on the degree course!

From its conceptual beginnings, to the physical outcome, the design process involved in the architectural disciplines is one that intrigues me – both in its breadth and complexity. A sense of creativity and vision, yet grounded by a sound technical ability is what the architectural course would enable me to develop. Motivation, stemming from a natural curiosity, has encouraged me to pursue this interest in design, from an urban and environmental perspective.

– This is a rather lofty introduction which could be made clearer by linking it to an example.
– What do you mean by ‘urban and environmental’ perspective? Some detail here would help.

Articles from “Architecture Today” and “Materia” have supplemented my interest, for example increasing my understanding of the geometric uniqueness of Norman Foster’s “radical” Swiss Re building from a critical perspective. Furthermore, in order to broaden my visual understanding of design, I have found “The Photographer’s Eye – Composition and Design” by Michael Freeman an absorbing insight into principles that are arguably widely applicable to other areas of design including architecture, allowing me to gain a deeper understanding of the foundations that make a composition effective, in the same way that shapes and structures can make a building unique and impressive.

– Demonstrating wider reading and additional research is good and you have conveyed this by talking about how the books you read have helped you to increase your understanding of the subject area.
– Overuse of the word ‘understanding; ‘increase my understanding’, ‘broaden my visual understanding’ and ‘gain a deeper understanding’!
– Examples would benefit this paragraph.

My passion stems from a grounding sense of responsibility for both the urban and physical environments in which we live. Buildings can create and influence the sense of space and identity for society as well as have an impact in terms of environmental considerations, in a world where climatic implications are becoming increasingly important. This links significantly to the instinctive dependence I feel society has on the environments in which it lives – demonstrated through my positive involvement with the Conservation Volunteers and in my undertaking of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. Furthermore, I have gained, on a smaller scale, an idea of the processes involved in the architectural career (including surveying, discussion, planning, and computer-aided as well as manual design) through involvement with a local primary school to design and create an environmental garden, incorporating scientific concepts such as solar power. This has enabled me to become more visually aware and has indirectly strengthened my interest in the environmental design module.

– An example of a building you admire for its environmental considerations would be better.
– It is not clear why your involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh Award is relevant to architecture.
– Good links between work experience at the primary school to your chosen field.

The multi-disciplinary and dynamically evolving nature of architecture attracts me, and this is reflected in the broad range of A-level subjects I have chosen. In Art and Design I have carried out an investigation into perspective – the way in which building and other structures (such as bridges) can capture this dynamic sense is intriguing, as they function to draw the viewer into the composition. Particularly interesting are architectural and structural elements that allow, through geometric repetition, for this visual process to occur effectively. A trip to Paris, involving visits to innovative art galleries like the Palais de Tokyo or the fascinatingly juxtaposed Louvre, alongside visits to several Norman Cathedrals in England have heightened my visual perception, appreciation of aesthetic and practical aspects of buildings, as well as my photography skills. In Geography, activities ranging from glacier model making to considering the concept of sustainability or gentrification have increased my awareness of the environment.

– This is a good paragraph which draws on your current studies, extra-curricular research and real-life examples.

My dedicated role in school life can be seen in my responsibilities as a Geography prefect, Form prefect and member of the school’s Fairtrade Steering Group, which include organising display boards and assemblies. As an enthusiastic member of Senior Choir, I have participated in a variety of concerts including performances of St Nicholas, Schubert’s Mass and Cathedral services. I have academic drive and dedication, rewarded with winning Speech Day prizes regularly, and enrolling in NAGTY. I look forward with anticipation to a stimulating course entitled ‘The World in Crisis’ in which I hope to reflect on the global economic, ecological, social and political challenges facing the world. Most intriguing, will be the visit to the “Hockerton Housing Project”, through which I hope to gain an insight into the architect’s responsibility within the context of the Government’s move towards attaining sustainability on an individual basis.

– It would be better to rephrase the opening line, it currently sounds rather boastful; it is better to let the facts speak for themselves.
– Good link of future experience to architecture and sustainability.

I believe that my broadened understanding of the urban and physical environment, complimented with the ability to move from the macro to micro perspective, will stand me in good stead as I look forward to challenging my creative instinct and furthering my understanding of architectural design.

– A strong ending to sum up the passion and the dedication shown by the student for the course and the industry.

Overall this is a good statement that just needs a few tweaks to make it excellent. you are clearly passionate about your course, but need to demonstrate more clearly this through examples.

My favourite childhood book was set in a parallel world and described a city based on Venice. I remember pouring over maps of modern day Venice to find any similarities. I have always found Venetian architecture intriguing – not just the impressive St Mark’s Cathedral, but also the bridges, the houses and the maze of streets. Whilst modern buildings are striking, I also have an interest in the style and craft of older buildings which have gained a warmth and presence over the years due to their traditional building techniques. It is in the past year that I have realised I could take this interest further through restoring similar buildings. This thought process led me to consider a future in architecture.

– Admissions tutors have told us that using childhood memories or fantasies as a motivation for studying a subject are not a good idea.
– Vague phrases such as ‘I have always…’ are not recommended.
– Good description of why older buildings appeal more.
– The phrase ‘consider a future’ should be changed to be much more emphatic and decisive.

I have always been curious about how and why things work and lessons in maths and physics feed this curiosity. Every year I compete in a Maths Challenge and have participated in many DT challenges throughout my school years, winning first prize in a competition sponsored by Laing O’Rourke.

– Again, vague phrases such as ‘I have always…’ are not recommended.
– The first sentence is child-like and not academic enough, nor does it relate specifically to the chosen degree course; discuss specifically how maths and physics are used everyday by architects and how.
– What did you make during the DT challenges, and what did you learn that could help with your degree?
– You must mention details of this competition, Laing O’Rourke are a construction engineering firm so this could be highly relevant, but we won’t know unless you tell us!

After becoming an architect, my ideal career path would be to specialise in restoring historical buildings. I would appreciate the challenge of preserving the past within an ever-changing modern world.

– You have already mentioned this career aspiration; remove it from the introduction and discuss it for the first time here, or in perhaps your conclusion if it going to remain brief.
– You could improve by mentioning any famous old buildings that have been restored. Do you know anything about the care and precautions that must be taken?
– Pointing out your career aspirations (if they are relevant to your course) can be a good idea. You should develop this point further; how exactly will the course give you the skills needed for a career in restoration? Have you done any wider reading on the subject or work experience?

Recently I went on an expedition to Stok Kangri, one of the Himalayan peaks in India. Working closely with a team from a nearby mountain village, I learnt a great deal about the people and their culture. Community work in Shey school was especially memorable as the children were a delight to interact with. During the trip, my confidence grew and I felt a more mature person on my return. We passed many remarkable religious monuments – a Buddhist Palace, a Pagoda and numerous temples. On a visit to Agra, standing in front of the Taj Mahal, who could fail to be impressed by the magnificence of the building? I yearn to understand the building process and techniques which made this possible during the 17th century.

– It is only really the second half of this paragraph that deals directly with architecture. Whilst it is good to demonstrate your maturity, focusing on your chosen subject is the most important thing.
– You should not be discussing your maturity here, save it for the penultimate paragraph.
– Give some examples of the building processes involved in constructing something like the Taj Mahal.
– To improve this section compare the structures of the buildings you mentioned, and perhaps discuss the differences between buildings built in hot climates as opposed to cold.
– Avoid words like ‘yearn’.

Cardiff has many innovative buildings, for instance the newly constructed City Stadium and the Millennium Stadium where I have a part-time job. Though the buildings are modern, I find their structure fascinating. My job has helped me to develop my communication skills as I interact with customers regularly.

– You need to be clearer – what is it about the structure of the buildings that makes them innovative? What new methods have been applied? Have you seen them applied elsewhere?
– You should not be discussing your part-time job here, save it for the penultimate paragraph

I do many things which help younger pupils in the school. I am a member of a school counselling group, where communication skills and discretion are essential. Every year I assist with school activities such as the Eisteddfod and school fairs. In addition, I was one of a handful of sixth formers chosen to go on a school trip to North Wales, supervising year 6 pupils. We worked as a team to organise events throughout the week ensuring its success. Last year, I helped in an after-school club for year 6 pupils, planning activities for them.

– You have shown that you are involved in many aspects of school life, which is good. Focus more on the skills that these various activities have equipped you with, and how they will be relevant at university.

Undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme involved setting and achieving goals. Having completed the expedition and residential project for Gold, I regularly attend yoga classes which are truly relaxing. I am curious about alternative therapies such as aromatherapy and massage and work experience in a Chinese Herbalist broadened my knowledge in this area.

– Whilst this work experience is interesting, it is not relevant to an architecture degree.
– It would be better to condense all non subject-specific experiences into one paragraph, instead of spread across four.

I believe university life will prepare me for the real world so that after finishing the degree, I will be a well-rounded character with a bright future ahead of me.

– Your concluding paragraph should be about your chosen subject, as well as the more general benefits of going to university.

Overall, this statement has some good ingredients, but you are not expressing your passion for architecture in the best way. By using real-life examples, more academic language and doing some in-depth reading you could quickly improve this statement significantly.

My budding interest in Architecture stems from a fascination with the complex and demanding nature of Mathematics, coupled with the creativity and visual intelligences that are conveyed through Art; I knew from a very young age that my ideal career would be one that encompassed these disciplines. A course such as Architecture, that combines beauty with functionality, will encourage me to achieve my potential in order to make a worthwhile contribution to the changing environment. I am particularly interested in the history and development of Architecture, and its impact on our changing society.

– This is a strong opening: the candidate has demonstrated their motivation behind applying for the subject, and pointed out the part of the course that they find most interesting.
– Do not use vague phrases such as ‘from a very young age’, it is much better to try and think of an actual event that triggered this interest.

The subjects I am currently studying prepare me thoroughly to read Architecture; I think that several elements of A-level Law will be extremely helpful in a career, in relation to planning applications, negotiation with contractors and generally gaining a better understanding of the legal aspects of Architecture. I also feel that this subject has allowed me to develop a meticulous approach to detail, which is hugely beneficial in several other subject areas. Maths and Chemistry have also given me relevant analytical skills through various practicals and theory testing. I am intrigued by the intricacies of these subjects and enjoy them due to their varied and challenging content that allows me to become more responsible for my own learning. My participation in various other roles, such as Treasurer in my Student Union and Volunteer Youth Advisor, has helped me to develop team working and leadership skills, and demonstrates my willingness to participate in other college activities.

– Excellent links from current studies of law to very specific areas of their chosen degree course.
– Going into similarly specific detail about how maths and chemistry will be useful to architecture would be better.
– The sentence about work experiences in the Student Union and as Youth Advisor should not be in this paragraph.

As well as providing me with practical work experience in the construction industry, my time spent shadowing a blacksmith and a plasterer have helped me to gain valuable communication skills, whilst discovering the different aspects of careers surrounding Architecture. I was also offered a week’s work experience placement with StrideTreglown, an architectural practice based in Bristol, where I was set the task of designing a client’s ‘Dream House’ by implementing various skills in project management and Computer Aided Design programs such as Revit and AutoCAD. During my placement I was given the opportunity to attend a meeting that addressed several issues of inclusive design in the proposed MyPlace centre, a multi-million pound government project that aims to deliver world-class facilities to young people in Bristol. The meeting made me much more aware of the difficulties that need to be overcome before a design can truly be accessible to everyone. I really enjoyed every aspect of the placement, and my experience has only reaffirmed my decision to pursue a career in Architecture.

– This is an excellent paragraph outlining various highly relevant experiences.
– Focus on the subject-specific skills and knowledge rather than generic skills such as ‘communication’; we can look at these skills in the penultimate paragraph.
– This is a good example of how you should describe work experience: tell the admissions tutor what you did, what you learnt, and how this changed the way you think about and approach the subject.

Outside of college I enjoy team sports such as netball and rounders, which have improved my ability to think strategically and utilize my strengths in order to adapt to the requirements of the team or position I am playing. These are skills that I think are invaluable not only now, but also when working on future projects with both clients and colleagues. In my spare time I play the piano, am learning to play the guitar, and update my art book regularly, which consists of both traditional and digital designs. I feel that this has greatly improved my ability to convey my ideas creatively. I also volunteer for Young Bristol, an organisation that aims to inspire and assist young volunteers throughout their placement. Through this, I have gained a Platinum Youth Achievement Award and a v50 award; these are given to volunteers who demonstrate commitment to a leadership role beneficial to their community.

– Another excellent paragraph showing that you are a well-rounded individual, and demonstrating the skills you have picked up along the way.

I strive to be challenged to the absolute best of my ability, and know that my passion for both the sciences and creative arts, combined with my growing appreciation of the physical environment will help me to do this through a course in Architecture.

– A strong conclusion that outlines the key points.
– You conclude by giving another reason why you want to study the subject which is very good.

This is a very good personal statement. Everything that you have written can be linked back to architecture and demonstrates your suitability for the course. One thing that you could do to improve it even further would be to go into detail about any wider reading that you have done, particularly since in the first paragraph you mentioned that the history and development of architecture is what you are most interested in.

Architecture holds something quite profound for me in that it is an extremely powerful form of expression. I understand that the architecture in any place, at anytime reflects the culture and people of that society. This is a subject I would very much like to be a part of. I want to study this course as I have something new to offer and will take what I learn onto a worthwhile profession.

– The meaning of your first sentence is not entirely clear and should be rephrased.
– The second sentence is better and would be helped by adding examples.
– The last two sentences are vague and should be replaced with examples of why architecture is such a powerful form of expression, and what that means to you.

I love the fact that we have come to a pluralistic stage in today’s Architecture, leaving the canvas bare for different thought processes to form designs on. While wanting to be a part of the modernist style common today, I also highly appreciate the classical works of Architecture of the past. I feel that history holds an uncountable number of treasures that I love and would like my own work to have a sense of. As part of my art projects within GCSE and A Level I have focused on combining elements of Eastern and Western architecture to come up with works that are quite individual. This interest in merging cultures to form something wholly unique has been a main point in much of my art work. This is the reason why I love the Venetian Gothic style of Architecture so much – where I can see traces of Western influence as well as geometric shapes and arches reminiscing Arabic buildings, and structures within the East. I have found examples of this on the internet, and in books showing Venetian Gothic works such as Ca’ d’Oro in Venice designed by architects Giovanni Bon and his son Bartolomeo Bon.

– This is a very good paragraph. You have linked your A-Level subjects to architecture and demonstrated your interest in the course through wider reading.
– Be careful of saying that you have done research ‘on the internet’; it is important to be more specific than this. Are there any particular websites or online journals that you have found particularly useful? What about the Royal Institute of British Architects, for example?

I am of ethnic origins and have seen and been a part of different communities, so am appreciative of changing cultures as well as one’s history. This awareness has been fed by reading books and often researching history on the internet that I feel is relevant to me. This shows my nature as a deep thinker, as also reflected in my passion for reading novels and spending spare time painting, drawing and writing. Described as hardworking and conscientious by my teachers, I know they would also agree that I am determined and thorough. Therefore any tasks I take on I am able to put my mind towards and complete to great standards.

– This paragraph is too vague. It would be better if you could give some more concrete examples of exactly what you have read.
– Again, do not say that you have done research ‘on the internet’.
– Feedback from your teachers should not be in your statement, it should be provided by the teachers themselves in the separate teacher reference!
– We suggest removing the last three sentences altogether.

During my GCSE’s I took part in an enterprising challenge with Ryder HKS and pupils from other schools. The challenge was to work in small groups in the redevelopment of a building in town that the public can use. The course covered skills such as teamwork and communication, creative thinking and decision making, advertising, marketing and design, business planning, time management and presentation. This shows that I am capable of working in a group as well as having an authoritative role.

– This experience should have shown you more than how to work within a group, much more importantly it must have shown you more about applied architecture and the factors involved in creating public buildings. This is potentially highly relevant experience but you are not making best use of it.

As part of a gifted and talented programme in schools in Newcastle, I was invited to participate in a project called ‘visual dialogues’, which includes a trip to London. This was a great opportunity as I was able to explore the collections of Tate Britain and Tate Modern through engaging workshops run by freelance artists. I was invited on this trip as a result of my effort in art.

– How is this relevant to the study of architecture? Both buildings are interesting, and are very different to each other – why not discuss these differences?
– Try to incorporate the last sentence in with the second sentence rather than have it as a stand-alone statement.

Overall I am artistic, and feel that my approach is very individual, as well as being logical and systematic. I am used to demonstrating creativity and producing well thought out work of a high standard. These are all traits that are important to Architecture as well as my ideas and ambitions that I know, if given the opportunity, will keep me reaching high in this course and most certainly in the profession that leads on afterwards.

– This is a good final paragraph since it provides the admissions tutor with a short conclusion that is focused on architecture.

Overall this statement shows promise but needs work. One worry for a potential admissions tutor is that the personal statement focuses more on art than architecture. From reading this, it almost seems you might be more suited to art. You would need to make the personal statement tighter and focus more on details of the architecture course, and demonstrate you understand the full spectrum of skills required to excel (not just appreciation of form) in order to improve it.

‘Everything is connected’ as American architect ‘Eames’ rightfully stated, regarding the relationship between architecture and the world. To my mind this quote illustrates that everything can be connected in design in order to create a building of great diversity. My scientific ability connected with my eye for design would make me a suitable candidate to study architecture.

– It is only acceptable to use quotes at the start of your statement if you can demonstrate you understand their meaning fully, but in this case you have not done this.
– What is it specifically about architecture that is appealing?
– What does a building of ‘great diversity’ mean? Why do you think this a good thing?
– This introduction should be more specific.

Part of my AS Product Design coursework involved an architectural design project; which made me realise the importance of room layouts within buildings, taking into consideration natural light and space, as well as today’s emphasis on disabled access. I have completed several days of work experience in two divergent locations; one of which was at a primary school; the aim of this was to improve my ability to work with others; and gain life experience. More recently I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work alongside practicing architects to gain a feel for what this career entails. I participated in several different aspects of architectural tasks including visiting the famous ‘Salford Lads club’ where the architects from my practice (Architects Britch Ltd) and I carried out a survey of the building. It was very interesting to encounter for the first time an architectural programme ‘Vectorworks’ and to see how computer aided design plays a crucial role in architecture in modern day society- where ‘everything is connected’ in relation to the global internet.

– This paragraph starts well, however moves onto work experience at a primary school which is not relevant to architecture; save this experience for the penultimate paragraph.
– Your focus on the work experience at the architects is particularly impressive because it demonstrates your enthusiasm for the chosen course and you give details about what exactly you did whilst on placement.

I often find myself drawn to modern buildings, especially in city centres where there is a huge market for ultra modern apartments, which have been converted from former industrial buildings which were previously eyesores and have undergone a striking transformation using more modern materials combined with the original uniqueness and historical aspects of the buildings. I relish the concept of preserving old buildings rather than starting from scratch, where possible. Working towards a reduced carbon footprint would be my aim in any project by using recent innovations such as solar energy or wind turbines, which, if placed correctly could enhance the appearance of buildings rather than making them unsightly.

– This is a good paragraph but the sentences are far too long! When writing your personal statement, you need to try to be as concise as possible.

I have always had a love for art and design and I have constructed various artistic objects as a graphics student for GCSE and AS level product design. During this time I have accumulated different skills and experiences; such as learning to realise my ideas and present them as a tangible product. Along with other students, I reached the semi-final in a national competition at the Reebok stadium at Bolton; where Robert Wiseman Dairy was seeking a new design for their milkshake carton, after winning a regional competition, ‘design and make it’ enterprise challenge . As a team we designed the logo on paper and presented it in front of a large audience. I also attended a function at Haigh Hall in Wigan where the students who had made it to the final of a business and enterprise competition; presented designed trophies to a representative of each participating school.

– Again, this is a good paragraph but you need to work on the length of your sentences to make it easier for the reader.

During my final year at St Mary’s I took on the role of ‘student leader’; part of this incorporated a ‘paired reading’ scheme whereby I assisted those who struggled with reading. This gave me the opportunity to develop patience and communication skills. I have always enjoyed physical pursuits such as netball; and I have participated in many team games, playing against other schools. I am a fitness enthusiast and regularly walk, run and swim. I am deeply passionate about ecology and environmental conservation I am fascinated by its huge potential in our otherwise wasteful society.

– This is a good paragraph which touches on a range of activities briefly.
– Move details of work experience to this section.

Habitats and surroundings influence people’s lives subconsciously, affecting health and quality of life; my aim as an architect is to create modern, innovative buildings inspired by nature and ecology in order to optimize people’s quality of life.

– A strong ending that could be improved by adding enthusiasm university life itself.

Overall this is a good and well-written statement which clearly outlines relevant experiences and a passion for design, just a few changes as mentioned above would improve it.

Art is my way of escaping from the world, I’d be lost without it! I have always enjoyed making art and being creative, and have always had the choice, as there were a number of materials available to use in the house. I’ve decided to study an art foundation course as I am hoping to discover a new means of art that I enjoy, or just confirm my beliefs of what I enjoy already!

– You show a passion for art and the creative world, however, remember that your personal statement should be written in a professional manner – grammar and punctuation should be used appropriate. The use of exclamation marks gives the impression the document is not being taken seriously.
– You need to explain your first statement clearly.
– The second sentence is vague and brief and should be replaced with a more convincing reason why you want to study art.
– Always use ‘I have’ not ‘I’ve’.
– We suggest rewriting this introduction altogether.

Being creative is my prime hobby. I am a member of the young curators project that takes place at my local art gallery, and have managed to create an exhibition, along with another 8 young curators, called ‘me v u’, on the theme of conflict, which was open to the public. By being a part of this project, not only have I had to work in a team, but also I have had to make decisions, write interpretations, work to deadlines and also work through the problems that had occurred along the way! This project has broadened my knowledge of how exhibitions work, and how much work has actually got to go into them, from choosing the theme, to where the barriers should go around an installation! I’ve been to an all day life drawing workshop where I learnt to be more open and free with my sketching, and not to worry as much about the picture being perfect and too detailed.

– This is a highly relevant experience and rightly features high up on the statement with plenty of detail, however to improve you could mention the skills you have gained by these activities and why they will benefit you in higher education, and specifically your area of interest.
– Again, the personal statement is not a place for exclamation marks or abbreviations.

I am also a member of the North Powys Youth Orchestra, in which I lead the Violas. We meet every Friday evening and we are expected to be there for every rehearsal! In the orchestra I have learnt to work in a team of 45+, if we didn’t work in a team the music would fall to pieces! I’ve also learnt to listen, and be patient whilst other sections are being instructed, sometimes I have the same problem that is trying to be solved. Also we have to listen to one another, this is so you don’t overpower other, more important instruments/voices. E.g. Last year we did a concert in Powis Castle, and we played with the Fron Cysyllte Male Voice Choir. This was very challenging, as we had to make everything quieter when the choir came in so that they could be heard properly!

– Although this is a good experience, it is not relevant to an art degree and therefore should be shorter, and moved down to the penultimate paragraph.

Recently I have done work experience at my local art gallery and also in a forge around half an hour away. In the art gallery I was asked to write letters to the artists of the last exhibition, and make them all a pack that consisted of the public’s comments about the show, and also the press releases. I was also asked to write an evaluation questionnaire for the young curators project, and transcribe the interviews of some of the young curators from tape onto paper. During these 4 days I learnt whilst some days of life at the gallery weren’t that fun, others were better. I used skills like translating, listening, and communicating, not only formally but also informally. The time I spent doing work experience in the forge was fantastic! I am hoping to go again soon so that I can learn a few more techniques with the metal and the tools, and also finish off what I didn’t have time to do! In the mornings and after dinner I lit up the forge and chopped some wood for the next day. I made 3 different kinds of hooks, a poker, and I started making a spider! By making these I learnt how to make sharp and blunt spikes, how to twist the metal, and make bends in it!

– This is relevant work experience but you focus on the administrative duties rather than the bigger picture; what makes a successful art gallery? Did you witness any of the curator’s doing anything you admire, or would improve?
– Do not say anything negative in your statement e.g. by saying some days ‘weren’t that fun’.
– Link your experience at the forge to the practical skills you developed that would help you with your art degree.

Being one of the school prefect’s means that I have to undergo duties. I decided to do 2 lessons of teacher support, and a session of paired reading per week. In my teacher support lessons I helped 2 year 7 classes which taught me that everyone has a different way of learning, and also that different people struggle with different things, whether it’s self discipline, spelling, or the work itself, so therefore it also taught me to be patient and to communicate, as sometimes there would be more than one hand up in the class but I could only answer one at a time. Paired reading sessions were a new experience for me, and I learnt that you really had to concentrate, and make sure that you weren’t being patronising or impatient, as the pupil wouldn’t want to try then. It really made me realise that some people find it really difficult to just do the basics like reading and writing, and it has taught me to have a broader mind.

– Don’t ever say ‘I have to…’; it sounds like you are reluctant!
– There is an unnecessary amount of information on this topic.
– Ensure that with every experience or activity mentioned it is presented in a way which supports your application to study creative arts; whilst listing experiences shows the reader that you are committed and motivated, the strongest personal statements will relate experiences back to their desire or ability to study their chosen subject in higher education.

My Saturday nights are spent by going to work in a bistro as a waitress/dishwasher. Here I have to work in a team to get things out in time, and I also have to communicate with the customers to make sure that they are happy.

– This does not deserve it’s own paragraph, instead condense the experience as a waitress, school prefect and member of the orchestra into one paragraph, and significantly reduce the word count.

By studying art A-level I have confirmed my beliefs of my love of art. I dedicate a lot of my time for the subject, and would love to have the opportunity to be able to play around with new materials.

– This is a weak and vague conclusion; you should be using influences outside of school to prove your genuine interest in the subject, and you should not refer to art as ‘playing’.

Overall you would have benefited from a more formal tone throughout, with the use of appropriate grammar and punctuation being vital in a personal statement. Remember that the majority of the personal statement should focus on the desire to pursue this academic area, with additional skills, experiences and personal characteristics being supporting factors. You have not given any extra-curricular influences, the artists that inspire you, the eras or genres that you are interested in, what about how art relates to society or reflects the political or religious backdrop? At the moment this statement gives the impression you just want to mess around in the stock cupboard!

 

From the tiniest lepton to the infinite structure of the cosmic web; knowledge of these discoveries forces me to admire the many wonders of the universe. It’s this admiration that has powered my pursuit of knowledge, regarding the elegant universe and all objects contained within it. My desire to study Astrophysics has developed from spending hours of my life gazing up at the stars with my mother. She pointed out Ursa Major to me when I was 6 years old and my passion has been growing ever since.

– Avoid starting the statement with a cliché – it doesn’t sound convincing and it comes across as insincere.
– Even if your mother was the one who sparked your interest in Astrophysics you must talk about something much more academic than ‘gazing up at the stars’.
You need to give a much more convincing reason for wanting to study a complex subject such as Astrophysics at degree level.

For several months now, I have been avidly seeking new knowledge about the world of Astrophysics. Fascinating topics covered in A level Physics, such as gravitational fields and quantum mechanics, have aided my search, but it was never enough information to answer all of the questions I had. By regularly attending public astronomy lectures on black holes, Seyfert galaxies and the formation of our own Milky Way- just to name a few – I have started to engage thoroughly with my chosen field. My enthusiasm for Astrophysics led me to accepting the opportunity to complete a short science module on the YASS scheme with the Open University. It has allowed me to really appreciate the beautiful relationship Physics has with Mathematics. The module ‘How the Universe Works’ has given me a brilliant insight into what studying the subject will be like at a degree level – the challenging concepts were simply stunning and have added to my sheer determination to succeed in my A levels, just so I can study the skies.

– ‘For several months’ doesn’t tally with the introduction where you mention your passion has grown since age 6.
– Some good examples of extra-curricular engagement with and dedication to subject.
– You need to give an example of this ‘beautiful’ relationship betweenmaths and physics to back up your statement.
– This is the same for the module, what was so ‘simply stunning’ about it? You need to demonstrate you fully understood the concepts discussed.
– Determination to succeed at A-Level should be a given, and not mentioned here; change to success at degree level instead.
– Avoid cliches like ‘just so I can study the skies’.

Astronomy is my main hobby. Being subscribed to Astronomy Now and a member of the SPA (Society for Popular Astronomy) keeps me up-to-date with the most recent discoveries and reminds me of any upcoming astronomical events. The magazines paired with my telescope (130mm Newtonian reflector) allow me to regularly take advantage of the skies and satisfy my curiosity. Before the year is up, I will have attended the Peak Star party and been on an aurora flight – to say I am excited would be an understatement. I am also a devoted reader. My favourite science author has to be Marcus Chown, his work is so easy to read and utterly compelling. In ‘The Afterglow of Creation’ he explores how scientists accidentally discovered the proof behind the apparent origin of our universe. His book has inspired my extended project and I aim to write about The Big Bang and its current competitor, the ekpyrotic universe.

– Avoid ‘to say I am excited is an understatement’- sounds unnecessary and interrupts an otherwise good discussion of your engagement with the course outside of school.

Outside of college, I like to involve myself in many different activities in aid of becoming more independent, whilst trying to help others. My part time job at Peacocks has been valuable in my first steps towards this goal; it has helped me gain time management skills and work ethics. Volunteer work has also been a huge part of my life; donating over three years of my time to Broxtowe Youth Council is one of my proudest achievements to date. By becoming so deeply involved in meetings and the development of projects, I have gained brilliant team work skills, a sense of responsibility through organising projects and I learnt how to overcome many barriers by persevering until the end. A DVD project which successfully raised alcohol awareness amongst young people made it on to BBC’s ‘The One Show’; it was also shown at every secondary school in the Broxtowe area. Other roles of responsibility I have held, including prom committee and acting as an ambassador for the college, have helped me to gain confidence in public speaking.

– Good examples of transferable skills developed through a range of extra-curricular activities that will be an asset at university.

My passion for Astronomy has been the main driving force behind my academic success. I have had tremendous support from my family and being the first person in my family to attend university would be a huge honour. I look forward to all the challenges that university has to offer.

– This is a good conclusion but linking it back to the chosen subject would be better.

A good statement overall that shows passion and a keen interest in the subject, but you need to show that you truly understand complex concepts and are not just in awe of them. You can do this by discussing one or two topics in some detail.

My passion for biochemistry has stemmed from my love of how all systems in the human body work together simultaneously. It could be said a cell is like a department store. In my A-level studies, I found the reactions leading to the transmission of nerve impulses across synapses captivating. This area of biochemistry particularly intrigues me. Someone once said to me “When it’s never been done before…there are no experts”. I find this inspirational and believe that if you are determined and work hard enough, you can reach for the stars and take control of your destiny.

– This is certainly a very enthusiastic opening, but perhaps needs to be toned down a bit.
– Avoid using clichés like ‘reach for the stars and take control of your destiny’, and if you are going to make bold statements like ‘it could be said that a cell is like a department store’, you need to explain why you think this.
– Again, if the reactions leading to the transmission of nerve impulses are interesting, the candidate should give reasons why.
– Just stating facts will not demonstrate your skills or passion for the subject.

I love nothing more than being presented with the challenge of finding the identity of an unknown substance in practical chemistry lessons, as applying scientific knowledge in an analytical way to solve problems is a task that when accomplished, fills me with a sense of achievement. After completing my degree I aim to become a forensic scientist, as I consider this an extremely worthwhile profession that would continuously stimulate my thoughts and make me want to get out of bed in the morning. Beyond my school curriculum I have read books on forensic science, including “Body in question” by Brian Innes. The section that caught my attention was toxicology screening. I personally found the techniques used to examine poisons enthralling. I also read New Scientist magazine and have attended a day on molecular sciences at UCL and found that enlightening, specifically the lecture given by Dr Andrea Sella. Outside of school I am involved in a wide range of activities, including charity work for North London Hospice, as well as being a helper at a club for children with autism. I work part time for a chain of pharmacies, which involves dealing with members of the public and has helped me to develop my communication skills to deal with people at all levels and be able to diffuse difficult situations and solve customer problems. One of my duties is to be in charge of the till which shows the trust my employer places in me.

– This is a good paragraph – you demonstrate your initiative in reading up on the subject outside of the school curriculum.
– Avoid phrases like ‘make me want to get out of bed in the morning’; instead talk about how your subject might help society and why this motivates you.
– To improve it even further, you should again give more detailed examples. What were the techniques used to examine poisons? What was the lecture by Dr Andrea Sella about? If the candidate has worked part time for a chain of pharmacies, has he or she developed knowledge about any specific drugs that could be relevant?

My main recreational pastime is sailing, which I have been doing from the age of thirteen, and I have found this to be a challenging yet rewarding sport. It has acted as a catalyst in the development of my time management skills, my ability to learn and absorb techniques and information quickly, and put them into practical application. I sail in a pair and also in a team setting which has helped me to develop skills in working with others and working as part of a team. I also take pleasure in windsurfing and am a qualified powerboat driver. I am head of the sports committee and represent my school in netball and cross-country.

– This is a good, brief paragraph outlining your recreational hobbies and linking them to the skills you have developed.

I feel I can contribute to the university’s biochemistry department, and will be suited to this environment due to my self-motivation, dedication and ability to work well under pressure to succeed. I look forward to the whole learning process and believe this course is the one for me.

– This is a strong conclusion since it captures the student’s enthusiasm for the subject.

In general, the content of this statement is very impressive and demonstrates that the student is very well qualified and prepared for studying this course. What needs to be improved is the level of detail the student gives for each example. Rather than simply stating that you have read something, or found something interesting, you need to explain why and develop your answer. This is what will distinguish you from other candidates.

The workings of life and its complexities fascinate me deeply. I enjoy studying science because it encompasses so much of life’s issues and practicalities. Biology in particular with its ever changing and wide prospective of fields holds particular interest to me especially medicine and forensic science. The anatomy of the body and its dynamic and influential role in life and death holds particular relevance to me and my career choice. The chance of applying my knowledge and understanding of biology has driven me to desire to study science and I feel therefore that medicine and forensic science are fields that I would like to pursue as a career initially at degree level.

– Avoid sweeping statements like ‘the workings of life and its complexities fascinate me’; either go on to explain what you mean by this, or delete it entirely.
– Secondly, you cannot mention your career choice in passing without explaining what it is.
– The language that the candidate uses also makes it seem as though you are confused about what degree you have actually applied for; you cannot study medicine and forensic science at degree level if you have applied for biochemistry!

The biological science in addition to aspects of chemistry, especially genetics, and aspects such as protein synthesis and DNA fingerprinting are interesting to say the least. At the moment we are learning about polymerase chain reactions which are a vital part of forensics. Through my study in Chemistry, I am able to understand the way chemicals react and interact and can affect people and with my knowledge of Biology combined. The ideal background for studying medicine or any science related subject is in place. My study in Spanish has also allowed me to develop skills which would aid me in writing and communicating with different types of people and the fact that I am mixed race myself also means that I can understand a larger variety of people and directly relate and communicate with more people which is vital in a role where I would have to deal with different individuals.

– Repetition of the word ‘aspects’ in the first sentence.
– Avoid phrases like ‘interesting to say the least’; replace this with why. Why is DNA fingerprinting interesting? Has the candidate done any wider reading to improve his or her knowledge outside of the classroom?
– You have linked your A-levels to your university course well, but to make it even better you could talk about a specific area of the modules you intend to study where these skills will help.
– Remove the sentence ‘The ideal background for studying medicine or any science related subject is in place’; let the reader be the judge of that!
– You do not need to state your race in a personal statement.
– It is also worrying for the admissions tutor to see that you keep mentioning studying medicine. Are you truly committed to studying biological sciences? If you are considering doing a degree in medicine after a biological science degree then fine, but it would be a good idea to flag this up from the beginning to avoid any confusion.

Recently I applied for a work experience placement in the Bradford Royal Infirmary and am awaiting the placement to start. Experience in an actual role providing me with the hands on approach and being directly exposed to life in a hospital environment will be unrivalled and although there is no experience available for forensic science I know that talking to doctors who understand biology and chemistry in all aspects will help my understanding greatly.

– Flagging up work experience placements is impressive and demonstrates your commitment to the course.
– You should focus more on what you will be doing during the placement.
– Rather than just talking to doctors who understand the subject, what specifically could you do to make the most out of this placement? Could you use it to extend your knowledge of something you have learnt during your A-Levels?

Over the summer I have worked in a Cancer Research shop and participated in the Race for Life where I volunteered to be a Course Marshal directing the runners. I have been directly affected by cancer as my grandmother died of it earlier this year and I believe that this will give me the drive to pursue a career in medicine and other science related subjects. Also when my younger brother was 2 years old he was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia and was in the intensive care unit for some time. Seeing how the doctors helped and treated him prompted me to research a career in science, and as I grew and it became more apparent to me that I had a natural ability in biology especially, it became indubitable to me that I would be an ideal candidate for medicine or science.

– This paragraph demonstrates your motivation for studying the subject, and you should consider moving this to your introduction.
– If you are going to talk about career aspirations you need to be specific; you mentioned earlier that they wanted to be a forensic scientist, but now you are talking about medicine.
– Be specific about what you witnessed with your younger brother; what makes a good doctor?
– Avoid telling the reader that you are ‘the ideal candidate’, instead demonstrate it through examples.

I understand how important social life and being a part of the student unions is and I will relish such an opportunity as. I am a reliable, determined and enthusiastic person who would love the opportunity to study science if I am given the opportunity. I partake in a variety of extracurricular activities such as football and regularly training in the gym as well as listening to music and reading. I also have a passion for boxing and believe training can help improve my self-esteem and motivate me in doing my work. Through football I have learnt to work as part of a team within which I was responsible for leading a group of people. Also through working in part time jobs as a sales representative I have developed my oral skills and this is an experience I feel would benefit me in any career, especially in university, since it is often essential in any job. I have learnt to take the initiative and become responsible and was head boy in year 11, understanding how to set example and become responsible for younger members.

– Make sure that you check over your statement thoroughly for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors; some of the sentences in this statement need to be tweaked so that they make sense! For example, the first sentence.
– Remove the second sentence, you shouldn’t just list attributes, you have to demonstrate them through experiences and examples. Also it says ‘I would love the opportunity… if given the opportunity’ which is repetitive, and also pointless because the reader already knows you want to study science because that’s what you’ve applied for!
– The remainder of this paragraph is good and links activities to skills.

I constantly seek new challenges and science provides life-long learning with something new for me to always discover.

– The concluding sentence of this statement is too short and needs to be developed, bringing in the university experience as well as enthusiasm for the subject.

Overall, although this statement has some good content, it still needs work to make it ready for submission. You need to be more clear about your career goals and talk more about your skills and attributes through the use of examples.

“In the long history of human kind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” I think Darwin was absolutely right. It excites me to think that one day I could be part of the scientific community of collaboration and improvisation; without sharing ideas, criticising our peers and opening our minds to new ideas, our successes would never prevail. I believe studying at university would prepare me with the knowledge, skills and confidence to be a successful scientist at the forefront of medical developments.

– You have used a quote which is only acceptable if you demonstrate you fully understand it, which you have, well done!
– To improve you could find alternative words for collaborate and improvise, otherwise it’s a just a repeat of what Darwin said.
– The wording could be changed slightly – ‘criticising our peers’ sounds a little bit harsh; use ‘constructively critiquing’ instead?
– Again, instead of repeating the word ‘prevail’, try to come up with your own word, or even give an example where working together has led to a cure or discovery.

Although my real passion lies in biological sciences, I extend my enthusiasm to all my work, both in my school life and outside the classroom. I find art particularly relaxing yet I feel inspired and stimulated when I visit the local art exhibitions at Tate Liverpool or the Walker. This summer I had a fantastic time volunteering at a Design Technology summer school for primary school children which provided me with a great opportunity to improve my communication skills with staff and younger students. I was designated the role of team leader which gave me the chance to refine my leadership and organisational skills. I am excited to have recently been elected Student Head of House at my school which also lets me demonstrate my ability in leading a team and gives me the opportunity to set up and run inter-house competitions, events and student councils.

– This is a good paragraph, but should come later in the statement; your focus should be first and foremost on the subject for which you have applied.

This summer I was invited to the Sutton Trust summer school at Oxford University to study Biochemistry. A combination of lectures, lab practicals and tutorials gave me insight into what it really means to be a university student and gave me the responsibility of taking control over my own learning. I was confident and organised in the practical lab sessions and enjoyed learning how to use new equipment. I revelled in the sense of independence and socialising with like-minded people, all enthusiastic about science. One particular lecturer, Nicole Zitzmen, was so passionate in presenting her seminar that I could not help being captivated by what she had to say. She taught us about HIV and the problems facing scientists in finding a cure or vaccine. By studying similar subjects at university I hope to find the same enthusiasm that Nicole demonstrated and inspire my peers with my own ideas and passion for biological and medical sciences.

– You should not refer to a lecturer by her first name, but instead call her Ms Zitzmen.
– Avoid phrases like ‘I could not help but be captivated’; saying ‘I was captivated’ is enough.
– A little detail on the problems facing scientists that were discussed would prove you understood the lecture.
– Otherwise, this is a very good paragraph, since it demonstrates your enthusiasm for your subject outside of the school curriculum, and shows that you are prepared and mature enough for university life.

After I returned from the Oxford Summer School I wanted to read around some of the ideas we had been introduced to. Intrigued by how much influence a persons’ genes can have on their life, health and death, I decided to begin reading ‘The Selfish Gene’ by Richard Dawkins. It made me see Darwin’s theory of evolution from a new perspective; instead of thinking about natural selection for the ‘good of the species’, for the ‘good of the individual or gene’ appears to make more sense. This made me start asking all sorts of questions both ethical and scientific; What does this say for human behaviour? What makes us give to the poor and feed the hungry? Does altruistic behaviour have selfish genetic origins? These are all questions that ignite my passion for science, genetics, neurology and medicine. I try to keep up to date with the latest science developments through books, magazines and the internet and apply what I learn to my current studies.

– This is a great paragraph! Linking an experience that you have had to wider reading that you have done can make your application stand out from the others.

There are so many areas of biology and medicine that interest me that I feel a course with a wide range of modules would suit me best, but would also give me the opportunity to specialise in more specific subjects if I enjoy and excel in a particular area. My aim is to be at the forefront of medical science. In the future I see myself putting forward my own theories and ideas, conducting my own research and being at the heart of the latest medical discoveries.

– This is a confident conclusion; perhaps the candidate should tone it down a bit and use different language to express the same idea to make it easier to follow. How about: ‘Studying biological sciences will provide me with the skills to later put forward my own ideas and theories. After my degree, I aspire to take my research further and to be at the heart of the latest medical discoveries’.
– It is a good idea to talk about university life as a whole in addition to enthusiasm for the subject.

This is a strong statement overall that just needs a few tweaks and a bit of prioritising to make it excellent.

In Biology there is no question that cannot be answered, no topic that cannot be further explored. An experiment can be set up to prove or disprove any theory. This is what excites me. My specific interest is genes; they have an immense power which has led me to study gene technology especially the eradication of disease and recently the possibility of the cure of allergic reactions by allergen immunotherapy.

– Your opening sentence is too bold, and doesn’t indicate that you understand the subject, and we recommend rewriting the first three sentences.
– Your particular interest in genes needs to be backed up further by examples of wider reading and further research.

My passion for science led me to attend the Women into Science and Engineering conference; we studied the effect of fuels on the environment and ways to overcome this such as solar power or wind farms. The experiments and current topics we discussed helped to familiarise me with the challenges of the integration of science into today’s society. This is what led me to study Politics, I came across the term Bioethics in the Biological Scientist magazine related to the United Nations wishing to ban therapeutic cloning and so I decided that Politics would help me to keep up with modern developments. It has also built up my argumentative skills and I have benefited from the essay writing and look forward to carrying this on at degree level to explore issues in Biology.

– This is a good paragraph – you display evidence of an extra-curricular interest in the subject.
– Give further details of what exactly you learnt at the conference you attended.

My work in Mathematics and Chemistry has ensured that I developed an analytical and independent attitude toward study. I specifically enjoy the abstract thinking within algebra enhancing my problem solving skills; when I encounter a new problem I seek to understand all the different aspects of it and then analyse the most opportune way to solve it. This is the same in areas of scientific research, for example when formulating a solution to a cholera epidemic many routes are explored such as looking first at the way the disease is transmitted through infected water, then at the way the V. cholerae survives in humans by containing choleragen and having a pilus. You then look at how to treat the disease and whether there is any possibility of an effective vaccine and finally discover the answer sanitation, although more recent research has led to six month effective oral vaccines.

– Giving a detailed account can be good, but don’t eat away at your word count by explaining things that link directly to the course.
– Beware of telling the admissions tutor something they already know about scientific research, instead use examples of your own experiences of what you discovered.

I have a lot of interests outside of college too; I spend a lot of time at the leisure centre attending aerobics and football each week. I am also very keen on teaching, communicating complex ideas to a non-specialist audience, so for the past five years I have helped to lead a local children’s club. This has been very demanding and confirms my determination to persevere as I became more involved, helping to develop my reliability and responsibility. This has also been shown as I became the Operations Manager of a business with Young Enterprise. On top of this I have volunteered to run the Christian Union at college, something which has developed my confidence and leadership skills. It has also improved my organisational skills as I juggle with college, voluntary work and also my part time job. I have just finished a sign language course which was especially taxing as it was taught by a deaf lady so I had to quickly adapt to a new style of teaching. In addition I am currently determined to complete my Duke of Edinburgh direct entry gold award, having already led numerous expeditions through the Lake District improving my leadership skills and rounding my character. Finally during year 11 I won a scholarship to an Ocean Youth Trust sailing trip; this was a hard week as we sailed to the Isle of Man in gale force winds in very cramped and stressful conditions. This shows my ability to cope in challenging situations, to work as a team and most of all demonstrates my strength of character.

– Extra-curricular success is of course very important, but this paragraph needs to be made more concise.
– An emphasis on the skills gained as a result of these activities, and their applicability to the subject of biology, would help to improve it.– It is better to talk about how your attributes are developing, rather than saying this ‘confirms my determination’ or this ‘shows my ability to cope’ or this ‘demonstrates my strength of character’; you need to be more humble!

I consider myself to be an intelligent, conscientious and ambitious student. Even with the progression of the A2 course, the increasing work load and demand for personal study and independent research, rather than becoming discouraged I have become even more motivated to develop my knowledge and understanding. I look forward to discovering new biological debates and research at University.

– Your grades and your experiences will let the reader know you are intelligent, it is not for you to state! You also use the example of the A2 course becoming more demanding as your reason, but don’t forget that all your competitors will be doing the same thing, so this won’t make you stand out for the right reasons!

This statement is good, but there are some changes to be made. In particular, the section on your extra-curricular activities and hobbies needs to be toned down; developing your character is a life-long process, but you make it sound like you are already perfect!

Since primary school I have been particularly interested in the study of Science; an interest which has continued throughout my secondary education and also into my 6th Form study. My interest in the sciences in general coincides with my thirst for knowledge about finding out how things work and dates back to my primary school where I joined an afterschool science group. It was at aged 12, that I began conducting scientific investigations. It was also at aged 12 when I entered the North London Science and Technology competition where I attained first place. More recently I have taken place in a trip to a forensics demonstration and practice at Kingsmead University.

– This opening paragraph needs more work. Rather than focusing on achievements at the age of twelve, the candidate needs to bring their interest in science up to the present day, and in much more detail – the topic of science is very broad!
– The experience at Kingsmead University, for example, needs more focus and more detail. The admissions tutors are interested in what you are like now, as a sixth form A-Level student, rather than in year seven!
– This paragraph does not give an academic, intelligent or convincing motivation to study biology.

My interest in Science has however not prevented my involvement in other areas. And I have prospered from a rounded education, I played an active role in school life though out secondary school in discharging my duties as a member of the School Council since its conception in year 9. In addition, I was the leading role of sub-head in the environmental subcommittee for two years. Through participation in this committee I have been involved in several projects such as the tree planting at school and the construction of a wind turbine to produce a portion of the school’s electricity at Highlands. I have also demonstrated my commitment in becoming a member of the school’s mentor team in a program called “raising the roof A-A*” which allowed me to give advice and help students with their science GCSE examinations. By participating in such projects, I have developed a keener sense of research, analysis, synthesis and problem solving. I count these as very useful skills. In addition, I have developed my events planning, mentoring and communication skills.

– Remove the first sentence! Every student should have well-rounded interests, not just in their subject.
– You need to focus more on your proposed subject of study, and mention anything outside of that in your penultimate paragraph only.
– Do not list skills, the last two sentences read like a check-list; instead weave each skill or attribute in with the experiences.
– At least 2/3 of the statement should be subject-related. Giving examples of wider reading that you find interesting can be a good starting point.

As well as becoming a more rounded and active student I have also focused on becoming a rounded and active person. Since aged 6, I have been a member of the scouting community passing through all the stages. This has broadened my understanding of people skills and my commitment to what I place my mind on. The last four years of my scouting service have been most rewarding. For example, in 2005-2007 I have trained for and competed in several competitions such as Gilwell trophy, Birchbark and Chiltern 20 which are all team based competitions. As team leader in all these events, I have developed my team leadership and team building skills.

– You are wasting precious words with your first sentence.
– Again, this has nothing to do with biology.

I have also organised and participated in several community projects charitable activities. For example, I have organised a charity event at Highlands’s school to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Both I and a partner raised over 500 pounds each. In 2008 September I enrolled on an 8 months Young Leaders programme in Enfield community centre to further increase my skills of team leadership and to become more adept in taking more responsibilities.

– Again, this has nothing to do with biology!
– You should be condensing all of these non-subject specific activities into just one paragraph.

I believe myself to be a rounded student with a number of useful skills. I am very versatile and adapt rapidly to situations beyond my comfort zone. I constantly drive towards new challenges and seek new knowledge and understanding. Through university I look to delving into Biology with full force and enthusiasm in search for such challenges and understandings. I shall be driven by my thirst for understanding to focus and adjust to differences in learning provided by university. Overall I am a genuine student with personal skills which are numerous and varied but most importantly I am always able to learn new ones easily, giving me a passionate devotion to the solving of problems and challenges provided to myself.

– This entire paragraph is meaningless without giving clear and specific examples.
– Over the top phrases such as ‘full force’, ‘driven by my thirst’ are not necessary or looked upon favourably by admissions tutors.

This is a weak statement overall, and needs to be much more relevant to the proposed course of study. You will need to make your paragraphs on extra-curricular activities far more concise, even condensing them into one, and have at least two paragraphs dedicated to biology. This statement is far from ready for submission.

I wish to study Biology to degree level as I have always found the subject fascinating and complex. I enjoy the way that Biology links with tangible organisms and ecosystems around us in a way that none of the other sciences that I have studied can. The sections of the course that I am most interested in are those relating to Ecology and Evolution. I enjoy studying nature and understanding more about the interactions between organisms that lead to the development of new species, whilst also finding Genetics and organic chemistry intriguing. I enjoy the more complex areas of Biology such as genetics and the ethical issues surrounding new discoveries.

– The first sentence is weak, admissions tutors do not like vague phrases such as ‘I have always…’
– The rest of the paragraph is more impressive; you have given details on certain areas of the course that you finds interesting, but this would be strengthened by examples.

When I began at college I had a strong interest in science in general and was eager to start my courses which consisted of Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Computing and Critical Thinking. I did not know which route to take at the time and my experiences at college made the choice of subject to take to degree level even harder as I enjoyed all of my subjects. As I have pursued my courses through the first year my main interests (and best grades) lay within the Biology and Computing courses. Finally my decision to study Biology was made by the career prospects and goals that I had set out to achieve from High School – my main aim was to study a subject that would be interesting and challenging with opportunities to further my real life experiences. I feel that taking a Biology degree will fulfil all of my ideals.

– The admissions tutor will see from your UCAS form which subjects you are studying, so the first sentence is a waste of precious space.
– This entire paragraph is completely unnecessary, it sounds like you’re thinking aloud! Swap this for something that shows real passion for the subject by delving into a particular topic in detail, talking about reading you have done, or current areas of research.
– You need to be more specific about what your career goals are in particular.

Whilst at High School I achieved many awards for attendance and punctuality but the award that I most valued was for my academic skill and determination as awarded to me by the science department. In conjunction with my science courses I have also undertaken A-Levels in Computing and Critical Thinking both of which are beneficial to me on the whole. Computing helps me to think logically – programming a piece of computer software takes time, effort and commitment. There is a careful planning process involved before even touching the keyboard. Critical Thinking helps me to understand the ethical principles surrounding such a complex and wide ranging area as Biology where many different opinions arise especially where global warming and rainforest conservation are concerned.

– What did you win the award for, specifically? This is a good opportunity to show your interest in biology.
– The second sentence is unnecessary because not only have you already mentioned these subjects earlier in the statement, but also the admissions tutor would see from your UCAS form what you are studying.
– You link your subjects to your chosen degree reasonably well but it could be improved. How will logical thinking help with biology, or preparation for experiments? What exactly was it about rainforest conservation that you learnt? How can scientific advancement and ethics collide, specifically in biology?

Prior to my enrolment at college I completed an AS level in Religious Studies at which I achieved a B. This shows my attitude towards work and my flair to learn and achieve. In addition to the extra AS level workload I have had many other commitments and responsibilities. These range from being a Young Mentor for Year 7 pupils whilst I was in Year 11, to the Duke Of Edinburgh Award. Both of these were optional and rewarding pursuits which have helped me as a person to interact and communicate with others, especially the Duke Of Edinburgh Award in which team work was essential for route planning, map reading, tent building and navigation. I thoroughly enjoyed my time camping and walking outdoors and we did not get lost either! I am equally happy working as a part of a close knit team or individually, as I can communicate effectively with others but also have my own drive to do well and can therefore complete projects successfully without prompting. This skill helped me in my work experience where I worked in the British Ceramic Research Laboratories gaining the relevant experience of laboratory procedures and methods. This was a test of responsibility and maturity; I was very pleased with my time at work experience even though this is not the area that I wish to go into at the end of my course I gained some valuable experience.

– Again, the admissions tutor knows what you are studying and any grade to date, so don’t waste words!
– Let your commitment to your AS-Level be evidence enough, you don’t need to state it for the reader, we suggest removing the second sentence altogether; perhaps replace it with why you chose to study that subject and wanted to do it early?
– This is a formal document, and therefore you should not use exclamation marks; instead simply say it was a successful expedition.
– The following sentence (‘I am equally happy…’) should be removed, you mustn’t list attributes without directly linking them to evidence of how you developed them.
– It is a shame you have not given us more details about how your experience at the British Ceramic Research Laboratories will directly link to biology; this is a real missed opportunity! This is a lot more relevant than the other things you have mentioned in this paragraph. Giving some detail about the laboratory procedures and methods undertaken and how these will help with a biology degree, even if they were not to do with biology, will be much more impressive.

My strong interest, my desire to learn and achieve coupled with a degree in Biology will open up the career path that I wish to pursue which is why studying Biology is so important to me.

– This last sentence needs to be tidied up a bit – what is your chosen career path? What is it about the course that you feel will be most useful?

Your statement has some good elements but you need to prioritise your chosen subject, and delve into much more detail about the areas you find most interesting, and why, and discuss current ethical debates surrounding scientific research or conservation. You also need to demonstrate that you actually know what the course entails and which areas of biology you will be studying. You give too much detail on activities not related to the subject, although these are definitely good to mention, they should all be condensed into the penultimate paragraph and form no more than a third of the total statement.

Since childhood I have developed an avid interest in the workings of living organisms, beginning with studying pond life through a microscope at an early age. This summer I had the opportunity to spend ten days work shadowing the Head Pathologist in the Mortuary at Leeds General Infirmary, where I observed numerous autopsies and learnt how to identify various medical abnormalities within the human body. Analysing the causes of death within such a complex creature was quite an experience and learning the functions of each organ and seeing the changes caused by disease was intriguing. I was able to learn so much about anatomy and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to remove a brain! This experience considerably strengthened my desire to study the sciences, particularly the medical aspect of the subject.

– An OK opening paragraph, but try starting with a focus on your current interests, and not what you enjoyed doing as a child; the admissions tutors are far more interested in you as a sixth form student.
– The second half of the paragraph, where you focus on your recent work experience, is far more effective and relevant.
– Be careful about describing the human body as a ‘complex creature’ – it sounds a little bit clumsy.

My passion for the subject means that I am continually in search of new opportunities to extend my scientific knowledge. I participated in a practical session at Leeds University Department of Chemistry where I analysed an analgesic drug using methods such as melting point, thin layer chromatography and infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. I also took part in a two day Bioscience Conference situated at the University of Leeds where, in addition to attending lectures on Genetics, Neuroscience, Biology and Sports Science, I participated in practical classes in Biology, Physiology and Biochemistry. I found both of these experiences enjoyable and thus deepened my enthusiasm for science.

– The first sentence should be removed, let the evidence speak for itself.
– Although your experiences are good, you have simply listed what you did instead of discuss what you learnt and what the experiences made you realise.
– Be consistent, is it University of Leeds, or Leeds University?
– The final sentence is superfluous and vague, and should either be removed or replaced with something more specific; perhaps your experiences led you to do further independent reading?

Furthermore, when required to take part in work experience in Year 10, I was fortunate enough to gain a place at a veterinary surgery where I was present at various operations. This work placement made me consider the possibility of a career in Medical Science. What’s more, in October I have the chance to work shadow a scientist at St James’ Hospital in the Cancer Research Department where I will be able to observe the making of a video showing the stages of cell division. I am very enthusiastic about this opportunity which I’m certain will widen my scientific understanding of cell pathology. The subjects I have chosen at A-level, Biology and Chemistry, have helped to further my interest in science and develop my analytical skills, which relate to my choice of course at University.

– Remove all the words up to ‘I was fortunate’, they take up unnecessary precious word count.
– Instead of saying you were fortunate to get a place you should try to imply that you were successful in a selection process.
– Be clear as to why your experiences at the vet made you consider a career in medical science.
– Never say ‘I’m’, you must write it out in full as it is a formal document.
– Instead of the saying something general about broadening your understanding of cell pathology, why not write about what you are doing to prepare for the shadowing experience?
– You don’t need to tell the reader what A-Levels you are taking because they will see from your UCAS form, and the entire last sentence should be removed and replace by some detail on what you have been doing to improve your analytical skills.

I have played an important role in school life, having assisted at events, such as supporting the science department at open evenings and encouraging younger students to study science at a higher level. For two years I have volunteered at Meadows Park, a unit for special needs children that is integrated within Benton Park School. Assisting in their science lessons has improved my people skills and my sense of responsibility and is extremely rewarding. I was voted to be Secretary of the Sixth Form Council, for which my duties include writing minutes for meetings and contributing to the planning of Sixth Form events. I feel that this position has greatly developed my ability to organise, my confidence and my ability to work as part of a team. I have recently returned from a school trip to Hong Kong where I taught workshops on English as a Foreign Language to Year Seven students at St Paul’s Convent School. As well as such projects at school, I have taken advantage of various charitable extra curricular activities including volunteering at a local residential home and taking part in the Samaritans Christmas Child Appeal scheme and visiting the elderly at Christmas.

– An impressive array of extra-curricular interests and activities but some are more relevant to your chosen subject than others; assisting in science lessons, for example, is another way of demonstrating your enthusiasm for the subject outside of the school curriculum so separate these experiences in their own paragraph and put the more generic personal development in another.

My social interests involve being a member of the local gym, where I participated in a two hour sponsored aroebathon in aid of Cancer Research. I also enjoy walking and antique jewellery hunting! I am looking forward to the social aspect of University but above all the academic challenges that await me.

– This is a weak conclusion; it would be far more impressive if you could end by focussing on your chosen subject rather than on other extra-curricular interests.
– You should move the social activities to the penultimate paragraph with any personal development.
– You need to be a little more specific than just talking about the academic challenges that await you.

A good start at a personal statement, with a particularly impressive array of work experience placements. More concrete evidence of your scientific knowledge would improve it, in particular any evidence of wider reading.

I have always had a great interest in science. Whether or not it originated from practical experiments in the garden or with a tea set as a child is debatable but, after over a decade of schooling, the enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge in both Biology and Chemistry is still there, and still growing. I want to study a Bioscience degree at University because it is at the forefront of modern research, and I want to be there, working at the centre of such research, when the great scientific discoveries of our time are made. Furthermore, the course will offer me the chance to study areas of Bioscience that I have enjoyed most throughout my A-level studies, for example, genetics, cell processes and DNA.

– Avoid phrases like ‘I have always…’ they are vague and admissions tutor do not like them.
– Admissions tutors also do not like childish motivations for studying their subject, they are looking for something mature and academic.
– Beware using phrases like ‘thirst for knowledge’ because many admissions tutors find them unnecessarily over-the-top.
– We suggest replacing almost all of this introduction and instead developing a concept or theme from one of your chosen topics; perhaps discuss the benefits to society of recent developments in genetics or DNA, and how you want to be part of research that changes lives.

During the summer holidays I organised and attended a week of work experience at Astrazeneca Pharmaceutical Company, which included tours of multiple departments; clinical pathology, cancer and infection, and DMPK (drug metabolism pharmacokinetics) to name a few. After seeing how Bioscience is transferred to the working world, my desire to take the course has only been further enhanced, now knowing more details of the exciting jobs that can be accessed with such a degree. Moreover it has confirmed, to myself, that a job in the research area of the life sciences is the career I wish to pursue. Additionally, I have taken History as my third subject at A-level, in which I was given the award “Student of the year” for my AS studies.

– This is very impressive work experience because it is highly relevant.
– You also go into the right level of detail that is required in describing your work experience placement, and make it directly relevant to studying bioscience.
– It is better to focus on your academic degree in conjunction with your career, rather than just focus on your career; you are applying to be a student, not for a job (yet!).
– To improve it even further, it would be great if you could give examples of how this work experience prompted you to further research areas of the subject outside of the curriculum. Demonstrating your initiative and interest in the subject beyond your schoolwork will make your application stand out from the others.
– The comment about history is good, but not directly relevant to this paragraph which is specifically about work experience and science and we suggest moving it somewhere else.

I find the study of the past a fascinating area of learning and take pleasure in the intricacies of combining English and essay writing skills with the analytical role of making a judgement. I feel that an aptitude in History shows a person to be well rounded, as history relates to all subjects, and also very capable of independent study. Outside of my studies I have taken part in Young Enterprise, taking on the roles of both Secretary and Deputy Finance manager, showing my ability both to take on a large workload and to work well as part of a team. I also wrote part of the business plan, all of the company report and, to my great satisfaction, designed, wrote and presented a significant part of our company’s presentation, which won the best presentation award ahead of six other businesses. On top of this, I have undertaken voluntary community work in the form of spotlighting for the local arts centre and I also work at my local library as a Saturday assistant, with the opportunity to train to become a full library assistant. I believe that these experiences have helped me to contribute or give back to the local community, and displayed my willingness to take on responsibility.

– You should not make statements about yourself like this ‘showed my ability to…’ or ‘displayed my willingness to take on responsibility’; say that you are ‘developing’ skills instead.

Over the years I have taken part in a variety of activities, including playing netball, hockey and basketball for the school team, earning colours in all three. Furthermore, in hockey I have been on a tour to Holland, and in basketball I have won gold and silver medals in the Cheshire youth games, representing the town of Macclesfield. As well as this I have taken trampolining lessons and achieved up to award level nine. I also enjoy swimming in which I have attained bronze, silver and gold awards in recognition of my competency in this sport. Outside of my sporting hobbies I am interested in music, and took part in the local children’s musical theatre for five years, playing principal parts in all productions. Not only this, but I play the piano, having had lessons and taken the formal examinations up to grade three, and have continued to play, self-taught, to a higher standard of grade five or six.

– These last two paragraphs are well-written, but need to be shortened; we advise that only 1/3 of your statement should refer to your extra-curricular activities because your proposed course of study is much more important..
– Instead you should include an extra paragraph perhaps on something you have researched outside of the curriculum.

I feel that I have a lot to contribute to the Life Sciences department, and look forward to a University education where I will be able to use my ability to work independently, as well as part of a team, to maximum effect. I am anticipating with relish the challenges and opportunities that university will offer me, and feel that Bioscience is definitely the course for me.

– This is a good conclusion, but again needs to be made more specific to your proposed degree. Why is bioscience definitely the right course? The admissions tutor should not be left with unanswered questions!

This statement is good in the section on your relevant work experience, but weak in most other areas. It must have more of an academic focus on the chosen degree subject and demonstrate a full understanding of the course, the skills required and some extra-curricular knowledge or evidence of wider research into bioscience itself. there is too much on your hobbies, this must be condensed to give you room to speak about your subject with a genuine enthusiasm.

As a young bewildered teenager, where the age of wanting to be a fireman or astronaut is long gone, I struggled to find what to do with my life, but I was over looking my ever growing interest for buildings, which even when I was 10, was drawing houses on the computer or sketching them in the back of my maths book. It was only till I entered my GCSE’s that I realised this path I wanted to take. I then began to delve into the huge number of jobs open to me. After exploring all the aspects of construction and talking with many people and then researching what advice they gave me, I narrowed my findings down to a career in surveying. To make a final judgement, I went to work with a surveyors firm where I enjoyed the work so much that I decided, for myself, to pursue it. I really found the work so interesting and stimulating, the fact that I was rarely in the office. I went off and read into the ways of getting into the profession. I found that a degree at university would be the most suited to me as the specialised subjects were exactly what fuelled my interest in the first place. The construction techniques and the technology involved, the structural design, all subjects that fascinated me from the start.

– This is a weak opening; much of the information (such as delving into available jobs) is irrelevant.
– You should not describe yourself as ‘bewildered’.
– You need to focus this introduction on a convincing and concise reason for choosing your subject; further detail on the combination of ‘construction techniques, the technology involved and the structural design’ along with examples would be a good starting point.
– Your work experience at a surveyors’ firm is the most important part of the paragraph so you should go into more detail about this later in the statement instead of mentioning it here.

As well as my interest in building and now my goal to become a surveyor, I am also enjoying my current studies. Geography fascinates me especially the physical side, I like knowing how the place in which we live was made. I also enjoy my ICT course, it is mainly practical which is an area in which I excel, winning the highest scoring coursework award in my year, two years running, in year 11 graphics and year 12 ICT. This demonstrates my hard work and perseverance to get a job done well.

– How is this relevant to your proposed university course?
– Subjects like Geography can be beneficial to study at A-Level if you want to become a surveyor but you have not linked the two disciplines together.
– ICT is another subject which could be a relevant A-Level to building surveying and could help you significantly whilst at university, yet they have failed to mention this. 
– You should also speak about your subjects in an academic way, and give relevant examples.
– Never tell the admissions tutors ‘this demonstrates my…’; it does not come across well.

At school I am also a prefect and am I in charge of a whole house, ranging from year 7 to year 9, this gives me extra responsibility as a prefect as I have to look out for the well-being of hundreds of people. An example of this is when I helped with the administration of a week of activities involving the whole school. An achievement I am most proud of is overcoming my reading and writing disability which took years of hard work in visual training and exercises joined with perseverance to be able to read and write to the standard that I am expected to. Within the school, I have also done my Duke of Edinburgh at both bronze and silver levels, this shows my ability to see challenges out to the end.

– You have clearly achieved a great deal, but you do not discuss the skills and attributes you have developed as a result of participating in all these additional activities.
– None of these are relevant to your chosen course; save any extra-curricular activities or experiences for the penultimate paragraph.
– Again, do not spell out for the admissions tutor that ‘this shows my ability to…’; let them be the judge of that, or instead say ‘this helped me to develop my ability to…’.

Out of school, to broaden my knowledge of working with different people, I am a leader of a Sunday school for 3 to 6 year olds, stemming off from going to church every Sunday. This has helped to develop my people skills and to organise and present myself in the best way possible and I am also on the committee for the children in the church, which has given me more responsibility to interact in a more adult way.

– Again, this should be briefly mentioned in your penultimate paragraph only; you need to focus your statement on your chosen degree course.

I am also a joint leader at cubs, which gives me more interaction with a different age group and a different way of dealing with them hence developing my people skills. As well as my volunteer work, I am also a member of a badminton club and have swam to the second highest award available which develops not only my fitness but my interaction with different people in different matches. I have also travelled to India to hike in the Himalayas and I had to do a lot of fund raising to do so which helped me to develop my organisation and highlights my perseverance.

– Same as the point above.

I am hoping that my experiences and interests will enable me to be an ideal student in university life and looking forward to the challenge.

– This conclusion does not link back to the degree course, and is too short.

You have failed to explain exactly why you want to study your course, there is no evidence of any real interest, motivation, research or reading. This statement is far too heavily focussed on extra-curricular activities, while these should be mentioned, they should form no more than a third of your entire statement; the rest must be dedicated to demonstrating a genuine interest in the course, as well as showing that you understand what the course entails.

Business as part of everyday life fascinates me. Everything we do is related to business. “Believe in yourself, never give up and go about your business with passion, drive and enthusiasm.” This quote from Peter Jones, a successful entrepreneur, has inspired me to pursue my interests in business. Working in the family enterprise as part of a success driven business environment, has given me the insight that management is key to success.

– Weak opening sentence that is not explained.
– Give examples of how ‘everything we do is related to business’, rather than just state it.
– Using a quote to justify your motivation for studying a subject is not strong enough.
– This entire introduction is vague, it would be better to explore the idea that everything can be linked back to business in detail rather than give several weak reasons for studying the course.

My choice of AS and A levels was based upon a desire to pursue my interest in Business at degree level and this ambition has been reinforced throughout my years at college. Mathematics has given me the ability to handle numbers in a simple, correct manner and helped develop the skills of critical analysis; so important in the world of business. ICT and Business studies have introduced me to the world of decision-making and problem solving and the need to think critically and to evaluate. Physics was a subject that gave me a different way of thinking but offered less scope for original ideas and, for me, was too prescriptive.

– You should use a more advanced explanation of your use of numbers; it should go without saying that it should be correct!
– Give some detail on why critical analysis is important to business; perhaps an example of how you applied this to the family enterprise?
– You do not need to mention all of your subjects; we suggest removing the sentence about Physics because it is slightly negative.

At the end of Year 12, I took part in a business management and decision game with six other students as organised by The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. This provided an insight into the pressures and problems faced by public sector management which I found stimulating rather than intimidating. I acted as the Planning and Development Officer and was given many tasks and requests. Working as a team, we managed our project and our time efficiently and won the competition. “Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level.” Peter Ducker’s quote may seem obvious but when I began my Duke of Edinburgh award, it didn’t mean much. However, after starting the two-day expedition, I took an active role in decision-making at all levels and helped the team to stay on track. Working with people has also motivated me to take my interest with management further. During my studies at Thomas Adams, I started my own small business – creating websites for friends and family, the school and boarding house. In 2004, I commenced my work experience at The Computer Factory, a local IT business. I was offered a part time job with them after my work experience. Away from college, I help out at a church children’s club called Dynamites. This is something I really enjoy doing. I am also a member of the Young Farmers and take part in events throughout the year. I enjoy meeting up with friends and doing activities together.

– Good example to illustrate how previously developed skills will help your university study.
– At least one example of the tasks you were set as Planning & Development Officer would give us more of an idea of what you actually did.
– Tell us what the competition was about,why your team won, and what you learnt from the experience.
– Don’t mention experiences that are not relevant to business management in this paragraph, save it for the penultimate paragraph.
– Don’t fall into the trap of trying to impress through the use of quotations.
– You have crammed far too much into this paragraph; try shorter paragraphs, each on one topic only e.g. a detailed section on the competition, one on the family enterprise and another on your own small business. Then save the rest for the penultimate paragraph because it is not directly relevant to your chosen subject.

One demand from future employers is experience; to gain good experience it is important for me to choose courses that allow for a sandwich year, or a year in employment. However, I believe that it is essential to gain some kind of experience before entering a full time graduate job if not offered during a course. With work experience, I feel that I would be more attractive to potential employers than those without it.

– Although it is good to demonstrate you understand what the course entails, you have dedicated too many words to this.
– You should talk about how you are looking forward to this experience, and learning from it, rather than treating it as a necessary stepping stone to employment.

I believe that I adapt well to new challenges and tasks similar to those I will face at university. With the ability to carry out evaluative and analytical tasks, I feel these are essential skills for university. I look forward to making new friends, taking active roles in university clubs and societies and studying new areas to those encountered at school or college, and taking my interest in management to a more advanced level. I believe in myself, never give up and go about my life with enthusiasm and passion.

– Ending with a reference to university culture and a desire to move forward as an individual is good, however this conclusion is too long.
– You mustn’t tell the reader what you are good at; you need to demonstrate it through examples.

This statement has all the right elements to make it excellent, but needs to be re-ordered, and a lot more detail given with explicit links to how your experiences will specifically help your chosen degree path.

Ever since I was 12, and my 8 year old German cousin Anna, turned round and spoke to me in fluent English, languages have awed and inspired me. From that point on, all I ever wanted to do was to be able to hold a conversation with someone in another language, and when I finally reached secondary school, I found I not only had a passion for languages, but also an ability to pick up a language successfully and quickly. It seemed only logical that I should continue with German to A-Level.

– This is a rather weak opening. Whilst it is important to show your personal trigger for wanting to study this subject, it would be better if you could focus on an experience you have had more recently. The admissions tutor is far more interested in what you are like now, rather than as a 12 year old!
– Always write out your numbers in words, e.g. twelve instead of 12.

My sixth form studies this year have included the cultural and historical background of Germany, and many different ethical issues which have proved both enjoyable and enlightening. I hope my time at university will show me even more diversity in the world, and broaden my mind further, and hope I receive the privilege of studying at university.

– Give us some more detailed examples! What did you find particularly interesting and what are these ethical issues? Did it prompt any further research on your part? This is far too vague.
– Don’t forget that all of your competitors will have studied their subjects at sixth form too, so using this as an example is not going to make you stand out unless you use your studies as a springboard for finding out more outside of the curriculum.

Last February, I was able to travel to Germany, on an amazing week long trip to undertake work experience, where I got the opportunity to actually live and work there. Being exposed to German culture, and language was an invaluable experience for my learning, and solidified my intense interest in speaking a foreign language. I loved every minute of it. This is one of the reasons I have chosen a course which includes a year abroad and opportunities to develop my German. I believe speaking another language is a truly individual and highly rewarding thing to be able to do, and holding fluent conversations with the local people was truly unbelievable, it gave me the biggest sense of achievement.

– What was the work experience? Is it relevant to business management? Again, more details are necessary! Rather than discuss how rewarding and unbelievable your experiences are, you should tell us what you actually did.

Since changing schools to start the sixth form, I believe I have developed a lot of my interpersonal skills. I have found myself to be very confident, especially when meeting new people, and making new friends. I am comfortable in new situations and have enjoyed all the experiences starting a new school have given me. This successful change in my life cemented my belief that I would be able to cope with university life, and being independent.

– You use the word ‘new’ four times – try something new!
– This paragraph is too long and should be in the penultimate paragraph; replace it with something more relevant to your course – you shouldn’t be wasting your precious word count on such generic skills.

I also feel that I would be successful in a business oriented career, to complement my language skills. I feel I am a strong leader figure; I have been able to induct new staff in my first part time job, and also been able to handle a variety of responsibilities required as a prefect at my sixth form. These include helping out in lower school German lessons in my spare time, organising a “Reward Shop” at lunchtimes with fellow students for lower school students and organising dinner queues. Two members of my art class and I also run a Photoshop lesson each week for younger students wishing to learn how to use the software. Throughout these different duties, I have been successful, punctual, and have also thoroughly enjoyed working in a position interacting with other pupils. Another skill I believe is important for a business career is good communication, and this is something I have also been able to develop whilst working as a prefect, and also especially whilst working as a waitress part time. I also took part in gaining a Welcome Host qualification, thus supporting good customer communication skills.

– Being a prefect does not mean you will be successful in a business career, and you should let the reader be the judge of whether they think your experience mean you are a ‘strong leader figure’, rather than tell them you feel you are one. You have done some impressive things, let them speak for themselves!
– We suggest rewriting this paragraph; reduce the word count and make it more succinct.

My grades throughout my school life have always been consistently good, and I believe this shows my determination, academic ability, and the efforts I put into my subjects, and my ability to maintain my workload.

– Don’t forget that everyone else applying to this course will meet the grade requirements, therefore this paragraph should be removed; studying hard should be a given.

My plans for the future, once my studies are complete, are to pursue a career in management elsewhere in Europe. I also intend to continue studying different languages.

– A poor conclusion that needs to be re-written completely to include a summary of who you are, what makes you a suitable candidate, and expresses your enthusiasm for your course.

This is a weak personal statement that needs a lot of work. Aside from the issues mentioned above, you haven’t really talked about business management in any detail at all – this should make up half of your application! Make sure you seem committed to both parts of your course.

In today’s challenging economic climate, employers are looking for high achievers with a range of skills relevant to the 21st century. The ability to adapt in a crisis and to manage and embrace the changing economic situation is vital. As we move out of the recession people who are adaptable and have the technical ability to understand systems and change will have the edge. I am interested in courses in management and Information Technology because I believe that they fulfil these requirements. The subjects I have chosen to study have given me a great deal of knowledge about management and management styles. Business Studies has engaged my interests and showed me different perspectives on the success of firms; also it has given me a broad knowledge on how businesses function and how internal factors affect business performance. I have been inspired to continue my studies in this subject.

– Although you use of current affairs and business awareness to illustrate interest in the wider business world, the first part of this introduction is too career focussed and should be reworded.
Interest in ‘management and information technology’ courses is quite vague – are you applying to a range of courses? This is not a good idea!
– This introduction is too long; we suggest streamlining it by exploring the idea of which businesses will survive (those with the ‘ability to adapt in a crisis and to manage and embrace the changing economic situation’) and why, rather than have it focussed on employability.
– Move your sentences on prior study to the next paragraph.

From an early age I have had an interest in computers, in the way they communicate with each other and how much of an impact they have on everyday tasks. I quickly became exceptional in aspects of computing, from building custom computers to creating a website for a client. IT BTEC has not only fed my hunger to learn about new technology but has shown me a different view on learning, I know now that I can keep on top of deadlines as well as study for examinations. ICT has also taught me that I can thrive under pressure and manage it well. As an additional component of the ICT course I have also completed the ECDL qualification supplementing my ICT skills in a range of software applications from Dreamweaver, to Photoshop and Flash.

– Admission tutors prefer specifics, rather than vague terms such as ‘from an early age’; what was it that got you interested?
– Although it is excellent to include that you have vast experiences with computers, you shouldn’t describe yourself as ‘exceptional’; instead say something like ‘I became fluent in many aspects of computing’.
– You are studying very relevant BTECS, so link these to skills or attributes that will specifically help with your chosen degree, rather than generic ones like time management and thriving under pressure, which would apply to any discipline.
– Add any additional reading around the subject you have done.

Many things interest me in business but primarily motivational theories and change management. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne effect are theories that stimulate me because motivation is the common factor they are all trying to define. Although these are still only theories, the exciting thing for me is that massive questions in business management haven’t yet been answered and are still widely undefined. I have undertaken several periods of work experience to support my interests. Firstly, I was employed by a fast moving law firm in Birmingham called Pinsent Masons. Here, the environment was very stressful but I enjoyed the fact I had an important role in the functioning of the business, in supply chain management chasing suppliers. This was my first real taste of control and authority.

– Demonstrating a foundational knowledge in the subject area is a good way of communicating that you have fully considered the subject and know what the course involves.
– Rephrase the first sentence to ‘I am particularly interested in motivational theories and change management’.
– Never abbreviate in a formal document like this; ‘have not’ not ‘haven’t’.
– Using past work experience which has built on the desire to study in this area is an effective way of illustrating the decision to pursue this area of study – if doing this, ensure that you link the skills gained back to your credibility as a university applicant.
– You should dedicate a paragraph to your experiences at Pinsent Masons and what you learnt there that relates to business.
– Never use negative phrases like ‘stressful’.
– Talking about ‘control and authority’ could be misinterpreted, and is an odd way of describing your experiences; instead focus on what you learnt.

I have also undertaken an IT placement in the NHS rehabilitation centre in Birmingham. Here, the task was to refine databases. This was a very different style of working, but perhaps with even greater levels of stress. The placement involved creating a database to monitor the supply of wheelchairs. The database improved the business process and reduced the lead time and improved delivery performance to the patient. Again my appraisal was extremely positive and my manager remarked on my, “speed and precision” and described my contribution as “outstanding”. The most exciting work experience opportunity is an internship I will be undergoing in a company called Wall Street English. This will be over a period of a month and is based in Shanghai, China. I feel that this will really expand my knowledge on the business climate on an international scale.

– Again, never use negative phrases like ‘stress’.
– Ensure that when including work experience or extra-curricular activities, the skills gained are linked to your ability to succeed at university.

I have many other achievements that I pride myself on. One of these achievements is the Duke of Edinburgh Award which I have completed at bronze and silver level and am now working towards Gold having completed my practice gold expedition. In particular I have enjoyed being an effective leader and ensuring that the team’s morale remained high.

– Remove the first sentence; you must not come across as conceited.
– Good use of extra-curricular activity, but skills gained need to be emphasised more effectively.

In summary I believe I have the technical ability and the adaptability required in today’s business environment. My computer skills, my strong interest in the aspects of management and the leadership skills I have shown seem to me to enforce my suitability for higher education leading to a career in management.

– Strong conclusion, which demonstrates key skills and communicates a desire to study.
– You should talk about how you are hoping to improve upon your current technical ability, rather than that you already have what is required.
– Mention other aspects of university life and how you are looking forward to it.

Overall this is a good statement that just needs a little tweaking to make each experience more focussed on the chosen degree course, and why it will benefit you as a candidate.

Getting a degree at university is more than just a qualification to me; it is about setting an example and being a role model to others. I aspire to be a successful business woman. I went to a school where the level of achievement is well below national average. Many of my peers have not succeeded, this has made me even more determined to get a degree. This shows that I can focus and do well despite my surroundings, I understand self-motivation.

– You need to focus on your proposed degree subject more than your general desire to gain a degree.
– Wanting to become a role model is great, but you need to make it clear how this is relevant to business studies. What is it about the subject that attracts you the most?

I have chosen a business related course because I have always been interested in this field. I believe I have the qualities to be successful in this area and I have the confidence, self-motivation and willingness to discover new things. I am a risk-taker and a creative person, these I believe are the most important factors of business. I have always been inspired by the late Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop and one of Britain’s best-known business-women because she was self-motivated, confident and a risk taker. She was revolutionary in her products. She achieved great success in an ethically based business.

– The first sentence should be removed; they know the course you have chosen and saying you have ‘always been interested’ doesn’t actually tell us anything.
– What are the qualities needed to become successful in this area, and can you give some examples of how you have shown that you have these qualities in the past? You should always refer to your skills as being in development rather than being developed already!
– Why is risk taking an important factor? Make sure you weigh up the positives and negatives of this; you are in danger of sounding reckless.
– You need to say something a little more profound about Anita Roddick – self-motivated & a risk taker is something that could apply to quite a few people. What was it about her products and business that was so revolutionary?
– Again, be wary of saying ‘I have always’.

My interest in the business field has grown stronger since I enrolled at Trafford College on the BTEC National Business course. My long term goal is to set up my own wedding planner business and I have found some of the units relevant. Business Enterprise has given me more knowledge and understanding about setting up my business. Also, studying Final Accounts has given me more insights on how to run and manage my business accounts in the future when I have set up my business. All these have given me more insight into business in general. I believe my academic interests and strengths match up with my chosen course considering that I am a very hard-working person who is focussed and determined.

– The first sentence is superfluous and should be removed, the reader will see from the rest of your UCAS form where  and what you study, so use your precious word count to be specific.
– The second sentence is vague, which units are particularly relevant and why? Don’t dismiss other units as irrelevant at this stage either.
– Your third sentence is also too vague; what have you learnt about setting up a new business that you didn’t know before?
– What insights have you had into business accounts? How would these apply to your future wedding planning venture?
– The last two sentences are again extremely vague and should be removed or replaced!

While studying, I have worked part-time as a waitress for an agency called Better Recruitment Agency Solution where I have also been a team-leader. My main role was to make sure my team members carry out all the instructions given. Through this, the level of my confidence in relating and communicating with others has increased. I have also had work experience at the agency where I dealt with paperwork, customers and other members of staff. Doing this, I gained an insight into leadership, management and decision-making skills.

– How will the insight into ‘leadership, management and decision-making skills’ help you with your chosen course specifically?

I have a keen interest in sports; I was on the school netball team and this has helped improve my teamwork abilities. I was an ambassador for my high school-Manchester Academy and this enhanced my responsibilities. I also participated in organising the end of year prom where I got to organise and raise funds for the event. Doing this, I acquired more knowledge about managing and organising events because we produced leaflets for the students to be aware of what was happening, how to get in contact with the Board of Trustees to sponsor the programme and we organised bag-packing in Asda to raise funds for the programme.

– This reads like a check list of skills, instead try to describe your experiences and weave the skills into them fluently, rather than ‘I did this, and I acquired that’.
– Separate out those experiences which could be relevant to business (organising an event, fundraising, marketing the programme) and more generic personal development (sports, ambassador).

I belong to a Christian youth group where I am currently the President. I respect others and what they have to contribute. This has increased my knowledge on how to work well with other people. As the youth president, I get to make decisions and direct the youth members. This has improved my decision making skills. I enjoy singing and dancing and I belong to a dancing group. I also belong to a choir in my church where I get to meet and work with different people of different races. As a result of these I have improved the level of my teamwork and my self-confidence.

– You use very short sentences which read more like bullet point; try to merge some of the sentences into more continuous prose.
– Think about what else you do as President that might help with running a business; just saying it has taught you to work well with others does not do the experience and position justice.
– Be consistent with capital letters.
– You should move your Presidency to the paragraph above, and put the singing and dancing with the sports and ambassador role in the penultimate paragraph.

I believe this degree will equip me for my career in this fast moving world of business. I hope and look forward to expanding my knowledge and skills and to continue my studies. Ultimately, I intend to become a successful business woman.

– You need to be far more specific; a degree in business is bound to help you in the world of business, but think about which skills you want to develop specifically.
– A weak paragraph which is vague and simply repeats information above rather than succinctly summarise it.

You need to focus a great deal more on business studies as an academic subject – at the moment it reads as though you have not researched the degree enough and have just decided to apply for this subject because you want a career in business. It would be good if you could demonstrate some wider reading or research, or an interest in current affairs. More detailed examples throughout would improve the statement further.

I have been studying business studies for nearly four years at both GNVQ and BTEC level and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. My main interest is business but I have also studied ICT and I would like to continue both subjects at degree level. I have decided to apply for Business degrees at different universities as the courses that I have chosen allow me to focus on Business as a whole but still incorporate key aspects of ICT in them. I hope to pursue a career in teaching business and studying a degree will provide the level of knowledge and understanding to achieve this. This is the career path I would like to pursue because I would like to work with different people and help them to gain qualifications and achieve their goals.

– The admissions tutor can see from the rest of your UCAS form which subjects you are studying, therefore the first two sentences are a waste of space!
– There is no need to mention that you have applied to different universities – the admissions tutor will know this and there is no point giving them any reason to believe that you aren’t totally committed to the one at which they work.
– You need to convey your passion for these two subjects a little more – what is it about them that you find so interesting? Link Business and ICT together.

During the past two years of sixth form I was a representative for my business class. This meant that if they had any problems or didn’t feel comfortable enough to speak to the teachers they could tell me and I could speak to one of the teachers on behalf of them. This gave me a responsibility to ensure students in my class didn’t have any problems and so they had the option to speak to me if they did. It also meant that if any students did ask me to speak to the teachers I had to be diplomatic about the situation and ensure I approached it in the right way.

– Decide if you are going to capitalise ‘business’, and be consistent throughout.
– Do not abbreviate; ‘did not’ rather than ‘didn’t’.
– Condense this paragraph – you express a similar idea in most sentences and you are wasting your precious word count! It would be better if you could focus on the more academic side of your course first, and mention these skills a little later on.
– Although you were representative for your business class, it is unclear what this has got to do with your chosen degree and how it will specifically help your business skills.

During year 11 I also contributed in a mentoring course so that I could become a peer mentor to younger students. This course taught me various ways to deal with different problems that children may have. I learnt many new things throughout this course as I learnt how to deal with a variety of problems.

– Again, what has this got to do with studying business as a degree?

For the past year I have had a part time job at JD Bullring in Birmingham. During this time I have worked in the several departments in the business and have had to work independently and as a team member. The most important aspect in the business is customer satisfaction and to achieve this I had to communicate effectively with all customers so they felt comfortable asking for help and were satisfied with their visit to the store. Whilst working as a cashier customers asked about the refund/exchange policies whilst at the till so it was important for me to be aware of them so I could provide excellent customer service. Whilst working on the textile department an important task was to be aware of the existing security procedures and knowing what to do in situations which could be dangerous to ensure that they were dealt with in a professional manner. I have learnt many new skills working within the retail sector and have had to work unsupervised meaning using my own initiative. There is also a high level of trust within the position and has gave me a lot of experience in this retail sector.

– A better paragraph demonstrating that you are aware of the more practical side to business studies; this should be your second paragraph.
– No abbreviations; do you mean JD Sports at the Bullring? Also don’t use a forward slash instead of actual words!
– Could you relate these practical experiences more to the academic side of the subject, showing that you’re aware what it would be like to study it at university?

Hobbies of mine include socialising with friends, meeting new people, reading and going to the gym. I enjoy reading a variety of books by different authors that cover various genres which include Bali Rai, Virginia Andrews and Dave Pelzer. I listen to a variety of music but my favourite would be R & B and Bhangra. In my spare time I go to the Gurdwara with my Grandma as this allows me to spend time with my family and learn new things about my religion. I also help mentor younger children who are related to me or are family friends and found that this was a great opportunity as it meant I can help other people achieve their goals.

– ‘Socialising with friends’ is too vague
– Try to link some of this back to business studies, have you got any examples of books you have read that relate to your chosen subject?

Overall, I am a confident and reliable student who will always work my hardest to achieve my goals and always work to the best of my ability. Whilst in sixth form I think that I have matured and gained many new skills which will prepare me for university. I think that having a part-time job has helped me to make better use of my time as I have to ensure my school work is also completed.

– You need to make your conclusion more focussed on business & ICT. It is too vague at the moment.

This statement needs a lot of work before it should be submitted. You need some more detailed examples, some evidence of wider reading and to demonstrate that you have more of an awareness of what it will be like to study business at university.

I have over the last year developed a keen interest in management and the work that it entails. The broad range of subjects I have chosen at AS and A2 contribute to skill building in this area. Geography gives me the ability to view the bigger picture and along with History enables me to think outside the box and find different opinions on a subject. Studying English Literature is enabling me to construct opinionated essays and express a particular point of view on paper, these skills coupled with my determination, previous teamwork and management experiences, I feel would be beneficial to a business related course.

– Be clear about what you mean by ‘the work that it entails’.
– Don’t start talking about your other subjects in your opening paragraph; focus on the business studies side and what you find so appealing about the subject. You can talk about how geography and history provide you with useful skills later on in the statement.

Throughout my life at school I have been a contributing factor to the school community as I have taken part in many aspects. Currently I am part of the main School Council and take part in the meetings to help tackle and resolve current school issues. I recently joined the school Enterprise Team to develop my knowledge of business. I was designated the role of Events Secretary as it was felt this would play to my strengths of organisation and determination. I have also had some experiences outside of school. I organised a work placement at an events management company in Newcastle to gain some work experience. Whilst there I gained experience of working in an office and in the initial planning of an event, I then spent 2 days at a Gaming Conference working as part of a team and developing my communication skills by informing the delegates of any changes. The event also involved working with the team to achieve a wide range of goals such as setting up evening events at nightclubs to checking in delegates at the conference. Overall I found the experience very beneficial, I learnt that initiative and communication were very important within a business role and feel that my confidence grew because of this knowledge and experience. I have subsequently been offered further experience at the same company.

– Your first sentence doesn’t read well; it sounds odd to describe yourself as a factor!
– You have crammed too much in this paragraph!
– Move the school council role to further down the statement.
– Your second paragraph should be solely focussed on one business-related experience, and what you have done to develop your interest in it; the Enterprise Team would work well here.
– In your third paragraph you can talk about your events experience, but try to link it back to business as much as possible, and be specific; how do initiative and communication contribute to a successful events business?

Following my long term involvement in school productions as Stage Manager I was approached by the local Police who are the main organisers of North Yorkshire’s Community Idol. After successfully coordinating a local heat I was asked to Stage Manage both the semi final and then the grand final which took place in Selby Abbey. The final went very well and I was responsible for managing a team of PCs and Community Support Officers as well as liaising with the rest of the production team to ensure the stage ran smoothly. I have also taken part in an event called primary links which involved local primary schools. Those involved were congratulated on their skills in working with others and problem solving. Following my community work I have been formally recognised and presented with the School Award for Service to the Community.

– You need to link these experiences back to a business degree.
– Be specific about what you did to make the stage ran smoothly that could be applied to business.

Further to these experiences I have many interests outside of school. Playing golf has been a long running hobby of mine and I have won various trophies, including Most Improved Player 2007 and Mid Yorkshire Junior Champion 2005. Golf helped improve my confidence, develop my social skills and I enjoyed meeting people from different clubs. Currently I have a part-time job at Mid Yorkshire Golf Club, Darrington. This is a large venue and I have had the opportunity to work and see a large variety of events while working within the catering team.

With my previous experiences I feel that I would not only bring enthusiasm and determination to succeed in my career aspirations but also a keen interest in the course and willingness to be involved within university life.

– You need to make sure that your conclusion is more focussed on business studies rather than university life in general – it is the last thing that the admissions tutor will read, after all!

Your statement needs a considerable amount of work before it can be submitted. You focus almost entirely on extra-curricular activities that are not related to the course! You could be applying to any degree! Demonstrate that you have a proper awareness of what it will be like to actually study this subject at university. Have you done any wider reading or research, or are there any current affairs stories relating to business that you have found particularly interesting? Two thirds of your statement should be devoted to evidence of your passion for the subject, and less than a third on your extra-curricular activities.

Business has always interested me since I began studying it at high school and it quickly became my favourite subject. I enjoyed developing my analytical abilities and I was glad to apply the skills I had learned in maths to a real life situation during the finance modules. My maths skills have always been one of my strengths, and I was granted the school award for mathematics at the end of my GCSEs. A degree in finance will allow me to develop these skills; I am eager to further my knowledge in this subject as I believe it will help me in my ambitions to become a qualified accountant. I have already signed up to several newsletters from the leading accounting qualification bodies (such as ACCA and ICAEW) in order to keep up to date with their training processes.

– Your first line is too vague, why no use the precious space to say something specific?
– You cram too much into the introduction, and as a result you don’t have a succinct summary of why you want to study the subject.
– To improve it further, give some more detailed examples of something you’ve particularly enjoyed as part of your business studies.

A work experience placement in the finance department of North Warwickshire Borough Council has helped me to understand exactly what is involved in finance, as I directly contributed in producing budgets and balance sheets for the local government. In addition to this I had the opportunity to discuss with qualified accountants what would be expected of me in the future if I were to follow a career in that sector of business. I have also had a weekend job in a sports shop for over a year, which has allowed me to experience life in the workplace. I work as part of a team to meet various targets and have been given the responsibility to organise a group of people in achieving our aims; this includes achieving weekly targets, reorganising the shop and introducing new employees to the store.

– Be wary of saying you understand ‘exactly’ what is involved in finance; better to say you are developing your understanding.
– Go into much more detail on your relevant work experience; can you link your current  business studies to something you have seen applied in real life? This is strong experience – make the most of it.
– Dedicate this paragraph to your work experience that relates to business, leave the sports shop job to the penultimate paragraph.

As part of my business studies course I have participated in raising money to invest in a share trading scheme run by a charitable organisation that educates sixth form students about the stock market and the economy. By working as a team we were able to organise several school events and raise £750 to invest in shares on the London Stock Exchange. I was also involved with an independent group of sixth form business students who assisted local businesses by providing our subject knowledge and expertise to them free of charge. We helped them by promoting their business and collecting market research – which they used to make key business decisions. This experience allowed us to develop our skills in a real world environment.

– Good examples of how you understand the more practical side to business studies, but go into further detail about investment and decision-making, and exactly what market research you did to help improve businesses. Detail is key here!

At my school sixth form I have been elected a senior prefect – a position of responsibility where I must work with a small team of others to organise our sixth form. As well as our shared tasks – which include organising events and representing the school to parents and governors – my individual duties include organising the finances for our sixth form. I keep up-to-date records of all income and expenditure; give detailed advice on what we should do to generate more funds and what to spend them on. This has given me good experience in working with money, including how to analyse a situation in order to benefit from it, as well as further developing my team working and communication skills.

– You can significantly reduce word count here without losing the essence of what you did as prefect.
– Vague phrases such as ‘working with money’ should be changed to be more specific; don’t be afraid of using business jargon to demonstrate your knowledge.

In my spare time, I am currently teaching myself to play the guitar which I find is relaxing and a good method of developing my self studying abilities. My friends and I regularly play badminton at the local sports centre which provides a good break from my studies and work. I also watch a wide range of movies; I enjoy anything as long as it is well made, including foreign cinema in other languages.

– Again, too many words here, save that space for subject-specific content!

A finance degree is well suited to my ambitions to become an accountant, and will allow me to develop the skills I already have and enjoy using at A-Level. After gaining a degree I intend to become a qualified accountant. My main motivation for this is my uncle – a successful accountant who lives in Switzerland and works worldwide who has inspired me to follow in his footsteps. I am looking forward to my time at university as I know it will be important in preparing me for my career and later life.

– Don’t forget that everyone competing for a place at your chosen uni will be doing A-Levels, therefore using them as evidence of your suitability to study a degree course is not going to make you stand out over anyone else.
– You repeat that you want to become an accountant twice in this paragraph and again elsewhere in the statement; once is enough.
– Why mention your uncle so late in the statement? What exactly does he do? Why has he inspired you? Have you talked to him about his experience? Move this to a paragraph further up the statement.

Overall, you have the evidence to show you are a strong candidate but you are not writing about it in the best possible way. You need to be specific, use business language and cut down on unnecessary words.

Business is surrounding and affecting our lives in every hour of every day; it provides ease and efficiency as well as jobs and security. I am amazed at how much it has changed our lifestyles already so I am eager and determined to discover more. Furthermore, I consider Business Studies not only to be about understanding the key features of how to survive in the world of Business, but also requires using originality, creativeness and imagination. I would like to be able to take part in this challenge; this is the reason to why I have taken the decision to acquire a degree in Business Studies.

– There are a lot of vague statements crammed into this introduction. Rather than say so many things, why not pick one thread and go into detail, citing a real example or personal experience?

After realising how much Business was affecting my daily life, I became determined to experience an inner depth study of a subject I have a strong passion for. Knowing the basics at GCSE level, I wanted to extend my knowledge further and decided to take it up as an A-Level. Whilst studying it at a higher standard and learning about the business culture, I now feel eager to further my understanding at a degree level to a subject I desire.

– How does business affect your daily life as a pupil? Be clear.
– Phrases such as ‘inner depth’ and ‘strong passion’ without thorough explanation are unpopular amongst tutors.
– This entire paragraph doesn’t tell us anything new; it repeats the information the tutor will see from your UCAS form and just repeats your ‘desire’ to study the subject without explaining why.

During the end phase of studying for GCSEs I had encountered for the first time working under pressure, I learnt to keep my determination by coping with this, and successfully overcame it positively. Since then, I have effectively prepared myself for similar situations and prioritised my workload and time. During the course of my A-Levels, the subjects I studied have developed my existing skills as well as equipped me with new ones. Business Studies and Sociology have assisted in preparing me with skills that I will need at university. These skills included research and investigative skills, autonomous learning, time management and logical thinking. My third A-Level subject Philosophy and Ethics has helped me in expanding my abilities such as essay-writing, keeping to deadlines, analytical and presentation skills which have assisted in boosting my confidence as a speaker.

– It is unwise to cite your GCSE as pressure; don’t forget that every other students in the UK will have studied them, so being able to cope is not an achievement in itself.
– While it is good that you prioritise your workload, you need to have been doing something exceptional outside of school to be able to talk about this in your personal statement; university study is very different from GCSE examinations.

Attending a carousel activity at IBM had given me a taster of the environment people work in of a successful and well-known business. Having been given activities of some of the major works that go on behind the successes of IBM was fascinating, and this is when I realised I wanted to be a part of sharing such accomplishment. Working in a team has truly aided in my communication and teamwork skills. I was really delighted when my team succeeded in raising the most money for charity by selling cakes and plants. Not only did I enjoy the experience of working with other members of my group, I also learnt the value of solidarity.

– You need to go into detail about what you actually did at IBM, the reader is left not knowing how you developed your business skills.
– What made your team most successful? What did you learn about business as a result?
– Focus on business-specific skills rather than generic skills such as communication etc.

I take pleasure in helping other people when I get the opportunity, at the start of my AS Levels, during my free lessons I took part in assisting classes for the lower years as volunteer. I also enjoyed being a tour guide for potential students entering the school. I completed work experience at a nursery which I cherished and feel pleased to have experienced. As a result this assisted in developing my co-operation skills with a mix of different ages. In my spare time reading books is one of my hobbies that I really take pleasure in, starting from a young age; I began reading children’s books from Jacqueline Wilson and as I became older I went for more legendary and challenging reads, such as the superb work of Leo Tolstoy.

– Perhaps link this paragraph to what you hope to continue while at university?
– The sentence about ‘co-operation skills’ doesn’t read very well.

My keen interest for Business Studies will stimulate me because I am a keen and interested student with a strong enthusiasm for the subject. Attending some of the open days in universities has heightened my attention to my chosen subject, as well as having spoken to ex-students has lightened my eagerness. Reading through prospectuses and scanning through the syllabus has assisted in making my final decision. Attending university schemes and conferences has supported my understanding of university life, and now I feel ready to take up the challenge.

– You should be talking about the open days you have attended in far more detail, not mention them in passing in your conclusion!
– What did you discuss with ex-students of Business Studies?
– Reading the prospectus should be a given!

Overall this is a weak statement that needs considerable work before it should be submitted. Although you have taken part in some interesting and relevant experiences you don’t discuss them in a way that makes the most of them, relates to business, or is likely to make you stand out as a credible candidate. You need to reprioritise much of the above, and go into far more detail, and consider including current affairs, the economy and outside reading too.

Business Studies has enabled me to broaden my mind to real world situations. My decision to study a business related degree at university has come from my passion for studying Applied Business studies. I have also developed a keen interest in economics whilst studying Applied Business. Economics has interested me because and captured my attention in a way that no other subject has. This has led me to believe that I should actively study and develop my knowledge in this area which will then enable me to use and apply my skills. I believe economics to be a vital part of today’s society as it helps to balance society’s demands and while studying Applied Business I have gained good insight into the world of modern business attitudes. The course covers a broad range of topics involved in the day to day running of all types of businesses. In order to gain an insight into the everyday matters of the business world I am a keen reader of ‘The Financial Times’. This is a newspaper that covers a range of valuable economic facts; such as the daily stock exchange market.

– You do not need to explain what the FT is; instead why not talk about an article that you read in the newspaper that you found particularly interesting. Did it prompt any further research?
– Since you have applied for a degree in Economics, you need to focus on this subject from the beginning. Studying Business Studies is relevant to your proposed degree, but if you spend too much time talking about it, the admissions tutor will start to question your commitment to economics. Perhaps move your discussion of Business Studies into another paragraph, and use your introduction to concentrate solely on economics.

To gain professional experience in the working world, I went on work experience at, Shreeji Medical Center; I gained experience in aspects of the day to day management at the surgery such as, the receptionist’s desk obligations and administration duties. I also worked voluntarily at a local estate agent in Slough called, Connells Estate Agents. Work experience in both these businesses gave me valuable experience and enabled me to make a more informed choice regarding my future education and career aspirations. I have currently been involved in the ‘02 Peer Mentoring Project’ which was an excellent opportunity from which I have learnt a great deal. This project enabled me to develop my inter-personal skills and increase all areas of my confidence greatly which I believe is essential. The peer mentoring project was also great as it allowed me to build on my communication skills. Furthermore, I am part of an organization called ‘Aik Saath’, which was setup to deal with conflicts in the local community and was peer led and it involved me learning conflict resolution skills, I had to manage and setup various activities to help pupils in junior schools. This helped me to develop good organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.

– What was the 02 Peer Mentoring Project? You need to explain what it involved and what you did as part of the project.
– If you are going to mention your work experience placements at length, you need to make sure you explain why they are relevant to an economics degree, not just to a career in business. Giving some details about your future career aspirations is fine, but spending a whole paragraph talking about them when you could be concentrating on economics is a waste of your precious word count.

I enjoy a variety of social activities such as, cricket and football. I am a keen swimmer. Other activities I enjoy are reading, performing arts, travelling, meeting and making friends, learning languages, I am also interested in learning and applying various software packages. During my time at, ‘Aik Saath’ and at school, l gained experience in developing my organizational skills further by arranging trips with my friends to various locations within UK. A’ level computer studies curriculum is directly related to the technological aspect of a business and I constructed a piece of software to help a surgery’s day to day running.

– Again, whilst your extra-curricular achievements are impressive, make sure that they do not distract from your commitment to economics.

Networking is one of my strengths, as I believe it is a fantastic way from which one can build better and meaningful relationships. In my previous school I was elected as a prefect by the senior school staff and other peer members. Furthermore, I represented my year group as an elected member of the school council. I believe that both these achievements help demonstrate my abilities of being reliable, organized and trustworthy. I had to represent pupil’s views to staff and negotiate with staff to take action upon these views. I believe that studying economics is an excellent way for me to reach my potential in life and hope that it will open up many opportunities for me. To conclude I hope you can recognize that I am a very able and committed student. I look forward to hearing an encouraging response to my application.

– This is a weak conclusion – you simply have not demonstrated that you are committed to a degree in economics. You need to focus a great deal more about what aspects of the subject you find particularly interesting and any independent research that you have done. This reads more like a business studies application than one for economics.

Overall, the statement needs quite a lot of work. You need to focus on why you want to study economics at university and support this with evidence. You have a great deal of business experience, which is fantastic, but you need think carefully about how you link this with undergraduate economics.

“Click”, the last brick is finally in place. I can still remember the satisfaction from completing a new bridge; the Lego train could now safely get from the sofa to the upper deck of the ferry. Construction toys were always my childhood toys of choice: no-one told me that this was engineering!

– This opening is very weak. As endearing as you may think it is to show that you have been interested in engineering since childhood, the admissions tutor is simply not interested in knowing what you played with as a child.
– From the beginning, you need to focus on what, as a sixth former, attracts you to study your proposed degree using academic, formal language (no exclamation marks).

Studying maths, physics and chemistry provides me with a combination of subjects which complement each other and will provide a solid base for studying an engineering degree. In physics I find the area of forces and motion particularly interesting; I enjoy being able to express sophisticated problems in terms of relatively simple formulae. I equally enjoy chemistry and investigating what happens at the atomic level. The New Scientist, which I subscribe to, covers current topics in a way that no syllabus can. An ability to think efficiently and problem-solve, come up with new ideas and articulate them to others are personal strengths and frequently used both inside and outside the classroom.

– Be more specific about how your current studies will help with engineering e.g. how does atomic level chemistry relate?
– Are there any articles or topics that you have read in the ‘New Scientist’ that were particularly interesting or relevant to an engineering degree? You have to give an example!
– Your final sentence must be backed up with examples; you can’t just tell us what your personal strengths are, you must demonstrate them.

Maths has always been my strongest subject and I tutor GCSE students; enjoying being able to pass my knowledge on. Each secondary school year I have entered the UK Maths Challenge and achieved a Gold certificate. On several occasions I have gone through to the next round, and last year I was the “best in school” despite only being in Year 12. Attending a series of pure maths lectures at Bristol University reinforced my desire to use my maths for a practical purpose. I want to apply mathematical and scientific principles to produce something that will benefit people in the present, and the future.

– Again, more details would be good – how specifically can you apply mathematical and scientific principles to an engineering degree? 

For the last three years I have attended week-long residential engineering course organised by The Smallpeice Trust at various locations: Harper Adams University College, Camborne School of Mines and Churchill College, Cambridge. These courses, which are attended by global engineering companies, enabled me to appreciate fully what engineering is, including the responsibilities and considerations an engineer must take into account. On the nanotechnology course I was fascinated by how manipulating atoms at the nano-scale can be applied to so many different areas; solving many problems. Clothes can be welded together using carbon nano-tubes and prototype mobile phones are now flexible. My work experience at Fry Heath & Spence LLP, patent agents, allowed me to see the fruition of engineering work.

– This is a strong paragraph; what is particularly impressive is the level of detail that you provide and you have done well to link what you learnt on the nanotechnology course to your work experience placement.

I love the outdoors, sport and being challenged. Last May I successfully led the school Ten Tors 55 mile route team including Yr.13 boys and I’m working towards the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award having attained the Bronze award 2 years ago. I really enjoy tennis and as a qualified tennis leader I am paid to coach every week. I also play in the Men’s local league team for my club. As an orienteer I regularly compete for my school in the Bristol league as well as individually: in 2006 I was proud to be the South West Champion and 3 times I have been a National School’s Orienteering Champion for my age group as part of a team of 3. Last year I challenged myself to overcome my fear of public speaking by gaining my school’s permission to represent them in the Bristol Schools’ “Gabblers” public speaking competition: coming 4th and enjoying the final speech to 300+ without notes was fantastic. I also decided to take a Speech and Drama Grade 6 exam and gained a pass with merit. I adore french and attend Le Cercle Francais de Bristol. This summer I arranged and booked a week’s holiday in Toulouse for myself and 2 friends and I visit a French friend regularly. I look forward to continuing it at University.

– Be careful of using abbreviations, this is a formal document and the style of language and punctuation should reflect this.
– Otherwise this is an excellent paragraph that briefly sums up your extra-curricular activities to demonstrates positions of responsibility, passions outside of engineering, and shows you are a well-rounded person with healthy pursuits.
– This section is also about the right length that should be dedicated to activities not directly relevant to your subject – well done!

I believe that becoming a Chartered Engineer or pursuing a career in industrial management would be something that I would enjoy and be successful in. Moreover an engineering degree would enable me to combine my strongest skills, be an innovator and work as part of a team to produce something that other people want.

– A good conclusion that combines career aspirations with studying the degree course.
– Perhaps rephrase the last bit of the last sentence to something more specific about function or form.

There is much that is very impressive in this personal statement. What needs the most work is the beginning; perhaps more focus on exactly why you feel that you are suited to an engineering degree would be the best way to tackle this. The section on work experience placements is particularly good.  

The reason that I want to study chemistry at university is because there are many areas of the subject that fascinate me and there is a lot more that I would like to learn about. What I particularly enjoy about chemistry is the understanding of things that relate to our everyday lives, and also knowing how and why things work on an atomic level that are much too small to actually see without very sophisticated equipment. Chemistry has been my favourite subject for a long time. I think particularly when we started to do science regularly in secondary school, compared to primary school. I have particularly enjoyed learning about how and why different elements and molecules react differently even if in the same group, or due to isomerism. Another reason why I particularly enjoy chemistry is because it links to so many other disciplines and that many of the skills acquired from chemistry are transferable to other areas.

– The entire first sentence is superfluous and should be removed.
– The second sentence is much better but should be backed up by an example.
– Remove the third and fourth sentence; it sounds like you are thinking aloud rather than giving convincing reasons for choosing this degree.
– The sentence on different elements and molecules is good and should be expanded.
– The final sentence is too vague, you must back up any statements like that with examples.

Carrying on chemistry to A level has enabled me to improve many of my skills. I have gained numerical and mathematical skills from quantitative chemistry, problem solving skills, the ability to apply knowledge to unfamiliar situations and to synthesise knowledge from data. I look forward to the opportunity of enhancing these skills further.

– You should amend this section to be more specific to the degree itself, and use this opportunity to demonstrate you understand what the course entails.
– Be more concise with your wording; both the first and last sentences could be merged with the middle sentence to save precious word count.

My other A level choices are Maths and Biology, both of which I think help provide necessary skills to do a degree in chemistry. Maths has helped me to work systematically and in a logical order, and Biology has provided skills in researching also analytical skills similar to in chemistry, but in different areas. I also studied English Language to AS level, and this subject helped me with developing extended writing for different purposes and audiences, and also into improved analysing of texts.

– Linking your other A-Level subjects to your proposed degree course can be a good idea, though the student could have done this better by being more specific; mention an area of your chemistry studies for which studying Maths was useful, or perhaps go into more detail about lab work and accuracy in biology being useful for chemistry; this makes your argument all the more relevant.
– Why will analysing texts help with a chemistry degree?

– Again, be more concise; the first sentence could be merged with the others.
– Don’t fall into the trap of assuming you need to outline every single current A-Level. Firstly this may not make you stand out because all other candidates will be doing A-Levels, and secondly, unless you can directly link current studies to elements of your chosen degree course where the skills you are developing will make you a better candidate, don’t feel you need to mention them.

I am a member of Explorer Scouts, which has played a huge part in giving me new and exciting experiences that would never have been accessible to me normally, visiting Iceland, Serbia and Luxemburg, and meeting a lot of new and interesting people. For our trip to the Serbian Jamboree last summer; we did a lot of fundraising including doing a sponsored 24 hour assault course and car washing. We went to Serbia for 10 days, met people from all over the world and did things like abseiling down a cliff and building a tower to the entrance of the area we were camping. Since then our group met up with two other groups in Luxemburg, which we met in Serbia.

– Vary your vocabulary; you use the combination ‘new and interesting’ twice in the first sentence.
– You could be more concise with your words but still express the same point.
– Will your experiences of meeting new people from different cultures help you with the settling in process at university?

At school I am a sixth form treasurer. As well as administering the bank account we are also responsible for issuing locker keys. I have found that since I have taken on this role I have become more organised, and much better at making sure I make notes of things I need to remember. Out of school I enjoy meeting up with my friends regularly and doing things like playing football in the park and going bowling. I also enjoy going to watch football matches with my family when possible.

– This is good content but the tone could be more mature.

My ambitions are to complete a masters degree in chemistry and then hopefully pursue a career to do with chemistry, possibly in research.

– A short but good sentence to conclude, but you should add something more about embracing university life generally.

This is certainly an enthusiastic personal statement and contains much that is impressive. The balance between extra-curricular subjects and proposed degree course is also just right. Overall, there is a lot of room for improvement; the student needs to go into much more detail on specific aspects of Chemistry that he or she is drawn to, and highlighting any wider reading that the he or she has undertaken will make it a lot better.

I am applying for a course in engineering and related subjects as I feel life today is all about making things more efficient. All around us the world is changing. My ambition is, to one day look at a city, and see something I’d worked on looking back at me. I hope to combine my knowledge and interest of maths and physics into a challenging yet rewarding career, which will improve my life and the lives of people around me.

– The admissions tutor already knows that you are applying for civil engineering so be careful not to waste precious words on repeating this.
– Try to make your motivation for studying the subject more personal; why do you want to make life more efficient?
– Although you ambition is commendable, it would be better to use the introduction to be more specific.

I got my first taste of science and engineering in year nine when I attended a WISE OutlookCourse at Gateshead College. During the week I took part in hands on experiences where I learnt to work as part of a team and develop my problem solving skills. I also had a chance to visit the Newcastle/Gateshead Hilton Hotel while construction work was taking place. This gave me a feel for going out on site comparing plans to what was in front of me. On the final day a female civil engineer gave us a presentation on what life is like in this career. She told us how she had travelled to Africa and developed schools and water wells; I hope as part of my career I have the opportunity to do this, as it would make my job even more rewarding.

– Good forward thinking! It shows you have ambition and you want to succeed, however it was rather a long time ago so you may wish to add something more recent you have done to follow up on this experience.
– In addition to the somewhat generic skills of team work and problem solving, you should talk about exactly what you learnt that will help you as a student of civil engineering.
– Be specific; what differences did you observe between looking at plans and being on site?
– Be concise; condense the information about the female engineer into one much shorter sentence.
– Be careful of poor English and grammar and make sure that each sentence is clearly written.

In June 2013 I attended a University Survival Guide summer school at Newcastle University. This was a great opportunity as I experienced what it is like to stay in halls of residence and also gained an insight into all aspects of university life from money management to workshops on how to choose the right university. I also attended a student-shadowing day at the same university; which gave an insight into the facilities I would be using and answered many questions I had about studying at university. This confirmed to me that going to university was the right thing for me to do. In July 2013 I completed a work experience at Ryder HKS architects. I really enjoyed this and I showed excellent communication and time keeping skills. I completed another work experience with Nicholson Nairn architects. Here I enjoyed carrying out surveys of houses and drawing up the plan for my own house. It gave me an excellent insight to engineering and construction.

– Although your time at Newcastle University would have been a useful experience, it is not directly related to civil engineering and therefore should feature in the penultimate paragraph.
– You should dedicate this paragraph to your highly relevant work experiences, but go into far more detail with both, and relate them to how they have made you a stronger candidate for civil engineering; what did you learn from the experiences?
– Don’t focus on very basic skills like time keeping; this is your chance to really shine through very relevant experiences that relate directly to your course, so make the most of them! Things like drawing up a plan for your own house are fantastic, but you have to give details.
– Tell us about the excellent insights into engineering and construction you gained, don’t just state it.

I have a wide range of interests outside of school. I began playing netball at the age of nine. I joined my local team and since have taken up coaching, I have gained my level 1 and level 1+ coaching certificates and have coached the year seven team for two years. This was very demanding but also enjoyable. I had to provide enthusiasm and encouragement to the team to allow them to progress in the sport. This shows I am committed, hardworking and trustworthy.

– You use very short sentences to start off with.
– You have to give examples of how you have demonstrated your commitment and hard work rather than just state it.
– How will you contribute to the university? Do you intend to continue any similar activities as an undergraduate?

Another interest I have is playing the flute. I achieved up to Grade Four standard and played in the school orchestra performing in a variety of productions and concerts. I am a reliable and committed student. I have achieved full attendance throughout secondary school. I currently work part time at Primark Newcastle where my roles have included Retail Operative and Cash Office Operative which means responsibility and trust within the company. I have to work to deadlines therefore improving my organisation and planning skills in team working. I am also able to put my mathematical knowledge into practice outside of the classroom. I enjoy the outdoor life and the challenges related to this. I have completed my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and am currently working through my Gold award, which I am hoping to complete by July. I enjoy taking part in the Award as it gives me the challenge of working as a team as well as planning and organising my time when undertaking expeditions. Within the group we carry out a variety of charity fundraising activities ranging from collections at a local supermarket for Age Concern to organising fund raising events for the school charity. I have also abseiled from various places such as the Tyne Bridge and also the Stadium of light to raise money for charity. I believe I have the qualities needed to succeed on my chosen course at university.

– Again, lots of very short sentences.
– Do not make self-congratulatory statements without evidence, e.g. ‘I am a reliable and committed student’.
– Discuss ways in which you have improved your organisation and planning, don’t just state it.
– You have already mentioned team work and planning, perhaps mention a different skill set when talking about Duke of Edinburgh.
– Your final sentence doesn’t flow from the paragraph and it sounds odd perched on the end of your paragraph; you should use this in a conclusion along with a summary of why you think you are a strong candidate.

The main issue with this statement is that you dedicate too much of it to extra-curricular activities. This should form no more than a third of your statement, in fact even less for a course as technical and rigorous as civil engineering. The rest of the statement should consist of plenty of evidence of your commitment to the course through outside reading, work experiences and discussions of which structures you admire and why. Also, you haven’t really addressed how your non-academic achievements and extra-curricular activities will help you whilst at university. Admission tutors want to see what potential you have but you need to demonstrate and convey this to them. By following a clear structure and expanding on a few key areas you can significantly improve your statement. Making sure that you don’t use really short sentences and that you read over your statement thoroughly before submitting it.

It was once said by Piet Hein “A problem worthy of attack proves its worth by fighting back”, yet with Computer Science it is possible to analyse a situation in such a way that problems can be anticipated. I strongly believe that a degree in Computer Science will align my passion with my academic strengths, and form a strong foundation for a quantitative career after my tertiary education.

– We usually advise candidates not to use a quote in their personal statements; having asked several admissions tutors, the general consensus is that it is far better to use your own words. In this case, your quote works quite well because you then go on to counter it with your own opinion.
– To improve it, try to develop your point more to demonstrate clearly why you think Computer Science is the right choice for you; at the moment it is still unclear to the admissions tutor WHY you have a ‘passion’ for the subject. Why not try to give a more precise example of how problems can be anticipated using computer science?
– Be careful of using words that you think will make you sound clever; you are clever, and this will shine through whether you use fancy words or not. Here, ‘undergraduate/postgraduate degree’ would actually sound much better than ‘tertiary education’.

Taking A Level Mathematics has enabled me to understand the significance that logic plays in day to day life. Logic continually shapes the world around us, as does technology, it could be said that Computer Science has given logic a new home. After taking Applied ICT at GCSE, it became clear to me that my future job must be within the IT industry. From studying both Mathematic and IT at A Level I have come to see how interlinked the two subjects are, problem solving is essentially what they have in common. In a Math lesson I learnt what an Algorithm was, and a few IT lessons later, I was using it to help with the processing of data in my coursework. Mathematics has equipped me with some key skills which I will no doubt need in Computer Science. I have learnt how to be resilient and have gained the confidence required to keep coming back to a theory or subject until I fully understand it. I further developed my IT knowledge and skills by going on a two week placement at ITV, working within the IT department. I was given the task of designing a database application and learnt the art of reverse coding. The experience was both exciting and enlightening, as I discovered the satisfaction that is gained from coming up against problem and finding the solution.

– You have done well to link your other A-Level subjects to the study of Computer Science.
– Mentioning previous (relevant) work experience placements in this context is also exactly the right thing to do.
– Be careful of overly long sentences, and check your statement carefully to ensure it all makes sense! The second sentence in this paragraph, for example, is missing a semi-colon after the word ‘technology’, and ‘Mathematics’ has been spelt wrong. Remember that the admissions tutor will have read hundreds of statements before reading yours, so you need to make your application as concise and readable as possible to maintain their attention! 
– Avoid making bold statements like ‘Computer Science has given logic a new home’ without qualifying them. Try to imagine that you are in an interview when writing your personal statement – if your interviewer could still ask you why you think that, for example, Computer Science has given logic a new home, chances are that you haven’t explained your point in enough detail. 
– Whilst resilience is obviously an important skill to have, it would be far better to give a precise example of how your studies in Mathematics will aid you in your Computer Science degree. This will reassure the admissions tutor that you have spent time researching the course. You have already mentioned algorithms; perhaps you could expand this point a little further? 

Alongside my studies, I take part in a range of extra-curricular actives that enhance my character; being a member of the Sixth-Form Book Club, has allowed me to appreciate a prolific range of literature. The wide range of topics and ideas covered in the literary pieces has taught me that though there is so much in life that may remain undiscovered, by picking up a single book, I can gain so much and add to what little knowledge I already had. Participating in the club has helped me to enhance my discussion and communication skills. Taking an active part in the School Council and Debate Committee has allowed me to improve on my planning and organisation skills. Recently becoming a Prefect has come with a number of new responsibilities that have allowed me to become more efficient. Throughout my schooling experience I have been described as a bright and outstanding pupil and have been selected as a representative for the school on a number of occasions. On one particular occasion I had the pleasure of meeting our present Prime Ministers, Gordon Brown for breakfast, during which we discussed ways in which to get girls more involved in sporting activities. I have been awarded a number of Principal Commendations and in addition to this I was one of the few pupils invited back to receive our GCSE certificates at an Achievement Award evening to acknowledge my contribution to the school and my deserved achievements in my examinations. In my private time I enjoy taking part in actives that enrich me both academically and socially such as joining a youth group, Culture Club events and taking part in competitions such as Rotary Young Chefs. The latter taught me the importance of presentation and reputation. I am also very passionate about charity and for this reason I choose to spend the majority of my summers working as a Volunteer at a Red Cross Charity shop. I enjoy listening to music and playing the flute.

– This is certainly an impressive paragraph, but it is far too long! The admissions tutors are definitely keen to see that you have interests and skills outside of academia, but at least 2/3 of your statement should be focussed on your subject. Try to condense this paragraph a little so that you can expand on your reasons for applying for a Computer Science degree. 

Having consistently worked hard throughout my education, I know that I will be able to excel in the university environment to gain both academic knowledge and a life experience that will not be easily forgotten.

– This is a rather weak conclusion because it does not focus on your proposed university degree. The fact that you have worked consistently hard throughout your education is not enough to convince the admissions tutor that you are the right person to study Computer Science at their university. In your conclusion you need to locate exactly what it is about the subject which attracts you, perhaps linking the statement back to something you have already mentioned. Here would also be a good place to mention your future career plans, if relevant.

This is a good personal statement, but needs work. You have demonstrated your enthusiasm for the subject and provided good examples of the skills that will be relevant to studying for a degree in Computer Science. Perhaps one way of improving it further would be to give some detail about any wider reading that the you may have done, or a particular aspect of the course that you are most looking forward to studying; at the moment the balance between proposed degree and extra-curricular activities is not quite right. Also, make sure you check your personal statement carefully – there are a few spelling and grammatical errors here which will not impress the admissions tutor.

When I was six, my uncle gave me a tape of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. I can remember the vivid image of the duck being eaten alive by the wolf. This power that music has to convey emotions and images is what made me love the subject from an early age. For many years music was a hobby, and then I realised that I wanted it to be my career, and although I am not sure exactly what that career will be, I know that gaining a good degree in Music is the next step.

– Explore the idea of the power of music to convey emotion further; it is fine to start with a childhood example like this if you can follow it up with more concrete, mature explanations of why you want to study the subject.
– If you are not sure of what you would like your career to be, then don’t mention it at all; instead focus on why you want to study the subject as an academic degree.

I take an active part in ensembles both in and out school, as well as performing as a soloist on both piano and violin. I have played first violin in the orchestra both at my present and my previous school, and have played in string quartets. On the piano I accompany the hymns in school assemblies. I sing alto in the cantabile choir. At both my schools, I have received recognition for my enthusiasm and commitment. At Hockerill Anglo European College I won both the Lower and the Upper school prizes for music, and I won prizes for academic achievement in years 10 and 11. At The Bishop’s Stortford High School, I received school colours for music at the end of my first term.

– Although this reads as an impressive list of accolades, spea to your teacher; are they already included elsewhere in your UCAS form or teacher reference? If so, save this precious space for conveying your passion for music and the study of music, rather than listing achievements.

Out of school, I have formed a string trio with friends and we played at a Residential Home in Cambridge last Christmas. I am a second violin in Hertfordshire Youth Orchestra. I also take part in workshops and string weekends run by Essex String Orchestra. As well as the piano and violin, I am teaching myself to play the guitar and I like to play the mandolin. I also enjoy reading about music. I recently read Howard Goodall’s Big Bangs; I was especially fascinated by the chapter in which he describes how he likes to compose, as this is an area of interest to me. For my A2 year, I have chosen composition to be my specialist area.

– Again, excellent experience but could you link it to the study of music as an academic degree? How can this improve your performances? What will you learn? Will you explore different genres of music?
– Explore your interest in composition further, have you composed something yourself? What makes a good composer? Which composers do you admire, and why? What about different interpretations of the same composition, etc?

The other main area of the subject that I particularly enjoy is the theory of music. I like to know how and why the harmonies in, for example, Bach or Debussy work and I have found that understanding theory has helped me in all areas of the subject. This appeals to my more mathematical side (other than music, all my subjects are sciences). I have a very varied taste in music. I enjoy listening to Shetland fiddle music, Russian Orthodox singing, Ecuadorian folk music, Beethoven, Schubert, Debussy, Reich, as well as Rock, Punk and Jazz – and almost everything in between! I love going to musicals with my family, and have been to many shows in the West End and one on Broadway. For several years now I have been a member of community based music websites where I have met other people who share my passion for music.

– Can you discuss why the harmonies work in your named works in more detail?
– The admissions tutors will know what your other A-Level subjects are, no need to state this.
– It is great that you have such a varied love of  music, but you can write about it academically, why not compare the differences between Rock and Jazz, for example?

I believe I benefited greatly from going to a Language College. I was immersed in French (we studied History and Geography in French), which enabled me to take my French A-level two years early. I also studied Spanish and German. This will be useful to me as I love to travel. With my family, school and Guides, I have visited many countries including Ecuador, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Canada and USA. At The Bishop’s Stortford High School I am a Senior Prefect, which requires team-work and responsibility. I am an active member of our sixth form charity group, Interact. At both my schools, I have worked alongside the younger students as a peer mentor.

– Link the experiences above to how they might help you to immerse yourself in university life.

My student life to date has been varied, stimulating and rewarding. I look forward to developing myself and contributing further as I move to university.

– This conclusion is a little brief and not linked to your chosen subject.

While you are clearly passionate about music, you must differentiate a love of music and the academic study of music. It would be wise to research the syllabus fully and be able to demonstrate that you understand that it will entail more than performing and composing, and link your current content to the degree course. You have plenty of excellent experiences, so once you have done this research it should come easily.

It’s often said that every little girl dreams about being on stage, if so I would still classify myself as a little girl. My passion for acting has never ceased and I have even been labelled “Drama Queen” on several phonebooks. I see acting as not just getting up on stage and performing, but as a journey where each actor makes a personal discovery and therefore gives a part of them to their audience.

– This is a rather weak opening. The colloquial language such as it’s (you should always write ‘it is’, ‘they are’, ‘she is’, etc. in full) and ‘Drama Queen’ comes across as unprofessional and is not tailored to the admissions tutor who will be reading the statement. You obviously need to communicate your passion for drama, but you need to communicate this in a way that is suitable for your target audience.
– Admissions tutors do not like the use of child-like introductions, they want to see genuine passion through examples and inspirations, not cliches.
– To improve this opening, try to focus more on explaining your passion for acting. Is there a particular performance that you have done that sparked your enthusiasm, or a character that you feel you are best suited to acting? The more precise examples you can give, the better.

From going to a school with performing arts status, I have always been actively engaged with the drama and music departments and have held my arts award badge for 5 years. Our school has won multiple awards for their Christmas shows, comprised of students aged 14 or over. Ever since I have been of age, I have participated in them all, acquiring lead roles in 3 out of the 4 performances. If I am not performing in a school show however, I am helping the technicians backstage; I was even asked to help direct the year 7 drama club.

– This is certainly an impressive list of experiences, but the level of detail is not quite right. What were the lead roles you performed in, and how did you prepare for each part? Can you expand on your experience as director? Were there any difficult decisions you had to make, and did you have to research the play beforehand? 

During my years at Bishopshalt, I have been on multiple theatre trips and have taken part in many workshops. My favourite workshop was with The Old Vic where we explored the play ‘The Cherry Orchard’ by Anton Chekhov before going to see it in performance. After doing a number of workshops with The Old Vic I was chosen to be one of four people to take part in an ongoing filming project about what family means to different people. A particularly captivating show we were taken to see was Frantic Assembly’s ‘Othello’. I was in awe of how they fused movement and music together along with a multi-purpose set to modernise Shakespeare and make it their own. Using physical movement and multi-purpose sets has been something that I have been interested in since GCSE and is evident in my final performance; our adaption of Sarah Kane’s challenging play “4:48 psychosis”. The task was daunting, however, I liked the freedom and creativity it allowed, and each group member could play to their strengths. We divided our 15 minute performance into three monologues with transitional moment’s in-between. We paid attention to movement, symbolism, and the complex emotional state of the characters. This performance challenged me as an actor but also as a person because of the strength and maturity needed emotionally and physically to perform this piece. After the performance I felt that I had gone on a personal journey and given a part of me to my audience and that feeling alone was one of the most rewarding moments I have ever had. When I found out I had gained full marks in my drama GCSE I was thrilled and more motivated than ever, therefore when I was awarded one of the top ten candidates for drama out of 60,000 people, I knew acting was my future.

– Good demonstration of understanding and enjoyment of the subject, you clearly provide examples of experiences that set you apart from other applicants.
– Again, however, this paragraph would benefit from more detailed examples. Tell the admissions tutor more about ‘The Cherry Orchard’, for example; what issues did you explore, and what did you gain from the experience? It is not enough just to say that it was your ‘favourite’. Did watching the modern performance of ‘Othello’ raise any questions or debates about the correct way to perform Shakespeare, and what the advantages and disadvantages of authentic and modern interpretations are? Showing the admissions tutor that you are aware of these discussions will demonstrate independent knowledge of the subject and the capacity to think for yourself.

Outside of school, I have held a part-time job for 2 years in Clarks which has taught me the virtue of patience and the value of money. I have been receiving singing lessons for 6 years and have sung at multiple school events, and been a committed member of the school choir. In addition, I was selected out of my school to audition for a paid voice recording for the fifth Harry Potter game. I was excited when I was told I had received a place, fuelling my passion for success. Having taken part in 6 terms of drama workshops at the Central London’s School Of Speech And Drama, I have learnt the importance of self discipline and got a taste of studying acting in a university environment. I also took part in a special project, painting a mural in the main university site with several artists and students. I feel a place at university will allow me to fulfil my lifelong dream of being an actress, giving me all the necessary skills needed to be a successful performer, organisation, confidence and communication, to name a few. This little girl has not stopped dreaming and has all the dedication to do the best she possibly can.

– Your activities outside of school clearly demonstrate your extensive passion for your subject. Like with the other paragraphs, giving more precise details will improve this one even more. For example, taking part in the workshops at the Central London’s School for Speech and Drama is incredibly relevant and impressive; reducing the experience to gaining ‘self discipline’ and an appreciation for university life limits how impressive it will appear to the admissions tutor. Why not talk about what kind of workshops you did, and whether they raised any important questions about performance or interpretation. Did you focus on a particular play whilst you were there?
– Be wary of using a career goal as the motivation for study in this area – students are inclined to change career paths whilst at university and beyond, so keep academic study at the foundation of your application.
– The conclusion is rather weak – it would be better to isolate two or three sentences from this larger paragraph so that visually it looks a lot more like a concluding paragraph. Referring to yourself as a ‘little girl’, whilst it links back to your opening paragraph, is never a good idea – it makes you come across as immature and not ready for university life, and is again too colloquial. 

All in all this is a good personal statement, but more details are necessary to improve it further. The language also needs to be made more formal and targeted towards an admissions tutor rather than a friend. It would be nice if you could talk a little more about the subject at degree level to demonstrate an awareness of what the course will involve. Rather than simply talking about abstract skills such as ‘organisation’, ‘confidence’ and ‘communication’, for example, flag up which parts of the course will enable you to gain these qualities.

 

If you asked most girls my age what they wanted to do on a weekend, I can almost certainly say it wouldn’t be going to the theatre or even thinking about reading Shakespeare, for me it’s the norm. Drama has always been my passion, its something that has always been with me, from dressing up when I was younger, putting on my own performances for my family, to the leading roles in school plays. Over the past few years studying Drama has been a dream come true for me, I love creating my own pieces of Drama work but at the same time studying other plays and practitioners. I feel I am quite a shy person, but using Drama has my tool, I have moulded myself into a much more confident individual than I thought I could ever be. I have and always will be up for a challenge. I feel I am an outgoing, reliable person, who is very organized.

– It is more effective to focus on your interests in a positive way, so consider rewording the first sentence and remove the reference to how others may, or may not enjoy spending their time.
– Given that you are applying to study drama, it is worth moving the section about being cast in school plays to a later paragraph, and discuss those experiences independently.
– Although the personality traits and skills you include are valuable, it is more impressive to support these with examples of specific tasks, activities or roles you have completed.
– Always double check for spelling and grammar – the final sentence doesn’t have a full stop and ‘its’ should be ‘it’s’ in the third line!

In year seven, I realised that the job for me was teaching, I have always wanted to help people, and working with children is something that I am very good at. Over the past year I have been part of a Year Seven mentoring group where I discuss with three children any issues they may have had in the week that they may not wish to discuss with their teachers or parents. This has given me the chance to talk to children younger than myself and try to help them out of their situations on my own; this has given me the chance to become the adult in the eyes of another. I also recently took part in a shared paired Reading Scheme with a year eight, which was very rewarding. I also gave up my spare time on our first day back to school this year to show around the new year sevens this was a pleasure to do. In Year Ten I did my compulsory Work Experience at a primary school, where I assisted teachers in all sorts of different years throughout the school. This was a real eye opening experience, yet I still believe it is the job for me. I also have experience every week in my own 6th Form College, where I sit in Drama classes listening to what goes on in the day to day running of the life of a Drama teacher. Recently I became part of a local Amateur Dramatics group, which has given me a real insight into what goes on in the world of Drama. I have also taken up piano lessons; this I believe will allow me to use my creative side, to relax and may create other opportunities.

– This paragraph feels out of place – you need to provide more detail of why drama is the right subject for you. You haven’t given enough information so an admissions tutor would be left unsure about your reasons for picking this subject.
– Although it is good that you have an idea of your long term career plans, and you have experiences which support your plans, perhaps introduce the experiences, give examples of the skills you have developed in the process, and conclude by suggesting that as a result teaching may be a career you wish to pursue. This way you appear willing to explore the subject fully, and don’t need to rely on a ‘realisation’ you had in year seven.
– As the paragraph progresses, it almost becomes a list of things that you have done during your time at sixth form – perhaps focus on the paired reading scheme you have completed, communicate the skills you have developed and link these back to your further study
– Work experience and extra-curricular activities should be given independent sections – this way the paragraphs are clear and will ensure you do not go back and forth between different types of experience.

Another passion of mine is singing, I have always been involved in singing, before 6th form I was lead soloist at my school choir and also took part in a performing arts competition, which I recently carried on, with singing lessons.
Outside of school, I love to go shopping, ice skating, playing sports for fun, socialising is one of my favourite things. I always try to go the cinema, theatre or see a concert at least once a month.

– Being part of an amateur dramatics club, being lead in school plays, and your other musical creativity should form a much larger section of this statement and should probably be included in the second paragraph
– Instead of listing interests and hobbies here, it is more valuable to use the space to discuss the plays you have seen recently – as you have done below. Simply listing activities is a waste of words!

I am currently a member of the Sheffield Theatre Season ticket group, there are many excellent theatres nearby. My most recent visit to the theatre was to York to see Broken Glass, one of my favoured playwrights Arthur Miller. In the near future I am scheduled to see ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and Pinter’s ‘The Caretaker’. I am a very big fan of Shakespeare so very much enjoyed this year Shakespeare re-told with my favourite actress Sarah Parish staring in ‘Much ado about Nothing’.
I am also a very avid reader and have a varied taste, my favourite novel being ‘Pride and Prejudice’ the writer Jane Austen, I am currently reading another novel of hers ‘Emma’.

– This paragraph doesn’t really add anything to the statement! It doesn’t communicate anything to the admissions tutor

Over the last year I feel I have shown my qualities of an actress by acting alone for part of our practical exam, I my ideas with the class, but more importantly showed that I can work in a group as well as on my own. I feel I am student willing to learn and one who would grasp any opportunity with both hands, the main reason I chose Drama to study at university level is because I couldn’t dream of studying anything else.

– The conclusions should demonstrate why you are a good candidate for your specific course, but also cover your desire to attend university more generally
– Ensure that you check your statement for spelling and grammatical errors – this is an academic application so should be checked, checked and checked again. Errors such as ‘I my ideas with the class’ and ‘I feel I am student’ will not impress the admissions tutor!

Overall this statement needs some work, particularly lacking any real structure or explanation of the impressive experiences you have had.

I would like the opportunity to study Politics at degree level having acquired at ‘A’ level an enthusiastic and broad understanding of the subject. Having spent four years in a Ugandan school I have developed a deep interest in African as well as world politics and through online newspapers I have been able to continue following Ugandan politics. I have visited three different parliaments: Westminster, the European Parliament and the Ugandan Parliament, which shows my eagerness to immerse myself in politics. In have successfully completed work experience with the Civil Service in the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which developed my knowledge of how the UK Government to achieve it social objectives.

– This opening paragraph has some good elements; your enthusiasm for the subject comes across very well and using your own personal experiences to underline why you would be a suitable candidate is exactly the right thing to do and will set you apart from other candidates. 
– If you are applying for a joint degree subject (here, politics and economics) make sure that both subjects are mentioned in the first paragraph, and not just one. Otherwise it will seem that your interest in economics is subsidiary to your love for politics. 
– At the moment, whilst certainly impressive, this opening does not flow very well. The first sentence in particular is very weak and does not set you apart from other candidates – most other applicants will also have studied politics at A-Level! Your experiences in Uganda are far more unique to you, and you should give these more emphasis. Perhaps cut the first sentence altogether and instead focus on an issue of Ugandan politics which you find particularly interesting; perhaps even a political-economic problem which would then highlight your passion for both subjects from the off. 
– Your work experience placements and parliament visits are so impressive that it is a shame to mention them all in your opening paragraph without expanding on them. I would put them later, in a paragraph of their own, and give the admissions tutor some more details. Are there any issues that you came across whilst at the Department for Children, Schools and Families that prompted you to do some wider reading?

The subjects that I currently study have complemented each other. Whilst understanding how rulers such as Mussolini and Lenin were able to gain power by using politics to their advantage. Economics has taught me how politicians use the economy for social and political purposes; for example, Stalin used the state to maximise output, but also to round general support for Communism.

– If you are applying for a joint degree subject, it is crucial that you explain to the admissions tutor that you understand how the two subjects complement each other, as you have attempted to do here. However, your explanation is rather difficult to follow, and does not go into enough detail. How did Stalin use the state to maximise output? Don’t just name-drop Mussolini and then ignore him for the rest of the paragraph – explain what he did that combines economic and political ideas. Could you compare the approaches of Stalin and Mussolini and highlight their similarities and differences? This would demonstrate independent thinking which is a crucial skill that admissions tutors are looking for. Have you read any relevant texts by historians about these two dictators in your own time that have provided you with arguments and themes that have been particularly interesting? 

As well as my studies I have been given various posts of responsibility. In Gayaza High School I was a school council representative and currently I am the Secretary of the Sixth Form Council and also a Deputy House Captain. I am also a founder member at the Sixth Form Debating Society, helping those who would like to improve their public speaking skills and also raising awareness of political issues. Furthermore, last year I attended an interfaith conference, where I discussed topics such as whether religion should be considered when making political decisions, as well as whether medical ethics should be considered in the process of law making. In addition to this I am currently in the school team for the Bank Of England Challenge, Target 2.0 so I have been researching current economic events becoming wary of the changes and effects that take place in the state due to economics.

– Good range of extra-curricular experiences and positions of responsibilities. Discussing such activities is a great way to communicate the skills you have as an applicant and why these skills will allow you to excel as a university student.
– When including such experiences ensure you link back to why this makes you an exceptional candidate for this particular subject; if it is relevant to making you a more well-rounded character then it should be in the penultimate paragraph only.
– Again, giving more precise details would improve this paragraph further. Can you cite any political issues that were discussed during your time at the debating society? Did you do any of your own research to write your speech? What was your opinion on whether religion should be considered when making political decisions, and can you give any historical or current examples of where this has been an issue? 

I have also participated in many extra-curricular activities such as playing the clarinet and I have been a member of the school concert band as well as a member of Harrow Young Musicians. Whilst in Uganda I was a member of the Kampala Music School where I was able to learn how to play the traditional xylophone amadinda/embaire. Having played and studied music for a decade I have learnt to stay committed, which I believe is a strength that will be able to sustain me throughout a degree course.

I believe charity work is important and I was a member of the Young Rotarians society in Gayaza which we raised money for the war torn northern region of Uganda. This further shows both my commitment to and awareness of political and social issues. Currently I have a part-time job, helping at a tuition centre, guiding children from six to ten years of age in Mathematics, English and Science. I have learned from this experience that instilling knowledge at a young age is good and this in turn helps me think about how I myself learn.

– These extra-curricular activities are certainly impressive, and many of them link back to your proposed degree subjects. However, it is too long – you need to spend 2/3 of your personal statement talking about politics and economics. While the admissions tutor is looking to see whether you are a well-rounded candidate with interests outside of academia, he or she is first and foremost interested in your suitability to study in their department. 

Having studied in a boarding school, I have become independent in my study skills: something that has stood me in good stead for ‘A’ Levels and I expect will help me at degree level. I value my education; having had it instilled at a young age that education is the key to success. I am able to adapt to change, having experienced various learning environments in Uganda and the UK, both of which I now call home. The important factor has been my ability to fit in quickly, and get on with what is required of me. If I am given the opportunity to study Politics at degree level, I believe that I will be able to further my understanding of European and world politics, as well as compare and contrast international economies. I have a major interest in the Politics and Economics of Africa and it is therefore my plan to pursue a Masters degree, and thereafter join the political scene in Uganda. I have a lot of interest, informed opinion and debate to offer.

– Avoid the use of the conditional (‘if I am given the opportunity to…’) – make sure you appear confident in your conclusion. Instead, something like ‘studying politics at degree level will enable me to further my understanding….’ etc.  will be far more impressive as well as less ‘wordy’ and much easier to read. 
– Otherwise, this is a good conclusion, but should be made shorter to make room for more details about your academic studies earlier on in the personal statement. Studying at boarding school and valuing your education is all well and good, but the admissions tutor is most interested in your passion for economics and politics specifically. If you find the politics and economics of Uganda so interesting, you need to dedicate a whole paragraph to this, and give more precise examples of the issues that this country has faced and is dealing with at the moment. It is not enough to say that you are interested in a particular part of the topic – you need to always say why! 

All in all this personal statement has the potential to be strong, but more details are needed. You need to demonstrate more of an awareness of how strongly politics and economics go together, and expand on your stated interest in Uganda and the dictatorships of Mussolini and Stalin. More evidence of wider and independent reading would also be beneficial. The balance between subject and extra-curricular activities also needs to be improved.

The sheer shock of the poverty that encircled me during a holiday to Nigeria first fuelled my interest in politics and economics. I recollect driving through pot-hole-ridden Lagos, catching sight of only a handful of traffic lights and people being evicted from their “illegal homes” due to regeneration projects and inquiring my mother as to “why?” Studying macroeconomics and civil liberties led me to question the state of Nigeria’s fiscal policy and whether people have rights to protect themselves from the state. Why do some countries remain poor? Are global financial institutions treating developing countries justly? These questions and the realisation of the importance of both fields in everyday life have made politics and economics embracing. From the food I have on my plate to the college I study in; these are the products of political and economic decisions. My initial perception of both subjects as disparate was diminished by studying them, which made me aware of their close interrelationship. For example, the wrangling between the political left and right on how to reduce the budget deficit illustrates the significance of the financial crisis to current domestic political decisions. Studying both subjects has enabled me to draw economic conclusions and make valid recommendations whilst considering the wider social and political effects. Studying sociology has provided me with skills to judge, analyse and evaluate complex information. Marx’s critique of capitalism through its exploitative nature is particularly captivating.

– This is a good introduction, although slightly too long. The second half of this paragraph could be independent, and expand on your interest in the differences between political standpoints when aiming to achieve the same goal.
– The final two sentences seem to be added on without any link to the rest of the paragraph. These could be included later and expanded upon, or removed entirely.

‘Globalisation and Its Discontents,’ by Stiglitz made me aware of the problems the IMF are creating with their ideology-driven policies. Market fundamentalism appears to have failed developing countries and it is intriguing to learn of China’s and South Asia’s resistance to IMF conditions and their emergence as economic powers. Is the IMF fit for purpose? I also read newspapers, particularly, The Independent; their largely unbiased ideological stance is desirable. I especially enjoy the articles of the Political Editor, Andrew Grice. His texts have made me become more engrossed in politics as they are focussed on current issues, thus, keeping me up-to-date, and helping me to apply what I am reading to my studies.

– This paragraph clearly demonstrates an interest in both subjects outside of your academic life, which is exactly what an admissions tutor will want to see. That said, it may be worth separating the two points as you do not provide a clear link between the IMF and your interest in current affairs.
– Rather than wasting words discussing the newspaper specifically, perhaps think about a political story which has interested you recently.

I have stood for presidency in the newly formed Student Union at my college as it will enable me to undertake political and economic decisions and in some aspects have the responsibilities of a politician, whilst providing me with a raft of skills; organisational, speaking, problem-solving and independent-working. This year, I spent a week in Parliament with my MP, Dianne Abbot. I witnessed the operations which take place at a politician’s office and attained an insight into the representative model MPs take. I gained research skills and my engagement in politics developed as the experience permitted me to gain a primary outlook on the workings of Britain’s main political institution. In addition, I attend public lectures at the LSE. One of particular interest was: Cities and Economic Development. The Governor of Rio de Janeiro and an Indian MP were present. I learnt that although there is economic convergence with fast-growing India and Brazil, divergence is occurring between states in these countries. Outside of academia, football is my avocation. I play for a local football club and I have had trials for Tottenham FC. Playing football has honed by teamwork skills and helped me communicate effectively with others. Moreover, I blog regularly about football and manage the Twitter account for reputable blog website Arsenallatest.com.

– Although much of this paragraph shows you have some excellent experiences, it would be more beneficial to split the paragraph into extra-curricular activities, work experience and hobbies.
– Select the most relevant activities and expand on these by communicating the skills you have developed and what benefits these will have at university.

The current economic woe and the political consequences it has had has reinforced my aspiration towards a career in politics. With the assembly of skills, academic ability and personal qualities I posses, coupled with the facilities of university, I feel I will be provided with the perfect terrain to enhance my understanding of politics and economics.

– This is a strong conclusion, which incorporates the current climate when justifying you desire to study Politics and Economics and further education more generally.

University will give me the opportunity to pursue my ambitions. Realising this, I try to excel in everything I do. This is shown well in my good GCSE results and will be shown to a greater extent in my A levels grades.

– This is a very weak opening. You need to focus on your interest in Economics from the off, and find something that sets you apart from the other candidates. Whilst good GCSE and A-Level results are commendable, the admissions tutor will already have seen these in the other part of your UCAS form, and they won’t set you apart from any other candidate. Use the personal statement as your chance to demonstrate what you are like as a person, on top of your excellent academic results, and to show the admissions tutor your personal trigger for applying for this subject. What is it about Economics that you find most interesting?

I look to build on the skills I have acquired in French, Biology and Mathematics to study Economics. Growing up in such a turbulent world, it is apparent that Economics is very relevant in the world today and I have really grown to love it. As the planet is so dynamic I have made sure that I have kept on top of new issues in politics and current affairs by reading relevant newspapers and magazines such as The Economist and listening to radio stations such as BBC Radio 5. As I have grown older, I have learnt to understand the economic world and I have particularly enjoyed following our government’s foreign policy which has struck the nerves of many people because of our involvement in the War Against Terror.

– You have failed to explain how the skills you’ve acquired in French, Biology and Mathematics will help you in an economics degree. It is not enough to just list your other A-Level subjects; you need to explain to the admissions tutor why they are relevant and your rationale behind studying them.
– It is good that you have done some wider reading around your subject because it demonstrates your interest and your capacity for independent thought. However, you need to back this statement up with facts – can you give an example of an article in the Economist that you found particularly interesting? Mentioning the War on Terror is fine, but again you need to develop this point. What sort of issues does the government’s foreign policy raise, and why do you find this topic particularly interesting?

Both my secondary schools have offered me extra-curricular opportunities to improve and develop new skills. From 2000 to 2002, I was involved in The Rotary Club’s youth debating competition, reaching the London finals two years in a row. I was also made school council member in years 7, 8 and 9. These roles required strong communication skills which I certainly developed during that period. I’ve also taken part in the school’s ecology club, which looked after the environment of the school. Team work was very important here.

– You need to state what impact this has on you as a candidate – what qualities can you offer? Did you debate on anything to do with economics that you could mention here?

The Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award which tested and developed a whole lot of skills including self discipline and patience. In the following year I was selected as team leader for new entrants. This was a real test as I had to gain the respect and support of the people in my team and teach them the skills that I had come across in the previous year also making sure they didn’t make the same mistakes I did in the previous year. I’m currently doing The Silver Award.

– Make sure your sentences make sense and that you do not abbreviate words such as “didn’t” as this is too informal for a personal statement.
– Anything that is not relevant to economics should be condensed into the penultimate paragraph.

In 2012/13 I was part of a scheme independent of my school called Global Graduates headed by Yolanda Beckles which was based in London. It focussed on the skills that would be useful in later life and concentrated on understanding diversity in all walks of life. This allowed me to respect and understand the world’s differences more than I did before. I was made a member of the Consortium school council. The Consortium is a collection of 5 schools which work together to give 6th form students greater choice of subjects. I felt privileged as people felt they could come to me with their problems. I feel that is a real credit to the skills I’ve acquired over the years.

– You need to state how the skills you have acquired through doing such activities will help you in an economics degree. How does the Global Graduates scheme relate to your course? 

One of my biggest challenges was entering the Young Enterprise Scheme. I felt that it was the biggest demonstration of real life business, and as finance director, I had to work hard to keep track of all money flow in and out of the business. The hard work paid off as we reached the East of England finals having won the regional and county finals.

One of the most rewarding things that I have done and I am currently doing is Peer Mentoring which requires being someone to talk to for the year 7’s and 8’s in my school. It is nice to know that you are also helping people progress in their lives by giving help and support.

Outside school, I enjoy playing sport including football, basketball and tennis. I am also focussed in The Word of God and believe that God has helped me acquire all these skills in life. I am along standing member in my church as a member of the church band.

– These last few paragraphs are far too short to stand on their own, and make the personal statement feel like a list of bullet points rather than an elegantly phrased essay.
– You seem to lose focus as the statement goes on; make sure you constantly link what you are saying back to the study of economics. The Young Enterprise could be used to demonstrate your understanding of economics and business, but you do not go into enough detail.

I am looking forward to the opportunity that university life gives me in terms of providing a future foundation for life.

– This is a weak conclusion – it not only fails to mention economics but also suggests that you are only interested in life after university, and not academic study. Try to summarise your reasons for applying for your proposed degree, and why you think you will be a good candidate.

All in all, this statement needs a lot of revision. At the moment, the balance between proposed degree subject and extra-curricular activities is not quite right – you need to spend at least 2/3 of the statement talking about economics. Your extra-curricular activities are of course important, but the admissions tutors are most interested in ascertaining whether you have a genuine passion for your proposed course. Always try to provide more evidence to back up your statements; it is not enough to say that you listen to the radio, for example; you need give an example of a particular debate that you find interesting. More evidence of wider reading would also make the statement impressive. 

The appeal of Economics, for me, lies in its immediate relevance to daily life. Economics cannot be retained within the four walls of a classroom but its impact extends to the full spectrum of global issues, from politics to philosophy. I am fascinated by how Economics has the capacity to summarise complex phenomena by the application of only a handful of principles. In learning Economics, the daily news has taken on a new significance, and I naturally form my own opinions on current affairs as well as regularly reading The Times. For example, many people argue that Eastern European immigrants to the UK have increased pressure on our state services. However, I believe that in the long-run the added stock of labour and the new skills brought with these labourers will be beneficial for our economy. I also read The Economist because I prefer its editorial perspective which is supporting a free-market rather than a command economy.

– Be careful about making your subject sound simplistic when you say that there are only a ‘handful of principles’.
– It is good to demonstrate an enthusiasm for economics outside of the school curriculum, and impressive that you are aware of current news stories. Avoid vague statements, however –  why do you think that the new skills brought with the labourers will be beneficial to the economy? Can you give some data or theories to support this, or link it to an example from history? This will demonstrate that you have thought about the problem in depth.
– If you read the Economist, why not give an example of an article you read recently that you found particularly interesting that perhaps prompted you to research the issue?

I particularly enjoy applying my Mathematical skills in economic analysis. I have seen through Statistics that the product moment correlation coefficient, measuring the magnitude of the relationship between two variables, epitomizes the elasticity formulae. I enjoy the challenge of economic theory but also like to debate real world economies, such as globalisation. My study of Economics and my growing interest in business and finance have highlighted the importance of appreciating cultural diversity both in and between nations, because commercial forces and competition demands this. I would even argue that this global move played a key role in bringing the New Economic Paradigm into existence, for some western economies. This area in Economics has captivated my interest and I look forward to deepening my understanding of its consequences for individuals, communities and for different cultures.

– Again, avoid vague statements; you mention globalisation only in passing, and it is a shame that you do not go into further details.

My study of History has shown me how economic reasoning has been increasingly applied to social situations in recent decades. I have become interested in how economic changes have immense ramifications on a political climate. Within the context of historiography, I share the structuralist school of thought, believing that the effects of World War I on economies and the Great Depression were key explanations for the rise of inter-war period dictators, such as Hitler and Mussolini. Mass unemployment and hyperinflation compelled the minds of ordinary people to believe that their country needed a ‘potent’ leader. As an ethnic minority student, I am intrigued by the prospects of international development as a possible career path. In the hopes of becoming a professional economist, I would love to contribute to establishing macroeconomic stability in African nations. I believe that those like me in the Western World have an obligation to counteract the adverse lingering effects of colonialism, as well as the growing gap between the rich and the extreme poor.

– You have done well to link your other A-Level subjects to your study of Economics, but make it clear that you have done research outside of the curriculum too.

I have the opportunity to captain my school team in the Bank of England Target 2.0 challenge. This will deepen my understanding beyond A-Level of factors which are so important for implementing effective monetary policy.

– This paragraph is too brief, perhaps mention what you have researched to prepare for it?

In school, as a House Captain I have to display a degree of leadership to my House, as well as necessitating teamwork within the House Official Team. I enjoy playing hockey and netball and helped coach the year 8 and 9 hockey squads whilst working toward my Community Sports Leadership Award. Furthermore, I am an active member in my church’s youth ministry, currently holding the position of the Youth Organising Secretary. Economics continues to fascinate me and my motivation to study it is strong. I know I will thoroughly enjoy the challenge due to my determination to succeed. My personality, I believe, will make me a committed and enthusiastic part of student life at university and I look forward to this new experience.

– It would be good to have a conclusion that is separate from your paragraph on extra-curricular activities, and that is a little more focussed on Economics. Could you point to an area that you are particularly looking forward to studying?

This is a very impressive statement, with a good balance between extra-curricular activities and proposed subject. To improve it further, try to give a deeper level of detail in some of your examples.

I would like to follow my interest in Economics to degree level. Study of Economics is essential in creating social change and I have discovered this through my particular area of interest, which is development economics. I have a particular interest in taking modules relating to accountancy, as I aspire to be an accountant. I would also like to broaden my knowledge of international economics, as well as applying relevant knowledge I have gained in other subjects, such as Geography. I applied the skills gained in Economics to my German AS oral exam, where I researched and was questioned on the German Economy. This summer I attended work experience at Price Bailey, where I assisted in preparing accounts and received basic training in Viztopia and Fame software packages, building on basic knowledge that I have gained through helping in my father’s business. I have also further improved my communication skills, which I have already developed through my part time work in retail. During the summer holidays, I also attended an open day at Price Waterhouse Coopers, where I gained a real insight into the way in which the business works and how a degree in Economics would help my chosen career path. I am an ambassador for Target 10,000, and the tasks I have received, have included marketing this company to my peers. I have also used my analytical skills in order to offer suggestions for improvement, such as encouraging speakers from various occupations and events to put an emphasis on the student having a more practical involvement. I enjoyed my role as Finance Director immensely, in our Young Enterprise business. I enjoyed working as part of a team with the various departments, as well as having the chance to make financial decisions. My main tasks included book keeping and producing financial documents. Our first business venture achieved more than 1000% profit, with our business obtaining second place in the borough by the end of the competition. The success of the “The Write Stuff” was due to our knowledge of the market; as we were able to operate at a very low average cost per unit, and as demand was high we were able to produce large profit margins. I have taken pleasure in contributing to the school community in various ways; I have recently been appointed Economics prefect and I have also taken on the role of peer mentor, where my communication skills are put to use in aiding younger students with any problems they may be experiencing. I also enjoy playing tennis at my local club, and I have represented my school at a number of sports such as rounders and netball. I like to read during my leisure time; I find books with a link to historical events especially interesting.

– This paragraph is far too long and contains too many distinct ideas! Try to organise your points more clearly into shorter paragraphs – it will make it a lot easier for the admissions tutor to follow. Your extra-curricular achievements, for example, should be a in a paragraph separate from your interest in economics.
– You mention an interest in development economics, international economics and economics related to accountancy but you haven’t gone into enough detail here about each. You need to clearly explain why you find these aspects of economics interesting, what have you done to demonstrate your interest and develop your knowledge?

I have decided to take a gap year in which I will work for two reasons: firstly and most importantly to finance at least part of my studies. (It is simply not feasible for my parents to fund me): secondly, I feel that a year in the work place would equip me with more independence and provide me with more practical knowledge to apply to my degree, as I am hoping to get a job in the Finance sector. I am also intending to attend evening school, to pursue my interest in languages. Economics is a subject that interests me both academically and as a crucial factor in current affairs. I feel that I have the interest, the ability and most importantly the work ethic to cope with the high demands of Economics. Verner von Braun once said “I have learnt to say the word impossible with great caution”, and so have I.

– If you are planning on taking a gap year, it is always a good idea (as you have done) to explain what you have planned for the year, particularly if it is relevant to your proposed degree subject.
– Be careful with sentence structure and grammar as there are quite a few mistakes in this paragraph.
– Having asked many admissions tutors for their opinions on the matter, our advice would be not to use a quote in your personal statement. Instead, try to think of a way of expressing the same idea in your own words.

All in all there is much that is good in your personal statement, particularly your relevant work experience placements and your plans for next year. However, the structure is currently very confusing and needs a lot of work – make sure that you organise your ideas coherently in separate paragraphs. An area that you could improve on is the particular parts of Economics that you find interesting – some evidence of wider reading or research would be very impressive and would help to clearly convey your reasons for wanting to study Economics at university.

Economic issues have become increasingly prominent in political and current affairs, and for me to understand such issues was the principal reason for me choosing to study economics. My interest in Economics first arose at the age of 14 when I used to wash the family cars. Washing the cars generated revenue and suddenly. All of a sudden I had more cars to wash and not enough time, so the first economic decision I made was based on demand increasing and not enough supply. I got my friends involved by paying them a commission. This then turned from what was a small one car a week business into washing the whole family and family friend’s cars. At the age I started to drive, petrol prices fascinated me and how events such as the ongoing war in Iraq and the war in Lebanon drove up prices for us thousands of miles away. We really do live in a global economy and where social factors affect the economy around the globe in various ways, this peaked my interest further and was the reason I went ahead and choose to study it at a level. I enjoy learning about the theoretical aspects of economics and their application in real life.

– Be careful about dwelling on your experiences as a fourteen-year-old; the admissions tutors are far more interested in seeing what you are like now, as a sixth form student. What recent experiences can you draw up to demonstrate your interest in the subject?
– It is good that you are looking at current affairs and how your proposed degree subject is relevant. Can you give an example of how these ‘theoretical aspects of economics’ that you mention can be applied to real life situations? You need to support what you say with examples of how you are applying your knowledge to the real world.

I enjoy listening to music and have collected a variety of songs over the years, and what was a favour for a friend at his brothers wedding has turned into an AD Hoc business, I currently DJ at various wedding functions and is something I enjoy doing and making a little money in the process. At school we are also running a young enterprise team of which I am the managing director, my previous skill set and experience has leveraged me into learning a lot more including how to deal with people, learning how to delegate and not micromanage and letting fellow colleagues do their job. The teachers in my school are well aware of my fascination and I was chosen on merit with three other students to do a presentation for the Bank of England board of directors on how we could achieve the target 2% inflation set by the government. This has made me look deep into issues affecting the UK economy and how consumer spending and interest rates define our day to day lives.

– There is much that is impressive in this paragraph, but you need to carefully sort out the parts that deserve more attention. For example, your involvement in the Target 2.0 competition and experiences on the YE team are clearly very relevant to your proposed degree, whereas your work as a DJ (though impressive) is less so. You have a limited word count so think carefully about which activities you include and how these are going to showcase your knowledge and skills.

I am also a prefect at my school which has helped me with responsibility and how to be seen as a role model by the younger students, I was promoted to senior prefect which involved Coordination and communication between the staff and student body, helping in organise events such as open days, I also stepped up to the role of a mentor for KS4 students being directly responsible for a single student, this has given me immense satisfaction as I can watch my influence over this child become comfortable coming to school The extra curricular activities and the intensity of the AS and A Level courses I am currently undertaking has required me to learn time management extremely well to be able to successfully balance both. It requires me to be self motivated and extremely focused also learning analytical and problem solving skills which will help when I study for my degree. I hope this degree will aid me in a career in Finance and Banking. Local work experience has given me valuable insights into the corporate world although my experience was with smaller sized firms.

– Your extra-curricular experiences are clearly impressive and worth mentioning in your personal statement, but it would be better if you could discuss them more concisely to make room for more discussion of economics – at the end of the day, the admissions tutors are much more interested in your commitment to your proposed degree subject.
– At the moment, your statement lacks a conclusion. A conclusion is one of the most important parts of your application as it gives you the chance to summarise why you think you would be the perfect candidate and to convince the admissions tutor that you are committed to studying economics.

All in all there is much that is impressive in this statement, but it lacks a conclusion and the balance between extra-curricular activities and proposed degree subject needs work. It would be good if you could mention in detail some of the areas of Economics that you have found particularly interesting. Have your A-Level studies inspired you to do any further research on particular theories or events? Do you read the Economist or other academic journals? You have focussed a great deal on relevant work experience and achievements at school, but you must also demonstrate an interest in the academic side to the subject.

GCSE Business Studies inspired my passion for studying Economics. It introduced me to the major theories of Economics and made me aware of their true significance not only to industry and business but also to everyday life. I already had some a practical understanding of Economics through growing up around my parents’ retail businesses; I now find it highly stimulating to be able to explore Economics at a deeper theoretical level. Recently, I was able to explore my interests in Macroeconomics whilst working in a school group, giving a UK Inflation report to a professional Economist. Data research was compiled using a variety of published reports, which I thoroughly enjoyed presenting. Participating in the event had further stimulated my desire to learn more about such influential aspects of Economics, as well as prompting me to seriously consider a career as an actuary.

– A good opening, though perhaps weakened by focusing on GCSE business studies, rather than economics straight away.
– It would be good if you could give some more details about the inflation report you were involved in. How did you go about your research and what did you learn?

To aid my finance-oriented career aspiration, I recently undertook five weeks work experience at Sage plc, a blue-chip Accountancy software firm. I enhanced my teamwork skills by working on projects with the Finance department, whilst liaising with other Managers. I learnt more about business operations, finance, successful management and decision-making through holding the positions of Managing and Operations Director in my Young Enterprise team. Leading the team, which specialised in retailing, was a great responsibility that I took on whole-heartedly and, I believe, successfully.

– Admission tutors will be looking for you to draw upon your experiences and look at how this links to the course. Can you look at how you might do this?

This Easter, my passion for outdoor activities led me to Rhum, a Scottish Island in the Hebrides, for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. This was one of the most satisfying weeks of my life, as I enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities. Communication within the team was crucial, but being able to live and bond with a similar age group, whom I barely knew, was an equally important asset achieved. My other passion is for cricket, which has been fuelled by playing in school teams and helping to coach youngsters at a local club.

As someone who is keen to broaden his interests, I was pleased to discover Epistemology through documentaries and through reading Bernstein’s ‘Against the Gods’. This provocative yet accessible book has taught me the History of Probability and Risk along with the evolution of some famous Mathematical theories, such as the Theory of Combinations. Through pursuing an active interest in such hobbies, as well as managing the pressures of a part-time job, sporting commitments and social life, I have been prompted to utilise my time efficiently.

– Again, can you draw parallels between the book and how mathematical theories link to economics? How are mathematical theories used in everyday life?

I continue to develop my desire to study Maths, Economics and all things financial through my schoolwork, outside reading and work experience, which are the main reasons for my actuarial aspirations. Placing these commitments alongside my extra-curricular efforts, I hope it is apparent that I would benefit enormously from the rigours and developmental opportunities of university life.

– You mention that you develop your desire to study Maths, Economics etc. through outside reading – can you give some more evidence of this? Make sure that you give a greater importance to the study of economics – the way you mention it in passing along with mathematics could make it seem like you are not 100% committed to a degree in economics.

All in all this is a good personal statement, but the balance between extra-curricular activities and economics needs to be improved in favour of economics. Your previous work experience placements are obviously very relevant, but you need to ensure that you focus more on the academic side of the degree and highlight any wider reading that you have done.

“How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents?” and “Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms?”: just two chapters from Dubner and Levitt’s “Freakonomics” that made me realise how relevant economics is to everyday life and drew me towards applying to read economics at university. Micro and macro economic concepts have intrigued me throughout the AS course, especially the relevance of economics to real life problems. It interests me to see how the economy, both national and global, works through the interaction of economic agents with their own incentives influencing their actions. The UK economy has been growing extensively and I am eager to learn more about how an economy can be managed to succeed such growth, but also during the other stages of the economic cycle.

– It is always impressive if you can link your decision to apply for economics to some independent reading that you have done. It shows that you are expanding your knowledge through reading, especially academic reading. It is insufficient, however, to say that these chapters ‘made me realise how relevant economics is to everyday life’ – you need to explain why and give an example or two.

I have enjoyed challenging myself intellectually throughout my education, a key reason for my choice to apply to read economics. The analytical and mathematical nature of the A level course has enabled me to stretch my ability to analyse real life problems. I have enjoyed and achieved success in the field, and am enthusiastic about pursuing the subject to a higher level and increasing my knowledge. My aptitude for the subject is clear as I am being entered for the Advanced Extension Award in June 2008 and won the Economics Award at my school for my achievements in year 12. Ambition is an integral part of my character and I always strive to improve myself. I aim high and am interested in a career in investment banking or management consultancy.

– Some more details would be good here – rather than using vague phrases like ‘ability to analyse real life problems’ and ‘increasing my knowledge’, tell the admissions tutor what these problems are, and how economics has helped you to understand them. Be specific!

I was selected for a Pure Potential workshop where I learnt more about these industries and am currently trying to organise work experience at CitiGroup. During work experience at Abbey I learnt a lot that will help me at university. I presented conclusions from a meeting to a group that I was part of and assisted in a team building day with Abbey’s leading suppliers, which developed my confidence, team working and presentation skills. I am excited at present to be working on an economic project, where we are looking to reduce a caravan park’s carbon emissions by installing a water turbine and plan to present to the Board of Directors. As the Managing Director of a Young Enterprise group, my management and leadership skills have also improved. My current subjects are developing the skills I feel will enable me to progress in economics. My data analysis skills have improved, shown by a grade A in Statistics at AS level, and I have become more competent at problem solving. My analytical way of thinking has improved, I have built a solid foundation in economics to help me succeed at a higher level and I have grown more confident in structuring arguments and essay writing. I take an active role within my school. I’m taking part in a maths tutoring scheme, helping younger students to achieve their predicted grades, as well as being part of a peer mentoring system. I was chosen as house captain, through which I will help with the running of the house and develop my leadership skills, as well as helping other students. Taking up roles such as these has helped me to become very responsible and dedicated to whatever I pursue. Communication skills are important to me as I enjoy discussing issues and feel it’s essential to be able to put a structured argument across clearly and effectively. Working for three years in a suit shop has helped me develop these skills, interacting and working with diverse groups of people, which I am confident will stand me in good stead for university.

– There is much that is impressive in this paragraph, but it is far too long! Try to organise your material more coherently – perhaps give work experience a paragraph of its own, and separate it from your extra-curricular activities at school.

I am not only ambitious in my work but also in sport. I have played rugby at a high level for several years and want to continue at university level. It has taught me to work with others, determination and commitment to achieve what I set out to achieve. I would expect these features of my personality to help considerably when studying at university, that I will commit myself and be dedicated to succeeding in the field of economics.

– A weak conclusion – make sure that you focus on economics, rather than on sport. Your sporting achievements should come in the preceding paragraph. The conclusion should neatly summarise why you want to study economics to degree level.

There are some really positive experiences covered in the statement and a fair understanding of economics. However, this statement would benefit from some more detailed examples which show links between the work experience and reading to the course. Finally, the paragraphs need a restructuring so the statement flows better.

What are the implications on the economy of decisions made by the government and the Bank of England? Why have house prices in the US slumped to their lowest point in a long time? It is questions like these that have encouraged me to study an economics/finance related course in university. I am looking forward to studying international trade, including why countries trade with others and reasons for restricting trade with certain countries. I am also looking forward to learning about banking. By reading the news daily in the newspaper and in the economist, it is clear to me how instrumental economics is in the world today.

– You have done well to highlight particular aspects of the course that you find interesting in your introduction.
– Be careful about saying that you ‘read the news daily in the newspaper and in the economist’ – be more specific! Give an example of an article that you read in the Economist that you found particularly interesting – did it prompt any further research? Many students applying for this course would read the Economist but admissions tutors are looking for students who use what they are learning as a stepping stone to read more to develop their understanding of the subject.

In maths I am fascinated by modules where logic is needed, such as trigonometry, because it makes me think and it has helped to develop my problem solving and analysing skills. I have learnt how to create small applications in computing using Visual Basic programming, such as a calculator, and more complex applications, such as a stock control system. I especially enjoyed doing the computing coursework where I used Visual Basic to create a voting program. There were four candidates for an election, and I had to make a program that counts the numbers of votes, and then eliminate the candidate with the lowest number of votes. In the end the winner was declared. For this particular coursework I was two marks away from maximum marks. Studying psychology has given me an insight into how the mind works, and the assignments have developed my writing skills. The topic on stress helped me to understand causes of stress, and gave me an idea of how to cope during stressful times like school exams.

– Mentioning that your study of psychology will help you to cope during stressful times like exams is okay, but it would be far better to save your word count and use it to demonstrate your commitment to a degree in Economics and your interest in the subject. Could you look into how economics and psychology link through behavioural economics?

Being part of the Millennium Volunteers Scheme has supported my personal development. I help out in my local community in numerous ways. In the school community, I help 11-14 year old students improve their mathematical skills. I also help at social events as a school representative, attending to the needs of guests. My experience as a prefect helped me to understand the rights and responsibilities of authority. Recently, along with a small group of students, I organised a football tournament for the sixth formers to raise money for a local charity. The experience improved my inter-personal skills, as I had to liaise with students and teachers, some of whom I had not previously met. On a residential trip to Kent, I helped to look after younger students where I improved my leadership qualities, taking charge of a small group of students and making sure everyone knew what they had to do. My organisational skills improved too, as I had to help arrange activities for the students to do, such as go-carting and rock-climbing. I play a whole range of sports, but my favourite sport is football, which I play more than twice a week. Football has improved my teamwork skills. I am captain for my team, which has enhanced my leadership skills. I try to go jogging three times a week at the same time in the morning to keep fit which shows my commitment. I listen to all sorts of music, however my favourite types of music are “r’n’b” and soft rock. My favourite bands are Maroon 5 and Linkin Park.

– Your extra-curricular activities are clearly very impressive, but this paragraph is too long! You need to condense it a little to make room for more details about Economics in the preceding paragraphs. As important as your extra-curricular activities are, the admissions tutor is most interested in your commitment to your proposed degree subject.

I have done research on courses and universities and I am well prepared for life in university. Different conferences have helped me in various ways. A psychology conference helped my revision planning, and workshops have given me ideas of careers after university and what courses to take. Campus tours of university have also helped in my preparation. I am looking forward to studying at university to broaden my knowledge of economics, and I am excited at the prospect of meeting a lot of new people from all around the world. I am well organised and have excellent time management. In all, I am a well-rounded person who has the right skills and persona that can adapt to university life easily.

– Again, although it is great to see that you are well prepared for university life, dwelling on course research that you have done and revision planning sessions that you have attended is never going to be as impressive as focussing on economics and your experiences at A-Level. Remember that you need to convince the admissions tutor that you are the best candidate to study economics, not just for university in general.

All in all the balance between extra-curricular activities and economics needs to be improved, and some more detailed examples would be good. Why not attempt to answer some of the questions you posed at the beginning of the statement, using some wider reading and research or theories that you have learnt about at school?

My fascination with Economics stems from its dynamic ability to revolutionise our daily lives. Unlike other sciences, events in the economic world can change in a blink of an eye, and reading such a developing subject amazes me enough to study it to a higher level. John Nash’s Game Theory intrigues me as it is possible to produce accurate models of potential outcomes in the economic and social realms. I first came across Game Theory during my A-level economics course; consequently this led me to study it in my spare time by reading R. Backhouse’s the Penguin History of Economics. The book broadened my knowledge and history of the theory and I am really excited to be able to develop my interest quantitatively and apply my understanding in real terms.

– This is a good introduction. Now develop your points a little more – can you give an example of how economics can revolutionise our daily lives? Why is it ‘dynamic’? What did you read in the Penguin History of Economics that particularly interested you? Evidence of wider reading outside of the school curriculum is very impressive but you need to demonstrate how this has developed your knowledge further.

Studying Economics at A-level has helped me ignite my passion for the subject by understanding the basic economic problem of scarcity, of which all of Economics revolves around. My lessons have aspects of both law and politics, often developing into debates, which I thoroughly enjoy and have represented my school in the regional debating competition. An enthusiasm for maths was triggered from the moment my father passed down my sister’s abacus, opening a new world to me where numbers were the only language and understanding them fully continues to fuel my curiosity today. I was selected on merit to be involved in the Team Maths Challenge due to my gold certificate in the Intermediate Maths Challenge. This has supplemented my A-level studies in Maths and will help lay the foundations towards which I can build upon, with the strong numerical content required in the course. In addition, Biology and Chemistry A-level have helped me understand that intricate processes are essential towards making systems work, which have added to my logical thinking skills.

– Again, can you give an example of how the economic problem of scarcity works in practice? Was your experience at the regional debating competition linked to economics or economic issues? If so, emphasise this!
– Avoid talking at length about experiences you had as a young child (the abacus) – the admissions tutors are interested in what you are like now, as a sixth form student. These more recent examples will be far more impressive and convincing than what you did when you were a child!

Whilst researching finance-related careers, I obtained a place at a workshop by Goldman Sachs. Taking part in the Student Trading Game was particularly enjoyable, as I was required to risk my shares to calculate a profiting portfolio. This has increased my fervour for the course, as I will be able to transfer my skills to current market scenarios.

– Can you tell us a little more about the student trading game? How did you make your decision to risk your shares? Were your decisions based on any independent research that you did? Did you do this alone or as part of a team, and if so, what role did you play?

Strong leadership and efficient time management skills were recognised in me by my teachers, when I was appointed Deputy Head Boy of my sixth form. This involved participating in the organisation of both student-led Cabaret and a trip to Alton Towers, requiring painstaking preparation along with my ability to resolve any issues which may have arisen. Another responsible position was when I was selected to be a member of the Bank of England Target 2.0 team, to present our views upon current market conditions and the effectiveness of a change in interest rate on inflation. As a team we are required to delve much deeper than the curriculum, to demonstrate our proficiency in analysis and quantitative reasoning via interpreting economic data.

– You need to reorganise this paragraph – whilst helping to organise a trip to Alton Towers demonstrates your organisational skills, your involvement with the Target 2.0 team is far more relevant to your proposed degree course and much more impressive, displaying your strong commitment to the course. It would be good if you could focus more on this experience.

Externally, I enjoy playing sports such as Cricket, Tennis and Football, for which I am a member of a 5-a-side team, and I look forward to continuing this at university. Moreover, I have picked up several individual awards for Snooker in my local community. Music is a vivid passion of mine, one which has developed from self-teaching the piano to being an integral part of a band. Expressing myself through music and performing on stage to an audience, provides the perfect balance between relaxing and electrifying.

A degree with such a deep economic content will provide me with the employable skills to be able to succeed in my career in finance. The opportunity to work with the world’s most intellectual lecturers and share my enthusiasm for Economics at university enthrals me. With my aptitude in Mathematics and Economics and a real commitment towards social activities, I can guarantee that I will be an active member of the university for the duration of the course.

– Avoid focussing too much on your career prospects after studying for an economics degree – whilst future employability is a good reason for choosing this particular course, you need to also make sure the admissions tutor knows that you are excited at the prospect of studying it at university, not just the end result.

There is much that is good here. Avoid using words and phrases like ‘electrifying’, ‘vivid passion’, ‘opening a new world’ and ‘enthrals me’ – whilst enthusiasm is important, too much can make you seem insincere and a little immature.

Engineering has always fascinated me. I have always been interested in how everything works and to discover the fundamental properties of the world we are living in. As a small girl I delighted in taking things apart and my grandfather, a hugely successful engineer, indulged me and never complained even when I couldn’t put them back together again.

– Never use vague statements like ‘always’.
– Try to avoid talking about what you were like when you were little; the admissions tutor is interested in what you are like now, rather than what you enjoyed doing as a small child.
– Talking about how you were ‘indulged’ makes you sound immature.
– Instead, try to pinpoint something about the subject that you find particularly interesting – if, as you say, you enjoy discovering the fundamental properties about the world we are living in, give an example, or cite some methods that could be used to do this. 
– Don’t abbreviate; this is formal document.

Since studying maths and physics at A Level my passion for the way things work has strengthened. My wonderful teachers have inspired me to pursue my dream, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. I particularly enjoyed the electricity and particle physics modules I studied last year; they stimulated my enthusiasm to study science to a higher level. I love the way physics explores how things behave and how these properties can be used in solving both practical and theoretical situations and working out problems and equations, and applying maths to real world scenarios. Being part of a Robotics club organised by Southampton University allows me to put theory into practice. I enjoy this immensely and look forward to competing in the competition in April 2008.

– Avoid using phrases like ‘my wonderful teachers have inspired me to pursue my dream, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.’ While they may be touching, they do not directly inform the admissions tutor what it is about the subject that you find interesting and as such are a waste of your word count. 
– Be more precise! Why were the electricity and particle physics modules particularly interesting? Can you give an example of these practical and theoretical situations you mention? What did the robotics club involve, and what did you learn? Most importantly, how can you link these back to engineering?

I also study English A level as I love literature from all genres and read widely, ranging from the works of Jane Austen and J.K Rowling to Scientific American and New Scientist. Literature has helped me develop my analytical skills and encouraged me to write creatively and communicatively. This has proved useful in all my courses, as it teaches me how to analyse and understand texts and questions and how to argue my ideas effectively.

– While studying English at A-Level is certainly very interesting and impressive, it is not directly relevant to your study of Engineering. You need to save as much of your word count as possible for your subject; this is what the admissions tutors are most interested in. 

My participation in a Young Enterprise Scheme taught me much about leadership, the importance of teamwork and financial constraints in real life business situations. It showed how good links between engineers and businesses are essential for an efficient and profitable future for engineering industries.

– It is certainly impressive to discuss the subject in a wider context and beneficial to indicate you understand the challenges of putting academic study into practice in the business world. Again, try to be more specific in your approach; can you give a precise example of a real life business situation that applies to engineering? 

I have worked part time as a waitress in a large golf club for three years now, leading service every Sunday. This has given me lots of experience working with and leading teams, working under pressure and in hectic situations and interacting with customers. I like to be involved with other aspects of college life. For example, another passion of mine is music and I have obtained grade 8 flute, grade 7 piano, grade 5 saxophone and grade 5 theory, as well as two full 50% music scholarships. Playing in various orchestras and ensembles helps me understand the importance of teamwork, and I have enjoyed attending several music courses during the summer holidays, where I met new people and joined in lots of sporting activities – another interest of mine. I particularly love running, and I run with the New Forest Runners twice a week, taking part in many charity races which I find very rewarding. I am currently doing my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and I have hugely enjoyed the training activities involved with this e.g. a ski trip to Italy earlier this year. I also enjoy swimming, going to the gym, badminton and martial arts. I hope to continue these in the clubs you have to offer whilst I am at university. I have a qualification in Sports Medicine First Aid, which was an interesting and exciting course.

– The balance between extra-curricular activities and proposed degree subject is spot on here: you want to spend about 2/3 of your personal statement talking about the subject you’ve applied for.
– Avoid using abbreviations like ‘e.g.’  – they make your language appear too informal. 

I am concerned about environmental issues and whilst visiting The Centre for Alternative Energy in Wales was inspired to minimise my family’s carbon footprint, particularly by recycling more and saving energy. I have joined my village environmental group in which I have helped clean and improve the riverside walk. My aspiration is to become involved with improving the quality of life and the environment through being a successful engineer. My experience of engineers is that they care about people and about finding solutions facing our world. I hope by following a university course in engineering, I can be a part of this change and look forward to facing all the challenges and excitement a career in engineering offers.

– This is a strong conclusion because it links the academic study of engineering to your future career aspirations. Why not give some more examples to strengthen it even further? How exactly do you think an engineer could improve someone’s quality of life? Try to avoid statements like ‘my experience of engineers is that they care about people’; they make you come across as naive! 

All in all, this is a good first draft of a personal statement. A more detailed approach would make it more successful; expand on the parts of the course that you mention that you find most interesting. The more examples you give, the more you will maintain the attention of the admissions tutor and prove your interest. 

As a 7 year old, I wondered how poets structured words to take the shape of an ice-cream cone! Now historical contexts and the portrayal of human shortcomings keep me engaged in my Language and Literature classes. I’m currently reading ‘The Sirens of Titan’, by Kurt Vonnegut, an entertaining and creative piece of science fiction, in my opinion. It portrays an opposed view of religion that makes it exciting. What I enjoy about Literature is that it has a way of taking one from their current situation to explore different cultures and ideas and this is one of the reasons I mostly enjoy novels of the science fiction genre; they are more ‘out of this world’ than others. When asked who my favourite author is I say “myself” and trust everyone can say the same for them self. Valuing your own ability to create can make you stand out, and distinct writing is one of the things I aim to develop studying English and Philosophy at university.

– This is not a very strong opening, and we would recommend making substantial changes. The opening sentence has little relevance to the rest of the paragraph and you could demonstrate your interest more effectively by using more recent examples.
– It is good to see that you have given examples of independent reading which interests you, and which links to both English and Philosophy, although this could be moved into a later paragraph and be expanded on in order for you to communicate your interest most effectively.
– Remember that your personal statement is part of a formal application, so ensure that the language is appropriate for an admissions tutor.
– The final sentence also needs some work. Although it is good you have identified a skill you want to take forward to your degree study, admission tutors are looking for students who show a willingness to learn and build on their interests, so don’t merely assert the qualities that you have.

As well as English broadening my horizon Philosophy lessons encourage me to seek new possibilities within the course using creative thinking, and also in life through, for example, description and illustration. At AS Level my favourite topic was the theory of knowledge for I was amazed at how I could analyse something so indispensable and relevant to every day life. I also enjoy coming across thoughts that I agree with in Philosophical writings like the high value Mill places on opinion in, ‘On Liberty’, and likewise, the pricelessness of opinion is one of the reasons for my interest in English Literature.

– When applying for a joint honours degree, your personal statement should focus on both subjects equally. That said, there is no need to mention both subjects in every paragraph, as paragraphs can lack focus and become unclear, as has happened here.
– There will be common ground between the study of English and Philosophy, so perhaps discuss something you have read which allows you to draw on both the literature, and your interest in Philosophy.
– Make sure each paragraph has a clear point, which is supported by appropriate explanation – without this the statement is difficult to read.

My understanding of English and Philosophy subjects has been an aid in my contribution to college activities, such as the Christian Union and the Debate Club helping me criticise what the phrasing of motions imply and debate from a hypothetical angle. Media studies also helps with its focus on society and gives me a deeper understanding of narrative and character types in English as well as improving my analytical skills in both English and Philosophy.

– Rather than trying to link every activity you have done back to the academic study of English and Philosophy, perhaps discuss your work with the Christian Union and the Debating club independently, and identify the key, transferable skills you have developed.

My love for bringing ideas into being has led me to pioneer the building of a business with the help of students in my college and the ‘Young Enterprise’ scheme, as well as serve diligently in my role in my college’s Student Union as Activities and Development Officer. I enjoy setting goals to achieve them as well as creating things; these give me a sense of success which helps me adopt a mindset focused on my future.

In addition to my academic achievements I also take part in many extra curricular activities including sports, volunteering at youth conferences, and choreographing with my church’s street dance group. These activities involve commitment, team work and humility but at the same time, fun and learning. They create a sense of togetherness making my learning with others enjoyable.

– Your experiences here are impressive, and will certainly be valuable during your university life. It is important to signpost the skills you have developed during this time, rather than creating a list of things you have done. Perhaps select the most relevant achievements and discuss these in slightly more detail.

During my summer break I was given the opportunity to visit Pembroke College of Oxford University as part of a 5- day residential and was glad to have an English Literature undergraduate as my tutor for the week. She was really encouraging and helped me to realise the weight my opinions truly carried. We explored ‘the insecure world of Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw”, discussing almost everything in the book from Victorian households to the arguably sacrilegious Mistress. For me, the undergraduates demonstrated that all you have to do is take action and be yourself to live your dreams; which is relieving and a view I have adopted towards my studies especially in English and Philosophy; not being afraid to present and back up my opinions when no one agrees with them.

– This is an excellent experience, and should be moved to earlier in the statement. To ensure this makes you stand out from your peers, focus more on what you did, what you learned and why it has encouraged you to pursue English and Philosophy, rather than spending valuable words discussing undergraduate students.

In the long term I hope to complete a Masters in Management and Entrepreneurship, in order to follow my dream to be… an Entrepreneur! So overall, as varied as my endeavours may sound, I am convinced that the virtuous transferable skills obtainable studying these two subjects, as well as the university experience, will help me launch into the world of idea-inventing; with an open mind!

– This is a very weak closing paragraph. Bear in mind this is the last thing the admissions tutor will read, so should remind them exactly why you want to study their subject, and why you are excited for university life.
– It is unwise to end your statement suggesting that you want to study two totally different subjects to the ones you are applying for.

I am fascinated by the way in which writers can influence, and even manipulate reader’s emotions by their ability to encourage the expansion of our imaginations and understanding. I therefore want to study English further, to develop my own writing and to extend my knowledge of a subject which I have developed a true passion for. Over my two year course, my passion has grown immensely, through the study of writers such as John Betjeman, Alice Walker, Tennessee Williams, and Seamus Heaney. Captivated by the work of these writers, my knowledge and persistence has grown along side the development of my own character. My favourite Authors include Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Nathanial Hawthorne, whose novels are inspiring because of their enviable lucidity and innovative character development. Writing has stimulated me to choose journalism as a potential career, as I am fascinated by current affairs.

– This is a good opening since it captures your enthusiasm for your proposed degree. Try to avoid repetition of words such as ‘passion’ within one paragraph. 
– While mentioning so many authors clearly demonstrates your enthusiasm for the course, it also feels a bit like you are just name-dropping. A better way of approaching your statement as a whole would be to select a smaller number of authors that you admire,  and then to give more details about which works you find most interesting and the themes that arise from those texts. Why is the lucidity and innovative character development of e.g. Jane Austen enviable, and can you give some examples to back this up? 

My other A Level choices, have also been complemented by my interest in journalism. Having achieved grade A in Business Studies at GCSE Level, I chose to continue this on for A Level. Newspaper and television headlines offer continual reminders of how relevant and of how much interest the business world is to us all. I think, business is one of the most varied and diverse subjects available. Through business, I have mastered how to construct clear and definitive ways of relating concepts to any particular business. Through my love of drama, I took on Theatre Studies as a new subject at A Level. In this subject I have been able to act and build upon my confidence. By studying texts and practitioners such as Brecht and Stanislavski, I have been able to develop my reviewing and writing skills. I have learnt to perform in highly pressurised circumstances, whether it be in front of my school for charity events, or in front of the student body. Out of school, I am part of Identity Drama School, based at the Hackney Empire, where actors from all backgrounds are encouraged to understand themselves, to value themselves, and to express and celebrate their identity through acting.

– Don’t forget that the tutor will know your grades from your UCAS form, so don’t waste precious words in your statement on this.
– Whilst this is an impressive paragraph, you need to be careful about focussing too much on your career aspirations. Remember that the admissions tutors are primarily interested in your academic interest in the subject rather than what you would like to do with it after graduation.
– Instead, you ought to focus more closely on particular texts that you have found interesting and to demonstrate evidence of wider reading outside of the A-Level course. The section of this paragraph on drama is much more relevant to the study of English and should be kept and expanded on. 

The fact that I love English so much means that motivation and commitment, two characteristics that I believe to be of the utmost importance, come relatively naturally to me. In August this year, I undertook work experience placements at Bliss Magazine and my local newspaper The Romford Recorder. During my placement, I learnt how to adopt to the in-house style for the paper, and how to properly interview people. I had to strike a balance between sensitivity while talking to the bereaved and persistence when interviewing councillors attempting to evade the question. Even though it was only a short insight into this career, I had articles published during this period, and this experience confirmed my ambition to enter into the field of journalism.

– The entire first sentence should be removed; let this passion shine through without stating them.
– An good description of the skills learnt during work experience, but again it focuses too much on your proposed career aspirations. Mentioning your work experience placements is useful, and showing that you have an strong idea of what you want to do after graduation is great, but it might lead the admissions tutor to wonder why you are not just applying for a degree in journalism straight away.
– You need to shorten this paragraph a lot and add more examples of aspects of an English literature degree that interest you. 
– Be careful about making spelling and grammatical errors in your personal statement – as an application for an English literature degree and as someone who wishes to become a journalist in later life, these mistakes will set of alarm bells in the admissions tutor’s mind! 

I feel confidence and communication skills is a fundamental part of being a journalist in today’s world, and I have gained these attributes through the art of acting, and through working part-time. My part time job as a sales assistant has allowed me to co-operate with others, both with work colleagues and customers. I have also been able to master the art of balancing my academic studies, my part time job, and my outer school activities. Along with my academic studies, I have taken an active role in my school, especially in the sixth form through my position as a prefect. I have taken on new responsibilities in this role, and I have become a role model for younger years.

– Again, whilst extra-curricular activities are important, you should not be linking them to your future career choice, but to your proposed degree subject! 

English has always been a part of who I am, and it signals to others in the world, where I am from. For something that comes so naturally to many, language can hold great power and influence. My decision to study English is based on my desire to further my understanding of the language that I and the people around me use and encounter on a daily basis, and through this, understand our society a little better.

– This is a good conclusion and once again demonstrates your passion for your proposed degree course. 

All in all, this statement does demonstrate your passion for your proposed course, but focuses far too much on journalism. A short paragraph on your future career aspirations can be useful, but should by no means constitute the greatest part of the statement. More detailed examples are needed – rather than name-dropping at the beginning, choose a smaller number of authors and discuss their work more closely. This will demonstrate your capacity for independent thinking. 

Ever since I have had the ability to understand English, I have been fascinated by the language. As a child, I would be writing, reading or telling stories and since then, I have read a variety of both fiction and non-fiction texts from a range of genres and eras. English not only gives me the chance to expand my literary knowledge, but also allows me to communicate my own thoughts and ideas. One of my favourite books is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Both the extended metaphor used throughout the novel and the idea of ‘nature versus nurture’ fascinates me. Pursuing a degree in English would allow me to adopt my own approach to texts and authors, and will give me the opportunity to improve my understanding of literature. Studying English Literature as an A level has furthered my knowledge of the stylistic devices employed by a variety of writers. In addition I have developed the skill of arguing cogently and effectively through my own writing. Additionally, studying poetry by William Blake during my AS year has helped me to explore and comment on relationships and also make comparisons between poems. Carrying out coursework on Othello by William Shakespeare has allowed me to articulate independent opinions and judgments, informed by different interpretations of literary texts by other readers.

– Admissions tutors do not like childhood motivations for studying their subject.
– The rest is a good introduction to your motivation for studying the subject, but contains too many different ideas. Try to have a more succinct and focussed opening, and then have a second, longer paragraph to bring in what you have most enjoyed studying at A-Level and any wider reading you have done.
– This is the only paragraph in the entire statement that is devoted to English Literature and as a result it is too short. While your other subjects are of course important, if you have applied for English then about 2/3 of the personal statement should be focussed on this.

Psychology has helped me to acquire the skill of interpreting and learning complex factual information. The subject has developed my understanding of ethical and contemporary issues, and has thus complemented my study of English. Furthermore, Psychology has helped me develop my skills of analysis and evaluation. This has been achieved through interpreting data found in psychological research studies and finding out what the criticisms of the studies are.

– This paragraph is weak unless you can give a detailed example of how psychology has complemented your study of English. 

Business Studies, like Psychology and English Literature has also helped me develop my analytical skills. Similarly, the courses have improved my writing skills as examinations involve essay answers. Studying Business as an A level has further enhanced my practical discussion skills. Within school I have taken part in many extra curricular activities. I have been in the school netball and rounders team. These physical activities enhanced my health and fitness. My voluntary work as a peer mentor has enabled me to aid younger children with behavioural and withdrawal problems. In addition, the reading scheme enhanced my psychosocial skills. I have always been committed to the school and was in the school council from years 7-9. Furthermore I have helped out for year 6 open evenings, the Tsunami Relief show, ‘Bring and Buy’ sale, and many other charity events. Being selected as a prefect this year has given me the opportunity to give more to the school. In my spare time, I take pleasure in reading novels and newspapers. These have improved my vocabulary significantly. Moreover, I enjoy listening to music and surfing the internet to gain extra knowledge on current affairs.

– This paragraph contains two separate themes: A-Level subjects and extra-curricular activities. Help out the admissions tutor by making sure that you organise your material a little more effectively.
– Rather than saying that you ‘surf the internet’, it would be a good idea to give more concrete examples on the websites that you usually use e.g. the Guardian, and telling the admissions tutor which current affairs in particular have piqued your interest. 

Carrying out work experience at an insurance company helped me gain independence as I was able to go out and meet different people. Furthermore working here improved my organisational skills and my punctuality. In addition, work experience at Dolland and Aitchison opticians enabled me to gain insight into the work of retail and also enhanced my initiative teamwork and personal skills.

– While potentially interesting to the admissions tutor, the work experience at an insurance company is irrelevant your proposed degree, and so if you are short on word-count, this ought to be cut. 

I have experienced how university lectures are conducted by attending a lecture on the American play, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ at Queen Mary University. In addition, visiting a higher education course on Law at King’s College London illustrated how university lectures work. Research I have carried out on university websites about the various English courses offered has further cemented my enthusiasm for studying this course. I have always wanted to go to university and I am looking forward to meeting new people and contributing fully to university life.

– It is a shame that you have not prioritised your attendance at the Queen Mary lecture; this demonstrates interest in the subject outside of the school curriculum and is very impressive. Some more details about what the lecturer’s argument was and what the candidate learnt from it, along with any wider reading that this prompted, would be useful.
– This is a good conclusion, but the sentence about the research that you have carried out on university websites should be cut. – The admissions tutor assumes that you have researched the course carefully; you should not waste your precious word-count by pointing out obvious things. Perhaps link your experiences at Queen Mary directly to your enthusiasm for studying English at university.

All in all, this personal statement ought to be tailored a lot more to English – this is, after all, what the admissions tutor is most interested in. More detailed examples of authors and texts that you find interesting would also be beneficial. For example, why is the idea of ‘nature vs nurture’ relevant to the study of ‘Wuthering Heights’? A lot of improvement is needed before this should be submitted.

 

 

 

Throughout my education, I have always had a passion for English, particularly English Literature. In addition, I thoroughly enjoy reading, especially classic novels such as those of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. I particularly enjoy such novels as I find they have a wider vocabulary than modern novels. However, my enthusiasm for reading extends beyond novels to plays, poetry and non-fiction texts, including those by Shakespeare, which is why I chose to continue English Literature for further study.

– The first sentence does not really tell us anything in particular and therefore should be removed.
– This is a good demonstration of your broad interest in the subject, but fails to explain to the admissions tutor exactly what it is about English that makes a university degree in this subject appealing. Why do the novels of Austen and Bronte have a wider vocabulary than others (this idea seems a little strange – arguably modern novels can equally be said to employ a wider vocabulary), and what is it about them that is particularly interesting to you?
– Simply stating that you have a ‘passion for English’ is not enough – you need to be more specific in your examples and support your statements with facts; perhaps opening with a sentence or two about the classic novels and particular themes that you find fascinating would be a good way to revise this.

Furthermore, since beginning Government and Politics, I have taken a very keen interest in the politics of our country and yearn to study the law of it at degree level. I thoroughly enjoy studying it and I believe it will help me to pursue a possible career in law. Politics has also given me an insight into the legislative process, judicial system and many other fascinating processes in relation to law.

– Again, this paragraph is far too vague. Have you found a particular module so interesting that it inspired you to do further reading?
– At the moment, these two paragraphs seem very unconnected;  Could you find a way of linking the study of politics to the study of English? Maybe one of the texts that you have read had a highly political content which was aided by your reading of ‘X’ text?
– Simply listing what was involved in the course (learning about the judicial system and legislative process) is not enough, and is telling the admissions tutor what he already knows.

My interest in these two diverse subjects is the core of my personal motivation. I really enjoy studying and am thus extremely motivated to persevere with my studies whilst maintaining a consistently high level of effort. Consequently, at the end of year 11, I received the Peter Wilson Maths Award for outstanding achievement due to my consistent effort in maths throughout Key Stage 4. Following that, in year 12, I was made a Senior Prefect which involved various duties of responsibility.

-Again, this section is too vague. Whilst the maths award and being elected prefect are certainly very impressive, they are not directly relevant to the study of English and Politics at degree level.
– Be aware that your Award will be included elsewhere in your UCAS form, so you don’t necessarily have to include it in the personal statement; the statement should be dedicated to your chosen subjects.
– It is not enough to say that you ‘enjoy studying’ – give the admissions tutor a precise example of a text or political event that piqued your interest and inspired you to apply for this degree course!
– Rather than calling your two subjects ‘diverse’, if you are applying for joint degree courses it would be far better to stress their similarities and the way the two subjects overlap. For English and Politics, this would be very easy to do, as explained above. By demonstrating how these subjects complement each other, you will prove that your decision to study them at degree level has been a rational and well thought out one.

Other interests of mine involve travelling and experiencing different cultures, developing my language skills and socialising. I was able to obtain a lot of experience of other cultures whilst I lived in Belgium for a short period in 2003. Furthermore, in October 2007, I visited Uganda for two weeks which was an amazing cultural experience. Whilst there I was involved in a mock CHOGM event at our partner school at which I represented South Africa and wrote a speech to say aloud in front of an audience of 150 people.

– There are some good things in this paragraph, but overall in this statement there is too much focus on extra-curricular activities and interests, and not enough details on the proposed degree subject, which is what the admissions tutor cares about most. Try to spend 2/3 of your statement writing about the subject, and the remaining 1/3 about relevant extra-curriculars.
– How has your exposure to different cultures changed your ability to enjoy literature?
– Being involved in a mock CHOGM event is certainly impressive, but you need to give the admissions tutor more detail about what this was; it seems incredibly relevant to the study of politics, so it could work in your favour to explain what your argument was and how you went about your research. You may even want to dedicate an entire paragraph to it.

In addition, my work experience placement in year 10 was done at Zaventum National Airport, Brussels. I feel that my experience there helped me to become more confident in communicating with the passengers and developed my linguistic skills- in both French and Dutch- whilst also giving me an insight into the aviation industry.

– This paragraph is totally irrelevant to the study of English and Politics. Moreover, you have already mentioned that you are considering a career in Law, for which this particular work experience will not be useful. Either demonstrate why it is relevant, or remove it entirely – you need to focus a lot more on the subject you have applied for.
– Mentioning linguistic skills is a great deal more impressive than this work experience placement. Could you perhaps link your abilities in French to the study of English and Politics? Have you maybe read some texts in French that you found interesting? Having additional languages whilst studying at university can be very helpful, especially since a lot of English courses involve studying texts by foreign authors.

During year 12, I approached numerous law firms regarding possible work experience placements. Unfortunately, none were able to offer me a position at that particular time. However, I was placed in my community college in the French department, assisting the pupils. Although it wasn’t for a long period of time, I still felt more confident in my communication skills after this experience- which I feel will be significantly improved at university.

– This first sentence is not very impressive at all. If you were unsuccessful in an application for work experience, do not tell the admissions tutor! This paragraph should be cut completely and replaced with subject-specific information.

This course, I believe, is the best suited degree course available for me. I have been researching different degrees since beginning sixth form in 2006 to be certain that my final decision is the right one and that I would be likely to gain enjoyment and great benefit from the course.

-This is a very weak paragraph. The best way to show the admissions tutor that this degree course is perfect for you is NOT to say that you have been reading up on different courses since 2006. Of course, research like this is incredibly important, but the admissions tutors will expect you to have done it without you needing to remind them.
-Instead, give more specific examples of texts that you have studied or read up on, lectures you have attended or plays you have been to see that will demonstrate your ability to learn independently and your passion for the subject outside of the school curriculum. It is not enough to say that you will ‘gain enjoyment and benefit from the course’ – you need to say why!
-Beware of using phrases like ‘likely’ – it makes it seem like you are still not sure whether this course is the right one for you!

Therefore, I feel that university would not only be beneficial for my future career prospects but also to social skills such as confidence, communication and maturity. I believe that I would benefit substantially from three or more years at university as, after university, I would also be equipped with analytical and debating skills from my chosen course.

– A weak conclusion – there is no focus on the proposed degree subject but instead the student chooses to list traits that could be gained as a result of any degree. The admissions tutors are fundamentally interested in why you would be a good student at their department, and so these final sentences need to be drastically emended.

All in all, the balance between extra-curricular activities and proposed degree course needs adjustment, and more detail needs to be given to demonstrate the student’s passion for English and Politics. Explaining how English and Politics complement each other as part of a joint degree would also be extremely beneficial, and will demonstrate that the student has researched and thought about what the course entails. Irrelevant work experience and extra-curricular activities need to be cut as they distract from the main message of the statement.

Literature is a drug. As George Barrow points out, it can bring everything back to that one moment so that nothing ever feels the same, like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It can mirror fate and potently pull the reader in, such as Oscar Wilde’s supremely decadent The Picture of Dorian Gray. It can cut through the gentle facades of society and reveal the real truth like Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

– Demonstrating a knowledge of the subject is key in any personal statement, however ensure that in the introduction you grab the reader by explaining exactly why you are attracted to this area of study.

The power of literature to change, warp and reflect society entrances me. I am greatly impressed by the ability of Wilde to show a society which would cover up its mistresses table legs, its true hypocrisy and ridiculousness. For these reasons, I have started to experiment with writing my own short novels and poems, though I can hardly claim to be of Wilde’s calibre. However, with the extra knowledge and the extra skill that studying English Literature would impart to me, perhaps one day I too can achieve those dreams of being able to write something as successful, as well-loved and discussed as The Picture of Dorian Gray.

– Depicting a genuine interest in literature is useful for the reader when establishing your motives for study in this area, however it is beneficial to flag to the admissions officer exactly why this interest means you are a better candidate and why you will be successful in higher education as a result.
– There is no need to state you are not of Wilde’s calibre; instead say that you are developing your writing style through practice.

Researching the themes of A Woman of No Importance for my AS-Levels sparked an interest in the works of Oscar Wilde, especially his society comedies, which mocked his audience whilst he entertained them, appearing light and frothy on the surface but dark and moralistic beneath. I have since developed more of an interest in late-Victorian literature as a whole, such as Stoker’s Dracula and Shelly’s Frankenstein, both of which are markedly different from the cliched horror films of our time. I would like to develop a wider breadth of knowledge with regard to other literary periods, particularly in medieval literature as I found The Canterbury Tales an enriching and stimulating read because it demonstrates the true nature of the medieval psyche, which is remarkably similar to our own. Studying a diverse range of poets from Larkin to Wordsworth and Coleridge to Sassoon at A-Level has ignited my interest in poetry. I would like to learn more about the range of poetry written in the English language, from the encapsulations of life as presented by Shakespeare to the irascible and unmistakeable brogue of Robert Burns.

– Linking books which you enjoy to your desire to expand your knowledge, gives the reader confidence that you have a genuine interest in the subject beyond your current knowledge.
– This is a strong paragraph which outlines areas of interests, link back to current studies but uses them as a springboard for independent research and discusses areas of future study; just make sure that the topic you mention is actually in the syllabus!

As part of my German A-Level, I have studied two pieces of German literature which has enhanced my analytical skills. I am also learning Mandarin as I wish to discover more about up-and-coming culture and the role of globalisation, fuelled by my deep interest in current affairs. I also like to explore and discover new cultures, as well as adapting to new ways of life. Since 2005, I have taken part in Explorer Scout expeditions to South America and Eastern Europe, as well as skiing across Europe.

– You could find a better link to your chosen subject than analytical skills by using examples of translated literature, or the cultural differences you have noticed through language.
– Your inclusion of wider interests and activities provide solid evidence of a well-rounded, adaptable person, but you need to link it back to literature otherwise it needs to be moved to the penultimate paragraph.

My ability to write concisely and practically was en