There’s no lack of information regarding how to produce excellent Oxbridge personal statements. But there is additionally no lack of trouble in understanding what you should think, what to prioritise, and also how you can use many abstract Dos and Don’ts in training.
This does not get to become a definitive guide to the particular statement, though it can aim at becoming an useful body. Within the very first portion, I talk you through the performance of the particular statement and also the important rules for composing a great one. In the next part, I’ve a go at composing a “perfect” personal statement and also explain why I believe each paragraph is useful.
What’s the particular statement for?
So far as an Oxbridge application is worried, an individual statement basically has three functions:
FUNCTION 1: Enables you to show you’re genuinely enthusiastic about the subject that you are applying;
FUNCTION two: Provides you with an opportunity to show you’ve intriguing, original thoughts, and therefore might be a worthwhile pupil to teach;
FUNCTION three: Provides possible talking points at job interview.
Much less apparent is an additional question: what’s an individual statement capable of obtaining? This’s a crucial question because the boundaries of this particular exercise should be recognised from the start. Actually the top personal statement will not get some candidate in to Cambridge or maybe Oxford by itself. It has one little bit of a big mosaic of information that admissions tutors utilize when the foundation of the choice of theirs and the relevance of its becomes considerably diminished post interview.
It is additionally much more essential for other universities than it’s for Oxbridge. This’s because in most bar a couple of Cambridge colleges, the Oxbridge admissions tutors of yours may have read 2 longer examples of your respective written work which provide them with a more comprehensive image of the academic potential of yours. And also naturally, just about all candidates are provided an interview, and that is provided additional weight in the application procedure and supersedes the very first impression given by the particular statement.
Having said that, it is essential to write a very good personal statement for 2 reasons. An individual statement creates a very first impression: a great one will not help you that much, but a defective one is going to make things harder. Secondly, a very good personal statement might provide you with some amount of control over how the admissions process of yours goes. Fascinating things you say in the private statement of yours will probably arise at interview. When you are able to speak impressively at interview about a product you pointed out in the personal statement of yours, then the declaration has worked for you: it is steered the job interview conversation into pleasant territory. (This additionally would make the particular statement dangerous: it has feasible to say a thing inside your personal statement that you are not ready to speak about in much more detail, then stumble when you are asked about it at job interview).
We are now in a place to lay down a number of vital rules for perfecting the particular statement.
Individual statement: key principles:
One) SHOW OFF IN The CONTENT of yours, NOT The STYLE of yours
Among the primary key issues I faced when I drafted the own statement of mine as a beginner was: what style can I create in? At the time, every one of the instincts of mine have been wrong: GCSE (and, to some degree, A level), rewards terrible writing. Pupils are urged to show off complex vocabulary and burden the prose of theirs with bucketloads of rhetorical methods. As an outcome, lots of sixth formers tip over from sophistication into pretention.
There’s no individual writing style favoured. Some pepper the talks of theirs with theoretical buzzwords. A few write sentences that begin for a web page or even more. A few are as concise and simple in the style of theirs as anybody could wish. But when they’re writing about your subject (as you are practicing in the private statement) of yours, an easy, non pretentious design is distinctly favoured.
The lesson to take because of this is: do not make use of your writing style showing off! (PS: Do not start successive sentences together with the word “I” – it appears clunky.)
Two) SHOW, DON’T TELL
You will currently have had the idea that individual statements are about showing off subject interest drummed into you. But this led me to lose hope when I was drafting the statement of mine. I knew I was serious about the subject of mine, but just how was I claimed to express this in a couple of characters?
The solution is really quite simple. Tutors realize that a pupil that not just reads additional books and also does extra curricular things but has exciting ideas about them is by definition a serious a pupil. They are not convinced by somebody who promises to have an interest or maybe somebody who says, “I went to find out the play, which shows I am interested.”
The 3 rules below should provide you with a far more comprehensive view of what this’s approximately.
Do not point out, “My interest in the subject of mine was taken on a journey when …”. The kinds of items that initially capture the interest of yours in a topic are not the things that are gon na make it intriguing at undergraduate amount and beyond.
Do not employ emotive language. In case you catch yourself on thesaurus.com searching for synonyms for “enjoy” or “passionate”, stop yourself. This’s an indication that you are attempting to express to the admissions tutor that you are interested.
Do not believe that listing extra curricular things that you have done or even read will persuade the tutor that you are interested. The point that you went to the a summer school or maybe a college trip is not inherently impressive. You can just show interest by explaining everything you found good about that experience.
Three) TELL A STORY
A lot of pupils attempt to produce an impression of attention by creating (or being given) a reading list (often plundered from the first-year undergraduate curriculum) of canonical works and also thinking a few of things about each of the points they come across. This’s just about alright as a method, particularly in case you’ve fascinating things to state about each book, but definitely is not ideal. It risks giving the suggestion that you are reading things so you are able to discuss them with your private statement – of course, if that is what you are doing, it is possibly apparent to the admissions tutor of yours.
The perfect candidate (who does not occur, but is one thing to aspire to) is interested, but additionally reads with purpose. They pluck a number of texts away from the shelf at random to find out what they have, though fascinating things they hear in text A will point them to text B, etc.
To are like the perfect pupil, you have to locate links between the things which you have read. You can claim that text A provided you impression X, that led you to examine text B to find out if it confirmed or even rebutted the impression. Conversely, you may say you formed impression X after looking at text A, however, you changed the mind of yours after looking at text B (and explain why). This’s very effective since it indicates you read critically () that is good, type ideas (better still), but additionally you are ready to alter the views of yours in reaction to brand new evidence () that is excellent. Above all of all the, it indicates the interest of yours has developed naturally and that you simply have not simply followed a “get into Oxbridge” game program.
Four) COMBINE BREADTH AND DEPTH
I am going to suggest 2 strategies. Each paragraph of the private statement of yours is going to be based on a critical idea or text. Mine had 4 primary paragraphs, each one focusing on an alternative element of the interest of mine, which appears about right.
Five) ADOPT An intelligent STRUCTURE
The particular statement does not provide you with lots of words to play with which demands serious clarity of structure and thought. I would suggest 4 to 5 primary paragraphs which tell the story of the interest of yours, each focusing on a primary idea or text and what reflections you have had about it. A smart mini-structure for every part might be:
The way your interest led you to examine text X or consider concept Y
What thing you found most fascinating and why
How this changed/affirmed the opinion of yours on a particular problem, or the way it surprised you
Even though this structure may look pretty mechanical, you are able to make each paragraph experience fresh by making the content of yours intriguing and varying the sentence structure of yours.