Here is some help for UK personal statements through UCAS.





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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: August 2003 Archive: Here is some help for UK personal statements through UCAS.
By Emma (Emma) on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 06:23 pm: Edit

For everyone in America confused about what to include in you personal statement, here is some help i lifted from a site a while ago:
[There are loads of other sites with good and usually better info on it]. Hope it gives you an idea. o and i know that www.essaybank.co.uk has some more examples, not sure if they're very good though...


On the following pages there is a series of sample Personal Statements for 6 different courses:
· HND in Business Administration
· Degree in Marketing
· Degree in Environmental Science
· Degree in Primary Teaching
· Degree in English
· Degree in Veterinary Medicine (suitable for EAS application)
The first 3 courses have strong vocational elements and you might be expected to make reference to the type of career you hope to take up after completing the course.
The degree in Primary Teaching is an example of a course for which personal qualities and prior experience can be particularly important. Other courses for which this type of information is important include Medicine, Social Work and courses for professions supplementary to medicine such as Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy.
The degree in English is an example of the type of course which has no strong vocational element. You may want to study that subject because of your interest, but have no particular plans for the future. Other subjects with no strong vocational element include a wide range of Arts Faculty courses including for example History and Classics.
The application for the degree in Veterinary Medicine is an example of a longer statement, suitable for EAS, for a course where entry is very competitive. Note the use of the sub-headings in this example - not necessary, but an interesting, possibly eye-catching approach, approach when space is available.
There are 2 or 3 examples of Personal Statements for each course except the last.
In each case, Statements A and B are based on the same information.
Neither Statement A nor B is poor, but Statement B is more likely to succeed than Statement A.
Where a third statement, Statement C, is included, this is based on Statement B, but illustrates one alternative style which could be used if your work experience is not relevant and / or you do not take part in activities inside or outside school.
Comments on the Statements are given in italics.
POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS FOR AN HND IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
A
I would like to develop a career in business, so I am applying for an HND in Business Administration. Several members of my family work in offices and building societies, and I would like to get into management. I realise I need a good education to do this and I feel that the HND would be a good starting point.
For my work experience, I spent a week in the local council finance office and very much enjoyed this. However, I would prefer not to take a specialist finance or accounting course at present.
I have qualifications in all of the core skills. I am a good communicator. I gained experience in using both numeracy and information technology skills during my work placement. I also have some experience in problem solving and I enjoy working with other people as part of a team.
Outside school, I enjoy swimming and have helped organise events at our local pool. I feel that this type of experience will be helpful in my studies at college and in work later.
176 words
B
I would like to develop a career in business management. I realise that in order to achieve this I need a sound education and I feel that the HND in Business Administration would give me a good start. The courses for which I have applied all include a number of units in Management, which is an area of work of particular interest to me.
Several members of my family work in offices and building societies, and through discussing their jobs I have gained some knowledge of what is involved. Also for my work experience from school, I spent a week in the Westshire Council Finance Office, where I gained very useful experience in answering the telephone, invoicing, using a computer, filing and working with other members of the staff. I was able to use the knowledge I had gained in my Business Studies course, particularly my understanding of accounting procedures, and to apply my core skills in communication, numeracy, information technology, problem solving and working with others.
I am a well organised person and have been involved in arranging several community events at the local Swimming Pool, where I swim regularly. I feel that this type of experience will be helpful both in my future studies and in work in the business field.
213 words.
A
Para 1 - raises points about family involvement in similar work and need for relevant qualifications but does not develop them. Does not comment on reasons for choice of college courses.
Para 2 - does not make the most of practical skills developed during work experience. Statement about not wanting to take specialised course rather negative - better to be positive about reasons for taking course applied for (see Statement B).
Para 3 - lists all core skills, but no attempt to demonstrate how they have been applied in work experience or elsewhere.
Para 4 - implies that organising swimming events demonstrates valuable personal quality but does not make it clear
B
Overall, text flows and reads better than Statement A.
Para1 - does justify choice of particular courses in the light of special interests - '…….units in Management…'
Para 2 - indicates value of knowing others involved in the type of job aimed at. Mentions benefit of work experience - specifies work done and clearly appreciates opportunity to apply both knowledge and core skills (with examples)
Para 3 - brief mention of one personal quality - particularly relevant to a business situation - and illustrates one way in which that has been used.
POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS FOR A DEGREE IN MARKETING
A
I am applying for a degree in Marketing because I would like to pursue a career in marketing. Among the subjects I am studying at present are Business Studies and Sociology, which I enjoy and I feel will help me in this work.
I spent a week's work placement working in the marketing department of Joe Bloggs, biscuit manufacturer. During this time I was working with a group which was promoting a new product. I learned a lot about the development of a marketing strategy and I gained practical experience in using my core skills. I enjoyed my time there.
At school I am a member of the senior social committee, which organises dances and such like. I also play hockey for the school first team. Outside of school, I am a member of a choir and I do a lot of photography. I have just completed a First Aid course with St Andrews Ambulance.
156 words
B
I would like to make my career in marketing, which I believe to be an important, expanding area of work. I think it would let me to use and develop my creative skills and apply what I have learned about society through studying Sociology.
I spent a one week work placement in the marketing department of Joe Bloggs, biscuit manufacturer. During this time I was involved in the promotion of a new, healthy, muesli biscuit. I learned a great deal about the development of a marketing strategy. I also gained practical experience in using my core skills: communication (spoken, both in person and on the phone, and written); information technology (using a computer for record keeping); numeracy (recording financial costs); problem solving (helping plan a small part of the promotion); and working with other people as part of a team. I benefited a great deal from this experience.
At school I am a member of the senior social committee, which organises and advertises social events. Outside school, I am a member of a choir. For the last two years, as well as singing, I have helped to advertise performances. I am a keen photographer, particularly interested in the development of images for advertising and marketing.
205 words
C If your work experience is apparently not relevant
I would like to make my career in marketing, which I believe to be an important, expanding area of work. I think it would let me to use and develop my creative skills and apply what I have learned about society through studying Sociology.
My one week work placement from school was spent in the housing office of my local council. Although the work was not directly related to marketing, I gained useful practical experience in using my core skills: communication (both in person and on the phone); information technology (using word processing and spreadsheet packages); numeracy (recording financial costs); problem solving (helping reorganise the filing system); and working with other people as part of a team. I also learned to adapt quickly from doing one job to helping with another. This experience will help me both in my studies and in my future career.
At school I am a member of the senior social committee, which organises and advertises social events. Outside school, I am a member of a choir. For the last two years, as well as singing, I have helped to advertise performances. I am a keen photographer, particularly interested in the development of images for advertising and marketing.
202 words
A
Para 1- no reason given for choosing marketing career. Sentence 2 adds little to what already will have appeared in the qualifications section.
Para 2 - avoid repetition of words - eg 'working'. Some information about the new product, and of the specifics of practical experience in core (transferable) skills would help - which core skills? - what practical experience? Why did you enjoy your time there? Could afford to use a few more words here.
Para 3 - does not tie social committee work, choir or photography interests to course applied for. Avoid using vague expressions - 'such like'. Hockey and first aid not particularly relevant - better to use space to focus on relevant items.
B
Overall, text flows and reads well.
Para 1 - brief comment, but tries to say why marketing is chosen career. Also links with subject studied already.
Para 2 - appreciates value of relevant work experience, specifies new product, details core (transferable) skills used (and possibly learned) in work placement and mentions benefit.
Para 3 - ties all information used into coherent narrative focussing on marketing and related activity (advertising). In order to do this omits activities which are not directly relevant.
C
Basically as above, except for:
Para 2 - details and stresses value of core (transferable) skills used (and possibly learned) during work experience which was not particularly relevant to proposed career.
POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS FOR A DEGREE IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
A
I have had a long term interest in the environment, particularly in wildlife, and I would like to make my career in countryside conservation. I am taking Advanced Highers in Biology and Geography, which I think will be helpful.
I was able to get a week's work experience in a country park, in S4. While I was there I took part in a visitor survey which they were doing. This helped me develop my communication skills, as I had to speak to people and ask their opinions. It also gave me experience both in working as part of a team and in working on my own. It helped me to see the effects which people can have on the environment.
I am quite active and enjoy playing for the school football team. Outside school I do a lot of hillwalking, spending many weekends in the north of Scotland. I am also a member of a junior RSPB group, so I spend quite a lot of time on bird reserves.
169 words
B
I have had a long term interest in the environment ever since, on a school visit to a country park, I found a rare crested newt near a pond. My interest has grown since then and I would like to take up a career in countryside conservation. The degree courses I have selected include options which are relevant to this work.
I have already gained some practical experience. As a member of a junior RSPB group, I have recorded bird species, including doing counts. For my work experience from school I was successful in gaining a placement at a country park, where I helped with a survey of visitors, which was being done at the time. The aim was to assess the effects of different numbers of visitors on different types of ground. I could see the severe impact they can have on the environment, especially in the wetland near the lake. My interest in hillwalking has also made me aware of the impact of visitors on various types of environment.
Helping with the visitor survey improved my communication skills. I gained confidence in speaking to people and listening to their opinions. It also gave me experience both in working as part of a team and in working independently. These are skills which will be helpful in my studies and in my career.
223 words
C If you do not participate in activities inside or outside school
I have had a long term interest in the environment ever since, on a school visit to a country park, I found a rare crested newt near a pond. My interest has grown since then and I would like to take up a career in countryside conservation. The degree courses I have selected include options which are relevant to this work.
For my work experience from school, I was successful in gaining a placement at a local country park, where I helped with a survey of visitors, which was being done at the time. The aim was to assess the effects of different numbers of visitors on different types of ground. I could see the severe impact they can have on the environment, especially in the wetland near the lake. I now spend some of my spare time at the park, observing the changes in plants and animals, especially birds, throughout the year.
Helping with the visitor survey improved my communication skills. I gained confidence in speaking to people and listening to their opinions. It also gave me experience both in working as part of a team and in working independently. These are skills which will be helpful in my studies and in my career.
205 words
A
Too many sentences starting with 'I' (also two consecutive sentences start with 'It')
Para 1 - second sentence repeats information given in qualifications section
Para 2 - does not explain aim of visitor survey therefore cannot make the most of what was learned. Does introduce two core skills quite effectively. Sentence 'Helped me to see the effects people can have on the environment' rather weak - try to be more specific.
Para 3 - Does not tie very relevant activities / interests to environmental understanding.
B
Interesting introductory sentence should attract attention. Generally enthusiastic tone to statement.
Para 1 - Last sentence indicates consideration of course content.
Para 2 - Effective use of varied experience in different situations - all tied to environmental interest. Inclusion of aim of visitor survey strengthens comment about visitor impact.
Para 3 - Focuses on core (transferable) skills and mentions relevance to planned career
C
Basically as above, except for:
Para 2 - no strong interests or organised activities (RSPB or hillwalking) - but mentions very informal contact with country park which links with proposed subject. (If you mention an activity like this, which may be very infrequent, make sure you know enough to talk about it at interview, if necessary)
POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS FOR A DEGREE IN PRIMARY TEACHING - a course for which personal qualities are particularly important and for which some relevant practical experience is normally required
A
I have always liked working with young children and have been interested in a career in primary teaching for a number of years now.
For my work experience in S4, I spent a week in a local nursery school, working with children aged 3-5, and found that very rewarding. I really enjoyed a two day visit to a primary school which I spent with Primary 2 and I also enjoyed helping with a local playscheme for 8-10 year olds during the holidays. These experiences have shown me that many different activities can be educational for children.
I have good spoken and written communication skills with both young children and adults. I am a caring person, very fond of children and am able to work in a team and independently.
I have recently completed my First Aid Certificate and I have a wide range of interests, including art and music, which I think is important for a primary teacher who has to interest children in a lot of different subjects.
167 words
B
Whilst spending time with young relatives and with other children, I have realised that my enthusiasm for a subject can catch and hold their interest, and help them to learn.
I get a great deal of satisfaction from this and I feel that I would like to make a career in Primary Teaching. I do realise that there are many other aspects involved in the work of a primary teacher, including planning and preparing lessons, considering how lessons could be improved, marking and keeping discipline in the classroom.
In S4 I spent a week's work experience in a nursery school. At the end of last term I arranged to visit a local primary school for two days. During the summer holiday I helped with a playscheme for 8-10 year olds. As a result of these experiences, I can see that there are educational elements in a wide range of activities.
I am a well organised, responsible person, very interested in children and able to communicate well with both children and adults. I have a good deal of patience with children who are slower to learn.
As can be seen from the subjects I am studying, I have a wide range of interests. I would relish the demanding tasks which a primary teacher faces when teaching various subjects to this age group.
221 words
A
Para 1 - not a very imaginative and probably fairly standard, statement
Para 2 - summary of relevant work experience with comment on what had been learned. Being able to demonstrate appropriate experience of work with children is important for entry to a teaching course. Try to arrange even a brief visit to a local school - if you arrange a visit yourself, say so, as that shows considerable initiative.
Para 3 - core skills and personal qualities - brief statement could have been expanded - statement 'very fond of children' almost repeats what was said in the first paragraph.
Para 4 - first aid certificate and wide range of interests are both relevant, but this sentence is long and not very well phrased
B
Text of whole statement flows and reads well and is focussed towards teaching the younger age group.
Para 1 - interesting introductory sentence, related to education, which should attract attention
Para 2 - clearly aware of varied tasks of primary teacher - it's not just playing with the children!
Para 3 - summary of relevant work experience with comment on what had been learned.
Para 4 - personal qualities which it is important that teachers should have. Mentions one particular strength - patience with slower children.
Para 5 - primary teachers must be able to teach convincingly over a wide range of subjects - demonstrates range of interests. Also acknowledges that the course for which application is being made, and the job to which it will lead, is not easy.
POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS FOR A DEGREE IN ENGLISH. English is an Arts subject with no specific vocational applications, and it may well be that you have no definite plans for the future
A
I am applying for a degree in the Arts Faculty because I am very interested in English Literature. The structure of degree courses in the Arts Faculties at the universities I have chosen will give me a broad base from which I can specialise later.
For my work experience, I spent a week in a large retail store, which was interesting. I was able to use my numeracy skills when recording sales and giving change.
I am a secretary of the school debating society. I maintain records and make arrangements for debates with other schools. I have successfully represented the school in debating competitions. I am also a member of the community service group and regularly help in a local old people's home. Outside school, I am a member of a local drama group, and have taken major parts in several performances.
These activities have helped improve my core skills, particularly communication, problem solving and working with others.
At present I have no career plan. However I feel that the skills which I will learn in an Arts degree course will stand me in good stead in the future.
189 words
B
I am applying for a degree in English Literature because I wish to follow my strong interest in this subject. In my first year I also hope to study psychology and sociology, which I have not been able to take at school. I think these will give me a greater understanding of literature.
My communication skills are good and I have improved them through my membership of the school debating society, of which I am secretary. I have successfully represented the school in debating competitions. As secretary, I maintain records and make arrangements with other societies.
I am a member of the school community service group, helping in an old people's home. Last year we collected stories and produced a booklet about life when they were young.
Outside school, I am a member of a drama group and have taken major roles in both serious productions (including Romeo and Juliet) and the Christmas pantomime.
These activities have all helped develop my core skills, particularly communication, problem solving and working with others.
At present I have no strong career plan. However, as well as increasing my knowledge, I feel that by taking a degree in English, the transferable skills I learn will stand me in good stead in the future.
209 words
C If you do not participate in activities inside or outside school and your work experience is apparently not relevant
I am applying for a degree in English Literature because I wish to follow my strong interest in this subject. In my first year I also hope to study psychology and sociology, which I have not been able to take at school. I think these will give me a greater understanding of literature.
My communication skills are good. I gained practical experience and confidence in using them during my work placement in a large retail store, where I worked as part of a small team in the jewellery department. While I was there, I was involved with both staff and customers, and I realised the extent to which retail sales staff change their mode of communication to adapt to the different people they deal with. These experiences will be helpful both at university and at work afterwards.
At present I have no definite career plan, but work in the media appeals to me. I follow both modern and costume drama productions on television and very often read the books on which they are based.
As well as increasing my knowledge, I feel that by taking a degree in English, the transferable skills I learn will stand me in good stead in the future.
203 words
A
Again, beware of too many sentences starting with 'I'
Para 1 - has considered course content and structure in broad terms
Para 2 - retail work may have also developed communication skills - better focus on more relevant core (transferable) skill
Para 3 - does not make the most of relevant details - producing booklet of stories, participation in range of drama productions - and is 'regularly' an overstatement?
Para 4 - does point up core skills developed
Para 5 - statements very vague.
B
Para 1 - has also studied degree structure and specifies additional subjects for study, with reason
Paras 2, 3, 4, 5 - picks up activities which develop relevant skills and illustrates with useful examples
Para 6 - also has no real career plan - but highlights value of both knowledge and core (transferable) skills.
Does not mention work experience which was not particularly relevant.
C
Para 1 - as above
Para 2 - makes most of core (transferable) skills learned during work experience which seemed not to be relevant.
Para 3 - again, no real career plan, but mentions possibility which links with informal interest in TV drama (most of us watch programmes on TV which could be relevant - the 'environmental' applicant could have quoted wildlife programmes - but if you do this, make sure it is something you can talk about at interview - someone may well pick up on it!)
POSSIBLE APPLICATION FOR A DEGREE IN VETERINARY MEDICINE (LENGTH SUITABLE FOR EAS)
My decision to apply for veterinary medicine is one which has not been taken lightly and has been intended for many years. Influenced by the rural setting in which I was brought up, I have been fortunate enough to gain experience invaluable for both my academic career and my personal development. For years I have striven to find a course in which my desire to work with people and my passion for science go 'hand-in-hand'. I feel veterinary medicine fulfils these criteria excellently. As a result of my devotion and motivation I have sought to gain, as well as the required academic qualifications, as wide a range of relevant experience as possible to equip me for my chosen vocation.
Experience gained
· Assisting in veterinary surgery A (Summer 2000)
· Assisting in veterinary surgery B (Summer 2001)
· Assisting in cattery (Summer 1999 and 2000)
· Assisting in zoo (School Work Experience)
· Assisting large animal vet whilst blood testing and vaccinating against TB and brucellosis
· Assisting on a sheep farm at lambing time (Easter 2002)
· Visiting an abattoir
· Assisting on a dairy farm
· Working in veterinary surgery C on a regular basis since July 1999
· I am also fortunate enough to have a share in my own horse
What I have learned
· To communicate effectively with diverse groups of people.
· To cope with stressful, difficult and often emotional situations.
· To accept responsibility and act accordingly on instruction and on my own initiative.
· As a result of my experience I have become fully aware of the less glamorous aspect of this particular vocation, and appreciate the hard work and dedication required to succeed in such a demanding course.
Sixth year
In an attempt to maintain and develop my scientific knowledge, I have made the three science subjects the focus of my sixth year. My Advanced Highers, chemistry and biology, particularly interest me, as not only do I enjoy the content of the curriculum - it gives me an opportunity to explore the fields I enjoy most. This final year also serves as a means by which to bridge the gap between school and university - which although daunting is an exciting prospect.
Additional information
As well as these related activities, I also worked for a five month period as a waitress in a Golf Club. I believe this experience widened not only my range of practical skills, but also my ability to communicate with and relate to people from all walks of life. I may not otherwise have experienced this.
In addition to the above, I have a number of achievements, which although not directly related to any particular course, demonstrate my enthusiastic and committed nature. I am a member of my school volleyball team which holds a number of titles including the 'Scottish National Championship Winners 2001' (I was voted the 'Most Valuable Player' in the Junior National League 2000). I am also currently undertaking a First Aid course, which will result in my becoming a qualified First Aider.
In 3rd, 4th and 5th year I was voted class Form Captain and in 5th year was appointed one of only 10 prefects. I consider my greatest achievement to be my election as School Captain, which as well as being a great honour carries with it a considerable amount of responsibility. My duties involve liaising between staff and peers, organising various school events, eg open evenings, 6th year prom and occasional public speaking. These tasks require maturity, tolerance and tactfulness, attributes which I believe are essential for a career in veterinary medicine.
603 words
Para 1 - Sets out background and stresses long-term interest in veterinary medicine.
Para 2 - Lists experience - but does not explain type of work done - in this section the types of experience could perhaps have been summarised as, for example, 'in veterinary surgeries' - so leaving space for details of work, for instance 'reception duties' or 'assisting with monitoring animals after surgery' or 'responsible for feeding animals' - as appropriate. (Is 'experience' listed in chronological order? - there are dates for some, why not for all?).
Para 3 - Summarises relevant skills (which are also transferable) learned during this experience.
Para 4 - Value of final year at school, both academic and as a 'bridge'. Note - sentence 2 phrase ' not only do I…… ' suggests there should also be a 'but I also……..', which is not there. Stresses idea of looking forward to going to university but realises it will not be easy.
Para 5 - Information which is not directly vocational. With additional space, is able to give detail which may not be possible on paper version of form - eg details of achievements of volleyball team. Ends by linking non-vocational activities to proposed career, so making them very relevant.

By Arealtexan (Arealtexan) on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 06:36 am: Edit

Have you done your personal statement, Emma?

By Heartfang (Heartfang) on Saturday, August 09, 2003 - 12:16 am: Edit

thanks! really needed the help!


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