In this section we cover:
The personal statement can be absolutely crucial if you are applying for the most popular/competitive courses. There is a common myth that universities do not read personal statements and your grades are all that count. Please ignore this myth. Universities will read your personal statement and it might be the difference between you receiving an offer or not..
You need a carefully considered and crafted personal statement to help you stand out from the crowd because:
Admissions tutors (or admissions officers) in the department to which you have applied will read them as they search to identify applicants who will have a genuine interest and a real ability in the subject area.
The important thing here is that it is departmental staff that will read your personal statement. Make sure you read the full course description and link your personal statement to the course you want to study. This is also a good way to see if you really want to study the course. It's three to four years of your life, so do your research.
At Stowe, we formally start discussions about personal statements at the beginning of Lent term. Planning early is essential as you will be able to identify gaps in your ideal personal statement early and plan accordingly.
Start early and apply before the official deadlines (October 15th for Oxbridge, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science, January 15th for almost all other courses, and March 24th for some Art and Design courses) because:
Your reasons for choosing this particular course, and your knowledge and experience of, as well as interest and ability in, the subject applied for.
The first section of the statement can take up to 95% of your personal statement in applications to competitive courses. (e.g. not much room for discussions about sports etc. Even then, you will link sports into the essential characteristics of an outstanding academic)
Activities and positions (see A below) that have developed the general skills and qualities (see B) that are valuable to all students who study any subject. These differ from the skills specifically required for your subject that you read about in the previous section.