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UCAS personal statement and 'helpful' input

(14 Posts)
whatdoiknowanyway Fri 14-Oct-11 09:37:44

DD has been working on her personal statement for university. As many will know it's hard work - sum up your life, ambitions, motivation and experience in 4000 characters including spaces (about 700 words).

I've been acting as a sounding board and helping her to edit it down from 6000+ characters without losing any of the key messages. She's now on draft 10 and the end is in sight.

Last night I was conscious that we'd been talking about it a lot and DH might be feeling excluded so suggested that she ask for his input. He sat at the computer, read the first paragraph and said 'I'm not sure you should start with this word'. I suggested, nicely, that it would be really useful if he could read through once for content and then we could talk in more detail about style and so he did. But he then went into defensive mode and I know I'm going to get it in the neck at some point about jumping down his throat.

But WIBU? I didn't jump down his throat and I did try to say it nicely but after all DD's (and my) hard work counting characters, considering alternative words, making sure relevant points were included it wasn't exactly helpful to get a criticism after reading just one paragraph.

laptopdancer Fri 14-Oct-11 09:38:31

what is she applying for?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 14-Oct-11 09:40:41

YABU... ask for someone's opinion and you have to take what they say, warts and all. If you'd only wanted platitudes rather than an honest critique, best to make that clear up front.

whatdoiknowanyway Fri 14-Oct-11 09:40:50

English and History, so it's got to be written well.

aldiwhore Fri 14-Oct-11 09:42:20

I think help comes in different forms. My DH deals with what he sees as problems as he sees them, and sometimes this works. I, like you, prefer to see the whole, then go back over it, sometimes I miss things.

Both ways are valid.

Ask him to make notes rather than speak out loud, and then your dd can go through it later... this means he gets to help in his way (which is valid) and you don't have to hear the constant stream of (what I would consider (details).

You were being a little unreasonable I'm afraid, he's parent too, you asked for his input, he gave it, you barked... it is NOT his fault for giving what you perceive as the wrong kind of help. However, I TOTALLY understand your reaction!!

MySweetPrince Fri 14-Oct-11 09:44:29

She could ask her sixth form head of year to look over it as DD has just started University and her teacher was very helpful in pointing out relevant phrases to add as they do it every year and know what the Universities expect. Good luck.

JeremyVile Fri 14-Oct-11 09:46:42

Dont be daft. You asked him to give feedback.
Not sure it was worth him getting huffy with you (you say you asked nicely that he read it all before giving an opinion, he clearly didnt think it was said nicely) but he mentioned something as he saw it, nothing wrong with that.
You sound a bit control freaky.
And if your problem is that he found fault at all, then I can sympathise I supose after all the work thats gone into it but you shouldnt have requested his input.

whatdoiknowanyway Fri 14-Oct-11 09:57:21

Thing is I didn't bark. I made a conscious effort to speak positively and constructively.

I didn't want platitudes. He's her dad, his opinion is as valid as mine. It was just the speed of the negative comment. I wouldnt have minded if he'd read through and then said this is good, this could be improved, by the way that first paragraph might be better.

It was just, after he'd seen DD sweating over the thing for days, to sit down and immediately say 'well I wouldn't start it like this' - I didn't think it was out of order to suggest it would be really helpful if he could read it as a whole first.

Her school are being very helpful as regards content but unfortunately keep suggesting she adds stuff which is not that easy to do.

EllaDee Fri 14-Oct-11 10:00:35

You asked for feedback.

She wants to study English and History. You don't need to get used to people criticizing how she writes - but she does! It's good practice. And most people marking her essays will consider content and style at the same time.

Btw, I'm sure she will be fine - honesty, after so much work, it must be pretty near perfect!

EllaDee Fri 14-Oct-11 10:09:25

Oops, I re-read that and it's come out harsher than I intended. blush

I do see why it's annoying! It's just that it's not your personal statement, so I doubt your DH realized it sounded as if he was criticizing you (though obviously after so much effort it will feel like that). But I think his attitude won't do your DD any harm, especially in terms of what she could expect from tutors at university, who may be a bit harsher than teachers at school.

whatdoiknowanyway Fri 14-Oct-11 10:28:04

Not harsh at all Ella. I appreciated your comment.

I probably haven't expressed myself well. I know he wasn't criticising me. It really is DD's work not mine. Maybe I was being overprotective. My issue was with the timing, not the criticism.

Yes, she needs criticism, yes she will get criticism and will have to deal with it (which she does, very well). She has no problem with, and is very used to, a teacher or tutor criticising her work. She really wanted her dad's feedback. The comment was perfectly valid, but did it have to be given as a knee jerk reaction as soon as he sat down at the computer? That was it really.

EllaDee Fri 14-Oct-11 10:43:38

Yes, I do see. My dad drives me mad with this sort of thing too - I always used to just want to yell 'read it first, then tell me about the problems!'. But he did stand me in good stead when crabby tutors (I did English) would do the same!

Best of luck to your DD.

higgle Fri 14-Oct-11 11:28:56

There are lots of helpful ideas on "The Student Room" website for personal statements.

whatdoiknowanyway Fri 14-Oct-11 12:13:45

Thank you

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