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tying myself up in knots over personal statement(25 Posts)
Looking for some help and advice please!I'm doing the ucas thing for the 2nd time in my life -last time was in 1997, when I chose the wrong thing then dropped out in 2nd year. This time I'm applying to uni to study child nursing., as mature student I''ll be 36. I''ve 3 kids at home and haven't worked in 7 years. Oh I do other stuff and I'm doing a n A level in biology etc, but I don't think I'm special enough...
My personal statement is giving me awful anxiety. I want to get on the course so badly I get emotional thinking about it. What a freak eh?
Everything I write sounds cheesy Scared an admissions tutor will think the same and laugh at my application.
The main focus of the personal statement should be why you want to do the course (and don't worry if its a bit cheesy!). Have you had a look at other personal statements? not necessarily for what you want to study but for other similar subjects to give you the confidence that you are on the right lines.
There is a lot of info here:
Aw thanks, its just so hard trying to sounds unique and special when Ive not done anything meaningful for a long time. All the examples I read seem to be from folks with a ton of relevant experience etc. I can only apply to one course at one uni, because of where I live. So I only have I chance... Ah
My three sons have all done personal statements fairly recently. The stress and angst was hideous.
My husband and I went to a talk at Cambridge uni from the head of admissions. He said they want to know that you are academically up to the course, that you understand what the course is about and that you can demonstrate that you really want to do it.
He said that evidence of hobbies etc is good, but they've seen it all before and at the end if the day they are an irrelevance.
Just talk passionately about what the course means to you, why you want to do it and what makes you think you can do it.
When you read personal statements they are all completely different. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
I can only apply to one course at one uni, because of where I live. So I only have I chance...
Think positively! Most applicants have to write a catch-all statement to appeal to five different Universities / admissions tutors, maybe even more than one subject. If you are only applying to one University then you can make specific comments which are targetted especially on that course.
Stick to why you want to study the course, demonstrate you know what is involved and show what skills and experiences you can bring to it. This doesn't have to be through paid work but could be as a friend or volunteer.
Have you done any other courses recently? As an admissions tutor, I always like to see evidence of recent study on an application, even if the subject is not that relevant to the course. If not, mention what you are (or can) do to brush up on study skills (eg mention a book you have read).
A couple of my students are applying for nursing/midwifery courses and the student room personal statement library as webwiz points out, really is worth reading for ideas. There are quite a few nursing ones there.
You are special & unique - think positively. You can do this.
'I want to get on the course so badly I get emotional thinking about it.'
Use that emotion - eg, I am passionate about child nursing...
Thanks all, its just means so much to me to get on the course, I love being with children, I find talking to them enjoyable and easy..
ive spent a long time a home caring kids and thinking about doing nursing. Im doing A Level Biology one night a week at college. I do Brownies, help out at school and nursery etc. Its hard trying to make my mummy work seem relevant without going on about being a mum.... Does that make any sense?
You'll be up against a lot of very young people who are fresh out of school/college. Their experience may be theoretical rather than practical. What makes you special and unique is that you have a lot of very useful experience of actually working with children, both your own and other people's.
Why do you do Brownies? Have you learned anything through it that might be relevant to working in nursing, perhaps something to do with supporting children facing new and challenging situations (a first night spent away from home at camp etc.).
What skills has having your own children taught you? Does being a parent give you particular insight in the needs of supporting the whole family?
I love that you say you find talking to children enjoyable and easy.
Good luck - you sounds great!
I am an admissions tutor at a university. I have to view them if the student doesn't have the required grades to get in.
I want to see that you are passionate about the course and that you will be committed. I must say though that most of the time they are not even read so don;t worry too much!
Have you ever had to take one of your children to hospital? If so what qualities did you admire in the nursing staff and how do you demonstrate those yourself? What do you think is vital in a children's nurse? You will obviously have a better understanding of this than an 18 year old who has no children of his/her own so make sure you emphasise this. My experience helping students apply for uni is that mature students are really valued on vocational courses. Good luck!
Thank you all so much, this is all good stuff. I guess that I do have lots of relevant qualities, its just about rephrasing it really. I just want the admissions officer to see potential in me. As long as I can get an interview and a conditional offer , based on my A Level, think I have all the qualifications already. Ohhh please keep your fingers crossed for me..
you have three children at home so you've nursed three children through childhood ailments and you understand the worries of a parent with a sick child. You've deal with sick children's messy nappies and probably vomit, you've had your hands dirty. You've been through the terrible twos (3 times?) and may have developed ideas on coping with tantrums. You have relevant experience of children at nursery, school and brownies. If you're managing three children and studying A level you must have time management and organisational skills. Mothers tend to undersell what they do!
Many personal statements are not read, just scanned for any special circumstances. What academic qualifications do you have? If they are good and you have a good reference (who is writing it?) then they should take you. If your academic skills are below the normal requirement you'll have to sell yourself more but if you can show you're hard working and reliable you're a reasonable prospect. Don't comment on having dropped out before unless asked specifically why you didn't study earlier and even then try to avoid mentioning it, maybe talk about immaturity and not knowing what you wanted to do.
Things I'd be looking for - how you are doing in the biology A level for evidence that you can manage study on top of your children, any evidence of experience with children with special needs, knowledge of the course and motivation to complete a demanding course. I'm sure there will be children at school/nursery/brownies with things like asthma but do any have needs beyond that? Read the person requirements for the course and make sure you relate what you have done to them and make sure your referee comments on your suitability for the course. You can also get someone else to write a supporting letter. Your referee needs to be aware of the various things you are doing and if possible include comments from other people, words like reliable, conscientious and hard-working are good.
The word passionate should be avoided if possible.
When I filled in my application form 6 years ago, the university I was applying to didn't interview the candidates. We were chosen based on our personal statements and references.
When I started the course I discovered that a few people had applied 2 or 3 times, blaming their personal statements for their previous rejections.
I did adult nursing and in my personal statement I wrote that I knew what was expected of me, how demanding the course was and that I had family support with my children and a very supportive husband. I wanted them to know that I had time in my life to complete the course and that I wouldn't take a day off every time my children were ill or had school holidays. I also stressed that being older and having chosen to do an open university course (at cost to me and to show study within the last 5 years - but I didnt write that part) showed that I was very serious about this career choice.
Just to add, I had 3 children when I applied but had 4 by the end of the course. I was 29 when I started and that was the average age of my cohort.
One more thing, my references came from my Open University tutor and a former employer.
I had never spoken to my Open University tutor and had only completed the first 3 assignments at that time.
My employer was a complete pain and in the end I phoned on the last day for posting the application form, telling him I was going to come and collect the form in 10 minutes.
When I went to collect the form, he still hadn't written my reference. He went into his office and came back 5 minutes later and handed me the form. This is what he wrote:
"The qualities on the list, I feel NotLongUntilXmas has them all. If you need any further information please contact me at........"
I'm assuming they contacted him for more information, but it wasn't a great reference!
As a former Admissions Tutor and current Head of Department, I'd second creamtea's advice. Think about why you want to study that specific course. But please, please, please DON'T talk about your "passion" for the subject ...
Think about what life skills you would bring to the course. Try to go through a few drafts do that you move from the personal, to the analytical.
Think about how these life skills would help you adjust to the rigours of study of the subject, and what you could bring to the course.
Show you know what is generally in the course, to show you've done your research.
As someone who's returning to study, your statement will give an indication of how well you can write, so make sure your grammar, spelling, and punctuation are error-free. Get someone with an eagle eye to proof read for you. Think about the logical structure of your statement, as this will show that you are capable of putting together a rational, reasoned argument (ie preparation for writing essays and reports).
And don't try to second guess the Admissions Tutor - yes, we will have read SOME of what you write in all the other statements, but that's OK. We're used to that. Make sure you include specifics about YOU - that's what we look for. And that you know what the course entails. We want a good fit both ways -- that you feel it's the right course for you, and that we feel that you will prosper in the course. We really don't set people up NOT to succeed!
Good luck -- it's great to see people returning to study. Generally, tutors love "mature age" students, because they're motivated and responsible and usually very very bright.
Thank you all for the lovely ideas and motivation and helpful advice. Thats my ucas form away now... I actually feel sick with nerves thinking about it. I don't think I'll ever feel 100% happy with what I wrote for my PS. But what will be will be. Keep your fingers crossed for me please please. I feel I have been waiting my whole life for this.....
I got an interview!
I am scared witless! It is a group interview so the pressure will be on..!
I want it so badly....
THANK YOU all for your help with my personal statement, I know I wouldnt have got an interview without you guys stopping me procrastinating
Brilliant. I told you that you could do this.
Now try to relax and be yourself (obviously your best self).
Good luck - fingers crossed for you. Keep us posted.
Well, had my interview with a bunch of 18 year olds... Managed to hold my own and the University have made me an unconditional offer.....
So unbelievably thrilled to bits.
Thank you fussychica...
I'm going to be a student children's nurse in september :D !!
Wow, Wow, Wow! You sound so lovely, I hope you are at our hospital if any of mine get sick :-)
Great news! Well done, and how wonderful to have an unconditional offer.