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I'm really struggling with my personal statement

(22 Posts)
DiaDuit Sat 01-Nov-14 21:59:26

I just cannot get anything down. I've read quite a few sample personal statements online and a classmate allowed me to read his but when it comes to writing my own i just cannot get my head to work.

I am doing an engineering access course and have chosen aerospace engineering, accounting, applied maths and physics, maths, and quantity surveying and commercial management. I really want to keep my options open.

But this means i cant make my personal statement specific to one field and i'm struggling with what to write. I have written about where i was before and why i want to do a degree but beyond that i'm really stuck.

Can anyone help?

Whyjustwhyagain Sun 02-Nov-14 12:20:43

No real advice, but I can see why you are struggling to write a PS which will impress both admissions at aerospace engineering and admissions at quantity surveying!
Perhaps the best advice would be to look at what you really want to study, and look at courses to help you, then the PS will at least make sense to the person reading it.
I am sure the foundation degree and the skills learned can be used to your advantage across a range of degree courses.

Cherrypi Sun 02-Nov-14 12:26:17

Your personal statement needs to be mostly about your chosen subject and why you love it so much with evidence. I think your going to have difficulty demonstrating that. Are these courses all at the same uni?

DiaDuit Sun 02-Nov-14 12:36:59

I think you're both right. I need to rethink my options. Two different unis. The reason for such variation was that they have decreasing entry requirements in the order i have listed them so i wanted to give myself a good chance of at least getting onto one course. But yes, i can see how difficult i've made things wrt my statement. I made the choices a few weeks ago but really i have no interest in QS, it was just a back up plan. Will go away and have another think.

MadameJosephine Sun 02-Nov-14 16:23:18

I agree with the others, you need to narrow down your options but when you do you may find the student room personal statement building tool useful?

www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Personal_statement_help

senua Sun 02-Nov-14 17:58:17

You can waffle about your love of logic, understanding, systems and analysis. About the application of them in a commercial way. About how you like to bounce things between study areas, to see the connections.
Can you give past examples of this? As school teachers say "show, don't tell", because talk is cheap.

Write it with the emphasis on the course that you really want but try to make it woolly enough to fit the others.

DiaDuit Sun 02-Nov-14 19:34:24

Thanks for link madame.

Examples is another thing i'm struggling with. I dont really have any relevant experience other than working in a bank. Not sure how much waffle i could get out of that really. That was straight out of school and then a four year gap to have the DCs. Right now i'm just working part time as a cleaner.

skylark2 Sun 02-Nov-14 20:43:09

I think the problem is that you're saying you want to keep your options open while applying for courses which are narrow. The only "options open" course you have there is applied maths and physics. Why don't you apply for that at some different unis, rather than courses which you don't know whether you want to do. Applying for lots of different narrow courses doesn't keep your options open anyway, since you can only study one of them.

MillyMollyMama Wed 05-Nov-14 00:02:50

Most people write a personal statement for one course at 5 universities. I am totally amazed that on an access course, no-one has given you advice on this. Writing a PS in the way you have tried is virtually impossible. Narrow it down to one subject and write about why you are wanting to study it to a higher level, what you have done to facilitate your interest and what especially interests you about the subject. You cannot possibly show detailed interest in being a Quantity Surveyor, an Aerospace Engineer and an Accountant on the same application form!

You don't need to write much about employment. After all, no 18 year olds have much employment to write about. You should add information about any hobbies or any work you have done, paid or unpaid, that helped you with your subject. Talk about what excites you about what you want to study. You need to plan your approach to the application and look at what the course requirements are. What sort of person are they looking for? The courses usually have this sort of info on line. Make sure your cv fits.

Bunnyjo Thu 06-Nov-14 21:37:35

Honestly, you need to narrow down your options. It is impossible to make your PS cover all the options you have chosen without making the University admissions person go hmm before filing your application in the firmly in the 'no' pile.

What do you want to do when you graduate? Where do your interests lie? Once you have found that you can then decide on degree course(s) to apply for and, by looking at their admissions pages, can tailor your PS to suit.

Good luck, I know how daunting and stressful this time is- I'm a second year university student!

CareersDragon Thu 06-Nov-14 22:13:05

How about talking your choices through with a Careers Adviser? It sounds as if you could do with some proper advice about your best way forward, narrowing your choices to ones that you really want to study, or a career area that motivates you. The college where you've been studying your Access Course should provide access to a Careers Adviser, or alternatively, contact the National Careers Service: www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk.

RandomFriend Sat 08-Nov-14 11:56:07

OP, are you fixed geographically for family reasons and applying for five different courses at a single location? That would make sense - you know that you want to go to university, you know where you want to go but you don't yet know which course you want to do.

Looking at other people's personal statements can be quite intimidating - but remember, every PS you read will probably have gone through several drafts.

Instead, perhaps start from what you want to say about yourself and your academic work (what you have particularly enjoyed on the access course), etc. If you focus on what you like in physics, that could be a good start for something that is applicable to all. For courses that have lower admmissions criteria, it is often less important to write a tailored statement for that course. So, a statement that is about your attributes that make you suitable for AE and M&P will also be relevant to CM.

In terms of writing your personal statement, there is a good tool called "personal statement mind map" which you can download from here.

You still have two months before the final application has to be done, so if you are unsure at this stage which course to apply for because it depends on grades, it may be worth waiting a bit until you have some more feedback on what your predicted grades are likely to be.

Catsarebastards Sat 08-Nov-14 14:55:45

Hi, thank you all for great advice. I have been so busy with work and school so not been back to reply or answer questions.

Our course co ordinator has given us a deadline of next friday to have our applications completed. It was to be yesterday but others as well as myself arent yet decided on their choices or finished their PS.

I have made an appointment with the college careers service for next week to go over my choices. Ive removed quantity surveying as i really am not interested in that and replaced it with a physics course. But i'm still not 100% fixed on these.

I have children who are in school, their dad and all extended family live here so i wont be looking further afield for university so just two options available to me.

I have done a PS with help from a family member and my co-ordinator has said it is fine and ready to go but i'm still not set on the choices. confused

RandomFriend Sat 08-Nov-14 15:23:26

You don't have to make all five of your UKAS choices at once. It is possible to add just one or two course now, and the other three or four later.

RandomFriend Sat 08-Nov-14 15:24:18

If you add two or more choices now, you pay the full £23, and can add the other three choices at leisure.

Catsarebastards Sat 08-Nov-14 16:03:59

Ahh! I didnt know that at all. That would be a good idea to just add the couple i am sure of. Thank you random.

ATailofTwoKitties Sat 08-Nov-14 16:13:14

Yes, but it will still be the same PS for all the courses, as far as I understand it.

RandomFriend Sat 08-Nov-14 16:20:26

My pleasure to provide info!

DD put just two initially, and added a third last week. You add them through "track", which also confused me at first.

The disadvantage of adding courses later, as it was explained to me, is that there is still a single, personal statement.

I thing that for courses that are not over-subscribed, the PS is not the most important thing. So if you are applying to the same institution for a course that requires lower grades, they will know that this is a second choice at the same university.

Well done for being on the acess course and for having decided to go to uni - good luck!

Catsarebastards Sat 08-Nov-14 16:28:17

Thank you random.

Does the university know if i have applied for several courses at the same one? I suppose it is likely that the same people will be reading my personal statement/application for both the physics courses.

RandomFriend Sat 08-Nov-14 16:34:05

I recall I did read somewhere that a university would not know where else you have applied, unless you have applied for more than one coure at the same place. So yes, they would know that you have applied for several at one institution.

I don't think that matters, though. That will just make them realise that you are keen to go there. When they see your local address (and age, I presume?) they will realise that you are local. Also, there is a place on the application to say that you would be "living at home".

Catsarebastards Sat 08-Nov-14 17:26:45

Yes that's right i remember ticking those boxes. Well with only two universities here (NI) i would be very surprised if they held it against an applicant for applying twice to the same uni grin

AlphaBravoHenryFoxtons Sat 08-Nov-14 20:15:26

Write the PS for engineering. Then email the admissions office of the QS course, explaining the circumstances and ask them if they might permit you to email a supplementary PS tailored to quantity surveying.

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