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Durham: Substitute Personal Statement

(11 Posts)
shockthemonkey Thu 07-Jan-16 16:01:21

A slightly hard-pressed charge of mine is wondering if she can get away with not supplying a substitute PS to Durham. She has written a good PS for Development Studies type courses... at Durham she is applying for Combined Social Sciences (Econ and Geog).

Whatever she writes for Durham will actually replace her original UCAS PS however, rather than being considered alongside it. So since her UCAS PS covers a lot of her feelings and findings on things to do with sustainability, global development and the condition of women, much which she would also want to say to Durham, is there any point in doing this second PS?

I suppose the question comes down to how coherent are her choices:

- Econ and Devel at uni 1,
- Devel Studies at uni 2,
- Combined Social Sciences at uni 3 (Durham),
- Flexi Combined Honours at uni 4 (uni does not allow an additional PS)
- Global Sustainable Devel at uni 5

Can anyone comment?

SoWhite Thu 07-Jan-16 21:01:05

I did Politics and Econ at Durham. Castle, if anybody cares! Then I went on to a Development MA.

Using the original development studies will put her at a disadvantage. The question is, how likely is she to want to put Durham as her first choice?

If it is her first choice, write for it.

Has she considered this course though?

The Durham politics and IR courses are the same - students do the same modules. By year 2, you are able to choose entirely Development and political economy modules - effectively a Development and Econ degree. The year 1 compulsory contextual modules prove very helpful as a foundation in development.

This route would allow her to use a broadly political, geopolitical and development-based PS for all applications.

It is also a less competitive course than combined honours, with a higher chance of acceptance.

SoWhite Thu 07-Jan-16 21:03:13

Should also state, Durham requires you do 6 modules per year.

This only includes 4 or 5 (depending on your course) modules from your chosen subject. She could easily study 3 economics, 2 international relations, and 1 geography module (or a similar mix) for the entirety of her degree.

I wish I'd done more languages under this structure when I was doing mine.

shockthemonkey Fri 08-Jan-16 15:27:38

Thank you very much. I will ask her to look at it. Very helpful indeed.

shockthemonkey Fri 08-Jan-16 15:35:28

And yes, we care about Castle! I've sent her bumph about colleges but I'm not sure she's paid much attention to it. She is applying a bit late in the day (came to us very late!).

SoWhite Fri 08-Jan-16 16:30:18

Best of luck to her - Castle is a fantastic place. I am still very connected to it as an alumni career advisor, and I hold it very close to my heart.

Any more questions, send them my way!

GypsyFl0ss Fri 08-Jan-16 17:06:04

The alternative PS is not obligatory. DD is doing combined hons social sciences there and when we did the open day lecture last year the senior tutor said it wasn't necessary unless you were applying for biomed for example having used all yr other choices for med school for example.

DD applied for a mixture of politics, IR and french combined courses across the five uni choices and just added to her PS that she'd like the opportunity to study Arabic too, which only Durham offered.

Shout if you want any more info. She's loving it and can't wait to get back there!

shockthemonkey Fri 08-Jan-16 17:37:46

Thank you again! Yes we're very keen on Durham and always have been.

She'd be lucky, if she gets in, to get her college of choice.

Thanks Gypsy, that's also very useful.

ProfGrammaticus Fri 08-Jan-16 17:46:26

If you put in a substitute personal statement, can Durham tell you have done it? So they might think your heart isn't fully in your application to them?

Not relevant perhaps to the OP, but I know they used to be very antsy about students applying to Oxford or Cambridge and seeing them as second place - do they use this malarkey to tell when people have done just that? I know that Cambridge say "we are only really bothered about your academics" whereas Durham say "we know some unis are only bothered about your academics, but we want to know how you will enhance the life of the college". So do they see the substitute statement, esp those sent before October, and go - aha! an Oxbridge applicant!?

GypsyFl0ss Fri 08-Jan-16 18:48:40

Shock the whole college thing really is the luck of the draw these days. They allocate so many rooms to each subject and if they've filled their quota for your subject then you get sent on to other colleges. DD applied for Chads and ended up in Grey. Right up to going in last Oct she wasn't whiolly convinced it was the right place for her but now she loves it and from what I gather they all feel like that wherever they end up being offered.

The thing that catches my attention about Durham when I visit is just how many young adults there are walking about! As it's hilly I've not seen loads cycling but definitely hoards walking. DD reckons she does about 4 miles/ day just to and from college and her lecture sites, never mind going in to town.

SoWhite Fri 08-Jan-16 20:00:22

I wouldn't worry too much about the college thing either. There is only really one divide - Hill/Bailey. Hill = modern buildings, Bailey = traditional setting. But beyond that, the mix of people and cultures within them are all broadly the same.

Everybody has a broadly Durham experience no matter the college.

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