This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Personal Statements(138 Posts)
Am I the only person drafting their child's personal statement?
Please tell me I'm not alone.
Surely if your child isn't motivated enough to do it themself they shouldn't be applying to uni?
He's motivated, just getting himself into such a knot about it. He did try, and I've bought him books, and talked it through, but I've ended up doing it for him.
He is at least pathetically grateful.
Yep, sorry very wrong. Clue is in the name.
We did our dd's she is very motivated for uni but has asd. We weren't going to let her miss out for the sake of s PS.
Tear up what you've written. Yes he will tie himself up in knots over it - that's part of the process. Everyone goes through it. How is he ever going to manage if you swoop in and take over
There's plenty of advice and guidance online if he looks for it.
Help him by proof reading or suggesting things he could include but don't do it for him.
I've heard from admissions staff that it's often very obvious when a parent has written a personal statement. It will reflect very badly on your child if anyone suspects that you have written it for them.
Is your son at college? If so, his personal tutor will be able to help him... and will also know what to avoid. (I was a personal tutor and helped hundreds of students to write their personal statements, but wouldn't have drafted them for them).
have to agree with rosie - the clue is in the name. That said I get the impression that some schools / sixth form
depersonalise polish statements until perceived that they will dazzle like no other
What is the urgency for getting it done so soon? Even the deadline for Oxbridge / med / vet med is not until mid October, although granted may be need to be ready a couple of weeks ahead of that. Although if a DC aiming for those needs someone else to write their PS for them that probably does not bode too well for the future.
I think though there is a valid point as to how important, or in many cases most likely not, the PS is, and whether this can ever justify the level of angst that some seem to go through.
I didn't help my dd draft hers, that said, she went online and looked at ones that other students had written for the same subject and used their structure as a guide.
She used those that claimed to have had offers from top universities. It then went through quite a few re-writes, so in the end it was nothing like any of the ones she had looked at. Help him get something down and the let him edit/ rewrite it.
Although most course offers will depend predominantly on grades rather than PS, drafting and writing the PS is part of a student learning curve.
I would suggest to your DS that he writes now as randomly as he wants any bits and pieces that might be relevant to his academic interests. The PS will then start taking shape little by little over the next couple of months by him linking the best bits and pieces together and rewording the sentences.
If you do it yourself you will save him the pain but he will lose out on what is a useful training exercise for future resumes and CVs. At the worst your intervention might put his application in a reject pile since it will clearly not be the work of a teenager.
dd has written hers, I checked there was nothing important she'd left out, dh checked there was nothing glaringly bad, her personal tutor made some suggestions to get it down within the word count.
After she finished her summer placement she will write her final draft.
I work in a school sixth form and loads of parents help their young people - frequently doing the job for them. I help significantly with a good few myself every year for students whose parents are not able to help. I do always make sure the student sits with me though and understands the process and what we are trying to achieve
Would your son be able to contribute verbally - even if you do the writing up?
You are not alone of course there are plenty who help and many are re-written so many tines til the school thinks it says what they think is best. Those who protest too much are probably the ones who wrote it from start to finish and the child just gave in because it was the norm!
It can be really hard for a child to sell themselves.
University lecturer here. YABU.
Just no. No, no, no, no. We interview and I ask questions about their personal statement.
It's all kinds of wrong.
Bollocks bacere. I protest because it is wrong. I do also have the both sides angle. I was a uni lecturer for quite a few years and did a bit of admissions stuff. I now teach at secondary with a large sixth form load., and have four dc, three at uni. I wrote none of their ps and since they also no right from wrong they didn't ask me to do so. ( in fact i struggled to be allowed to get a read of it, as they preferred not to be accused of cheating by their own schools because of my background)
I've done a lot of redrafting in my time but I always make the applicant write then first. Otherwise they aren't personal and tend to fall a bit flat.
The secret no one tells the kids is that outside of the top unis and most competitive courses no one really reads them anyway. Certainly when I worked at a mid ranked Russell Group they only read them for about 1/3 of the courses or in borderline cases, otherwise if you had the grades you got an offer.
It's a valuable life skill though and something they will have to do when applying for jobs in later life so YABU in that respect.
I proof read my DSs and made some suggestions, but he wrote it, as he knew what was expected.
The problem here is because my son is very good at STEM subjects, but this seems to him like more of a creative writing task, and he's never been any good at that.
He's struggling with trying to show his (genuine) enthusiasm for Maths, using words.
If they can't write a personal statement, they shouldn't be doing a degree. Help, check, read by all means but the first and the last draft should be totally theirs. I mean, it's not much to ask ... "tell me about yourself and your interests".
DD was very very ill in the run up to Yr 13, and had been unable to do anything in the two weeks before the start of term which had been set aside for University choice and first draft PS. It was medical school so an early deadline and an important PS.
What I did, when she finally confessed (at midnight ) that the first draft was due in at school the following morning, was prepare bullet points containing what she had done and roughly ordered into three paras. She had already written a (really good) first para drawing on her on-going experience and putting it in the context of her interest in medicine, so my aim was simply to get her work experience, volunteering and extra curricular down on paper, so the school were aware and could guide her.
In normal circumstances I think I would have simply read through her first draft and pointed out any omissions, again leaving it to her school to help with style and format.
The other thing I did was to print out each of the four medical schools list of what they are looking for, "Community involvement" etc and suggest she check carefully after each draft that she had covered each requirement, evidenced it and ideally said what she had learnt from it. In retrospect, though probably not surprisingly, starting from University guidance helps a lot especially for those subjects where you are not expected to be a gifted writer. It becomes an exercise in ticking the boxes and by the time you have done this you have used up most of your word count.
My assumption was that a PS' would need to be scored and the starting point for scoring would be requirements and desirables listed in the guidance.
I wish I had done this for DS who was applying for economics, another subject where a PS can be important for sifting. He ended up being rejected by three Universities despite a 4 x A* prediction in suitable subjects, and a huge interest in economics. He too struggled, though I left it to the school and did not get involved. It is difficult for teenagers to write something so very important, especially when they do not enjoy writing. He now feels that his PS was the issue. Those Universities who read PS' thoroughly, provide very detailed guidance.
The only other input I had into DD's PS, and again mainly because she was still in pretty bad shape, was the day before the deadline and with the word count. Cue a disagreement with DH who though she should also smooth up some of the more angular text. Given she was attaching an Ed Psych report confirming she was dyslexic, I thought it was more important for her PS to sound authentic. The girl they interviewed would have been the same as the girl whose PS they read.
Ds has finished his first draft as he goes back to school on 10th August. I downloaded a guide from the UCAS website and he made some notes on the sheets and took it from there. He also had a guide from Leeds university on what to include in your personal statement. I had a look at it, made some suggestions re structure - ie grouping certain things together and no doubt his tutor will have some advice too.