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Personal Statement

Now, whatever you do, don’t fall into the tempting but oh so boring trap of beginning your personal statement with ‘I love English’ or ‘I am passionate about Maths’. Keep in mind the poor tutor who has to sift through piles of dull statements and make sure yours stands out.

A snappy opening is key; mine began ‘On 29th February a brutal murder was committed…’ I then went onto explain that this was the date that I first read Robert Browning’s poem ‘Porphyria’s Lover’. This may sounds slightly bonkers but it was definitely eye-catching.

Evidence everything; prove that you are destined to be a doctor by explaining the voluntary work you have carried out with vulnerable people, show the tutor that you love English by commenting on the books you’ve read, demonstrate your passion for maths by explaining your fascination with a particular theorem. Don’t use empty statements, such as ‘I really like working with people, ‘I love reading’. Show it, rather than say it.

Oxbridge differ to other universities in that they aren’t so interested in your extra-curricular activities. Write only a short paragraph detailing the qualities you have developed through sport, drama, music etc but don’t labour the point.

Most of all, never pretend you’ve read the whole works of Shakespeare or Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan when you’ve actually just skimmed a synopsis, you will be caught out. Make sure you know everything you’ve mentioned inside out and back-to-front as, if you get an interview, it’s highly likely you will be asked about them

Good luck!

Top Tips
  • A snappy opening is key.

  • Evidence everything.

  • Redraft it until you are totally happy.

  • Ensure punctuation, grammar, people’s names and the titles of texts are all correct.

  • Get everyone and anyone to read it and give you feedback.

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