By Jill Cushen
The arduous process of writing your personal statement is over and you’ve sat the dreaded admissions test. Now, on to the next- submitting written work.
After spending hours crafting your personal statement, it can feel quite strange to submit a piece of work which you wrote as part of your coursework. You may also feel more pressure for it to be flawless, as, unlike the ELAT exam, it won’t be an essay written under timed conditions. Try not to worry about it being perfect, it’s simply another opportunity to show off your skills and your work also acts as springboard for discussion during the interviews.
The work you send in must be original and ideally have been produced during the course of your school or college work, marked by a teacher and not re-written or corrected in any way.
An analytical discussion of a topic is probably the best piece to send, and a comparative essay will show off your skills as well as the range of your reading. The essay I submitted examined the theme of loyalty in Hamlet and The Great Gatsby, which sparked questions not only on these two texts but about contextual studies and comparing texts from different periods. Your submission must be about a topic concerning English language or literature, not a piece of creative writing.
Unfortunately, during these unprecedented times, like everything else, submitting written work may not be as straightforward as every other year. This year you may also submit an excerpt from your EPQ or from any other longer essay on literary texts. If possible, if may be helpful to add a note to explain the context if you decide to send an extract.
Here are my top tips on submitting written work:
● The subject of your essay is the most important part. Ensure you have a good grasp of the topic as the tutors may quiz you on it and base their questions on the subject matter.
● Stick to the word limit of 2,000 words. There is no need to exceed the word limit, and it may weaken your application to submit a longer piece, as it is an exercise in following the guidelines.
● Seek your teacher’s advice on what to submit, as you will be sending a corrected version with their comments. You will also be required to fill out a cover sheet which you will need your teacher to sign, so don’t leave it until the last day!
● Check what format the work is required to be in on the university website.
● Don’t worry about it not being ‘academic’ enough. It’s not a university essay and should reflect your coursework and how you tackle it.
● Make sure you keep a copy of your submission so you can read over it before your interview.
● Like all parts of the application, avoid doing a post mortem on your work. The hardest part is over- you’ve submitted it. Try to keep in mind that no one part of your application is weighted more heavily than another.
Don’t forget that the deadline for written work is November 10th. Best of luck!