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657786 Posts in 9259 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 61 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
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Author Topic: Writing a Personal Statement for University.  (Read 2385 times)
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Chet
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Posts: 3629


« on: Sep 30, 2009, 12:48:29 PM »

ARGH?

I had like a general idea of what I wanted to write, but no I'm staring at a blank word document and I'm absolutely stumped.

So far I have

"I am awesome."

HELP?
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Greg Nog
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 30, 2009, 12:53:20 PM »

What do the instructions ask for?
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Chet
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:02:50 PM »



Like I said, I kinda have a general idea of what I want to put across, but starting it is a pain. Also, most people here go to university after college at 18, so personal statements usually consist of academic acheivements. I'm 23 and I have acheived fuck all in the past five years, how do I disguise this?

I'm going to be applying for English Lit and American studies at a couple of places and just English Lit at my other 3 choices.
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Greg Nog
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:05:55 PM »

You characterize the last five years as a time of personal growth that allowed you to reflect on the nature of the academic experience and its relevance to your life?
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Chet
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:07:28 PM »

You characterize the last five years as a time of personal growth that allowed you to reflect on the nature of the academic experience and its relevance to your life?
That's some good shit, right there.
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Greg Nog
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:07:53 PM »

Also:  American studies?  That's crazy!  I had no idea anyone other than Americans were interested!

Also, it seems like a lot of what they're asking for is "what's your plan?", and you know that you want your long-term plan to be teaching, yeah?
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Chet
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:14:04 PM »

Also:  American studies?  That's crazy!  I had no idea anyone other than Americans were interested!

Also, it seems like a lot of what they're asking for is "what's your plan?", and you know that you want your long-term plan to be teaching, yeah?
Basically my whole life I've been immersed in american culture for some reason. Literature, film, music, the history (I'm gonna mention this shit by the way) so I figure if I can go to school and study something I'm generally interested in, I might as well! Also, I'll have the choice of doing my second year in California if I get into my first choice uni.

And yes, right now my plan is to be a teacher. I think I'm gonna throw in some shit about my belief in the power of literature to help shape a persons personality and how I want to encourage young people to discover this. That's some good shit, right?
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Greg Nog
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:16:08 PM »

I think so!
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auto-da-fey
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:24:19 PM »

yeah, that all sounds great, Chet--and if you can somehow spin the past five years to specifically relate your experiences to the program (without it sounding too contrived), better yet.
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diesel_powered
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:25:17 PM »

They already have the skills portion laid out for you, all you have to do is reword it.
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she had me at "let's make a sandwich"
Bernard
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« Reply #10 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:39:51 PM »

Don't just reword it, link it back to specific examples. You worked as part of a team with your workmates when you pulled together submissions for $1,000,000 in research grants, incorporating budgetary info from the business office, administrative info from within your own institution and partner institutions, and research info from the lead researchers on the team. I mean, in private conversation, all you did was file some paperwork after emailing everybody to pester them to send you the stuff. But in your statement you want to phrase it in terms that relate back to what they're asking.

Why do you need to be a team player for American studies, though?
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Ha, see, and look how Julian Casablancas ended up!!!!
diesel_powered
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« Reply #11 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:48:29 PM »

Yup. Problem-solution-results.

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she had me at "let's make a sandwich"
Ignatius
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« Reply #12 on: Sep 30, 2009, 01:50:36 PM »

Also:  American studies?  That's crazy!  I had no idea anyone other than Americans were interested!


That surprised me too. I have this weird image of English people talking about Larry McMurtry novels and checking out Just ICE CDs from the library reserve desk.
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Maaik
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« Reply #13 on: Sep 30, 2009, 02:12:24 PM »

Also:  American studies?  That's crazy!  I had no idea anyone other than Americans were interested!


That surprised me too. I have this weird image of English people talking about Larry McMurtry novels and checking out Just ICE CDs from the library reserve desk.

"I do wonder whatever happened to that colony of ours... ah well.  Nigel, could you pass me an handful of Maltesers?"
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I need anne the man lessons
Chet
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« Reply #14 on: Sep 30, 2009, 03:09:39 PM »

Okay, this is my first draft. Anything I should take out, anything that sounds ridiculous? Also, I'm one line over the limit. Where can I lose a line? Edit: the paragraphing has been messed up when I pasted that, sorry.

Edit edit: removed.
« Last Edit: Sep 30, 2009, 06:02:08 PM by Chet » Logged

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auto-da-fey
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« Reply #15 on: Sep 30, 2009, 03:18:52 PM »

I like the selection of authors--nice variety. Nothing sounds ridiculous to me except possibly that James Brown was AS important as MLK--not that it's patently untrue, but that it's unconvincing without elaboration that you obviously can't provide within space limits. Maybe rephrase it as "the likes of JB and RE operated dialectically with the activism of MLK and RP" or something? "reflected and informed," maybe? Probably nitpicking anyway.

You can probably lose a line through tight copy-editing--
"I hold a firm belief" --> "I firmly believe"
"I decided what I want to do in the long term, which is to teach English" --> I decided my long-term goal is teaching English
etc.
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Chet
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« Reply #16 on: Sep 30, 2009, 03:20:17 PM »

Thanks!

Overall, does it make me sound awesome?
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alex
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« Reply #17 on: Sep 30, 2009, 04:14:01 PM »

It makes you sound awesome!

There I developed brilliant people skills

"brilliant" sounds borderline narcissistic to me here, especially when applied to something as vague as the concept of 'people skills' - I have a hunch that it might be best to lose the adjective and elaborate on the kinds of skills in dealing with people you actually learned, but if you prefer not to do so, maybe just replace "brilliant" with a slightly less strong word.

Quote
which I am enjoy immensely. In fact, it has been one of the best experiences of my life so far.

I'm never sure in situations like that whether I want to write "enjoy" or "am enjoying", but "am enjoy" strikes me as a bad compromise Wink And I'd probably remove the next sentence altogether, which sounds a little exaggerated and doesn't really add anything of interest - the rest of the paragraph does a much better job of elaborating why it is such an positive experience for you, so don't cheapen the sentiment with cheap superlatives.
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Chet
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« Reply #18 on: Sep 30, 2009, 04:18:01 PM »

Thanks for pointing out the typo and suggesting to get rid of that stuff! It has been sorted.
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DCDave
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« Reply #19 on: Sep 30, 2009, 05:24:24 PM »

Too many adverbs.


Also where you say "kinds of work," I think "types of work," would be better.

« Last Edit: Sep 30, 2009, 05:32:55 PM by DCDave » Logged

But what the fuck do I know, I have a penis.
girl
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Posts: 9144


« Reply #20 on: Sep 30, 2009, 05:37:43 PM »

I like it. I might say "one's personality" rather than "a person's personality", and instead of "it gives me an incredible buzz" to something like "I've found it exciting". Overall it's really good, though. You hit the major points concisely, it's easy to read and it sounds like you.

Good luck!
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Chet
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« Reply #21 on: Sep 30, 2009, 06:02:56 PM »

Okay, thanks for the advice guys! I've gone through and changed some things and I think I'm happy with it now. I've actually edited out of that post because I feel a little bit weird about it being on here indefinitely.
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clare
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« Reply #22 on: Sep 30, 2009, 08:38:59 PM »

Good luck with it Chet, sorry I missed it.
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cold before sunrise
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Posts: 2500


« Reply #23 on: Oct 01, 2009, 01:43:46 AM »

i'm so much better than you... this is why you're lucky to have me.
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alistarr*
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Posts: 8129


« Reply #24 on: Oct 02, 2009, 06:24:24 AM »

ah, i missed this because the board is still doing a weird refresh thing for me - i don't have much more relevant experience than anyone else who has offered advice here (other than having in the past successfully applied to, spoken at length with the former chief admissions person at, and eventually graduated from your number one choice of university - and indeed the same faculty therein - of course) but if you think another pair of eyes would help then just send me across the thing and i'll point and laugh at the bits that admissions people are most likely to point and laugh at. sounds like you're already pretty much on top of it, mind.
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