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 Post subject: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:54 pm
Posts: 77
DS is 14 and wondering what experience he should be gaining to help with his personal statement when applying to Uni's. Does anyone know much about the DOE award or any work experience/ hobbies etc that would be useful? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
Don't do anything JUST for the PS - it's the skills they are able to describe from doing them that are important.

D of E bronze is so common that on its own - unless it is done for enjoymnet - it has little value. Is he in any teams, music bands/orchestras etc - all these are good.

If he's thinking about medicine or vet courses there are specific things - head to The STudent Room to read their section on that.

Any hobby needs to be done for fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 5922
Altymumof2 wrote:
DS is 14 and wondering what experience he should be gaining to help with his personal statement when applying to Uni's. Does anyone know much about the DOE award or any work experience/ hobbies etc that would be useful? Thanks.
The PS is meant to be 80-85% academic and the rest about the young person's interests, hobbies etc. There is absolutely no point at all doing something especially to look good in a PS. Universities aren't daft and could spot that a mile off. If your child wants to do DofE (like most of the nation's 14 year olds) or take up new hobbies then great, but he shouldn't do it because he thinks it will help him get into university. As G55 says, some courses need you to have shown a commitment to things like voluntary work over time, but going at hobby-selection from the point of view of the personal statement is imho wrong-headed.


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:28 am 
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Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 8:30 am
Posts: 247
The vast majority of university students arrive at Freshers' without anyone having read their lovingly crafted personal statement. Their application goes to central admissions at the universities they apply to, and the clerical staff in admissions have a strict set of criteria based on predicted grades, achieved grades and subject mix, and they make offers based on that. A few marginal cases, mostly involving non-standard qualifications, will be looked at by the department, but for someone applying with decent GCSEs and roughly sensible A Levels, that won't happen. If the admissions people are going to read anything, they'll read the school reference.

There are exceptions, such as medicine. And for places that interview the PS might be used to kickstart the conversation ("I see you're interested in...") although it's much less important for actually getting the interview than many appear to believe. But in general terms, if you have decent grades and predicted grades you'll get an offer without anyone reading your PS, and if you don't have decent grades and predicted grades there's very little that a PS can do to help you.

The idea that Duke of Edinburgh Bronze is worth doing for university application is sweet, but untrue. No-one will care even if they know you've done it, which they probably won't. It might teach you some useful soft skills, and that's great, but the qualification of itself has no value.


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 11936
daveg - in many universities applications go to a department not a central admissions office. The admissions people I've spoken to say that the PS is important so you can't risk a poor one if you are applying to one of these.


Last edited by Guest55 on Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:58 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:00 pm
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Location: RBK
I am aware of a student who didn't get any medicine interview despite 10 A*/A in gcse and predicted A*/A in all her A level subjects. Presumably, she had poor personal statement. Some body must have read that.


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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I was aware of some people who got offers within hours of the UCAS form being submitted, mostly for science. Presume there was some algorithm used by which the admissions computer made the offer - at least that is what it felt like. I think for some other subjects the PS may well be looked at but also suspect it doesn't make a huge difference, eg those applying for some joint hons and some single hons have to rely on the same PS.


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:16 pm
Posts: 129
My daughter wants to be a vet - obviously very competitive and they do carry out interviews. Bristol, for example put 70% weighting on the personal statement and 15% each on a-levels and gcses. Therefore, I'd say the PS is very important. I believe most of this for veterinary, is made up of details of the necessary work experience and a much smaller amount on hobbies, achievements, etc. There is a specific number of words for the latter, but I can't find it at the mo.


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:05 am
Posts: 18
PS important in some universities/for some courses, especially those that interview. It was used in my DS's application process. Although he wasn't expecting to be interviewed (only one of the universities had a sentence in the prospectus saying it may interview), in the event he was interviewed and the PS was referred to not just as a starting point for conversation but he was quizzed in depth about expertise in the use of a particular piece of software and about particular interests at 2 of the interviews. He was told that only those who had already been selected for offers were actually interviewed at 3 of the universities. So the content of the PS may be important. A person may be called to interview unexpectedly and who knows what value they place on the PS.


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 Post subject: Re: Personal Statements
PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
They told us when we looked around that the PS was a vital part of their selection process. Both of mine have offers from Bristol and both worked hard on their PS. One for a humanity and one for a science.

They both are doing DoE gold this year and I'm glad they've both done it. DD will possibly give up because of the time commitment but DS will finish when at uni so no relevance to his future uni place. It has been an excellent opportunity for both to do a couple of bits that they wouldn't have done otherwise and plenty of things they would have done anyway.

They have good 'CVs' for people who have never really worked, but DS didn't mention half of what he did at 14 as he no longer does it. Their PS were mainly about their commitment to their subjects and then about what they have done as extras to develop as human beings.


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