Those of us on the outside look at our uni days through rose-tinted lenses. “The best three years of your life, I miss it so much”, we parrot to anyone marginally younger than us. University used to be this mythical beast that we aspired to be a part of, at least that’s how our personal statements made it sound.
If you could go back and re-write your personal statements, what would you put? I mean, like, now. With all your university/college experience (assuming you are over 20 now) how much stuff would you cut out?
It’s probably for the best that you don’t look at how cringe your first draft is. We write personal statements with no clue what universities want from us. They are usually imbalanced and affirming at the wrong times. I remember starting my first draft with some dreadful aphorism like “I love people” – and that was for an engineering degree.
The Guardian asked their readers to re-write parts of their personal statements without the fluffy bravado and through-the-teeth lies. Here are five of the best!
1. A* for effort
It’s hard proving that you’re a hard worker without sacrificing the sense that you’re good at your subject. Personal statements are all about balance so you have to make a choice between looking masterful or committed. This person took the committed route to their mortal limits for an Art Degree.
“Yes, I’m bad at time management and my drawing skills are mediocre at best, but willing to work myself to death if necessary”.
2. The harsh truth about BAs
People call them ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees but BAs are, sometimes, as valuable as BSCs. Emphasis on sometimes.
“I have the ability to allow me to do a useful subject like maths, however, both my parents did arts at university which has subconsciously made me hold them in much higher regard than I should. Also I don’t have a good grasp on the value of £9,000”.
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This guy has his shit together. Know where you want to go, and you’ll get there a lot faster.
“I just want to be a lawyer so I can afford a better car than a Vauxhall Corsa. Preferably something that goes 0-60 quicker than the time it took to write this sentence.”
4. The best films are honest
The best films ever made aren’t necessarily the most high-tech or even the most entertaining, they are the most honest. This guy, without realising, might be the renegade filmmaker we need – though probably not.
“I really want to get on a Film course as I’ve never particularly enjoyed any other academic subject and I like the idea of being able to watch films and call it studying. In all honesty I’m not entirely that university is for me but it’s just something everyone does these days, isn’t it?
5. Skillz > Everything
“I have been passionate about studying medicine ever since I successfully won a game of operation without setting the buzzer off, a skill I feel would prove useful in this field of study”.