The Wokingham Paper

HARRY’S WORLD: Preparing a university personal statement

Harry Bradley
Harry Bradley
Harry Bradley

University students have been in the news a lot this week. 

Non-existent Fresher Weeks and underwhelming online tutorials have taken up much of the headlines, not the mention the students who are wondering whether they can get home at Christmas.

University life has been front of mind for me too but that’s because I’ve got my UCAS deadline fast approaching. 

Personal Statements and university choices have been on everyone’s mind for a long time now but thankfully, this week I think I’ve finally cracked it.

Since lockdown I’ve been looking into the universities I’d love to attend and all those Zoom calls and online open days have been leading up to where I am right now. 

Course structure, distance from home, league ranking and required A-levels are the most prominent things considered, as well as accommodation and nightlife, of course.

Although nightlife might not be a consideration after all if social distancing continues.  Let’s hope not. 

The process has been less than exciting to be honest – online open days and Zoom Q&As with admissions departments have replaced the usual day trips to visit our chosen campuses.

Lockdown has put a dampener on the whole event and all of a sudden it’s crept up and taken me by surprise. 

A few last minute changes to my top choices were made at the weekend and my personal statement has been typed up, edited, and re-typed so many times. 

Summing yourself up in just 4,000 characters (not words) is actually really hard. 

Showcasing your best self, alongside your academic ambitions started as a daunting task. 

It’s been a long process but it’s now starting to take shape after several failed attempts and I finally think I’m there.

The idea is that you include all of the reasons why you love your subject, why you want to study it, and what you’ve done to show you love of your chosen course – something much easier said than done when you’re confined to little over 600 words.

Pestering teachers for references and predicted grades has also become a daily occurrence, all the while trying to ignore the fact that my year group only has one more year together before we all head off to pastures new.

If I don’t flunk my exams, September 2021 will mark a new beginning.  But it’s also the end – the splitting up of my year group, as we head off to different places around the country to pursue our dreams. 

But that seems like a million years away because now is not the time to get emotional, there’s so much to do.

Right now, the next few weeks will be dominated with ensuring all the right forms are filled out online, revising for mock exams which start next month, and keeping on track with the long list of coursework and study that Year 13 brings. 

For now it’s a few months are hard work and then I can hopefully take a breath and wait for the university offers to roll in.  Here’s hoping.

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