UniPod 4: This is Where it Gets Personal...

It's that time students of a certain age dread... Time to start working on the Personal Statement for university. Students often tie themselves up in knots about it, with forums featuring page after page of posts all starting with something akin to “I don’t know what to write”... UniPod's first piece of advice... Relax... You Can Do It...
UniPod 4: This is Where it Gets Personal...
By David Westley
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On Tuesday 19th May, students planning to apply to UK universities will be able to register on UCAS and start their applications.

As with many other schools across the world, at JESS, we’ve been working with the Year 12s on that all essential element of the application process: the Personal Statement.

Students can tend to tie themselves up in knots about it. Just take a look at some of the student forums on the subject and you’ll find page after page of worries about boring beginnings and cliched conclusions, with the constant wail of: “I don’t know what to write”.

Take a breath. It’s only a page of A4 and, seriously, if one of your teachers asked you to write a page of A4 you probably wouldn’t stress about it too much, would you?

In this week’s Unipod episode, Rob Rattray from Syno Education (www.synoeducation.co.uk) digs into a veritable gold mine of tips. With over 20 years in Higher Education, he knows what he’s talking about. You are welcome to contact him at [email protected].

Below is an example of the table he suggests you create, and it shows just how different courses can be. So, if creative writing is your first love, make sure that this is relevant to the universities on your shortlist - before you start writing.

  University Course 1st Year Modules  
1 University of Durham    
  BA English Literature Compulsory modules: Optional modules:
    1.      Introduction to Drama Up to three of the following (or up to two open modules offered by other departments):
    2.      Introduction to the Novel  
    3.      Introduction to Poetry. 1.      Romance and the Literature of Chivalry
      2.      Myth and Epic of the North
      3.      Classical and Biblical Backgrounds to English Literature
      4.      English: Language, Use, Theory
2 University of Leeds    
  BA English Literature Compulsory modules: Optional modules:
    Foundations of English Studies Modern Fictions in English
    Poetry: Reading and Interpretation The Creative Essay
      -        Or choose from a wide range of Discovery modules eg a language, sustainability…
    Core Modules – students are introduced to fiction, drama and poetry from the 18th and 19th centuries:  
3 Teesside University    
  BA English Studies Core (Compulsory) modules: Optional Modules:
    1.      Concepts of Culture No optional modules until Year 2
    2.      Creative Writing Lab: Writing and Audience  
    3.      Critical Practice  
    4.      Literature Now  
    5.      Romantics to Realism  
    6.      Victorian Horizons  
4 Monsters University …    
5 Unseen University …    

This UniPod podcast has been brought to you by...

Josie Campbell

Josie currently works as a University Counsellor at JESS Dubai. Before moving back to Dubai, she was Head of Careers at Ampleforth College, where she also taught English and Drama. Josie also works professionally in theatre, film, radio and voice-over.

Buket Ayaz

Buket is a University Counsellor at Uptown School in Dubai, with over 10 years of experience working in international schools. It is her lifelong passion to help students find the right ‘fit’ university and get them prepped for the world of work.

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