A bite-size breakdown of what should be included in your History personal statement.
The personal statement is the first part of any application that is seen by the admissions tutors. As a result, it is important to be certain about the course and university you are applying to. To get more information about studying history, or other subjects at Oxford and Cambridge, arrange a free consultation with our expert admission consultants:HERE
There’s a lot of info flying around about what exactly to include in a personal statement. Unfortunately the reality is by your final draft you will have cut out a LOT of your initial thoughts.
So, to streamline the process, here’s a short breakdown of what should be in there, and what you can feasibly cut out when the time comes:
Paragraph 1: Motivations for studying History at university – VITAL
– Pick the reasons which are most convincing and authentic to you, but be wary of clichés or generic answers. How will you best grab their attention early on?
Paragraph 2: Your Studies – VITAL
– Be selective, choosing the course/period/authors/books you would be most comfortable discussing at interview and making sure to state why and how they have impacted/inspired/developed/challenged you as a historian.
Paragraph 3 – 6 (in any order you find logical/ that would flow best) – INTERCHANGEABLE
– Pursuit of History outside of the classroom/syllabus: i.e. your own personal reading, essay competitions, History societies/clubs. Anywhere you have taken it upon yourself to undertake historical investigation/ taken your learning into your own hands.
– RELEVANT work or life experience: travelling/holidays which inspired your love of History, work experience/jobs, volunteering, any gap year plans.
– RELEVANT extra curriculars at school e.g. debating society, feminist society, film society. Anything that has developed your skills as a historian.
– Other subjects you study which have developed you as a historian and examples of how and why e.g. ancient Greek and exposure to primary sources/the origins of historical writing, English literature and critical appreciation of texts and their contexts.
NB: You do not need to include all of the above four points in paragraphs 3-6, but do consider all of these areas before choosing which material would be best to include. Be selective.
E.g. if you have more to say on relevant work/life experience, you may choose not to speak about extra curriculars at all or vice versa. Top priority in the word count should be given to motivations for study + books you have read/periods you have studied + opinions on them, and then time for extra pursuits towards the end if space allows.
Closing lines – VITAL
Ideally 2, maximum 3, closing sentences to give a punchy and memorable end to the statement – usually a statement of intent, reiteration of your passion, or nod to your future as a historian. Space for originality and personality to make them remember you.
At UniAdmissions, we offer students the opportunity to work through every aspect of their personal statement with our expert tutors. These are people who have gone through the process and passed with flying colours, performing in the top 10% academically in the subject in which they tutor. Our Personal statement editing service will cover everything, from overall layout, to the finer academic points of your statement – we have options for just 1 draft, 3, 5, or unlimited – pick the service that suits you best!LEARN MORE