Episode 6: Natural Science (Biological) Personal Statement For Cambridge
Since the Personal Statement series went down so well, we decided to extend the series to cover more subjects. Without further ado – onto Episode 6.
This is a Personal Statement sent into UCAS by a student applying for Natural Sciences at Cambridge.
Natural Science degrees offer students the ability to study two or more different fields of science concurrently. This can make writing your Personal Statement difficult, as the breadth of modules offered by the universities you’re applying to can be quite wide.
This student, however, got it right as they got offers from all of their choices.
The universities this candidate applied to were the following;
THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
When Theodore Roszak wrote that nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope, I feel he captures the way that science gives us greater understanding of the world in which we live. With this understanding come opportunities to influence the lives we lead. It is my strong interest in science coupled with my inquisitive nature, thirst for knowledge and analytical thinking that compels me to read Natural Sciences. I aspire to work with others at the forefront of scientific knowledge to see how we can apply this knowledge to meet the challenges that unfold in the twenty-first century.
My A level studies have confirmed my interest in a range of scientific areas. After studying cell organelles in biology, I was captivated by reading ‘Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life’ by Nick Lane, delving deeper into the role of mitochondria in cellular function. Continuing to explore beyond the syllabus, reading ‘Genome’ by Matt Ridley and ‘H2O a Biography of Water’ by Philip Ball has fuelled my interest in other areas such as genetics and molecular biology. My enthusiasm for biology was recognised by being awarded the school Year 12 biology prize. In chemistry, exploring carbon nanotubes was exhilarating as I could see that they have enormous potential in diverse applications such as carrying drugs into specific body cells. It was during work experience at a local hospital I saw that scientists provide the tools for doctors and the significance of research in developing new, improved treatments. To explore further the application of science in different contexts, I attended ‘Chemistry in Action’ lectures at the Institute of Education, London.
I was inspired by speaking with scientists at the forefront of research whilst attending the Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society. Intrigued by the development of a nanocell to store clean energy using sunlight and that the cell contained porphyrin which is involved in photosynthesis, I realised that studying the structure and function of plants may provide vital information in developing new ways of storing energy. Keen to experiment, it was exciting to make and identify graphene, the first two dimensional atomic material and to explore the potential uses of this strong, transparent and highly conductive material. It is enthralling to consider how these current scientific developments may be applied in the future. Finding great satisfaction in problem solving and thriving on challenge, I have enjoyed studying mathematics, particularly learning new concepts such as calculus. My study of history has enhanced my analytical and essay writing skills. Moreover, it has given me a perspective on the relationship between science and society over the years.
Balancing my extra-curricular activities with my studies has required good time-management. I enjoy playing the piano and a range of sports including netball, tennis and skiing. Playing in the school netball team for the past six years has shown me the value of good teamwork. I have enjoyed volunteering weekly at Strathmore School for children with disabilities and successfully sought permission to organise an Easter Party for them which required initiative, creativity and management skills. Volunteering on the Whitgift Special Needs Activity Project has enhanced my communication and leadership skills and has made me aware of the challenges faced by those with disabilities and their families.
I believe that I have the skills, scientific curiosity and motivation required to learn from, and contribute to, this diverse and challenging course. Studying Natural Sciences will give me the flexibility to explore a wide range of scientific areas and will enable me to develop the skills to work with colleagues at the cutting edge of science.
GOOD POINTS OF THE PERSONAL STATEMENT
Very well-written with a clear introduction, main body, and conclusion. This statement begins by setting the scene as to why Natural Science, and in particular, Biology, is important to both the world and the applicant. The student clearly explains their interest in Biology and then goes on to explain their interest in the other subjects covered as part of the Natural Sciences degree. Many prospective students forget to do this, and in this statement, every point is justified with examples from the student’s personal experiences which adds emphasis to the statement.
PERSONAL STATEMENT BAD POINTS
In the first sentence, the student confuses the gender of the person being quoted, by referring to them as both ‘her’ and ‘his’. Whilst this is not a major error, making simple mistakes such as this in the opening sentence of a personal statement gives the reader an impression that the student is not competent. Whilst the statement is of very good quality, it would have been possible to remove certain examples yet maintain the emphasis this statement delivers.
UNIADMISSIONS OVERALL SCORE: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is an excellent personal statement with a clear and logical structure. The student does not simply list their achievements but provides reasons for their academic interests. Although this statement is strong, it is quite long, and a simple type error in the opening sentence takes away from its true value.
We’re giving this one 5/5 as it’s clearly a strong statement that made an impact on the admissions tutors reading it. The errors are unfortunate, however, not game-changing enough to put off the readers.
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