Natural Sciences Personal Statement Guide

Nailing your Natural Sciences Personal Statement is a key factor to a successful application. When applying to university, you will need to submit a Personal Statement to UCAS. If you look at the figures below from UCAS, it is clear that you need to make your application stand out. Your Personal Statement is one of the best opportunities you have to do this.

Author: Rob Needleman

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Nailing your Natural Sciences Personal Statement is a key factor to a successful application.

When applying to university, you will need to submit a Personal Statement to UCAS. 

If you look at the figures below from UCAS, it is clear that you need to make your application stand out. Your Personal Statement is one of the best opportunities you have to do this.

UCAS 2020 Cycle Applicant Figures:
Date
Applicants
January Deadline
568,330
June Deadline
652,790
October Deadline
68,680
Total:
1,289,800

We put together a guide on how to write a successful Natural Sciences Personal Statement to help you get your dream offer from Cambridge University.

What is a Personal Statement?

The Personal Statement is your opportunity to show universities who you really are and why you are suited to the degree.

Your school grades show your academic ability, the Admissions Tests (NSAA) examine your propensity to learn and your university interview will only happen if your Personal Statement is up to scratch.

 

Apart from the Personal Statement and interview, the application process is faceless statistics. Therefore the Personal Statement allows the admissions tutors to focus on the real you, the student they may spend at least three years teaching their subject to. 

What are the Personal Statement requirements?

University applications go through the UCAS system. The requirements for the Personal Statement are a maximum of 4,000 characters and 47 lines.

 

The Personal Statement must also be submitted by the deadline which is the 15th of October for Natural Sciences. Schools often have an internal deadline, this is worth checking with your school so they can sort out their references in time.

What are admissions tutors looking for?

There are aspects that tutors look for in your Personal Statement which must be kept in mind whilst writing it:

Natural Sciences Degree Background

In 2020, 638 Natural Sciences applicants were accepted to Cambridge out of 2,552 total applicants (4 applicants per place). As mentioned earlier, the deadline for the Natural Sciences UCAS application, which includes the Personal Statement, is on the 15th of October which is different to the non-Oxbridge and non-medicine UCAS deadline date.

The Cambridge Natural Sciences Degree gives students the opportunity to study two or more different science fields simultaneously. Many students find a new interest in the subjects on offer from the first year and then continue with these in subsequent years.

kings-college-chapel-cambridge
King's College chapel, Cambridge from Great St Mary's church

Students choose three subjects from the following options:

  • Biology of Cells
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Sciences
  • Evolution and Behaviour
  • Materials Science
  • Physics
  • Physiology

 

It is then compulsory for students to study one mathematics option that focuses on either Physical or Biological Sciences.

The broad range of sciences makes writing your Natural Sciences Personal Statement more difficult due to the breadth of modules offered by Cambridge. This means you should write about two or three areas of science and make them relevant to the degree content, particularly the first year of study (don’t forget that this includes maths).

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Natural Sciences Personal Statement Preparation

Start preparing early

The key takeaway here is to start early. Writing a Natural Sciences Personal Statement is difficult because it should not contain any waffle and irrelevant information as there are lots to cover with the broad range of sciences. 

Starting your preparation early:

Wider reading and work experience

Starting early also gives you time to identify gaps in wider reading and work experience which are key to demonstrating your interest in the degree.

 

The difference between a good candidate and a great candidate can be demonstrated by actually using the reading and research you do or the work experience you gain. That is, you can browse as many sources as you like, and complete lots of work experience but in your Natural Sciences Personal Statement, you must be able to display critical thinking and explain how your work experience gave you insights into what the degree is like.

 

Finding a placement is a great way to show your interest and suitability for the degree to enhance your application. For more information on work experience, we have a guide that outlines how to find relevant and useful work experience.

A quick reminder:

Anything you mention in your Personal Statement may be brought up in an interview, so make sure you go back through the wider reading and work experience you included in your Personal Statement to be fully prepared. Don’t get caught out!

Writing your Natural Sciences Personal Statement

Make your Personal Statement introduction strong

The introduction is an important part of the Personal Statement and your Personal Statement will likely be remembered by the opening sentence. This is your opportunity to grab the reader’s attention which applicants usually do by describing why they are motivated to study Natural Sciences.

 

For example, the opening to this successful Personal Statement for Cambridge Natural Sciences below (full analysis of the Personal Statement can be found here):

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.

 

Identify the skills and qualities of Natural Sciences students

It can be difficult knowing what to include in your Natural Sciences Personal Statement but it is crucial that you keep reminding yourself to only use relevant content. University admission tutors are not interested in your Bronze Duke of Edinburgh or if you like playing tennis on the weekend. Universities mainly want to know how you’ll be an asset to them academically.

Your Personal Statement should explain why you are suitable for your chosen course, so make sure you strengthen your points with evidence from wider reading and work experience. It should be noted that wider reading, particularly in your Personal Statement, should be relevant. Look at the skills and qualities of Natural Sciences students to help you know what aspects of experience and reading to include. 

For instance, the skills that Natural Sciences undergraduates are expected to develop are intellectual, communication, organisation and interpersonal skills. Other skills include research skills, numeracy and computer literacy.

natural-sciences-skills-qualities
Natural Sciences Transferable Skills (source: University of Cambridge)

Cambridge University are giving you so many clues here to help you strengthen your Personal Statement. You could include work experience that demonstrates your organisation and interpersonal skills and wider reading that shows your research skills. Let us take the successful Natural Sciences Personal Statement example used earlier and identify how the applicant has demonstrated the skills listed on the Cambridge University Website.

THE PERSONAL STATEMENT

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.

The student has used relevant experience and wider reading throughout their Personal Statement and in the paragraph above, there is clear evidence of organisation skills, communication skills and interpersonal skills.

Ask for advice

Ask for feedback and advice from the experts around you. Show your Personal Statement to your teachers at school and ask them for their feedback, especially from those who teach the subject you are applying for. They will have likely gone through a similar process when they applied to university so will have a good idea of what to include in terms of subject content.

You can put your Personal Statement to the test and submit your statement to UniAdmissions (once you’re enrolled on the Natural Sciences Premium Programme) to see if it meets the expectations of Cambridge University.

Natural Sciences Personal Statement Final Tips

Looking to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge?

At UniAdmissions, we are experts at maximising your chances of gaining a place to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge. We help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive NSAA score, and teach you how to ace your interview.

Discover our Natural Science Programme by clicking the button below to enrol and triple your chances of success.

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