Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Writing The Personal Statement

It's the middle of November, my colleges internal deadline for my UCAS application is less than s month away, and I've only just finished my statement. So while I spend the next couple of weeks hurrying my tutor along with my reference, I am sure that a few of you are still struggling to master the art form that is the personal statement, I have compiled a few tips that may help you along your way...

Plan, plan, plan...

Even if you have already started writing,  If, like me, you spent your first writing session watching the cursor blink on an empty word document, there are plenty of places you can get the ideas from. The Student Room's personal statement builder is a great way to gage exactly what you should cover, and their archive of statements are sorted by subject and by university, so if you are applying for an English Language course at Cardiff Univeristy, you can find an archive of what your chosen universities are looking for. The UCAS website also have a few helpful videos that are perfect for watching during tea/chocolate/crying breaks. 

...even if you've started

Hitting pause and writing a plan of action can allow you to take a step back, to figure out excactly what you want to say, and where you want to say, overall makimg the process a lot less stressful, and it can put the dozens of ideas circling your mind onto paper straight away. 

Don't overthink it

As you may of guessed at the end of my first tip, yes, my application has sent me on a bit of am emotional roller coaster; with considerably more lows than highs. It's easy to get caught up in every detail and every piece of advice you may recieve through family, friends or the Internet. But to avoid going into overdrive, just remind yourself of why you want to go to said university, to said course, and you are half way there.

Get a second opinion

You've finished your first draft; and its like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. But then you begin to have second thoughts: is it actually any good? Getting someone to read, edit, chop and add to your draft - be it your tutor, friends at university or your parents aka people that have seen or been in your situation before, will create the balance of your passion and excitement, with their wisdom and experience. 

Draft one, two, three

Drafts are your best friend. It's tempting to want to finish the entire application by spending a whole day tiring over it, or even pulling an all-nighter to add in those last few of the 4000 characters, but taking it step by step gives you time to recollect thoughts and collect advice from others.

And lastly, just do it!

It's as much work to procrastinate and worry about starting your statement, than actually starting it. Just stay calm, stay true to yourself, and stock up on extra strong tea and coffee supplies.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Weekend Post: A Day in Pompey

Happy Sunday everyone; to say today is my only day off at the moment is a loose term: paperwork from the office to tuck into is now a common occurrence, and that personal statement won't write itself, although I really wish it could...

Today's post is a look back on a couple of Saturday's ago, where I booked the day off from my Saturday job and took an early morning journey to Portsmouth, for my third and final university open day of the season. If you keep an eye on my Instagram @deskpartiesyou may already know I have visited both Winchester and my first choice campus; Cardiff in the last couple of months. Now although I already have my heart set on the campus of the Welsh capital, the entry requirements are tough, so Portsmouth is my now firm second, and therefore most important choice. Don't get me wrong, I have faith in myself to be the grades I need for the course at Cardiff, but nevertheless my mum and me visited Portsmouth (or Pompey, as the locals call it) to take a look at the campus and city in its full glory. 

The city is actually bigger than I expected! And the campus expands across the relatively large city centre, but despite being a large campus, everything was very accessible. 

After attending 3 lectures we made our way into Gunwharf Quays, which as a girl from the West, I couldnt help but don it 'the Southgate (in Bath) of Portsmouth'. In short: quite upmarket, but very nice for window shopping. We didn't venture to the high street, but I am sure the H&M and Boots would be of a size to my standards! We then refuelled in Jamie's Italian: we ate too much pasta, and drank too much lemonade, so it made sense to top that off with a coffee afterwards...

I'm upset that open day season is over; now application deadline is closing nearer and things start getting pretty real, pretty soon. I'm sure a copious amount of coffees will be consumed and several all nighters will be pulled sorting everything from UCAS references to housing applications, but in the end everything's very exciting and hopeful for me at the moment!