The holidays are here and I am taking a brief break from studies to be festive at home preparing for christmas. As you may have seen from my other posts I’m feeling particularly excited about christmas this year. Just today I made 3 different kinds of christmas cookies and decorated a christmas tree and the downstairs of my house. But I have decided to spare a quick thought for those who are in a position I remember being in last year, mid university application .
First things first, if you haven’t submitted applied yet then dont worry, it does require work but it is not too bad. Everyone stresses over their personal statement as it is the one thing we have control over but dont worry too much. If I were you I’d try and make sure that there are no spelling mistakes or lies in it but other than that just relax a little. I remember being utterly clueless and starting my personal statement with “I want to study physics because….” . But as I calmed down a little and realised that, as boring as I thought I was, I did actually have things to say I managed to get something a tad more interesting (though also more cheesy) written down.
If you haven’t written a personal statement yet here a a few pointers. I would write down in a list all the things you have enjoyed doing in your subject of choice, all the things that inspire you to take it further or things that made you realise that this subject was for you, then all the things you have done to do with it not directly for school ( I think you could include school projects if you particularly enjoyed them as well as books you may have read, work experience, etc).
Once you have that list I’d try writing it up properly in a way that flows smoothly. Thats was never my strong point so unfortunately I can’t give you many tips there.
I understand that many of you will have already submitted an application so there is nothing you can do there. For those expecting interviews that havent had one already (again I realise probably a little late) here are some other tips.
Try and be relaxed, more often than not they just want to get to know you and they are not going to prod you like a test guinea pig until you astonish them with your genius new ways of thinking (you may laugh but I seriously thought this way before my interviews). Also they expect you to be nervous so dont worry about trying to hide it, it wont make you look any worse. I found it helped me to try and talk a little bit with my interviewers before and after we had any technical discussions so I was less nervous about speaking to them when answering their questions and could just worry about the problem at hand.
Finally once all is over and you are simply waiting to hear. Big hint, if a university says they probably won’t give you a decision until a certain time then don’t freak out until that time arrives and dont expect to hear from them the instant that period begins. For example my interviewer at imperial told me I’d get a decision in 2 to 6 weeks and as soon as those first two weeks passed I was obsessive in checking my email to see if they sent anything. If I were you I’d enjoy your last year of school or gap year or what ever it is you are doing as you won’t get a chance to do it again in the same way. I know me and some of my friends have found ourselves reminising about old school shananigans from our last year at school or what people got up to on their exciting year abroad, none of which woud be possible if you worry too much about your application.
One way I calmed my self down is by thinking of what would i do in the worst case scenario. As much as i didnt want any rejections, when I considered my options if I didnt get accepted anywhere they didnt seem so unreasonable (for me that was get a job, try and find work experience, maybe learn something new and apply again, but with more experience!)
Anyways I hope this is at least mildly helpful. My main message is “don’t panic!” you are about to embark on one of the most exciting parts of your life no matter what happens and you should make the most of it!