Electronic Engineering Personal Statement
The subjects of maths and physics have always fascinated me and I knew very early on that I wanted to pursue a career that involves science. As I progressed through school I found that I was much more interested in the application of the theory rather than the theory itself, and this is why I would like to study electronic engineering.
I enjoy physics particularity as it can be observed in every aspect of life. From apples falling from trees to lightning, physics explains how the world works, and engineers throughout history have used their knowledge of physics to overcome problems that they face. The Romans built aqueducts to supply their cities with water; William Thomson helped lay the transatlantic telegraph cables that made communication between Europe and the Americas viable.
I also studied Advanced Higher Music last year at school. I am very interested in the use of electronics in music, and I wrote a project on the physics of the electric guitar. This interest prompted me to spend a week of work experience at Wolfson Microelectronics, a local company that engineer integrated circuits for many high profile audio equipment firms.
During my stay I was assigned the task of designing and assembling a circuit to investigate the voltage offset and noise created by an operational amplifier.
I was also introduced to a silicon microphone, a development which is sure to be significant in the future of electronics, and introduced to all the main stages in the development of a microchip, from design to failure analysis. My forthcoming Advanced Higher Physics investigation will be concerned with the properties of op-amps, the variables that affect these properties, and their applications.
In June, I attended a week-long Headstart course held at the University of Cambridge. We were given a task to assemble and programme a robot to navigate a course, using both dead-reckoning and sensors; I was part of the winning team. The course was thoroughly enjoyable and confirmed that engineering was the subject for me.
I have applied to spend my gap year working in the engineering industry, through the Year in Industry scheme. I hope that I will gain invaluable experience of the industry in which I would like to build my career in, and this will no doubt help me understand better how what I learn at university relates to real-world applications.
I play the violin, guitar and bagpipes all to a high standard. I am a first violin in the main school orchestra and the chamber orchestra, lead guitar in the school "Rhythm and Blues" band and a senior member of the pipe band. I hold the rank of Corporal in my school cadet force, and I am a young leader at my Scout troop.
Balancing these numerous extra-curricular activities with my academic work has forced me to develop my time management skills. My involvement in both cadets and Scouts has also greatly added to my team working and leadership skills.
I was the leader of the team that won the Edinburgh Area Scout camping competition in 2005, and we finished in the top 5 in the country. Currently, I am working towards both my Duke of Edinburgh Gold award and my Queen's Scout award.
I also have a keen interest in computers, assembling my first at the age of twelve, and I am currently teaching myself Mandarin Chinese, something that I would like to continue studying throughout university and a skill that I believe will be very useful in the future, especially in the electronics industry. I keep up to date with the latest scientific news in by reading both Physics Review and New Scientist.
I believe that studying electronic engineering is the best way for me to apply my accumulated knowledge of maths and physics and I look forward to a career that will constantly present me with new challenges.
My referee (who is on the Oxford admissions board and therefore knows quite a lot about personal statements) said this was "excellent", so I'm quite pleased with it. My initial draft had too much on the extra-curricular side - we were told to make it 3/4 academic and 1/4 not. The way to get around this is to make it relevant to the course (if you can), or to university life in general (like time-management, working in teams etc.). Its around 3800 words - the limit being 4000.