Engineering Personal Statement
Maths and physics have always fascinated me and from an early age I knew that it was in the science based subjects that my interests and greatest ability lay.
Although I have enjoyed the challenge that my school-based work has given me, I have always sought to extend my knowledge in these subject areas by considering the application of the theory we learn within the curriculum to the real world.
This desire to learn how theory can be applied in real life allowed me to greatly enjoy the mechanics modules of my further maths A-level to such a degree that I knew that engineering would be the ideal subject to study at the highest level.
While physics and maths give one the background skills needed to assure the validity of innovation and technology, engineering seeks to apply this simultaneously with a desire for products to satisfy consumer needs such as efficiency, safety and cost. In this way the skills learnt during my economics A-level would be of great use during a career in engineering.
In June I had the opportunity to spend a week on a Headstart course at Cambridge. The experience gained during the 4 days there which involved both learning theory and practical work, coupled with continued in depth reading of various fields of engineering, have further strengthened my desire to study this subject.
Being a sports person, I am greatly intrigued by the opportunities for the use of engineering in the sporting world. Having competed at county level in javelin I looked into how engineers have developed the javelin over the years from an iron spear used in Grecian times to the 800g carbon-fibre implement used today.
With the javelin, engineers have been forced to sacrifice their desire for an efficient product able to satisfy the needs of athletes with safety. While the athlete wishes to throw further and further, the spectator watching from the opposite end of the stadium also has his own needs!
This example of a u-turn in needs makes me question how much further technology can continue to develop at current rates without the need to make sacrifices itself. I have also captained my school's First team at lacrosse and played for my county. These sporting responsibilities have given me the invaluable experience of participating in and leading a team.
During my school years I have maintained high academic standards while also being able to hold numerous positions of responsibility and I have been consistently involved in extra-curricular activities. The time management skills gained through this will be vital in being able to successfully achieve high standards during a challenging university course.
Over the past year I have taken time to be an assistant sports teacher for young children, while I have also enjoyed the demands of being a form assistant to a first year class at school.
Not only have these positions allowed me to mature greatly, they have also aided my inter-personal skills. Though I hold the certificates of my academic successes I am fully aware that only it is only in combination with my logic, problem-solving and intuitive skills that my scholastic knowledge can be applied most effectively.
During a gap year I am keen to find, through the Year in Industry scheme, a long term placement with an engineering firm. By spending my time in this way, I believe that I will gain a far greater idea of engineering's place and importance in society.
The opportunity to mature and learn key skills will give me a far better stance from which to start a degree course. Aside from working, I am also hoping to travel during my gap year to gain a greater awareness of the world around me through interaction with new people, places and cultures.
ADDITIONAL PERSONAL STATEMENT FOR CAMBRIDGE FORM:
By not specialising in the first 2 years of a degree course, I believe that I would have the best chance to find where my true interests and talents lay in engineering. Though my A-level physics and maths courses have allowed me to begin to think where I would like to specialise, I do not consider that I am currently in a position to make an accurate decision on what area to dedicate my university degree to. The depth of theory into which the Cambridge engineering course delves is, I believe, the most suitable way of learning the subject if one is to be serious about following through into an engineering career. The timetabling of the course at Cambridge would also allow me to continue a large number of extra-curricular activities and simultaneously give me the opportunity to contribute greatly to college and university life.
I feel that this personal statement is both full of relevent information, but also portrays some of my own character too (note use of humour...and i still got in!) I also dropped in a couple of areas of my own interest combined with an engineering relevence (i.e. javelin throwing!) as bait for interviewers to pick up. Worked perfectly, as i was asked questions in my interviews that were based on these statements. Reading over the additional cambridge part (now that i am actually doing my degree there) i feel its not the greatest paragraph ever - it pretty much just re-tells everything we are told about the course in the open day. But as a support to my main personal statement i think its acceptable.