English and French Personal Statement
Since learning to read from a very young age, literature has been my greatest love. I am fascinated by the impact that written words have on society, and how they influence the way that people interpret issues such as war or politics. Literature has shaped our modern world; it is the most diverse subject to study as it encompasses all aspects of life. My passion for reading and writing has encouraged me to write creatively and to read a wide variety of novels and poetry outside school. I enjoy a broad range of classical and modern literature and my favourite novelists include Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. I have loved studying Chaucer and Blake in school but tend to read more modern poetry at home, including the works of Eliot, Heaney and Plath. The interpretation of literature from other cultures is pivotal to our exploration and understanding of historical and social contexts throughout the literary world. French literature complements my study of English, for instance the importance of 'courtly love' and the development of poetic style in each country. I have a great interest in French culture; I enjoy French film and have loved studying the work of Truffaut at A2-level as well as reading a few simple novels at home.
My passion for the French culture also extends to my interest in History. This AS-level has not only broadened my knowledge of French history (I studied the French Wars of Religion for my coursework) but has also enhanced my analytical and essay-writing skills. I also study Psychology and have a great interest in human interaction, which complements and supports my study of literature. In English I have developed my writing skills; my comparative and analytical skills have been particularly important for this year's coursework essay, in which I am comparing 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' by Thomas Hardy and 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood. I enjoy discussing literature and attend a fortnightly reading group at school, which has continued to increase my understanding and enjoyment of the classics and introduced me to several significant modern works. Being able to hold discussions in French has also given me great personal satisfaction. I enjoy my conversation classes with the language assistant and I recently went on a French exchange to Compiegne. This experience was hugely beneficial in improving my understanding and speaking skills. I spent the week completely immersed in French language and culture; my confidence to speak increased enormously and I came love the country and its traditions all the more.
Outside school, I thoroughly enjoy my musical pursuits. I play the French Horn in a Youth Orchestra and intend to take my Grade 8 in 2007; I also sing in a Madrigal Choir. I perform in three to four concerts a year, including the school Christmas concert; this year I will be playing a movement from Mozart's fourth horn concerto. My interest in music has required good organisational skills, as I helped to run a choir at school for a competition. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, and it allowed me to develop my leadership skills whilst working in a team. My duties as a prefect have also contributed towards these skills; I assist a Year Eight form with a team of other prefects. In July I took part in a World Challenge 'Leadership Day', participating in group activities where each team member had a chance to act as the 'leader'. I am also involved in the 'Pyramid' voluntary organisation, which is an after school activity club for children with low self-esteem or mild behavioural problems. In this capacity, I work with a team of three other club leaders, and each week we organise a new activity for the children.
I know that I am ideally suited to a joint degree in English and French, and I intend to use my skills and interests in contributing to university activities. I am highly committed to my studies, and look forward to pursuing them in a challenging course at university.
This personal statement was written by Soph for application in 2007.
I feel that I wrote a strong personal statement; I gained offers from all six universities that I applied to. I was unable to include the line breaks between paragraphs in the version I submitted to UCAS because of the character limit, which was a shame, but this didn't make any difference to the success of my application. I hope it helps!