English Literature Personal Statement
Literature has an ambiguity and openness to interpretation that has always intrigued me. I hope I will be able to explore this further at university, as well as the philosophical concepts that have concerned some of its greatest exponents.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my English Literature A level course, particularly EM Forster's “A Passage to India”. His unique approach to writing, challenging many common literary conventions, changed both my views of philosophical context and characterisation, as well as initiating my awareness of the motives and ideas behind literature. Study of the Romantic poets, principally Wordsworth, has added to this interest, as well as demonstrating how the simplest language can be used to suggest the grandest ideas.
In addition, I was entered to take the Advanced Extension Award a year early as an AS student. This allowed me explore beyond the restrictions of a normal course, and express myself fully by writing about books that particularly interest me. My enthusiasm for these different theoretical and critical approaches was demonstrated by a Distinction grade. In my own personal reading I have been captivated by works of the great 19th century Russian writers. I found “The Idiot” by Dostoyevsky fascinating, due to its contrasts with the Victorian novel and boldly symbolic characters.
My other subjects for A level complement my chosen university course. The methodology of A level History has taught me valuable research and analytical skills, as well as developing the writing of argumentative yet balanced essays. I am also interested in History outside of school, with the reading of Beevor's “Stalingrad” allowing me to experience other forms and styles of writing. My other two AS subjects of Economics and Maths complemented each other well in their approaches to finding solutions. Economics has also helped to give me a clearer understanding of world issues, particularly useful in the current financial climate,
My extracurricular activities have complemented and extended my academic choices. I have been an editor of the school magazine for the past year: sorting, editing and writing articles for the annual publication. This allowed me to put my English skills into practical use, as well as gaining experience of working in a close-knit team. In order to see the use of English in a more professional scene I did a mini-pupillage at an Intellectual Property Law firm in London. During my time there I was able to observe the analytical and argumentative dexterity needed for such a profession. The experience reinforced my notion that the skills learnt from English are readily transferable into many situations and professions.
I have represented my school 1st teams at hockey, cricket and tennis, as well as going on to represent Somerset for hockey, winning the West of England Championships. This experience taught me how to work successfully in a sporting environment with people I had often not met before. My confidence in such matters has also been bolstered by my involvement with both the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and the schools Combined Cadet Force. During my final year at school I have also set up and run a school golf team. This has conveyed to me the responsibility and organisation needed to bring a new activity into a traditional school, as well as a great sense of achievement. As a Captain of School Charities for my house I have also gained experience handling the logistics of fundraising events.
Thackeray wrote “There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.” I hope that by continuing my studies at university I will have the opportunites to unlock these ideas..
This personal statement was written by Coleridge for application in 2009.
Cambridge - English lit.
Durham - English lit. with philosophy
Edinburgh - English lit. with philosophy
Warwick - English lit
York - English lit. with philosophy