English Personal Statement (from United States)

One of my biggest assets is my big mouth. I love to express myself whenever I can, wherever I can, and however I can. I express myself though the strong sweeping from the bow of my violin, brushing the strings fervently as I tell a story of joy or sorrow. The quick dashes of my pen also provide a method of expression, whether it is weaving a tale or writing a piece of verse that is very terse. Always eager for conversation and often finding my hand suspended in the air during class, especially if the question is asking for my opinion on a certain issue, I find myself talking frequently if I am not writing another chapter for my story, gliding along the ice rink in vain attempts to defy gravity, or practicing the techniques for the violin, augmenting my raw emotion with discipline.

English strikes me as a very intriguing language; although it does not possess the grammatical consistency of Latin, nor the dramatic finesse of Greek, people still value the Germanic language highly. English finds itself in many interesting stories, such as Lord of the Rings, plays such as Othello, and speeches such as those given by the inspirational Winston Churchill. I wish to study English not only to improve my rhetoric and my writing, but also help me better understand the world; I hope to improve my analysis and communication skills. Harbouring a passion for literature and poetry, I express a major interest in the opinions of those who have lived in the past. Also, I enjoy reading a story as much as telling one, fascinated by what goes through the mind of an author.

My reasons for studying in the United Kingdom is because the country has a unique history and culture. In addition to being home to great thinkers such as William Shakespeare and Adam Smith, Britain offers a great environment for studying, whether it is the beautiful medieval countryside of St. Andrews, or the diverse urban complex of London. Also housing students from several hundred different countries, the United Kingdom also offers me an opportunity to meet people I have only heard about, and even people I never thought existed.

I plan on graduating from University an enlightened scholar, whose mind is free from the chains of ignorance. My ultimate wish is to work with the United Nations, hoping to close the unnecessary divide that has caused humankind to fight, cheat, and destroy itself. By studying the works of the past, I will attempt to learn the mistakes of the past, and help the world avert the repetition of history that humans often fall into. My brief time in the El Camino Youth Symphony, my participation in the U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships, or my time as a Freshman Transition leader will not amount to anything if I grow up to become a hedonistic individual and become part of the greed and hatred that is plaguing our world today.

Studying in the United Kingdom is not only an excuse to tour another country, but it is an enlightening adventure that will help me find my purpose in this world and become the best I can be. There is so much that my so- called "open mind" has yet to know, and I will seek out that hidden, untapped knowledge that my voracious brain has been hungering for.

Profile info

This personal statement was written by CrazedRaven for application in 2008.

CrazedRaven's Comments

As you can see, this is my Personal Statement. It is still in its early stages and much of it still needs revision. If there is anything that does not seem right, or if it comes off as arrogant or too detached, please comment. Of course, I prefer constructive criticism over "flaming."

Thank you for your time reading this!

Ratings

Statement rating:**

Comments

This is staggeringly bad.

This is staggeringly bad.
I have some constructive criticism though...

'augmenting my raw emotion with discipline.'

'dramatic finesse of Greek'

'enlightened scholar, whose mind is free from the chains of ignorance'

...you really, really need to drop this pretentious tripe. It defines repugnancy. Just communicate your skills and why you love literature clearly and snappily.

Also some parts of your P.S. are utterly impotent, saying nothing new or interesting. Infact they're stating the blindingly obvious which makes you sound brainless:

'English finds itself in many interesting stories, such as Lord of the Rings, plays such as Othello, and speeches such as those given by the inspirational Winston Churchill.'

I must also mention this part of your P.S. which makes you sound like a fanatically puritanical bore:

'become a hedonistic individual and become part of the greed and hatred that is plaguing our world today.'

You write eloquently with good vocabulary but take my advice- drop the self-important verbosity, make clear your skills and passions in a down to earth manner if you want a British academic to take you seriously.

Start from scratch.

Start from scratch.

Less big words. Please.

Less ego.

Needs work old son

It's not as dreadful as a couple of the abovepeople have said - but really, they are right in that you need to drop the pretentious nature of the majority of your statement. That bit about the violin .. it's ...well it's shite isn't it? Pure unadulterated shite.
Although the paragraph about why you wish to study in england I found rather good, stick with that. The rest needs some work. Drop some of the big words (I was determined to include conscientousnous in mine and it helped me not a bit.)
Good luck buddy.

you sound like a Miss World

you sound like a Miss World contestant

"My ultimate wish is to work

"My ultimate wish is to work with the United Nations, hoping to close the unnecessary divide that has caused humankind to fight, cheat, and destroy itself. "

Oh my....

You guys are right; after reading this several times, I had ironically done what I tried so hard not to do; present myself as someone I'm not.

Yeah, it has an extremely arrogant tone, but as for the big words, I usually use them in my writing. Meh, but I think they should be used to describe things other than my "greatness"

Thanks for the comments, and I will get working on the statement!

**

definatley American.

The above comment seems racist

I would recommend starting again with much of it. It does sound arrogant, yet I also feel that a certain level of verbosity is definitely acceptable amongst us English nerds and that sesquipedalian PSs won't be looked down upon.

The above comment seems offensive.
You were nice about our culture. Then they go and say that. How rude.

I think you really do sound passionate about the subject, just scale it back a little, don't strip out the words completely and best of luck :-)

It was also spelt incorrectly.

Definitely.

Hope you aren't applying for English, mate.

United Kingdom also offers me

United Kingdom also offers me an opportunity to meet people I have only heard about, and even people I never thought existed.
what the hell are you talking about?? people u never knew existed? what a bloody profound statement.

One of my biggest assets is

One of my biggest assets is my big mouth.

Oh come on. Surely you're not being serious? It is WAY too frank an opening for a personal statement, and the remainder of that opening paragraph requires immediate revision. There is honestly too much jib jab in the first sector, you need to nail it down to point. Therefore I do agree with the majority of the comments above, although I can to some extent understand the passion you have for Literature. Just scrap a few parts here and there. And try reading it aloud...you might just come to your senses about how..well..arrogant it sounds!

And I couldn't agree more with one of the guests. I didn't have to read a line more than the first to realise this one was American. Haha.

"one of my biggest assets is

"one of my biggest assets is my big mouth?"..this isnt an audition for porn video love. its a personal statement..seriously, its eye-catching..but for ALL the wrong resons..

Just......awful

Incredibly you turn all you strengths into weaknesses. When i was reading the part about your participation in US figure skating i was revulsed by your shameless arrogance instead of being impressed. Your conceited language turns a fantastic achievment into another opportunity for me to sit at my computer and pull my hair out. You're supposed to sell yourself in this statement, not whore yourself.

Hmmm, apart from the first

Hmmm, apart from the first paragraph, and a number of odd interjections and slightly unimpressive and unoriginal comments, I think this is a very good personal statement. Especially the bit about the UK :P

all the commentors go on and

all the commentors go on and on about your verbosity and arrogance. whilst these are definitely apparent in your statement and need to be removed, they aren't the real failure here.
your grammar is atrocious. punctuation - it's not all about commas. and sentence structure isn't all about clauses. please do shorten them. it's not necessary to get all your information across in one sentence.
learn that when speaking about a plural, we say 'are', not 'is'. "These is good personal statements" - bad. "These are good personal statements" - good. (Unfortunately, yours cannot yet be counted among that number. Don't worry, it is far from being the only one up here failing).
Better order is needed. For example,
the violin stuff can all be moved to a different paragraph and entirely rephrased, using fewer and more appropriate adjectives. Begin with your love of Literature and achievements similar. Keep all your 'other interests' together, then wax lyrical on the UK afterwards.
Don't say 'find' twice in the same sentence. Don't say 'also' twice in the same sentence. Don't say 'use' twice in the same sentence. Repetition can be effective, if applied properly.
I would advise starting again from scratch, but you are obviously fairly intelligent and I'm sure you will manage it if you heed the advice we have all offered.

not all admissions tutors are

not all admissions tutors are pro-UN - many won't be. Try not to take a political stance, and if you will, then back it up with some knowledge about the subject, and draw on evidence of current affairs. Do so in a balanced and intelligent manner.

those who have lived in the

those who have lived in the past?
billy pilgrim and his band of time travellers?
"writers of the past" or anything similar makes sense.
cliches will get you nowhere. use adjectives that are not so continuously applied to what you are describing. weaving a story? no.
you joke that you try to write verse that is terse. perhaps you would be better employed trying to coerce your statement to be terse. it is far from it, unfortunately.

Personal Statements are not

Personal Statements are not for perpetuating stereotypes :P

this should be in the 'how

this should be in the 'how not to write your personal statement' section.

fair enough, you need to

fair enough, you need to improve your statment a little, dont let it put you off coming to england though. we're not all arseholes who like to have a poke at people who make mistakes. (so your personal statement isn't all that great, there's no need to be quite so harsh about it.)just tell the university why you're committed to the course, why you want to study it for the next 3/4 years of your life. aspects you like. and there's nothing wrong with being adventurous with your volcabulary - it makes you look smart. it's good to express yourself with interesting words, especially if your hoping to studying english literature. good luck with your personal statement

ooo, and nice last paragraph.

ooo, and nice last paragraph. =]

oh dear god

oh dear god

I don't believe some of the

I don't believe some of the comments below are appropriate, while the statement does have some flaws, there is no need whatsoever, to be so tactless in your criticism of work.

TERSE

far too pretentious.
your language and vocabulary is eloquent and colourful, and i would imagine that you could write impressive poetry. however, this is a personal statement and you need to be more concise with your points - room you have spent flowering your statement with impressive vocabulary could be spent advancing on things such as your ice-skating, which you have barely touched upon.
needs work

THE VIOLIN BIT

also, though others who have commented here seem to mostly be in favour of that passage, the part about the violin at the beginning is horrendous. delete it.
it would be out of place in a Douglas Adams novel, and it is most certainly out of place in a personal statement.
anybody reading the first paragraph is going to think you're a twat, so change it

THE VIOLIN BIT

also, though others who have commented here seem to mostly be in favour of that passage, the part about the violin at the beginning is horrendous. delete it.
it would be out of place in a Douglas Adams novel, and it is most certainly out of place in a personal statement.
anybody reading the first paragraph is going to think you're a twat, so change it

common mistake

I agree this is atrocious. It's really very hard to write a good PS, because the majority of people get caught between two extremes: waffly, non-specific and ineffective on the one hand, or over-doing it and sounding like an arrogant, self-righteous twat on the other. Yours is firmly in the latter category. Whilst your achievements are commendable and you do clearly enjoy English, anybody reading this is going to instantly want to take you down a peg - and the easiest way for them to do that is by NOT giving you a place.

Scrap the try-hard vocabulary - lots of English students (myself included) write with long words. But when you're writing about yourself, they are not necessary. They just make you sound a) desperate and b)an arse.

Think about this, these guys are gonna have to have you sitting in their classrooms for the next three years. Do they want a brash, arrogant, over-compensating, loud American? NO! And that's what I get from your PS.

You need to put across who you actually are - spend 2/3 talking about why you like English. What genres? What narrative styles? What themes? This is the kind of thing that makes you come across as a mature and enthusiastic student. Then a section on your other accomplishments - 'I am an accomplished violinist and have played with xxxxx orchestra; I've participated in ice skating for xxx years; these are both hobbies I'd like to keep up in the UK blah blah blah'. The ending should be your reasons for studying abroad.

And please don't say or even hint at the possibility that you might be saying 'I want to study in England because Shakespeare lived there'. OBVIOUS AND BORING. Say perhaps...that you'd love to see the exact places these authors lived and worked, that you'd love to immerse yourself in the country where English has its origins. Not 'I like English writers'.

Basically, calm down, be more academic, more specific, and less of a run-of-the-mill falsely-pompous over-exaggerated try-hard.

Say what you really, really think. Not what you think will impress them.

I'm sure to an American this

I'm sure to an American this personal statement is not as arrogant as everyone claims. But the best policy when applying in England is modesty, show your appreciation and enthusiasm for studying English more than saying how amazing you are at it.

Horrendous

This comes across as too hilarious to be taken seriously. Far too much hyperbolae thrown in all over the place to appear an eloquent person. Obviously not sincere. Be humble, it's a virtue.

Generally, it was physically revolting how pompous you were, you're applying to people hundreds of times better than you are and they don't need arrogant noobs to try and act big to them!

I would agree that actually

I would agree that actually it's 'too American'. I'm applying to both countries and writing your common app essays was just as different for me! You've got to remember that the people reading this aren't the general admissions people like in the US, they have in depth knowledge for their field (English) and want to see that you have it too. You need less extracurricular stuff, less dramatics, and more serious academic interest and how you pursue your interest outside of the classroom. AND NEVER EVER NAME UNIVERSITIES??!! That's so rude for the other unis you're applying to. And less of the future hopes - and why you wan to go to the country; try and include your interest in the actual course and why you would add academically to the classes, not just through personality.

Read George Orwell's essay

Read George Orwell's essay 'Politics and the English Language.'

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