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Geography (BSc) personal statement

From the dry, arid Saharan desert, to the cold, unforgiving Arctic, the world is home to a diverse and breathtaking range of environments. The astonishing array of landscapes across the globe are home to a staggering 8.7 million species. It is the extraordinary variety of the physical world which I find captivating and makes me want to study geography.

The world is dynamic. Studying geography leaves me asking questions concerning our planet's future. Will climate change continue to impact ecosystems? Will the same species exist in ten years? And of course, the somewhat selfish but important question that is at the core of geography: how will these problems affect humans? ...And are we to blame for causing them?

I am particularly interested in the use of GIS in aiding my understanding of geography. It is a rapidly developing area that provides a framework for comprehending the characteristics and problems of an area. A major issue at the moment which interests me greatly concerns the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. I attended a lecture in Reading which covered this problem. I was shocked to learn that since 2000, 184,651 square kilometres of vegetation has been destroyed. That’s a decrease of 5.24%, which is equivalent to 50 football pitches being destroyed every minute. As a geographer, this made me question the negative impact this must have on the wildlife and environment. I also was concerned as to how this problem can be managed to create a sustainable environment.

Alongside geography, I have taken A Levels in maths and chemistry. In particular, the statistics module I studied in maths has proved especially useful in aiding my understanding of geography. Last year, I completed my geography fieldwork which investigated how the River Chess’ characteristics change as the river flows downstream. I applied my knowledge of statistics to analyse the data I collected; for example, using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient to assess whether the width of the river increased as it flowed downstream.

I attended the school’s Engineering and Kinetics Society where I learned about the construction of dams. I found the link between engineering and hydrology very interesting, especially the environmental impacts associated with the building of dams. The Three Gorges Dam, one of the largest dams in the world, is an example I find particularly notable because of its devastating effects on the environment: 172 million tons of sediment is trapped by the dam every year, threatening the lives of 25 of the 177 unique fish species found in the Yangtze River and contributing to the decline of the critically endangered baiji dolphin. This concerns me greatly and, as a geographer, I am motivated to widen my knowledge of this in order to provide solutions to these troubling problems.

During the summer last year, I undertook two weeks of work experience at one of BP's offices in London. I processed plans for new oil rigs, although I questioned the effects these structures have on the ocean environment - especially contamination from oil spills and metal pipes corroding.

I volunteer once a week at Helen and Douglas House, a charity providing hospice care for terminally ill children. Here, I gained experience in teamwork and communication skills, which I hope to apply when I go to university - hopefully through joining a geographical society.

Furthermore, I write english articles for Fizzy, a fashion and lifestyle magazine sold in Germany. This has given me experience of working life, as well as boosting my organisational skills because I have to meet strict deadlines.

I know that a career in geography is best suited to me because I am an enthusiastic individual and I am very eager to learn more about my subject. As a geographer, I am motivated to ask the questions that concern our planet and, more importantly, help find the answers.

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Author's Comments

Predicted grades: AAC.

University responses:

University of Birmingham: conditional offer (AAB; no interview.)
University of Manchester: conditional offer (AAB; interviewed. The university emailed me personally to say they would still accept me if I got lower grades than my UCAS offer because they liked my personal statement and interview.)
University of East Anglia: conditional offer (ABB; no interview.)
University of Liverpool: conditional offer (ABB; no interview.)
Bangor University: conditional offer (300 UCAS points; no interview.)

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