Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement
I am naturally curious, often reading articles from howstuffworks.com, New Scientist, The Engineer and various journals. In year 11, I organised two weeks of work experience at Southampton University's High Voltage Lab and ORC, shadowing Ph.D. students.
Here, I realised that whilst science discovers our world, its applications by engineers are of greater interest to me. My first experience of Engineering was with GCSE Systems and Control. I chose to design, build and test a remote controlled robotic arm from scratch.
It gave me an insight into basic prototyping. Designing and building the PCBs and mechanics felt intuitive. Programming PICAXE chips and producing basic CAD drawings was compelling. I want to pursue Engineering at university because it bridges my love of conceptual sciences with the pragmatic world.
Physics this year has been engaging and I am keen to study material composites, fluid behaviour and thermodynamics at university, partly due to my interest in F1 racing.
A-Level Maths has come alive for me with its practical uses, I enjoyed deriving models and then using vectors and trigonometry to calculate, for example, the angle at which objects land when dropped from a plane.
Decision Maths showed me Critical Path Analysis, providing an insight into how engineers plan projects from stadiums to smartphones.
Programming in AS Computing was exciting; I loved learning the language and developed an ability to solve problems with limited tools. Studying costs and benefits, markets and money flow in Economics has allowed insights into engineering issues through the eyes of an economist.
In March 2013, I was selected for the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy at the NASA USSRC, Alabama, to join 125 students from 30 different countries.
We learnt leadership skills such as assertiveness, through inspiring talks by NASA shuttle Captain Robert Gibson, propulsion entrepreneur Tim Pickens and others; we used these skills in simulated NASA shuttle missions, heat shield design challenges, debates and even jet fighter simulators. I won the communication award for excellent teamwork.
Engaging with an international cross section of like-minded students was a rare treat and I look forward to an environment like this at university.
This summer, I enjoyed working for Dr. Dina Laila at the University of Southampton, learning about Control theory with Mechanical Engineering interns.
I learnt to use MATLAB, Simulink and Laplace Transforms to mathematically model dynamic LTI systems and perform tests to manage Transient Response, Steady-State Error and Stability. She explained that Engineers have to cope with uncertainty, for example, transfer functions describing a robotic arm can become obsolete due to wear.
For me, these problems make engineering more exciting. Seeing the SR71 Blackbird in the Smithsonian Aerospace Museum last year made me curious about aerodynamics which led to me reading 'the Simple Science of Flight'.
Later, visiting the Mercedes factory in Stuttgart and watching 'How It's Made' daily reaffirmed my desire to study Mechanical Engineering with a focus on manufacturing. Outside academia, I have completed my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh and am due to complete Silver. I volunteered at a charity cafe during year 12 and learnt more about how a business operates.
Being a member of my school debate team and a keen public speaker, I care about world affairs. I was in the Yearbook committee as editor and Chairman of my school council in Secondary School and attended Student Parliament in sixth form.
Playing tennis or badminton is my way of unwinding. I enjoy a healthy social network at college and love interacting with people.
My commitment to study engineering is strong and driven by a passion for learning more about the world. I'm determined to pursue innovative engineering in the future. Whilst at university I intend to contribute greatly, since it is my philosophy to engage diligently with all that life has to offer.
Outcome: University of Cambridge (Called for interview, rejected) Imperial College London (Interview + Offer A*AAA) [firm] University of Bristol (Offer after 3 days A*AA, A*AAB, AAA incl. F Maths) [insurance] University of Bath (Offer after 4 days A*AA) University College London (UCL) (Interview + Offer A*AA) Whilst at UCL for an interview, I was told that the Personal Statement is one of the best he's ever seen which felt very reassuring!