Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement (with gap year)

As a young child I would often marvel at a feat of engineering, such as how a wing creates lift.

However, frustrated at my inability to comprehend the nature of such sights I could merely only scratch at the surface.

More recently my A level studies have equipped me with some of the tools required to deeper my understanding and question why things happen. I have used my mechanics knowledge to investigate the working of centrifugal clutches and rotary vane pumps.

Exploring deeper has thrown up plenty of questions such as how PLCs can utilise logic to control these machines, and it is perhaps my underlying curiosity which draws me to engineering.

As the combination of maths and sciences to solve problems and improve existing systems, engineering has shaped the world we live in. Realising this, my aim is to become a professional engineer entrusted with the responsibility of designing the world for future generations.

My passion for maths has driven me to achieve two silver and one bronze UKMT awards and a silver award in a Physics Olympiad. I enjoy testing myself in these competitions and plan to maintain my mathematical knowledge this year by preparing for STEP examinations and working as a private tutor for current students next year.

Studying mechanics has introduced me to problem solving in real-world situations, such as analysing the forces within a structure, and has driven my decision to study mechanical engineering.

Attending an engineering masterclass I was able to understand how a wing creates lift, in terms of streamline curvature and pressure gradients, and the reasons which disprove some common misconceptions.

It was surprising to learn how common these misconceptions can be, given the potential significance a misunderstanding could have.

I am currently on a work experience placement at Westinghouse Electric Company, manufacturers of nuclear fuel. It has been thoroughly interesting to see the engineering processes which take place, as well as other supporting operations which are important to any engineer such as risk management.

I have seen how machines including 3 phase motors and gearboxes are implemented on the production line, and then used circular motion to solve the gearbox problem, as well as others, on

It has been satisfying to see processes I have learnt about at A level, such mass spectrometry put into practice on a helium leak detection unit.

Researching single acting cylinders, which I first observed being applied on the production line, has sparked my interest in internal combustion engines, in particular the knowledge I gained on Bernoulli’s equation at the masterclass was useful when trying to understand how a carburetor works.

I have also been exposed to operations management, reading 'Toyota Kata' I learnt about the need for continuous improvement for manufacturers to remain competitive and it was interesting to compare 'Toyota's way' to what I see daily on site. This is something I may want to pursue further after University.

This summer I taught myself some simple programming with python, and appreciated being able to learn something new and quickly test my understanding. I watch 'Big, Bigger, Biggest' documentaries, taking inspiration from the revolutionary breakthroughs that have been made.

One of my favourite engineers is Filippo Brunelleschi, architect of the Duomo, his ingenious ideas were years ahead of his time and are still visible to see.

I also regularly read 'Professional Engineering' magazine to keep up to date with some of the challenges facing current engineers, I recently learnt that Audi are developing a new energy recovery system from potholed roads, and I am excited by the environmental benefits this could have.

I play rugby in my spare time and have recently completed my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award, particularly enjoying the volunteering section where I sold Christmas cards to raise money for charity. Studying engineering will be a gratifying experience, allowing me develop holistically and I look forward to getting started.

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This isn't yet finished but I would welcome any feedback :)


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