Neuroscience and Psychology Personal Statement

The brain- with trillions of neural connections and infinite adaptability- is indisputably the most intricate organ in the human body, and, I would agree with Sir Robin Murray- that it is the most complex structure in the universe. This is an enthralling and intriguing concept to me: that there exists so much that humans do not yet know (or at least cannot comprehend) about this most vital organ.

In my senior phase, Human Biology evolved to be my favourite course, particularly because of the Neurobiology unit. I was stimulated by learning about how memories are transferred, which encouraged me to research the 'serial position effect' for my assignment. From carrying out experiments with junior classes and processing this data to find trends, the project helped me to develop my statistical and analytical skills.

My enthusiasm for neurobiology led me to delve into the relationship between neurons and neurodegeneration, and I became especially captivated by the potential use of stem cells for treatment of Alzheimer's disease. This initiated my desire to study the nervous system beyond the content in Higher and Advanced Higher Biology. I have also been helping with second year Maths and Science classes, which has allowed me to share my strengths with younger people and has enhanced my communication skills.

I have participated in several events involving Neuroscience at a university, such as 'Brain Day'. This day included a sheep brain dissection and an explanation of its anatomy, which surprisingly, I was riveted by. I attended a university summer school, in which I received lectures regarding both psychology and biology. I appreciated this insight into the university experience as I was surrounded by like-minded people, but it also required me to work independently. I discovered that I was attracted to the biological aspect of psychology, therefore making neuroscience a tailored option for me as it contains elements of both subjects.

Reading 'The Gendered Brain' by Gina Rippon enlightened me to how abundant 'neurotrash' is in the media, especially in terms of the brain differences between the sexes. Furthermore, I attended a presentation by lecturer, Pete Etchells, about the impact of video games on mental health. Differing to the norm, his argument was that video games may be beneficial to us but highlighted how little we know about their impact due to a lack of research. This encouraged me to be sceptical of neuroscientific 'ideas' which are portrayed to be 'truths' by the media.

I have also been exploring the science behind mindfulness, as this is an activity I often practice. I have discovered that regular meditation decreases the size of the amygdala- which is involved in controlling anxiety and fear. The fact that such contemplation could make a change to the physical structure of the brain deeply mesmerizes me, and it is these findings that persuaded me to continue researching.

Being a synchronised swimmer and leader at Rainbows has improved my teamwork and organisational skills. I also volunteer for a charity, in which I spread awareness for a cause I am passionate about. This work ethic will certainly be useful when working toward my degree.

Although the discoveries within neuroscience pleases my inquisitiveness, it is what is (still) to be found which delights me. The challenges to be overcome make me keen to pursue neuroscience at, and beyond, undergraduate studies.

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Author's Comments

Looking back I wouldn’t say this is the best personal statement ever but this website helped me a lot writing it and so I decided to give back:)

St. andrews University (unconditional) Accepted
Edinburgh University (conditional on B at Higher Chemistry)
Dundee University (conditional “ or summer school)
Glasgow University (Unconditional)
Aberdeen University- neuroscience with psych (Unconditional)

I also received 5 As in my higher results for context


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