Philosophy and English Personal Statement Example

Throughout my life I have discovered an insatiable curiosity for humanity, driven by my interest in the people surrounding me. I find them fascinating: so varied and diverse, each with their own lives, histories, relationships and beliefs. They are creative and intelligent, possessing this amazing capacity to write, to argue, to emphasise and to inspire. The lives, works, thoughts and feelings of these people, and indeed all people, have been a source of intrigue for me throughout my life.

My A-level choices were driven by this intrigue. Emerging from the constraints of secondary education, I was excited by the freedom of choosing my own subjects to study, and quickly set my heart on learning what appeared to me the ultimate tool for investigating humanity: Psychology. It had seemed like the perfect subject for me, exploring the intricacies of human minds and behaviour. However, whilst it was indeed interesting, I felt far from enthralled. Psychology gave me a clinical view of general populations- in it I learnt about people’s minds, emotions and behaviour, but all through the sterile lens of science.
I instead discovered my passion in English Literature and Religious Studies classes; in these I was questioning what it meant to be a person, analysing the effects of events on people’s lives, and learning more about the world around me than I could ever imagine. These classes allowed me to understand people in their fullest, most complex forms; I learnt not just about the mechanisms behind their actions, but about their thoughts: their individual perceptions of life, of death, of morality; their often mislead interpretations of themselves and their deluded beliefs about others. Through different poems, plays, accounts and novels I explored their worlds and had my thoughts, feelings and views changed in the process.

I knew then that if I wanted to continue exploring humanity in an academic context, I had to take both Philosophy and English. Studying only one of these would leave my experience and understanding incomplete, but the two together would be perfect, intricate and thought-provoking, allowing me to strengthen my beliefs by challenging the core ideas at their foundations.

With this decided, I started doing further research, trawling through evaluative essays critiquing my A-level texts, perusing related material, making my connections and comparisons and then finding yet more literary criticism. At the same time, I was reading introductory books like 'Sophie's World', and delving into articles on the Stanford Philosophy site. In order to develop my research skills, I started volunteering at my local county archives, where I curated my own project investigating the stories and lives of suffragettes who had lived in my county area, a task that involved many hours of sifting through different extracts and newspaper articles. To advance my understanding of our current society and improve my reasoning and evaluative skills, I became involved with my school’s debate club, through which I was able to attend a debating workshop in London, an interactive Holocaust Memorial conference, and two Model United Nations events, one of which I chaired. These opportunities exposed me to a wider community of people, allowing me to discuss issues and topics outside of my usual interests and thus develop my verbal communication skills.

The process of enhancing and improving these skills has been extremely enjoyable, and I look forward to using and developing them further in the years to come, as I continue my investigation into the world around me.

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Philosophy and English joint honours personal statement

I got conditional offers from all the unis I applied to:
The University of Liverpool
The University of Leeds
The University of Birmingham
The University of Southampton
The University of Nottingham


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