Psychology Personal Statement

Although the term ‘psychology’ wasn’t used until the sixteenth century, ancient works from philosophers, such as Plato’s theories of the human psyche, identify that psychology has been theorised and practised since the ancient times.

Psychology’s relevance in society is deeply rooted, and is vital for explaining how we think and behave. I am deeply fascinated by the various ways in which psychology illuminates our complex human behaviour, and so hope to gain more knowledge of it at university.

Studying Psychology at A level has developed my skills of collecting data and evaluating studies, thus increasing my ability to consider multiple explanations for behaviour. My enthusiasm for the subject has also led me to read more widely. I’ve found that ‘The Psychologist’ is a brilliant source of knowledge.

A recent article on the Belgian town of Geel, and its community of people with psychiatric illnesses that have lived there for centuries, led me to question whether the clinical methods of treatment are always effective.

Reading ‘The Skeleton Cupboard’ by Tanya Byron was riveting and showed me the challenges that psychologists can face, such as dealing with patients who are potentially harmful to themselves or others.

I am working on an online course with the Open University on forensic psychology and the use of witnesses in investigations, which has intrigued me greatly.

Cases such as that of Ronald Cotton emphasise the need to improve the use of forensic evidence and interview techniques, so as to avoid any miscarriages of justice.

My EPQ, titled ‘Is an individual's criminality primarily determined only by their childhood, or do other factors play an important part?’ allowed me to further explore psychology by researching theories for explaining criminal behaviour, such as Adrian Raine’s biological explanations for crime in ‘The Anatomy of Violence’.

I found that we all react to our environments so differently that it is difficult to generalise a sole explanation to our entire population, but investigating multiple causes of behaviour was fascinating and has further inspired me to study psychology.

Work experience at a primary school gave me a deeper understanding of the help offered for children. I gained a glimpse of working with children who have dyslexia and other learning difficulties, making me question the extent to which these children should be integrated into the main body of schools to help development. Would keeping them apart be more appropriate? Is it healthier to have a balance between the two? These are the types of questions that lead me to want to know more about how psychology can be used to help others.

Studying History has helped me consider how periods such as the Russian Revolution are linked with psychological aspects like conformity. Did the working and middle classes really agree with the manifestos of the Bolshevik party, or were they simply succumbing to a minority influence?

Reading Northanger Abbey in English Literature has also shown me how attitudes and behaviour in society have changed throughout the centuries. These subjects have helped me acquire skills in analysing evidence, evaluating arguments, and communicating effectively.

My visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp with the Holocaust Education Trust in March had a profound effect on me and my views on mankind, and I am now a Youth Ambassador for the HET.

As Head Girl and Subject Prefect for Psychology, I have demonstrated sensitivity to others and gained skills in effective communication.

I am an avid reader and enjoy books of all genres, such as the works of Linwood Barclay. I am also fond of film, having been a member of the British Film Institute in London for two years.

I am a hard-working individual, and believe that my abilities to consider multiple explanations, communicate well and think independently are what will benefit me in studying psychology as an undergraduate, and working within a field of psychology in the future.

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Looking back on my personal statement now, i'm not that happy with it to be honest! But i can't change anything now of course, and this is probably the case with many other applicants. I'd be interested to see what anyone on here thinks of it, though.

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