If you’re applying for Maths and Statistics at Oxford, you need to make sure your personal statement is insightful and polished. With this in mind, we’ve written our very own Maths and Statistics personal statement to help you through this difficult part of the admissions process.
Example Personal Statement
I have known I wanted to study maths at university for some time, and reading Ian Stewart’s “17 Equations Which Changed the World” reaffirmed this decision and reminded me just how important maths is, in that it can be used to model so many parts of the world around us, from the paths of astronomical objects, to the financial markets.
Top tip: This first sentence immediately shows he has read around the subject, and thus conveys an active interest in maths. However, it may be too long for an opening sentence. Remember, you want to grab the admissions tutor’s attention as quickly as possible.
I have also enjoyed reading books such as “The Golden Ratio”, “How to Study for a Mathematics Degree”, and “Alex’s Adventures in Numberland”. I have recently completed a five-week MOOC called “Explore Statistics with R” from which I learnt a lot about handling and visualising data in R, and different types of parametric and nonparametric hypothesis tests. Statistics is a fascinating and ever-growing subject which I would love to explore in more depth at university.
Top tip: He has managed to mention both Maths and Statistics in the first paragraph which is good, immediately showing his interest in both elements of the degree course.
I have repeatedly demonstrated my mathematical ability through my success in UKMT challenges, progressing to the next round, both in single and team events, on numerous occasions. I was a member of my school team, which placed 17th in the country in the Senior Team Challenge 2017.
Top tip: UKMT Challenges are a good way of showing an active engagement with Maths, over and above just reading popular books about the subject.
I have competed with my school many times in a local University’s “Pop Maths Quiz”, which we have won on several occasions. Moreover, an FMSP bi-weekly outreach programme in 2016/17 developed my mathematical thinking and introduced me to increasingly challenging problems, because they required the application of multiple areas of maths for single problems, and the method to reach the answer was not always immediately obvious.
Top tip: This here shows the skills developed on one of these courses. Analysing what you have done on a course and what you learnt is a good way of mentioning them on your personal statement.
I will be doing similar FMSP programmes in 2017 and 2018.
Top tip: Generally, try to write about what you have done, not what you are going to do. Having said that, this sentence links back to a previous programme, so works in this context.
My A-level subjects have made me a well-rounded mathematician. Much of A-level Physics and Chemistry is underpinned by mathematics, and part of the Physics syllabus in particular has consolidated my knowledge of mechanics. I enjoyed all of the modules in AS Further Maths, and am looking forward to the range of options that university study of the discipline permits. I have also enjoyed solving puzzles such as the Rubik’s cube. I have taken part in three open competitions. In some cases, I have learnt how to solve complex puzzles mainly by intuition, without algorithms or tutorials, such as larger dimension cubes and dodecahedrons.
Moreover, I think that the Engineering Education Scheme I did in conjunction with ARM Ltd engineers – where my team built and programmed a robot dog, along with a controlling Bluetooth Android app – taught me to learn faster. It also taught me report-writing skills (as this was required by the project) which the head of the judging panel said was “high-standard”, and “demonstrated textbook report-writing with a perfect balance of technical content”. Finally, it taught me valuable presentation skills through having to present our work to other students, engineers and teachers.
A research project I took part in at the end of year 12, where we researched the arguments for and against a topic of our choosing, improved my research skills, and I believe helped my skills in communicating complex ideas, as I looked into the positives and negatives of three interpretations of quantum mechanics. Through it, I also learnt to use LaTeX for report writing.
Top tip: This personal statement shows a wide variety of mathematical interests and a large scope of things he has done to enhance his interest. It doesn’t focus too much on one particular sector of maths, showing a general and wide-reaching interest.
I have volunteered for Oxfam one morning a week for the past three years, which I believe has given me valuable transferable skills. Working on a till, and also training other volunteers in working on the till, has greatly developed my communication skills. Similarly, playing in many ensembles both in and out of school (including being principal cornet in a local brass band for the last 4 years, which takes up 5+ hours a week) has improved my commitment and time management skills. This is emphasised by the fact that during my GCSE/AS exam seasons, I managed to continue all of my other commitments, and I still achieved high grades in my exams. I have a distinction at grade 8 on the trumpet.
I have completed my DofE bronze and silver awards; I enjoy walking and have taken part i na number of charity endurance walks, in one such event walking over thirty-five miles.
Top tip: It would be good here to have one final linking sentence, stating how his co-curricular involvement has enhanced his mathematical abilities.
Hopefully our model personal statement has given you an idea of the structure, tone and level of sophistication needed to convey your passion for Maths and Statistics and to impress the Oxford admissions tutors. If you’re still looking for tips, take a look at guide to Maths personal statements.