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Are you struggling to write your engineering personal statement? Or maybe you’re just adding the finishing touches? Either way, it’s really helpful to read other personal statements so that you can find inspiration and check your tone and structure.

With that in mind, we’ve collected together two real engineering personal statements, which were effective enough to get their writers places at Oxbridge colleges. Enjoy!

Engineering Personal Statement One

Fascinated by the way things work from an early age, I have enjoyed in school not only the challenges posed by science and technology but also the many ways in which they provide the answers to questions. I currently hold an Arkwright Engineering Scholarship, sponsored by the RAF, which has given me invaluable opportunities and insight.

Whilst studying for my GCSEs I was involved in engineering projects such as designing a hybrid rocket engine and building a voice-controlled robot. These projects involved a large amount of research such as engine and nozzle design, propellants, use of 3D modelling software, Python and PCB design and manufacture. By the end I had designed a de Laval nozzle and fabricated a PCB using school’s facilities.

These projects culminated in my selection for a residential trip to Keble College, Oxford for an Ogden Trust Science Camp. We were shown around the Engineering and Materials Science departments and throughout the trip we solved various problems with basic tools. This strengthened my ambition to study engineering at university. 

That summer I spent a week at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa shadowing engineers; this gave me a real insight into the workplace.

Top Tip: Work experience in the engineering industry makes you a stand out candidate to admissions tutors, since it shows real dedication to the discipline.

I was based in their Robotics Engineering department and was able to witness first-hand how all the disciplines of engineering connected to produce a product. One of the robots was a quadruped designed to navigate uneven terrain, such as that found after an earthquake. From this I learned about the hydraulic systems powering the movement and also the complex programming and electronics that allowed it to stabilise itself.

Top Tip: It is good to link something you were exposed to practically to something you learnt from it that particularly interested you, thereby linking the practical to the theoretical.

I saw how the robot used a laser to scan the environment and build a point cloud map based on the time taken for the laser light to bounce off objects in its surroundings. Using funds from my Arkwright Scholarship I attended a Smallpeice Engineering Course at the University of Leeds entitled Advanced Nuclear Engineering.

Top Tip: Any extra courses you have done, be they in person or online, are a great to include; they demonstrate self-motivation and the ability to work independently.

Here we learnt about the nuclear industry, which gave me a better understanding of what nuclear engineers do, researching different types of reaction cycles and designing reactors to harvest the greatest yield of energy. Nuclear engineers also design systems to reduce nuclear waste; this includes the extraction of certain isotopes, such as strontium-89, that can be used in medicine.

We attended several workshops and lectures, some included lab work, to help us understand how the UK uses an open fuel cycle and how spent fuel is reprocessed at sites such as Sellafield. I was also invited to RAF Cranwell and later RAF Odiham to learn about engineers in the RAF. We were also given leadership training which has improved my team building and communication skills.

To complement my school work I read “Space Race” by Deborah Cadbury which chronicles the history of space missions from 1945 up to the historic Apollo 11 of 1969.

Top Tip: It is good to link in extra books you have read that you particularly enjoyed and got something from. To show that you’ve engaged with the book, isolate something specific that really interested you.

This book detailed not only the numerous engineering challenges faced by both nations but also the human aspect of engineering such as being able to present ideas, raise funds and deliver on time. I will also be attending a Masterclass on Aerodynamics at the University of Bolton in October 2017. In school I have taken part in many competitions such as the Chemistry Olympiad, the Alan Turning MathsBombe challenge and the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge in which I received a Bronze Certificate. I have volunteered as a Mathematics Tutor at a local primary school and worked with the local Guide Dogs to raise awareness and funds. This has helped to improve my leadership and people skills.

I believe I will enjoy an engineering degree as it will challenge me to think about problems in a new way and will help me to apply my knowledge of mathematics and physics to benefit society. I intend, after university, to join the RAF as an engineering officer.

Engineering Personal Statement Two

Renewable Energy is of particular interest to me: I am conscious of the urgent need for clean, sustainable energy sources and have sought to learn more in this area.

At EvoEnergy, the company for whom I am currently working, I was assigned to design a mathematical model to calculate the mounting angle for solar panels on barrelled roofs of varying dimensions in Excel.

Top Tip: This is a good way of showing industrial experience, with a concrete example of something done that utilises engineering skills.

This utilised my knowledge of trigonometry and investigation into ‘sagitta’ equations for an arc in a methodical process – the programme will now be used by the design team to speed up the creation and installation of solar arrays on buildings for future clients.

Through my Arkwright Scholarship, I visited one of Jaguar Land Rover’s principal Engineering centres to understand more about their vehicles. I was interested to see recently that their cars produced after 2020 will all have electric power. Having constructed an electric vehicle carbon emission and running cost calculator for EvoEnergy’s Website, I was able to directly compare the environmental and economic differences of fossil fuel and electric vehicles for the benefit of the general public. I formulated equations to give outputs such as the weight of carbon dioxide and annual cost of fuel/electricity for each car based on the user’s specific inputs.

I have read ‘Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air’ and am convinced by David MacKay’s estimates of consumption and renewable production of energy.

Top Tip: It’s good to include analysis and opinions on the books you’ve read, instead of just name dropping them.

Section three, chapters B,D,F and G, which explain the advanced science and calculations behind generating power, has benefited my understanding of the appropriate physics and maths and I have found the link between these subjects thought-provoking.

A five week online course entitled ‘Energy: Thermodynamics in Everyday Life’ gave me an insight into the complexities of this subject and fed my fascination; it covered the laws of thermodynamics, and everyday cases of energy transfer, such as boiling a kettle, which seemed more complex once I had learnt about the Leidenfrost effect.

Top Tip: Online courses are a great way to engage in the subject and try independent study before university.

I enjoyed going through worked examples with Prof Eann Patterson which included calculating the power output of a cylinder in a combustion engine. This tested me as I was encouraged to attempt the question before being shown the correct method.

In the summer of 2015, I spent a week at Atkins Engineering Consultancy, and was invited back the following summer.

Top Tip: Good way of showing his success by saying he was invited back, making him a more desirable candidate.

In the first week, I went into each of the sectors, ranging from Aerospace to Renewable Energy. I gained a diverse perspective of the types of engineering in which Atkins specialise and spoke to people with various roles such as CAD Designers and Project Managers. In the second week, I went into the Nuclear sector.

One task was to prepare a presentation on the NSN subsea interconnector and I looked into the economics, the science, and the social and environmental impacts of the build, and presented it to a group of six engineers, learning some of the key processes used when making a bid for a project.

I have enjoyed problem-solving in UK Maths Challenges for which I have received gold and silver.

Top Tip: Maths is a hugely important part of engineering, so any extra maths experience you may have is great for your personal statement.

My leadership skills grew through my experiences as a School Prefect, captaining a rugby side and organising a part-song for 14 boys in a school competition. These have forced me to both think on my feet and make decisions on behalf of the majority. I play golf and sail, and relish the precision required in these sports. I love composing music across the genres and record songs which I upload onto my YouTube channel; I performed them this summer busking at the Edinburgh Festival.

At present, I am learning valuable skills in the industry through the challenges my three month work contract provides and am able to progress my experience further in engineering.

Conclusion

Now it’s your turn. Make sure to write about the engineering topics that really interest you; that way, your enthusiasm will be clear to the admissions tutors. For more top tips, read our guide to the engineering personal statement.

Personal Statement
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