So, you’re applying for Natural Sciences at Cambridge and you need to write the dreaded personal statement. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Have a read of our model personal statement to work out what the admissions tutors are looking for in terms of content, structure and tone.
Natural Sciences Example Personal Statement
My fascination with science has taken me on a hugely pleasurable journey, from a wide range of lectures at the Royal Institution and Royal Society to two work placements at UCL and courses at two other universities. It is clear that a degree allowing me to combine the sciences is the path for me.
I had the opportunity to be at the frontier of scientific research this summer, investigating the optimisation of a swallowing vehicle to deliver medicine to geriatric patients at UCL under the Nuffield Science Bursary Scheme. Under supervision, I devised my own experiments using rheology and dissolution apparatus.
Top Tip: Showing independence and self-study, through completion of tasks on internships, is a great thing to include.
After four weeks, I concluded that the dissolution profile of the drug formulation when mixed with vehicles was not directly linked to the viscosity profile. This was not what I initially hypothesised. I entered a 20-page report on my findings for a Gold Crest Award.
The previous summer, a captivating lecture at the Royal Institution on viral immunology encouraged me to seek work experience at UCL’s Department of Infection and Immunity. I shadowed experiments including those on T-killer cells for research on Hepatitis B and was given the opportunity to use specialist equipment such as a flow cytometer.
The challenges of cutting-edge research are a key interest of mine. A recent article in the New Scientist concerning E. coli bacteria being genetically engineered for industrial use engrossed me.
Top Tip: Specific examples of articles you have read are better than more general sweeping statements.
Changing the genome to become resistant to all existing viruses is an interesting type of cross-border research between the sciences. My other reading includes Power, Sex, Suicide by Nick Lane which has been a useful introduction to the field of biochemistry. I was particularly intrigued by the mitochondrial theory of ageing and how future advancements in mitochondrial research and the effect of free radicals could deter ageing.
Top Tip: It’s more impressive, and shows more genuine engagement, if you can pick out something in your reading that interested you, and show how you followed up on it.
A similar area was explored in How We Live and Why We Die: The Secret Life of Cells by Lewis Wolpert. This developed my understanding of how cells work together and the part they play in different body processes.
I have attended two Headstart courses over the last two years. The most interesting part of the recent chemistry course was making and analysing a compound (Zn-ATSM) and using equipment such as Carbon-13 NMR spectroscopy to test my sample and analyse the spectrum to determine its molecular structure. These courses and work placements have given me an opportunity to get to know academics working in teaching and scientific research.
Whilst attending a Royal Institution course, I was able to use other analysis techniques including gel electrophoreses to compare DNA. This was a great way of combining my knowledge of DNA studied in biology with the properties and reactions of compounds investigated in chemistry.
Top Tip: Since Natural Sciences covers a range of sciences, it’s a good idea to show your understanding of the interactions between different disciplines.
For the last year, I have volunteered at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability where I help with activities for patients with a wide range of disabilities. My late uncle had Downs Syndrome, which encouraged me to volunteer three years ago at a home for those with profound learning disabilities. These experiences have taught me a great deal about different types of illnesses, including specialist care for those with Huntington’s disease and individual treatment plans.
I have thrown myself into a wide range of extra-curricular and super-curricular activities at school. I have sought out responsibility, being elected a prefect and a “big sister” for mentoring younger pupils. I have been a regular member of the lacrosse, athletics and cross-country teams, and in 2013 my team became National Cross Country Champions. I have a wide range of musical commitments including school choir and orchestra and am house music captain.
I am excited by the prospect of continuing a range of sciences, exploring the overlap and connections between them and hopefully contributing some day to new discovery and research.
Hopefully, you should have an idea of what you need to write to convey your passion for Natural Sciences. For more advice on this part of the application process, read our Natural Sciences personal statement guide.