If you’re working on your Chemistry personal statement, for Oxford or any other university, it can be helpful to take a look at examples. Here, we have two example personal statements for you, with comments to explain why they’re successful.
Example Personal Statement 1:
Almost all children have an astonishing urge to ask about practically everything that comes to their heads. Despite having grown up, I am still wondering – how all the surrounding things are made, why those and not the other materials have been used, how basic processes happen. That is why I love chemistry – a science that gives logical answers to questions resulting from basic curiosity.
It is good in your personal statement to be keen, and to show the admissions tutors that you really do love the subject. No need to be too cool for school!
What is more, hard work in a laboratory, however painstaking it can sometimes be, assures me that solutions found are far from being theoretical inscriptions only as the connection with the surrounding reality is quite apparent. Organic Chemistry, written by John McMurry,
It’s good to include books you have read and particularly enjoyed, especially if you explain exactly why you enjoyed them. This will show your interest in exploring the subject, and suggest a greater commitment than if you had simply absorbed the A-Level content and nothing else.
stresses the links between the basic information about molecules or reactions and biochemistry, life processes, pharmacy and chemical industry, and thus I consider it one of the best books I have ever read. For sure, it has shaped the way I look at chemistry.
I have been working in a school laboratory since 2012, learning the basics of analytical chemistry.
Laboratory work is a huge part of studying Chemistry at university. Experience of this is therefore valuable, since it shows an awareness of what the subject consists of at university-level.
I also attended chemistry workshops at Warsaw University of Technology in 2013, 2014 and 2016 and at the University of Warsaw in 2014 and 2016. The workshops covered a wide range of topics such as organic chemistry, classical analytical chemistry, NMR spectroscopy and crystallography. I took part in the Vth National Meeting of Young Chemists organized by the University of Gdańsk and Gdańsk University of Technology. My level of knowledge and skills, in both theoretical and analytical chemistry, has been proven high in the 61st and 62nd National Chemistry Olympiad (about 1000 participants), in which I came 24th and 9th .
Concrete examples of success that relate directly to your subject are great ways to make yourself an attractive candidate.
I also won the 52nd Antoni Swinarski Chemistry Contest, organized by Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, as well as some local competitions.
I learn chemistry in individual lessons, which is a privilege for those most eager to learn and with the outstanding potential and prospects. Such organisation of the learning process, similar to Oxford’s tutoring, has elevated my ability to organize my timetable well and study on my own to perfection and also allowed me to study chemistry at level beyond advanced, with added components from the university programme.
These are good examples of self-directed study, providing evidence of independent motivation.
I have also extended level classes in English language, physics and mathematics. I find those two latter subjects crucial for deep understanding of chemistry. I can legitimize my high level of knowledge in those two fields having outstanding results in the LXVIIth Mathematical Olympiad (places 28th-41st) and the 65th Physics Olympiad (a title in the national stage). I have been a Scholar of Prime Minister of Poland in school year 2015/2016. Such extraordinary results show my ability to think creatively, logically and learn exact sciences fast and easily.
I have been engaged in organising extra classes on advanced chemistry and research group meetings at school for 3 years now. Helping teachers to communicate complex problems, prepare lessons, materials, tests and samples for analytical chemistry has helped me organize my knowledge. Currently, I myself run two hours of workshops per week with students 4 years my junior and help to prepare such lessons for those who are a year or two years older than that. I also create materials preparing other students from my high school for various contests and Chemistry Olympiad. These experiences with teaching leave me with the feeling of challenge, are very rewarding, as I enjoy helping other students very much. I look forward to widen my perspectives and to learn as much as it is virtually possible from the best chemists.
Example Personal Statement 2
Ever since picking up the ‘Horrible Science’ books as a child, I have had a curiosity and enthusiasm for all things scientific. Specifically, I grew up craving knowledge about what things are made of, and how they are made. With Chemistry being the central science, I have always felt that it answers more of my childhood questions than Biology or Physics ever have. My Chemistry studies became serious at GCSE and A Level. Working through the list of organic functional groups on the classroom wall may seem a chore to some students, but I always looked forward to broadening my knowledge.
Although I had successfully applied to study Veterinary Medicine, towards the end of my A Level studies I became aware that it perhaps wasn’t my true calling, and after deep thought I realised how much my Chemistry studies had inspired me to take the subject further. I made the difficult decision to decline my offers from Veterinary schools, and began to look at what a Chemistry degree would entail. After much research, my decision was solidified and I knew I was now on the right path.
By studying A Level Mathematics, I have gained confidence with a variety of complex calculations, and developed problem-solving skills; bringing together different aspects of what I have learnt to establish an answer.
It’s good to link Maths skills to Chemistry, as it forms such a central part of the degree – this shows an understanding of what degree-level Chemistry entails.
My Biology coursework projects enabled me to cultivate my ability to deeply research a particular subject, by designing my own experiments, collecting and processing data and analysing different sources. One project concerned the Ebola virus, which exposed me to an interesting area of Biochemistry I had not encountered in the classroom. Finally, A Level Chemistry has allowed me to develop my knowledge of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, and to understand how different branches of the subject relate to one another. I have become proficient at carrying out practicals; drawing on my theoretical knowledge and using chemical tests to identify a compound, as one example.
As it was a former passion of mine, I have carried out plenty of work experience in the field of veterinary medicine. Some of this included helping in the laboratory of a veterinary practice, where I operated a centrifuge for blood tests and looked for signs of infection under a microscope. Being able to experience a laboratory environment outside of the classroom gave me an insight into real-life applications of the practical skills I have developed through A Level Chemistry.
Lab experience is a great addition to a chemistry personal statement.
I enjoy reading about Chemistry-related matters in the news. A recent example of this was the Rio Olympic diving pool unexpectedly turning a shade of green. It was interesting to see how scientists offered various suggestions to explain the colour change, until the final verdict was reached: an excess of hydrogen peroxide was mistakenly added to the pool, which reacted with microorganism-killing hypochlorite, so algae were allowed to grow. As well as keeping up with mainstream news like this, I frequent the Chemistry World website, where I am able to find out about chemistry-specific news and research.
Keeping up to date with research and news about your subject is highly valuable.
Scouting has been a hobby of mine since age six, which has helped me to develop good communication skills; these I know are important in a Chemistry Lab.
Linking your extra-curricular interests to your subject is important.
I have organised and carried out group expeditions, voluntary work and fitness training through various awards, up to the Chief Scout’s Diamond Award. Throughout this I have experienced both leadership and teamwork. Another major hobby is playing music; I have completed all the piano grades and I am self-taught at guitar and bass. Playing three instruments shows that I am disciplined and dedicated to what I enjoy; attributes I will carry with me into a Chemistry degree.
Although it was possible I could have found a place to study Chemistry through Clearing 2016, I wanted to wait a year to ensure I can apply for the university I truly want to attend. During my gap year I will be working abroad, which will increase my independence and self-sufficiency.
These are both desirable skills for an admissions tutor.
If you’re looking for more tips for your personal statement, take a look at our complete guide to your Chemistry personal statement. You could also have a look at our reading list for Chemistry, and if any of these catch your fancy they’d be great material for a personal statement.