This is a real example of a UCAS personal statement from a student who went on to read engineering at Cambridge
My interest in Engineering stems from a careers event at the remarkable National Physical Laboratory; here my aim to pursue a Maths and Physics related degree formed. Although they are my favourite and strongest subjects at school, I am often left keen to discover their practical applications. Engineering strikes me as the perfect way to relate exciting theories to real-world problems, giving science context.
As President of my school's Natural Sciences Society, I deliver presentations and organise talks where guest speakers discuss a wide range of topics, from 'Angular Momentum' to 'Solar Energy'. One speech on aero-engines taught me about the challenges of refining aeronautical engine efficiency. Fascinated by the notion of flight, I researched the topic in depth and wrote an article on how bumblebees fly, published in our Society Journal. Over the course of this activity, I encountered concepts such as biomechanics and aerodynamic stall, the latter of which became the subject of further personal research and another article in St Olave's Engineering Society Journal.
I enjoy problem-solving, taking an active interest in programming. I have independently completed two courses in Python, which have helped me develop the logical yet creative thought-process needed to write and debug code. They provided knowledge of Python types and structures, then moved on to object-oriented programming, algorithmic complexity and stochastic processes. The content learnt was regularly applied to the creation of games and tasks, to ensure I received a well-grounded and useful background in the language.
I was fortunate enough to gain industry experience at BAE Systems, where I led one of six teams in designing an F46 Blacksabre integrated cockpit. I gained a great appreciation for the importance of collaboration and composure as we dealt with the components' technical problems and logistical issues within the strict deadline. Following our written report and formal presentation, we were chosen as the successful contractors. I was proud to receive the prize for best individual performance during the week.
An Aerospace Headstart course furthered my teamwork skills, where we made a glider wing. Our design involved a tightly bound paper skin on a cambered aerofoil structure with a single I-beam slat, minimal ribs to lower weight and a sanded leading edge to smoothen airflow. This led us to achieve the best lift/drag ratio out of eight groups. Not only did I gain a solid foundation in aerodynamics, but I became better prepared for the intensiveness of project work, given we had just two hours to plan and make the entire model.
I have always been transfixed by the idea of reproducing science fiction; for my EPQ I explored the viability of creating the suit of Marvel superhero Falcon, including the performance of carbon nanofibre wings, the material giving them morphing and bulletproof capabilities, and how best to use turbojet engines to generate enough thrust. I also analysed the integration of these features with weapons and displays to create a fully functioning suit-system. The project cemented my impression that Engineering weaves together many areas of science to create something entirely new, a notion that greatly appeals to me.
Alongside my studies, I enjoy volunteering for the ESU, where I judge competitions at a regional level, and at a local nursing home, organising resident activities. I mentor students in KS3 Maths and am also a keen musician, obtaining Distinctions in Grade 8 piano and Grade 7 flute. Having an extensive extracurricular life both in school and out reflects my organisational talent and effective time management.
I believe my consistently high performance in A-Levels and academic competitions shows my potential to excel in this course. The world will always encounter problems, and will always require engineers to solve them. Studying Engineering at the highest level would give me the chance to help shape our future.
Graduate entry medicine UCAS form
Since graduating from xxxxx [blanked out for confidentiality] in 2003 with a 2:1 in mathematics, I have established myself as a researcher in the Institute for [xxxblanked out for confidentialyxx]. I specialise in developing mathematical models to aid our understanding of xxxxx [ blanked out for confidentiality]. When I first joined the institute I worked on a project to quantify the risk to humans from ... [xxblanked out for confidentiality xxx] and evaluate the risk reduction that could be achieved by different control strategies. I was asked to present this work to the Food Standards Agency and my findings were used to inform their policy decisions. For the past four years I have been working towards a PhD and, having recently submitted my thesis, I am now awaiting my viva. My thesis focuses on understanding how [xxxblanked out for confidentiality xx]. I have given talks on my research at four international conferences and I have published two papers. In addition, I have written a chapter for a book on [xxxblanked out for confidentiality xx] and I am a named author on two other publications.
Although I enjoy academic work, I have always felt that I would prefer a career where I can interact closely with people and where I can be of help in a more immediate way. In this sense medicine is a natural progression for me. Last year I spent a week shadowing a team of doctors and nurses who specialise in vascular medicine. I visited the ward, the outpatient clinic and the theatre. The experience was a fascinating insight into life in hospital and one that I enjoyed immensely. It has confirmed my commitment to a career in medicine. I used it as an opportunity to learn about the responsibilities of the different team members and about the high element of teamwork involved in medicine. My research involves collaboration with other scientists - including several clinicians - and I enjoy discussing ideas amongst a team and learning from others.
My time in hospital gave me a flavour of the rewards and challenges that a medical career offers. It highlighted that certain fields can be continuously stressful and that time management skills are crucial. The importance of leadership skills and a commitment to administration was also evident. I am confident that I could thrive in this environment. One of my interests is rock climbing and this has taught me how to make rational decisions whilst under pressure. In my free time I also run a badminton club and I am self-employed as a property manager. I would relish the opportunity to redirect the organisational skills that I have acquired from these experiences towards a career as a clinician.
During my placement in hospital, it gave me great pleasure to talk to patients about their experiences and to practise my bedside manner. My skills were later put to the test when I spent two weeks accompanying doctors who were treating HIV patients in The Gambia. Because of the language barrier, I quickly learned about the contribution that body language plays in portraying empathy towards patients. My involvement in charity work has also enabled me to improve my interpersonal skills. As an undergraduate, I was part of a group that took underprivileged children on summer holidays. Some of the children had special needs and the trips were often quite challenging. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the experience and I found it incredibly rewarding. Analysing my motivation to study medicine from a more personal perspective, the chance to help patients in a more direct way than would be possible from a research position is something that would be deeply fulfilling.