Here are the most pretentious lines from successful Cambridge personal statements
“Are we pre-disposed to sin?” Yes, yes we are.
Once a teacher told me that it takes a special type of arrogance to apply for Oxbridge. “It’s only for people who truly consider themselves the best”, he said. I know he was trying to put me off applying, but all I heard was “ENTER stage f’ing CENTRE”.
Writing a personal statement for Cambridge is agonising. Each of the 4,000 characters is as painful as watching polytechnics trying to convince us they’re relevant. (Oh chill-out it’s an article about how terrible Cambridge is).
The Tab has searched high and low (and laterally cos we’re really clever like that) for the sharpest of gems in successful Cambridge personal statements. They really do have a sickening range of references to EPQs, DofE achievements, bullshit charity work, “gap yah” plans and pretentious name drops.
So sit back, relax, and wonder how on earth the students that wrote these could have ever been taken seriously in interview…
Maths – King’s – “The sick-in-the-stomach mathmo”
“Pure mathematics, however, was the field that was truly breath-taking, and in the year to come I would find that this (admittedly wide) branch of maths is what I would fall in love with. I grew an affinity for writing proofs, refining them till they were as elegant as possible. I grew addicted to the warm ball of happiness that would grow in my stomach as I ended my proof with a QED, marking it complete; signing my piece of art.”
Medicine – Churchill – “Dr. Fig”
“Reading Elyn R. Saks’ memoir ‘The Centre Cannot Hold’ last year, I couldn’t help but compare, quite inappropriately, my own troubles in choosing a university course and future career with Ms Saks’ struggles with schizophrenia; I, too, felt that as Sylvia Plath wrote in ‘The Bell Jar’, I was sitting in a fig tree, unable to choose which fig to eat.”
HSPS – Trinity – “The Empire (Australia) Strikes Back”
“As the grandson of a Hungarian couple buffeted by the shock waves of political change which swept through Central Europe in the middle of the 20th century, I am acutely aware of the impact of political systems on human lives. […] The prospect of an academically rigorous education in the UK, with its history as the seat of an empire, and its continued importance on the world stage, truly exhilarates me.”
English – Christ’s – “The bookworm cliche”
“I love literature most for its refusal to be constrained by any boundary; that it can be studied through the lexicons of language or as an expression of the human condition; that it can serve to comfort or to shock.”
Natural Sciences – King’s – “The cat’s out the bag (or box)”
“The fact I may have the opportunity to excel in areas I have not yet met is truly tantalising, and perhaps one day I will have my own Schrödinger moment.”
Classics – King’s – “The child murdering sympathiser”
“I find the process of analysis toward texts written thousands of years ago deeply thought provoking, thus I have an intense empathy with Euripides’ Medea. […] I found myself faced with some of the same historiographical concerns as the Greeks.”
Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies – King’s – “The good tongue”
“Through learning languages I hope it will mean that it won’t matter to me that the Spanish schoolteacher, the Syrian shopkeeper or the Mexican drag queen doesn’t happen to speak English.”
English – St John’s – “The wet flannel”
“Thus far English Literature has proven extremely valuable in inviting me to luxuriate in the beauty of the written word and I have an ardent desire to continue my discovery of literature amongst a broader range of texts, genres and movements at degree level.”
Law – Trinity – “The kiss arse with all the buzzwords”
“I relish debating, critical thinking, as well as literary, economic and philosophic analysis. Each of these attributes will be enhanced by the opportunity to study Law at the University of Cambridge. Cambridge is the only tertiary institution to which I am applying in the UK as I feel it offers incomparable potential for academic inquiry and growth.”
See? There’s a reason we’re the best and brightest. Either that or we’re just the most insufferable. But what’s the difference?