The most awfully cringe things you put on your Personal Statement

Go on, let’s hear how passionate you are about ancient history

Bashing out 600 words for your Personal Statement is a part of every person’s university application. For most, you have to fake an enthusiasm for a subject that you probably picked because it was the one you disliked the least at school as well as insisting that you’re a well-rounded individual.

How these people here all got into Edinburgh with Personal Statements like these is a bit of a shock. Spare a thought for the poor bugger who has to go through all of these.

Karla, 2nd Year, Art History

“When I was fifteen, my father took me to ‘‘Regarding Warhol’’, a retrospective of Andy Warhol’s work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As I stood over a glass case enclosing Tom Sachs’ Chanel Chainsaw, a chainsaw fashioned out of Chanel shoeboxes, something went off in my head. This is art.”

“A deliveryman once compared my home to an art museum. As he gawked at our living room, carrying a hot pizza in one hand and a wad of change in another, I looked at the setting behind me and nodded silently. It was an art museum, my parents were the curators, and I, at thirteen years old, was a fellow.”

The fellow in question

Wow, Karla. Just wow.

Yas, 3rd Year, Theology

Unhappy at not getting my dose of ‘sound intellectual arguments’

“I was brought up in a religious family but found myself questioning rather than accepting the religious laws and ideas of Islam. Wanting to learn sound intellectual arguments to explain religious ideas, I started to read theological books.”

Of course “wanting to learn sound intellectual arguments to explain religious ideas” was the reason I wanted to come to uni.

Laura, 3rd Year, History

“President John F. Kennedy once said, “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try and hold fast is to be swept aside.” This power that the knowledge of History allows and the extension of its branches throughout human society encompasses the reason why I believe studying this subject at degree level would be a worthwhile voyage.”

I hope these last few years have been a “worthwhile voyage” for you Laura.

Cescy, 1st Year, Medical Biology

“My A levels have increased my knowledge of, and commitment to, medicine. My particular interest in genetics and immunology in biology led me to read Genome by Matt Ridley, in which I was fascinated to read how sickle anaemia was naturally selected in certain communities because it provides immunity to malaria.

“I regularly attend science lectures at UCL, and look forward to attending The Origin of Life this week to feed my interest in evolution. My volunteer work with the elderly at a care home and with younger students has enabled me to put into practise the communication skills I admire in doctors. I enjoy both team and leadership roles, practised through Duke of Edinburgh and rowing, and can challenge myself and my dexterity through tennis, art and guitar.”

If you did go to lectures before you got to uni, you were probably the only one there.

Perhaps not as cringe as the others, but this is textbook Personal Statement bullshit. Mentioning a book you probably haven’t read? Check. Mentioning lectures you probably haven’t gone to? Check. Volunteering? Check. Show that you’re an all-rounder? Check. Ladies and gentlemen, this is art.

Aisha, 1st Year, Arabic

“It was during a politics trip in Washington that I saw the quote ‘freedom isn’t free’, this resonated with me. Visiting the Gaza Strip throughout the 2014 attacks I saw the weight of those words first hand as children were forced to enter the cross fire of shelling not by choice of their own with even their schools’ being a target.”

gap yah

Okay Aisha, we get it – you travel.

Liv, 3rd Year, Ancient History

‘The influence of the ancient world upon science, art, religion, philosophy and politics is apparent across my A level subjects, and the confluence of my studies has given me a perspective that many miss. My appetite to understand better the patterns emerging at this level drives my ambition to study ancient history at university.

I prefer to engage with life, not just watch it passing; as part of my school’s community outreach programme I taught year four students at a local school about the Greek myths, which they loved.”


Rhianne, 3rd Year, Ancient History

“I would like to study ancient history because it is a subject of great interest to me, and I feel that my passion and enthusiasm for the subject will enable me to make the most of my degree. I believe that the ancient civilisations laid the foundations for the world as we know it today, and that the past holds the key to understanding our present and future.”

At least the books look cool

I doubt she’s that passionate and enthusiastic in her Friday 9am tutorials.