On Wednesday 7th June, we welcomed Hannah Lawson from Cardiff University to talk to the LVI Form about Personal Statements.  Hannah is a Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer and has been part of the Cardiff team for just over two years. She recently project managed Cardiff’s Open Day (in April) which saw over 10,000 people visit the campus.

Hannah gave a very engaging presentation. She spoke with great clarity on the application process and in particular on what Russell Group Universities such as Cardiff expect to see in a good Personal Statement. She dispelled common myths such as ‘universities don’t bother reading them’ and ‘a good quote at the beginning always grabs their attention’ by saying unequivocally that Admissions tutors DO take notice of them and that they can make the difference between two otherwise very similar students with equally impressive grades.

She gave the girls a very distinct idea of how to structure the Personal Statement and what focus should be given to academic study, further reading, extra-curricular activities, transferable skills, and so on.

She also gave a very clear and specific warning about the dangers of plagiarism – UCAS uses very sophisticated recognition software and will pick up on identical phrases and passages in different Personal Statements, as it carries a complete library of statements both from home and abroad, in English and a multitude of other languages. Her message was that it was not worth the risk and that it was supposed to reflect the individual student anyway.

Hannah then conducted an online quiz to test the girls on how much they had learnt, remembered and already knew. She then concluded with a question and answer session which was notable in its lack of questions – testament to the fact that she had done such a great job in covering all aspects of the Personal Statement writing and application process. The presentation finished with a small gift of flowers and a hearty vote of thanks from all the girls.

Philip Jones, Director of Higher Education and Professional Guidance