Personal statement advice: chemistry
Want to find the right formula for a chemistry personal statement that will achieve the reaction you're hoping for? The two key elements are passion and personal – here's how to get the right mix.
Evidence your passion!According to Andrew Pike, admissons tutor at Newcastle University, a 'genuine passion for the subject' is the top ingredient to convey in your statement. 'After all, you will be studying just chemistry for three to four years and would be mad to want to do that if you didn’t like the subject…'.
He wants to see you actually demonstrate this passion in a way that's unique to you; just saying 'I love chemistry' or 'I have a passion for chemistry' won’t cut it. You could explain what it is about the subject that makes you feel sure you will be motivated by it, or how you see it fitting into your longer term plans or career:
Don't be general, be personalTutors also like to see applicants who say something personal in their statement – this sounds obvious but some applicants don't do that.
They can also easily tell if you’ve just written something for effect. But what does interest them is anything that has genuinely impacted on your knowledge, understanding or enthusiasm, or on you as a person – it’s that personal touch they’re after.
Our guide to studying chemistry at degree-level has more need-to-know advice to explore.
Motivation and real world connectionDr Simon Gerrard, assistant admissions tutor for chemistry at University of Southampton is slightly less concerned about your longer-term objectives - although, it’s always good practice to briefly mention this in your statement if you have genuinely thought about it - but he does want evidence of your motivation. 'It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do after university, what I really like to see is enthusiasm and a passion for the subject.'
One way to really get your passion and commitment across is if you can give an example or two of how you have applied your learning to real life, for example through work experience, a lecture you attended, a documentary you saw, a podcast you heard or something specific you’ve discovered through your wider reading.
For more personal statement advice, see our articles on 10 things not to put in and some top ways to sell yourself in your statement.