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Personal statement advice: maths

Whether it's algebra, calculus or stats you love, demonstrating your motivation and enthusiasm for the subject is key to an impressive maths personal statement. Here are more top tips from tutors...

For more personal statement advice, see our article on 10 things not to include - plus, our video personal statement tips from tutors.

Showing your mathematical motivations

'Maths is like Marmite: you either like it or you don’t,'  an opening line from one student's maths personal statement which, while not really revealing anything concrete about that applicant's motivation (and perhaps a little too quirky and flippant...) does help to illustrate how tricky it can be explaining what exactly you enjoy about the subject. 

With a subject like maths at university, motivation is 90% of the battle so anything that demonstrates your motivation and enthusiasm for the subject will go down well. Here are a few tips we’ve picked up from maths admissions tutors:
 
  • 'We love to see anything that shows the depth or breadth of your interest in maths and especially your interests in the subject beyond the A-level syllabus - like any maths books you’ve read, maths clubs you’re part of or especially any maths challenges you’ve been involved in'.
  • The University of Bristol loves to see applicants who can show participation and success in mathematical competitions: 'there are many of these competitions, whether local, national or international and the more recent your participation and the greater the success you attained, the more weight it carries'.
  • 'We like to see a bit of spark and originality. For example, what first inspired your interest in maths or, better still, what currently inspires it?'
  • 'Give us a sense of which aspects of maths you especially like and why. Is it algebra, calculus, statistics or something else?'

How polished your statement needs to be will vary from uni to uni because, in the end, it’s your mathematical ability and potential that matters most - but as the London School of Economic’s website says, 'an original and interesting personal statement which outlines your enthusiasm and motivation is expected'.
 

What else to include in your maths personal statement

  • Your extra-curricular activities: tutors want to know about your sporting, cultural or community involvement, or anything else you do outside your studies that demonstrates drive, commitment, enthusiasm and your potential to excel. 
  • What you'll contribute: uni isn’t just about studying - universities are also communities and it's great if you can show how you'll make a contribution to university life.
  • Your personality: try to give tutors a sense of your personality through talking about any outside interests that offer an insight into who you are. Bristol is looking for students who 'stand out from the crowd' and are upbeat in their statements.

So try not to be too quirky, but do get your personality across if you can. Most of all, explain why you love maths. 
 

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