As you may or may not know, I have recently graduated and completed my 2-year International Baccalaureate Diploma course. With this, I can use it for applying into many top universities around the world, especially in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia (primarily English-speaking nations). Despite having this diploma, it is not enough to present this to apply to a UK university; I had to go through the same process as an A-Level student in the UK to apply for my desired undergraduate programme. This system of application is called UCAS, an online platform where students may upload their personal details and academic information to make the informed decision to apply into up to 5 different institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom.
In UCAS, getting “good grades” is simply not enough for a university to even consider you for a place in their courses. An applicant in UCAS must write a “personal statement” where the future uni student write down, in 4000 characters or less (including spaces), who they are and why they are most suited for the course that they have chosen. For example, I have chosen to apply for Economics and Politics as my degree in all 5 universities (Edinburgh, Durham, Bristol, Warwick and UCL in addition to ‘History’).
Writing a personal statement is no peice of cake, but it should not be a stressful endeavour. I myself had to go through multiple drafts and re-drafts before my UCAS guidance counsellor in school accepted mine into the online system. It’s really rare for someone to get the personal statement spot on on the first try. I will be sharing with all of you my final, polished version of my UCAS personal statement below. I think it is rather decent, considering that I did get offers from all 5 of my universities. I hope this will help you write your own personal statement, and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and I will be happy to answer them.
Although I have spent half of my life overseas, I am deeply aware of the economic strife facing my home country Malaysia. A few months ago, the ringgit fell sharply to its lowest value against the US dollar since the 1997 Asian recession. Exports became cheaper, bringing less revenue and causing a slowdown to the national economy. I personally blame the government for causing the fiasco, a view shared by many in the country. Numerous scandals made headlines, for instance, reports alleging extravagant embezzlement of the state’s investment fund involving the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, such wrongdoing has a direct consequence on my funds to pursue my studies in the UK. As outraged as I am over this, I just do not have sufficient knowledge of political systems to understand how this problem can be alleviated. I am determined to seek answers through learning about the delicate intricacies linking politics and economics.
I am a highly-motivated individual with a lifelong passion for learning. For instance, I possess an especially profound fascination in the complex spatial nature of international economics. As an economics student who also studied modern history, I have always been captivated by the intense competition between capitalist and socialist powers during the Cold War era. I developed a particular interest in the Soviet planned economy, as I conducted an extended essay project analysing Stalinist policies in 1928-1939 that led to “genocide” in Ukraine. From here I learnt that economic policies executed by government to bring industrialisation and modernisation can have disastrous implications on the population for generations to come. Unfortunately many corrupt politicians today fail to take heed of these mistakes made in the past.
It also seems that no matter what era, stark economic differences continue to be a sore point between various nations. I have experienced this tension when taking part in Model United Nations conferences in Cairo, where I debate global issues which inherently relate to economics of development. Having represented Belgium and Norway, I helped formulate realistic resolutions even the most under-developed nation can agree with and implement. It was an enriching experience as I came out a more articulate and open-minded public speaker fitting for a future career in economics or politics.
I am a well-rounded person with various hobbies outside of academia, including learning foreign languages. I am trilingual, fluent in Malay (my mother tongue), English and Arabic. I aspire to become a polyglot conversant in five more languages: including German, French and Russian, all of which I have in varying levels of basic-to-novice proficiency. Knowledge of these languages is highly valued, considering in the heated political climate between the European Union and Russia. I aim to use this knowledge as a bridge between the two sides and bring a common understanding in my future career.
Another hobby of mine is writing. I have been running my own personal online blog for two years now, and the readership just keeps growing, thanks in part to my newly-discovered talent for poetry. I have written, published online and presented my poems and they were praised for their unique styles, variations and complexity. Poetry will prove beneficial for me as a future student in politics, as it is essential to understand how figurative language could be used in order to sway public opinion, or to lobby for a law to pass.
In short, I am a highly-capable and dynamic student with a strong international background. Furthermore, I truly believe that studying in the UK will help me to not only develop my knowledge in my favourite areas of study, but also will provide a wealth of opportunities for my future.
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