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To write an effective personal statement, you’ll need to make sure that you’re applying for the same combination of subjects at all your university choices.Your personal statement might sound great if you’re applying for Computer Science and Philosophy at University A, but it will make no sense to University B if you’re applying only for Philosophy.This may be a sensitive issue and it’s probably best not to dwell too much on in your personal statement; you don’t want to look as though you are angling for the ‘sympathy vote’.
The key here is to look for overlaps in the course content and talk about those.
You’ll need to scrutinise the course content closely for each university and draw up a list of the topics that are covered by all of them.
Nevertheless, easy or not, it’s definitely worth acknowledging it in your personal statement, because the admissions tutor will have noticed – so it’s no use pretending it’s not the case and hoping they won’t notice.
Let’s look at some of the possible reasons for low grades and consider each in turn.
Those two subjects may be fairly similar – such as history and archaeology – in which case it should be fairly straightforward to talk about the two subjects and how they work effectively together.
However, if the two subjects are very different – such as Birmingham’s Economics with Italian, or Oxford’s Computer Science and Philosophy – you face the challenge of trying to talk equally about your interests in both.We’ve previously given you some tips on how to write an effective personal statement, but in this article, we tackle some of the common issues head-on and show you how to make sure your personal statement still shines.It’s notoriously tricky to write a personal statement for a joint honours course – that is, a course on which you study two different subjects.For example, you might say something like: “Although my GCSE English grade was lower than I’d been aiming for due to my falling ill for several weeks during the term before exams, I’ve worked hard to make up for this at A-level, as you can see from my strong AS and predicted grades in this subject.” If you do have extenuating circumstances, your teachers will almost certainly mention them in your references, so you’ll have those to back up what you say.If you’re concerned about how your grades may look, talk to your teachers about it and remind them of the circumstances – this should jog their memory so that they remember to mention it in their references.Acknowledge – briefly – that your grade(s) aren’t as good as you’d like, but tell them what you’re going to improve your forthcoming grades, and prove to them with your intelligent remarks in your personal statement that you are academically gifted.Explain that you’re taking on extra classes to bring your grades up to scratch, or that you’re reading around the subject even more in an effort to improve.Don’t fall into the trap of stating your enthusiasm for studying a particular module if it’s not provided at all your university choices, because it will look odd to the universities who don’t cover it (and may be enough to lose you a potential offer).Avoid specifically naming any course in particular, as this is another dead giveaway to admissions tutors that another university may be your first choice.The key points you need to get across when applying for a joint honours course are: Rather than trying to talk about both at the same time, you might find it more straightforward to begin by talking about one subject, then the other, and then perhaps adding a line or two about why you think it would be beneficial to study them alongside each other.A slightly different way of doing it would be to talk about the first subject (what motivates you to study it, what aspects particularly interest you, and so on), and then discuss the second in relation to the first, immediately discussing why you think it complements the first and why you think a joint honours course is for you.