At the chalkface: Personal statements

Higher education
"All my life I’ve been passionate/obsessed/crazy about something or other. I’m phenomenally interested in early Russian cinema, medieval baroque music, playing the oboe, QPR and making lots of money."

It’s the season of UCAS Personal Statements. For Oxbridge the deadline is this week, for the rest it goes on and on until January. Dear me, what a grim palaver. Pupils have been toiling for so long to perfect this pointless document, it drives them nuts. Some have done a dozen drafts and it’s still useless, worse in many cases.

But there’s no way it can be done. Not well.

Selling, marketing yourself is hard work. You can feel a bit of a twerp. Pupils’ early drafts are often car crashes in crippled prose. It’s not easy finding a happy blend of a unique voice, a quiet confidence and a lucid fluency.

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