Medicine Personal Statement

This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to UCL, University of Edinburgh and Queen Mary University London for Medicine. 


As a St. John Ambulance first aider, I treated a schoolmate who fractured his forearm and dislocated his elbow. I immediately assigned my fellow first aiders their roles before speaking calmly to my schoolmate. Yet, held back by the limitations of being a first aider, we could only stabilise him before transferring him to the hospital for treatment. My perceived limitations sparked my consideration of pursuing medicine as a career choice as it exposed me to the extensive possibilities of being a doctor.

Intrigued by the decision-making process in medicine, I shadowed a doctor in the emergency ward of a local hospital. He diagnosed patients not just by using a fixed algorithm, but by using a blend of his clinical acumen, the results of lab tests and imaging modalities, considering every aspect of the illness. Through this, I realised that he maintained a healthy dose of scepticism to avoid red herrings, which could have caused misdiagnoses. Wielding the wisdom to choose his diagnostic tools at the correct moments, he avoided the unnecessary usage of resources, which were then made available for patients in the Intensive Care Unit. By doing so, I recognised that doctors constantly problem-solve, highlighting the investigative nature of a doctor’s role, consequently strengthening my resolve to study medicine.

I also understood the importance of compassion in medicine after witnessing the gravity of the psychological impact of illnesses on patients, especially those with heart disease. To tackle this, the doctor reassured and motivated them to change their sedentary lifestyles, a tough but gratifying task. From this, I learnt that doctors play a pivotal, yet unspoken role in solving some modifiable risk factors in such illnesses, consequently improving public health. He also adopted a scientific approach to most cases by not only addressing the symptoms but also the pathophysiology. Through this, I realised that science and benevolence are symbiotic in this field, exposing me to the holistic aspect of medicine.

Reading about the vastly unexplored area of neuroscience exposed me to the danger of brain tumours, such as glioblastomas. The heterogenous nature of these cells renders chemotherapy ineffective, leaving neurosurgeons with only the crude option of surgery to remove these tenacious tumours. Even then, the dilemma of deciding whether to operate or not plagues doctors ‘minds. I am optimistic that further research can solve this issue by paving the path to the finding of non-invasive diagnostic techniques, such as monoclonal antibodies. This can potentially lead to the discoveries of effective chemotherapeutic agents and oncolytic viruses that can specifically target these cells, such as the Zika virus which can kill glioblastomas. Research is an integral and exciting aspect of medicine, which ultimately aims to improve patient care. I believe that it is vital to apply research in the clinical setting. Volunteering at a hospice enabled me to empathise with the elderly. One particular lady left me feeling helpless as she was bedridden and blind, binding her to a challenging life. I realised that my company brought her joy, exposing me to the importance of applying medical humanities in the clinical setting.

To further improve my interpersonal skills, I tutored underprivileged children from a rural area in English through my college’s Rotaract Club. This allowed me to understand the importance of communicating well in a multiracial society, another key aspect of a doctor’s job scope. This experience further inspired me to champion public health as the kids were living in poor conditions. Currently, I am self-learning to code and play the guitar, whilst regularly playing badminton to ensure that I am constantly learning new skills whilst leading a balanced lifestyle. Together, these experiences gave me the valuable insights needed to practice in this field that is an imperfect science but nonetheless a gratifying art.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

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Economics Personal Statement

Aaron Goh is currently on a gap year and will be reading BSc Economics at University of Cambridge. This personal statement was part of his successful application to University of Cambridge, UCL, University of Warwick and University of Durham for Economics.


Max Hartwell said that “economics is, in essence, the study of poverty”. I disagree. I think economics today is, fundamentally, the study and use of incentives to achieve policy goals. However, if what Hartwell meant was that alleviating poverty is the goal of economics, then I concur – it must be the most important aim of socioeconomic policy. Reading Duflo and Banerjee’s ‘Poor Economics’, I found myself increasingly interested in discussions of solutions to poverty. In particular, I am interested in the effects of education on poverty; I believe education is a necessary condition to escape vicious cycles of low education, low skill, and therefore low incomes. I do not believe in a single, miraculous solution to poverty. However, I think that a heterogeneous use of education-driven policies bears the most promising results.

I found an appealing theoretical basis for my hypothesis in my A-level studies – Marginal Revenue Productivity (MRP) theory suggests that workers who produce output of higher value will earn higher wages. Furthermore, education changes structural causes, and breaks intergenerational chains of, poverty. Educating children reduces inequality from the get-go, while educating or re-training adults with the right skills grants them access to higher-paying jobs in current demand. Further exploration of empirical research by the Hamilton Project shows that increasing educational attainment will increase average income. Therefore, a sound way to help the poor is to improve access to, and incentive for, education.

I was intrigued by Dulo and Banerjee’s counter-intuitive inding that conditional cash transfers were not as effective as unconditional ones at incentivising the poor to send their children to school; this highlighted that policies to increase education for the poor need to be carefully thought out. For instance, one policy that they discuss is making microcredit available to the poor. I initially agreed, since in theory, this would reduce liquidity constraints holding them back from education. However, research by Augsburg et al. on Bosnia found that higher microcredit availability actually reduced the school attendance of 16-19 year olds due to them leaving school to start businesses! The use of econometric analysis, coupled with tools such as the Randomised Control Trials used by Dulo and Banerjee, can help reveal how our policies should be crafted; I look forward to gaining a rigorous understanding of such analysis at an undergraduate level.

Inspired by data-driven approaches to uncovering solutions for poverty, I downloaded World Bank time-series for GNI per capita, and gross primary, secondary and tertiary enrolment in America to examine the correlations between these variables. A rudimentary analysis of data for America revealed the R-squared value for a regression of GNI per capita on the three different enrolment variables to be 0.61 at most (for primary enrolment). This suggested to me that while education may be a necessary condition for ameliorating poverty, it is not a sufficient condition; it is dependent on other elements too, which is why Eric Hanushek found that in many cases, simply spending more on education did not accrue significant returns. One such element may be political uncertainty. I once discussed the ongoing civil war in Libya at a Model United Nations Conference; it has shut down schools and exacerbated extreme poverty. Policy solutions here must deal with the differing political reality of the country. All this reaffirmed to me that policy discussions require rich cross-disciplinary handling, something I look forward to learning more of.

My tertiary education will be funded by a Malaysian Central Bank scholarship; this opportunity was life changing for someone of lower middle-class income status like myself. How can others access opportunities like this? I hope to gain the rigour and knowledge to answer these questions, beginning with an education in economics.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Civil Engineering Personal Statement

Jordan Aw is currently a second year undergraduate reading MEng in Civil Engineering at Imperial College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to Imperial College London, University of Leeds, University of Bath, University of Southampton and University of Sheffield for Civil Engineering.


When Elon Musk caused a media firestorm in August 2013 with the announcement of the Hyperloop concept- a new mode of high speed transportation via tubes containing just a thousandth of the air pressure at sea level- I realised that we are in the middle of a revolution in the world of transportation. Space travel is no longer exclusively state-sponsored; a market is already slowly emerging for commercial space travel. Hyperloop companies are already here, and are doing public tests, each time with something new to offer. Car manufacturers project that they’ll be ready to mass-produce self-driving cars within five years. My fascination with this “revolution” eventually grew to the point where I made the conscious decision to get involved, and I decided on civil engineering.

It soon became clear to me that such a significant shift meant that current infrastructure would be insufficient. While researching this in the context of autonomous cars, I discovered the idea-and limited reality-of machine perception, the capability of a machine to understand data in the way humans understand stimuli. However, reliance on solely the computer’s ability to interpret data correctly would lead to the same problem that human drivers have: there are just too many factors to fully recognise. Would a machine be able to recognise children playing by the road, and slow down because it knows they might run onto the street? To existing software, humans just look like columns of pixels. This possible over-reliance is why I believe that we need to consider how our roads convey information to computers as well.

Growing up outside the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, I recognise that our public transport systems are lacking. Outside KL, there are no rail systems except the outdated intercity trains. However, even with KL’s comprehensive train services and buses, traffic jams still cost Malaysia RM20 billion in 2014, according to the World Bank. Intrigued by this apparent paradox, further research led me to an article by Renne, which discussed the idea of transit-oriented development (TOD) and networked livable communities. The statistics showed a clear picture of the benefits of developing a community around a comprehensive transport system, instead of the reverse, with residents of TODs spending a significantly lower percentage of their income on housing and transport. These are ideas that I am extremely interested in seeing implemented in Malaysia, with most of its cities and towns being relatively underdeveloped.

While researching California’s high-speed rail system, I was struck by the amount of controversy surrounding it. The constantly increasing costs and the revelation that the California High-Speed Rail Authority had downplayed the initial estimates came across as particularly dishonest. As public unrest increased, the political opposition to the project gained more and more traction, as evidenced by the successful lawsuit which undermined its funding. I found it similar to Malaysia’s 1MDB, a state-sponsored development company revealed to be massively corrupt. I realised that Malaysia would face the same problems and that political engagement is important.

Outside the classroom, I am Director of Community Service for my school’s Leo Club, organising visits to a local orphanage, old folks’ home, and beach clean-ups. I also participated in a 24 hour run to raise funds for charities dedicated to helping victims of human trafficking. My team raised over RM5000, the third highest amount raised for the event. I am a member of my school’s debating team and have competed in various local and national events, winning the national championships in 2016. To widen my scope, I joined my school’s press team for which I write and edit a bimonthly newsletter.

I believe the role of the civil engineer is an exciting one in a developing country like my own, and that getting a degree from a top UK university would be a major step towards fulfilling my goals.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Biomedical Engineering/Natural Sciences Personal Statement

Ng Eu Keat is currently a first year undergraduate reading MEng in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to Imperial College London for Biomedical Engineering, University College London for Natural Sciences and Biomedical Engineering as well as University of Bath for Natural Sciences.


During my DoE Gold expedition, I camped in a cave with a colony of bats and noted their
skill of echolocation. Only knowing the basics of echolocation I decided to read ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ in which Dawkins highlights the use of the Doppler shift principle by bats to determine how far or near prey is. Additionally, bats are able to contract their ear bones to protect themselves from their shriek, a method which is applied to most sonar systems from boats to medical sonar. What made this so captivating was how it opened up a new perspective on nature-inspired innovations which sparked a desire for me to further understand the possible applications of biology, chemistry and physics.

As a person who appreciates the environment, I shadowed a group of scientists at the
Danau Girang Field Centre in Borneo last January where I developed experimental
techniques such as setting up camera traps and collecting and inspecting parasites in a
lab. Setting up camera traps was challenging as my team and I needed to consider how
the animals might respond to the traps. This required me to think inventively. All the time spent in the field had me wondering about the current situation of my country’s rainforest. In order to understand more I interviewed some doctoral students and scientist about their research. Consequently I learned about their plans for sustainable palm oil plantations which would not threaten forest biodiversity. The experience has heightened my understanding of the environment while helping me hone my communication and mediation skills: all necessary for work in research groups.

Those who spend time outside in Borneo understand the irritation of mosquitoes. Interestingly we do not feel the bites as mosquitoes have one pair of serrated needles which minimise contact with nerves, something I learnt at a talk by Dr. Moshrefi-Torbati on biomimicry. Auxiliary reading showed that the adaptation was the basis on which engineer Seiji Aoyagi created his pain free hypodermic needle. The talk made me wonder about the other instances of biomimicry in nature. Inspired, I undertook an EPQ researching the topic. An example would be the tasar silkworm, whose silk fibroin is the main component of certain heart scaffolds as the silk is biocompatible while being able to degrade safely. The EPQ has refined my ability to conduct independent research which I applied to expand my understanding on respiration. For instance, I made notes on the ten steps of glycolysis as I had not been satisfied with the simplified version learnt in class.

Being given the opportunity to learn about the workings of our world throughout my A-
level has been especially engaging. However the ability to realise practical solutions from the theories learnt is what excites me. Therefore, I read Mark Miodownik’s ‘Stuff Matters’ learning about the medical applications of bio-glass and titanium in surgery. Miodownik further explores concepts such as the transparency of glass which really stretched my understanding of inorganic chemistry; I only knew that glass was transparent and, not how that property emerged. To complement my growing interest in materials science I completed an online course on 3D bio-printing to get an insight on how personalised prosthetics are made.

Quite simply it is the interdisciplinary approach to the sciences which fascinates me and,
as an initiative to share my knowledge, my friend and I started an Instagram account
where I set aside time to point out topics of interest such as: ‘Coral bleaching’ and
‘Tissue regeneration’. It was evident from my research that the environment is degrading
due to human activity. Another problem I have observed is the growing threat of
superbugs facilitated by the careless prescription of antibiotics by Malaysian doctors. It is
my hope that one day I will be able to develop sustainable solutions for the environment,
as well as new advances in medicine for Malaysia.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Law Personal Statement

The writer is currently a first year undergraduate reading LLB Law at the London School of Economics. This personal statement was part of this student’s successful application to LSE, Queen Mary University and University of Nottingham for Law.


The ambition to provide the poorest man a wealthier life is a noble one, but defining it by racial preference is Malaysia’s shameful mistake. Affirmative action, favouring its 68.6% Bumi population has provided property purchase discounts and permitted reservations into state universities, the civil service and public share offerings via the New Economic Policy since the 1970s. This contravention of equal protection enshrined in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution precipitates institutional socioeconomic segregation. Being a beneficiary by virtue of race prompts me to question its fairness towards my non-Bumi compatriots who virtually hold a second-class citizenship.

I witnessed the rise of Bersih, a democratic protest whereby its 150,000 members expressed concerns about balancing the need for special privileges with minority rights within the Malaysian Constitution. I was appalled that the freedom of protesters to question Article 153 was criminalised under the Sedition Act with allegations of seditious tendencies and exciting disaffection. This ambiguous and subjective definition grants the executive discretion for arbitrary enforcement, as with the onerously regulated media and removal of the Attorney-General and Parliamentary Accounts Committee chairman investigating the siphoning of 700 million USD from Malaysia’s developmental fund 1MDB sitting in private accounts of its chief officers. The power to exercise judicial reviews in Marbury v Madison has been limited by abuse, eroding the credibility of the court to independently uphold the rule of law that Bingham implies is of democratic importance. Montesquieu promotes that a despot emerges when the three institutions of the state are under executive control and in this quasi-democracy which inherited English common laws, the public now fear its manifestation. The protection against exploitation of the written constitution and human rights is what led me to law.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir justifies Article 153 in ‘The Malay Dilemma’ by referring to years of discrimination during the colonial era. Intrigued by when affirmative action should be limited, I compared the Equality Act in the UK that legally protects people against preferential treatment with Malaysia’s practice of utilitarianism. Although the greatest good is for the greatest number, a review should be insisted when it compromises the universal basic rights of equality. The World Policy Journal reports that millions of non-Bumi migrate or deviate from government sectors to avoid prejudice forced through structural disenfranchisement. Hence, I refer to Portia in Antonio’s trial, that this conflict of law and equity should be resolved through considerations of mercy and fairness in its administration. Whether it is criminal, constitutional or property, law holds a significant role in the protection of human dignity, one that should not be subverted for personal gain.The misuse of power, compounded by lack of freedom, calls for a nobler form of justice. I aspire to learn how lawyers challenge legal decisions and push the judiciary to interpret the law contrary to one amended by the powers that be.

My debating experience has exposed me to similar social, political and economic illnesses which occur between persons and governments. Learning to construct and destruct arguments while defending unorthodox stances through discourse is important but what I look forward to at university is to practically address these problems with legal interpretation. Being a Central Bank scholar gives me a platform in its legal department to practice this knowledge and advocate constitutional liberalism whilst attempting to review and mend draconian laws in the future.

Some Malaysians can withstand the lack of transparency, judicial power and equal rights while others feel defeated. Studying law will aid me prevent the loss of confidence in it and contribute to society by upholding the protection of civil liberties.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

English Personal Statement

Nadia Tasneem is currently a first year undergraduate reading BA in English at University College London (UCL). This personal statement was part of her successful application to University College London (UCL), University of Warwick, Kings College London and University of Bristol for English.


I was not allowed to watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, or the Golden Compass until I had read the books. As a child, I could not understand why it was, but I complied anyway, and it was these books that encouraged my love of reading. Within three weeks I had finished all of His Dark Materials, and the entirety of the Chronicles within a month. Perhaps what I enjoyed most was not so much the books, but the discussions I had with my parents afterwards, in which they would ask me about beloved characters, hidden messages, highlights, and plotlines. It was these conversations which nurtured my curiosity and helped Literature become an integral part of my upbringing.

When I was just ten, I came across an article in the school library on the portrayal of
marriage in a Midsummer’s Night Dream. Although I was young, the dissection of social
norms seemed sharp and perceptive, especially as in Malaysia the roles in a marriage are
so rigidly defined. I fell in love with plays soon after, Shakespeare’s in particular, and I
quickly learned to appreciate the genius of Puck’s humorous quips. I felt especially excited at his appearances as his comic relief was primarily used as a plot device, meaning that when Robin appeared, so would another twist in the story. I also began to develop an interest in social commentary by reading material revolving around revolution in Les Miserables and the socialism found in Wilde’s Happy Prince, which became fast favourites of mine. The depiction of poverty in these books highlighted the privileges I have grown up with and nurtured a need to show compassion to those in need. As an impressionable young girl, the elements of feminism in Austen’s Emma and Alcott’s Little Women appealed greatly to me as well, but perhaps what affected me the most was Miller’s The Crucible. The rationality of society and courts being affected by religious beliefs terrified me, particularly because in Malaysia, Muslims follow Islamic, not secular, law. The prevalence of religion in my life is perhaps what inspired me to return to Lewis and Pullman’s books in my EPQ, which discusses the influence of religious messages in children’s literature. Lewis’s world depicts the four children as loyal subjects and Aslan as a Christ-like figure, standing in sharp contrast to the chaotic, upsetting child protagonists in Pullman’s trilogy: Lyra and Will, who enact the classic journey to the underworld, a mirror of Christian hell. Both authors deny any religious allegories in their works, yet numerous academic analyses have drawn similar conclusions about the implicit messages to children. More interestingly, only Pullman’s anti-religious books received criticism, whereas Lewis’ writing was universally praised.

Performance poetry provides me with an experimental platform for creative writing. I
regularly attend and compete in poetry slams, as well as recording poems for Malaysian
radio. I also wrote a triptych for the Commonwealth Essay Prize 2017, for which I won a
bronze award. In addition, in my free time, I volunteer for charity events and work in soup kitchens. I also founded a supplementary English program for aboriginal primary school children in Malaysia. The aim of the program was not only to improve the children’s language and encourage education, but also to qualify them for vocational school by helping them break out of the poverty cycle. Last summer, I went back to Malaysia for an internship at the Star newspaper and found the work in the investigative journalism department thrilling, particularly when I was able to cover the Fun With English program that remains so close to my heart.

I hold two grade 8 qualifications in piano and singing and run the performing arts club in college. Balancing my active involvement in music, voluntary work and academic obligations keeps me disciplined and focused, but also inspires me to remain open-minded and creative.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Accounting and Finance Personal Statement 3

Hoi Lee Yang is currently a first year undergraduate reading Bsc in Accounting and Finance at London School of Economics. This personal statement was part of his successful application to LSE, University of Warwick, University of Bristol and Durham University for Accounting and Finance.


As a child, I was enamoured with the same questions that would have plagued any
questioning child’s mind. Like any aspiring engineer or doctor or lawyer, I yearned to know more about how the world, in all its intricacy and sophistication, functioned. I savoured my opportunities to learn about the breakthroughs of physics in creating our modern comforts, and relished the study of history: of how every nascent today is inextricably linked to past events. I have been thrilled by the knowledge of anatomy, learning so intently about what I was, and how I functioned. Despite all this, the world appeared insistent in showing me that the true key to understanding its machinations lay not in any of these fields. The surest way to make sense of the world, it seemed, was in a certain field without which all human activity would not function. It manages us, as much as we try to manage it: money.

I am interested in accounting and finance due to its sheer ubiquity. I realise that every economic entity, from the big corporations and governments down to local sundry shops or even households, relies on the management of finances and planning for the best future outcome. Accounting has always been a deep-rooted industry, charting a colourful history from the clay envelopes used for bookkeeping in 5000 BC Mesopotamian temples, to the double-entry ledgers of Medieval Venice. Regardless of what general perception might contend, though, I am convinced the field of accounting is also one of growth and vibrancy. Looking to the recent proliferation of financial technology, or Fintech, I am particularly keen to follow the advances in the field as I make my journey into accounting at university.

March 2017 saw HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, partner up with an online commerce
platform, Tradeshift, to offer an online alternative for financing and paperwork. This is part of a broader phenomenon of big finance companies collaborating with Fintech startups not just in the UK, but around the world. On the ground, we see the business world evolve, just as it did when manufacturing first took root in the Industrial Revolution. A KFC outlet in Beijing now accepts payment through facial recognition, and the Singapore government is working on a standardised QR code system for all monetary transactions. Bitcoin, despite price volatility and initial hostility from banks had, by the end of August 2017, octupled its market value in a year, pointing to its increasing use as a medium of transaction. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin also follow suit. At university, I am eager to refine my knowledge of the current framework of finance, and alongside a group of equally-curious peers, enrich myself with a better understanding of how the status quo will adapt to these technological advances.

I am drawn to accounting and finance due to the promise of challenge, not only arithmetically but also in tackling complex problems. A-Levels also marked my first exposure to the world of Economics, allowing me to enrich my understanding of accounting with a background context in how the business world worked. The course compelled me to pick up books such as Daron Acemoglu’s ‘Why Nations Fail’, which intrigued me with the idea that governments must strive to maintain inclusive economic activity that incentivises every party to work hard. The copious examples of failed civilisations which could not ensure a reward for parties to take risks and adopt new technologies had also sparked my interest in management, realising how similar the running of businesses are to that of entire civilisations.

I feel I am a dynamic, curious and highly-motivated student who is very excited about the prospect of studying Accounting & Finance at a first class university in the UK. I eagerly look forward to the challenges I will face on an academically rigorous and complex course. And hopefully by the end of my degree, the machinations of the world will be a little less elusive.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Chemical Engineering Personal Statement 3

Roshan Sivabalan is currently a first year undergraduate reading MEng in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. This personal statement was part of his successful application to Imperial College London, University College London (UCL), University of Edinburgh and University of Manchester for Chemical Engineering.


Diamonds puzzled me – a substance so small and seemingly delicate, measured a 10 on the Mohs scale, and could survive being immersed in concentrated sulphuric acid unscathed. It is unfathomable that this glass-like structure remains as the only known natural substance that can cut anything and that really intrigued me. After doing some research, I learned that it was the tetrahedral arrangement of the compressed carbon atoms that make the carbon-carbon covalent bonds so strong, giving diamonds the aforementioned properties: making it breakable only under extreme pressures.

However, what I found more fascinating was the application of this knowledge about the chemical properties of diamond; engineers have fashioned synthetic diamonds by replicating diamond’s geometrical atomic structure to make it accessible to the masses. Yet others have created nanodiamonds with good reflective properties, which are used to monitor the cellular-level changes in cancer patients after medication is administered. Innovations like these piqued my interest in chemical engineering; I find myself intellectually engaged by the art of manipulating the structural components of atoms to yield creations capable of improving life for the average man.

To explore my interest in this field, I interned at an engineering firm, and was assigned to the Oil and Gas division. There, I shadowed a chemical engineer involved in the building of megastructures. I obtained valuable insight into the role that chemical processes play in the creation of concrete structures used in offshore drilling. I also learned about the assembly of subsea pipelines which are used to pump liquid natural gas from the oil rigs in Lekas, Malacca. Furthermore, I was trained to identify and distinguish good tenders from those that were not, by taking factors such as cost, materials used and construction period into account.

I enjoy the study of Chemistry – it allows me to understand how compounds exist, react and work with one another; this might allow for the identification of the quickest way to yield a product via application of Le Chatelier’s principle. Moreover, the interplay between Physics and Chemistry is fascinating; I find that I understand concepts better when I employ a multidisciplinary approach to my learning. For instance, I better grasped Hess’ Law – which gives that the total enthalpy change of a chemical reaction is independent of the path it takes – when I realised that it was merely a twist on the principle of conservation of energy, which I learned in Physics. Mathematics and Further Mathematics opened my mind to how numbers, although imaginary, have real world applications. For example, studying probability and statistics allows us to calculate insurance risks and estimate ocean current behaviors while knowledge about projectile motions, gravitational force and multiple other mathematical laws made it possible for us to put a man on the moon. My love for these subjects pushed me to participate in the National Chemistry Quiz and the Mathematics Olympiad. I was pleased to receive merit awards in both competitions as a validation of my decision to read a degree built around that subject matter.

In high school, I had to juggle my academics with my duties as the Head Boy, President of the English Language Society and the Vice President of the Taekwondo Club. These experiences helped develop my time-management abilities, while teaching me to work well in teams, a soft skill vital for engineers. Serving as a member of the Malaysian national debating team for 5 consecutive years in multiple local and international tournaments, trained me to think critically under pressure and I feel this will serve me well in university.

I am confident that my experiences, positive and negative, have prepared me for the challenges I will face in university. I am eager and ready to read a rigorous degree in chemical engineering and cannot wait to begin this exciting new chapter in my life.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KINDUCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

PHILOSOPHY, POLITICS AND ECONOMICS (PPE) PERSONAL STATEMENT

This Personal Statement was part of Jun Long’s successful application to the University of Oxford to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). The same personal statement also gained Jun Long offers to read Economics at the University of Edinburgh, University College London and King’s College London.


Besides being of monumental significance to the global economy as well as the politics of my country, the year 2008 was also the year I started reading the newspaper. That was what got me interested in economics and politics.

Over the years, I watch the development of the global economy, ranging from the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, the fluctuations of the global oil price, to the slowdown of global trade. My observations of the tepid recovery of the global economy suggested to me that the global economy is suffering from structural problems. To understand more about economics, I expanded my knowledge by reading widely, including Time, The Economist, local newspapers like The Star and also books.

I read “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Piketty, which informed me about the nature of income inequality in current times. In the book, Piketty argued that the growing inequality was part of the structural design of our current economic system, and as long as r remains larger than g, income inequality will continue to grow. Many things from this book were surprising, however the patience and ingenuity that Piketty had in assembling his data as well as his urge for his fellow economist to focus more on empirical data were two things that I gained. I also read “The End of Alchemy” by Mervyn King. In here, King suggested that the structural problems of the current banking system, not greedy bankers, were to be blame for the global financial crisis. All the economic actors were stuck in a prisoner dilemma, they had to act the way they did. The role of incentive was a central message that I gained. King suggests banking is inherently unstable due to its design, and gives a solution that I find interesting, but at the same time idealistic.

Why too idealistic? The changes in the Malaysian political scene across the years gave me clear insight on the difficulties of implementing changes through politics. After many years of promise of change by politicians, nothing much has come out. This led me to question the idea of democracy as the best system for governance.

Recently, I started reading “The Republic” by Plato. I have not finished it yet, but from the parts I have read, I was surprised by the argument of Plato that to maintain justice in a nation, a government that was autocratic and restricted individual liberty was needed instead of democracy. Through my various readings, I also came across one article that talked about how the founding fathers of United States created an election system that attempted to reduce the power of the masses. Originally this idea seems to be against the principles of democracy, but the fact that Donald Trump has a possible chance of becoming the president led me to think that the founding fathers’ idea had some rational.

Meanwhile, my participation in student government allowed me some insight into the nature of governing. I learnt about how hard it is to satisfy the different stakeholders, the college management and the students. I also had a first-hand experience on why governments suffer from efficiency problems. Bureaucracy, without a doubt was the thing that slowed many changes. In order to implement changes in the college, there were many process which sometimes required months of following up. However, managing to eke out small victories like extending classroom hours to allow students to study was something that motivated me to continue being in student government.

Economics require excellent mathematical skills, which I have been developing and had managed to obtain a gold medal from the Kangaroo Math Competition and Distinction in the Euclid Competition. Currently, I am attempting the DOE gold award and I continue to be active in my college Toastmaster’s Club. I enjoy running and sometimes participate in charity runs. I also enjoy reading during my past time. Currently, I am under the National Scholarship sponsored by my country.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KIND. UCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.

Computer Science Personal Statement

This personal statement is part of this student’s successful admission to King’s College London for Computer Science. As this student wishes to remain anonymous, the other university offers are not listed here.


As a student in the 21st century, computers and digital technology have become an integral and almost ubiquitous part of my life. However, in my country of Malaysia, especially in rural areas, digital literacy on the whole is still relatively low. A study conducted in villages to determine the level of ICT literacy amongst secondary school students in 2012 by the Faculty of Information Science Technology at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, showed that ICT literacy among them was generally very weak, mainly due to little availability of computers and having to acquire ICT knowledge either through self-learning, or through friends.

In a developing country such as Malaysia, I believe that it is imperative that students are equipped with proper ICT skills. The world is charging ever more deeply into a “Digital Age” where ICT skill requirements are becoming increasingly important for procuring a job. Prospective employees are expected to possess basic skills such as word processing, and the ability to create and use spreadsheets and presentations. Even more important are the skills of data and information management, as these can significantly increase the productivity, work rate, and output of an organisation.

Over the past ten years or so, the Malaysian government has been devising strategies to improve income of the local agricultural industry through ICT implementation and skills development. This plan is based on statistics from the Ninth Malaysia Plan of 2005. However, the actual usage of ICT amongst the agro-based entrepreneurs, for business management and marketing purposes, still remains relatively low, according a study conducted in 2009, with many of them still relying upon traditional methods of mass media communication such as television, radio and newspapers for marketing.

Such studies show that adequate ICT skills are still lacking within certain communities in Malaysia. As such they are less able to make significant advancements in their lives, whether it be in their education or their income. This is one of the things that I would like to do with Computer Science and Software Engineering: to develop user-friendly interfaces which will aid people with low ICT skills to help them improve said skills to better their livelihoods, and to also learn how to integrate computers more effectively into their lives to improve their living standards.

Personally, Computer Science and Software Engineering has always interested me because it is able to provide a number of solutions to everyday needs or problems. A great example of this is Google’s involvement in the Open Automotive Alliance, which aims to provide a means for Android users to safely access mobile services whilst driving in a seamless manner. Hopefully, it will provide solutions to improve the lives of many people here in Malaysia. I can be quite meticulous and pay close attention to detail, and I believe this is a positive trait when it comes to developing software, as I would need to pay close attention to what I’d be programming to prevent errors in the software. I have been doing some basic programming on codecademy.com to help me get a feel of how certain programming languages such as Python and HTML work.

In addition to this, I am currently attending an introductory course on electronics which provides me with an insight into basic circuitry design. I also take part in a variety of extracurricular activities such as acting and Taekwondo. I played the lead male role in my school’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific”, and have also taken part in the 2014 Southeast Asian Forensics competition at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, in the Duet Acting category. I hold a blue belt in Taekwondo which keeps me fit, active and disciplined.

The world of technology is progressing at an accelerating pace, and I would like to see that Malaysia does not lag behind as the rest of the world pushes forward.


DISCLAIMER: The personal statements on this site are strictly meant as a starting point to give an idea of how successful personal statements look like. There is no surefire formula to writing good personal statements. COLLEGELAH IS STRICTLY AGAINST PLAGIARISM OF ANY KIND. UCAS employs a plagiarism check system that checks applicants’ work against other published writing so please DO NOT PLAGIARISE.