Monday, 23 September 2013

Making A Personal Statement

The TeenTwins are in the early stages of applying to universities and this involves writing a Personal Statement. Not something I remember doing when going through the same process 30 years ago, though I remember very little beyond the sheer terror that I wouldn't get into university at all. Oh, and the sheer terror that I might. They are complicated times.

The Personal Statement has, the TeenTwins have been informed, to be 4,000 characters long (including punctuation and spacing). It is, apart from the eventual A-level results presumably, THE singularly most important piece of their university application. It's their one opportunity to sell themselves beyond the stock application form and before making it to the interview stages. It's a foot in the door that could open or slam shut depending on how it reads.

In a Personal Statement students are supposed to convey their hopes, aspirations, ambitions, skills, strengths, experience, commitment and passions. Not only do that, within the confines of 4,000 characters of course, but while ensuring there are no similarities to anyone else's Personal Statement passing, as personal statements do, through an obligatory anti-plagiarism software sweep on their journey into the UCAS system.

(I just hope they have a software system in place to deal with twins and most definitely the TeenTwins who, despite their best efforts to be thoroughly individual, have experienced the same education, have much the same interests and have participated in the same events, at the same time. *Looks hard at UCAS*)

 Personal Statement, an early draft from TeenTwin2
Anyway, the TeenTwins Personal Statements are almost, very almost, done. It's been a tiresome process punctuated with lots of:  "I'm writing my Personal Statement and I can't.... wash up/ go shopping/ clean my room/ fold my clothes/ stop shrieking/ smile/ do anything but grunt.... because I AM WRITING MY PERSONAL STATEMENT" emitting from the depths of their bedroom. Yes, they even share a bedroom.

This weekend I got to read their almost, almost very nearly, finished Personal Statements. In 4,000 characters, the TeenTwins have each expressed their characters with great eloquence and summed up their achievements, ambitions, expectations and enthusiasms elegantly and entirely differently. They both sound amazing; adult, clever, clear and focussed on a bright future.

And I bawled my blooming eyes out. Obviously.

When did my baby girls get all grown up? WHEN? It's not two minutes ago since I was bringing them home from the hospital (on Christmas Day in the snow, since you're asking) and not above three minutes since I was shouting at them for the state of their bedroom. Oh hang on, that was three minutes ago. *tuts*

In just a year's time they will be, all gods willing *crosses fingers, arms, legs and plaits hair,* leaving to go away to university. In just a year. A year.

Frankly, I'm not sure I'm ready for that. Not at all. Not yet.


  1. Oh my this is scary! Loved the way you told it and Im sure they are both wonderful girls that any university would be lucky to have. Well done on getting through the personal statement stage at least!

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  4. Great that those girl made their way to the university. Quite interesting how you managed to elaborate their journey. Thanks for sharing.


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