Uni Personal Statement help?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by gizmo2071, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    *not sure which area to put this*

    Hey guys, thanks for taking time to read this.
    I'm applying for Uni at the moment and I need to write up a personal statement to try and sell myself.
    This is quite challenging as I have no idea what a Uni would want to hear.
    It has to be APPROX 50 lines with times new roman, font size 12.
    So I'm trying to think, what the hell can I say that will make me stand out and for them to offer me at least an interview.

    I have to get my application in pretty soon to apply via route B and i keep leaving it because I have no idea what to say.

    If any of you have any advice, then please please let me know.
    I'm hoping that my portfolio will be strong enough to carry me through an interview, but I have to get to the position first!

    Thanks again guys.

    Matt
     
  2. Stevedevil

    Stevedevil TPF Noob!

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    When I applied for Uni I had the same put apon me ( not for photography but Engineering ) and I felt like I needed to tell them my life story

    As I can see you know your Photography, so, as I did, mention some really technical stuff, show them in writing your ASPECT as they can then see you as you are and where your heading,

    Its a hard thing as you seem to keep writing

    But its about YOU and your outlook

    PS I have HND in Engineering now so it must work

    And I hope your taking Photography otherwise this will sound well off

    Maybe post you attempt on here first and let all the team have a look, Im personely great with works and sentance and will always give you help.

    PM me if you need too

    Cheers and Good luck

    Steve ( UK )
     
  3. morydd

    morydd TPF Noob!

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    When I applied for college, the admissions officer said that while honesty is important, you want to write something that's going to catch their attention in as stack of applications. They're going to read 1000 boring "I did this.. then I did this... then I did this..." sorts of things. One thought, if you're applying for photography is to choose 1 picture from your portfolio, and describe it in such a way that when they see it in the portfolio, the'll feel like it's something they've been waiting to see forever. Not just the content of the image, but why you took it, how you took it, the memories and why you put it in your portfolio.
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Having lectured at one or two Colleges and run Photography courses I've seen it from the other side.
    Don't worry too much about the personal statement. In general what is being looked for is some conscious decision making, a bit of direction and commitment and anything that is an added 'plus'.

    Firstly explain your interest in the subject area you want to go into. How long have you wanted to do it? Why do you want to do it? Explain where you hope it might lead. Say why you are applying for that particular course. Indicate any outside activities that have a bearing to show that you are making efforts outside of Education to get experience of your chosen field. And tell them of any other activities that would show you to be a 'well-rounded' personality.
    There will be loads of applicants with almost identical track records and the personal statement is a chance to tell them what they will be getting in addition.
    It also shows if you can think coherently and write ditto.
    A lot depends upon the Course you are applying for and at which Uni/College. They all have their own little quirks.
    I've even known interview panels who haven't read applications until the people turn up for interview.
    Give me the info and I'll tell you if I know anything about the place.
     
  5. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Some general advice: A degree of BS can be your friend, but be well prepared for the interview as if you throw in an obscure reference to an outside interest there is a chance the interviewer happens to be an expert on that subject.

    Really try to get across why you care about photography; what do you hope it will do for you and what do you have and want to contribute? And never, ever use the word "interesting". It sounds like you're passionate about it so make that clear in what you say and how you say it. Maybe give examples of individuals, groups etc whose work inspires you, but say why and again be prepared to back it up in the interview. This does not mean only photographers; as Hertz said they are looking for 'well-rounded personalities'. Include as much as possible and hopefully there will be something which intrigues the interviewer. To give an example, I applied for a History degree but ended up discussing Japanese directors with my interviewer. Now that was mostly luck but it's a good example of how it helps to pack as much in there as possible.

    Oh and good luck!
     
  6. Arch

    Arch Damn You! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    yea as Hertz says, just include info about where you want the college education to lead... do you want to achieve a Degree?.... or maybe just get anough knowledge (ND/HND) to start as a trainee for a portrait company?... although they probably wont need to know this at such an early stage, its good to show direction.

    Its good to include interests which relate to art in some way... maybe you like to draw and paint in your spare time... have an interest in films and film making... or just like to visit your local art galleries.

    When it comes to interview, just make sure you know whats going on at your local art galleries at that time.... to show you have a genuine interest. Also memorise your favorite artisits/photogs.... and some book authors. Its also good to know whats happening in popular culture...
    i.e. a friend of mine applied to St. Martins (or RCA cant quite remember) and one of the questions at interview was 'whats your opinion on the celebrity status of the Beckhams?' (although this was several years ago, it just goes to show that they expect you to absorb all aspects of pop culture... well some of the 'Hard to get into' colleges do anyway).

    Your portfolio is often the most important part... make sure the presentation of your work is excellent... and try to vary the concepts.

    Im sure you'll do fine. ;)
     
  7. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    I wrote a quick draft today and it landed exactly on the 50lines, which was lucky. Though I had alot more that I could write about.

    " I’m now 22 and I have spent my years since leaving school deciding what I don’t want to do or so it seems. Until recently I haven’t considered photography to be anything more than just a hobby and something that I can do to relax.
    My first SLR was handed down to me nearly 10years ago when I was 12. It was an old Russian camera, the Zenith EM, which I still have and occasionally use today. Within a couple of years I was at a point where I was asked and trusted to be the main photographer at my Moms wedding, I was 14 at the time. I can walk into my Moms house and feel really proud as I see the picture, that I took, hanging on the walls. It really gives a sense fulfilment from my earlier teenage years.
    I have gathered a lot of experience with different cameras over the years and have read a lot of books and tutorials through the internet. Up until last year my photographic knowledge had all been self taught.
    I have experience of working with image manipulation software from the couple of years I have spent studying media at college and from working alongside some web designers. The main software that I have become accustomed to using is Adobe Photoshop and I would say that I am very comfortable with this software.
    I picked up a Digital SLR last year and I haven’t really looked back since, it has opened new doors for me and made my photographic desire move up to a new level. I had always wanted to use a darkroom, but never had the space or money to be able to set one up for myself, so having the freedom to touch up my photos before they get printed really adds extra personal attachment and pride to my work. This year on the course that I’m doing at college we are learning about the dark room so I still have a big space in my heart for film and look forward to learning more about the developing process as the year continues.
    I have never really thought about how I got the inspiration and ideas for my photos. When I sat back and thought about it and looked at my photos and the ideas that I was trying portray, it came to mind that the books that I have read have had a huge influence on me. I read a lot of books which mainly fit the Sci-Fi and Dark humour categories, with the main authors being Dan Simmons and Christopher Moore. I have never taken specific subject matters from books and tried to get the cross in picture form, but I pick up little things and piece them together to create my own little stories and it is these stories that I try to portray in my images. I feel that reading books has kept my imagination alive, TV and movies put everything in front of you and you just have to enjoy them, with books they give you the base to the authors’ world and you are invited to recreate it to your own taste.
    So I had reached a point last summer where I took a step back and re-evaluated my future. From a young age I had wanted to pursue my love for photography, but I was always told that I wouldn’t be able to make a living from it (How I wish my teenage mentality was to do what I want and not listen to my peers). I loved media studies at college, but all the other subjects have been useless and I really didn’t enjoy studying them.)
    Photography is a passion of mine. Not just in the sense of capturing images, but also looking at other peoples work. I find that I’m very good at evaluating images of both myself and other people. On my current course at college I feel that the other people in the class look up to me and I get asked for advice/help in many areas, from helping with work in Photoshop or lending a critical eye to improve their photographs.
    Why am I applying to University to study photography? I feel that I can learn a lot about both myself and gather a deeper understanding of the photography world and get an insight to the professional world. I’m hoping that University will help me hone my creative ability and show me doors to combine it with my technical abilities."









    What do you guys think?
    What should I change and keep?
     
  8. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    I'd lose that if I were you.
    You are going to College to learn so a degree of humility is important. Comments like that will tend to annoy Lecturers as it comes across as cocky and arrogant. The inclination of some Lecturers would be to put an image down in front of you at interview and say 'evaluate that, then'. And take great pleasure in pulling you to pieces over your response until you just want to go and hide.
    I do understand what you are trying to say, though. But it is a tricky thing to phrase right. Better to leave it out.

    As for the rest it seems OK - but watch your punctuation. I think I saw one to many parentheses in there.
    The important thing is for you to be happy with it. Don't say anything you are not prepared to defend or don't feel 100% confident about discussing.
     
  9. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your input. I think I will remove that section as a few people have said the same thing that you have said.
    I got my current lecturer to write me a reference and he has wrote a section saying pretty much that paragraph, but in his own words.
     
  10. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    It's always better to get someone else to shout your praises.
    Which Colleges did you put down as choices on your UCAS? And what specific courses?
    I ask because I still have one or two contacts dotted about and I might be able to give you some pointers or info.
     
  11. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    BA(Hons)photography, get through that and then hopefully specialise in my Maters at some point in the future.
    Applying too:
    Falmouth Uni college - 1st choice
    Uni of west England, Bristol
    Farnham Uni college
    Wolverhampton Uni - 4th choice

    I have a meeting tomorrow with a student advisor to go over my application. So I guess tomorrow is my deadline to get this statement right.
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Falmouth has a reasonable rep - and you get a lot of the awards I got at Bournemouth (mine was the Vocational Degree - the Dip A D*. I got the BIPP PQE too and have never found a use for it).
    Farnham had a handy Department and has the advantage (or not) of being near London.
    A lot depends upon the area of Photography you want to go into and the visiting lecturers they have. After College it's often more a matter of who you know and not what.
    I think your personal statement is just about there. Check punctuation and spelling and your tutor should only need to give it a little polish.
    Good luck and keep us posted.


    *In my day the BA was purely about the theory. The Dip A D was about doing it.
     

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