Natural Sciences at Cambridge
UCAS Personal Statement
How have intermolecular forces determined the evolution of Geckos? I was drawn to this question because I knew it wouldn’t lead me down a single science route. With this question I knew I could take my knowledge of intermolecular forces and explain how genes have prevailed in gene pools. This was to form my entry into the natural sciences prizes.
I was drawn to genetics for this question because of its universal nature. In other reading it was Hox genes and the Coelomata hypothesis that caught my attention; these cellular ‘postcodes’ have had a huge impact on evolutionary biology, like explaining the evolution of bilateral organisms, another topic that fascinates me. It was brought to my attention the controversial nature of group selection; during my reading I strongly believed the gene central view of evolution. However after comparing it to other literature I believe there are modern arguments that challenge this way of thinking like the cooperative nature and dependent success of genes. The biochemistry topics in my A level syllabus have always interested me, at a biology residential I produced a lab report and did an investigation on chemotherapy drugs this interest in biochemistry came into play when using an MTT assay. It wasn’t until writing the discussion section of my report I discovered other assays to indicate viability, I began to think about how these other methods, like the protease essay, which would’ve improved my experiment. I now implement a more analytical approach to my A level practical’s. At a similar event a lecture on a newly discovered compound and its potential to be used as specific cancer treatment amazed me, this compound found on alpine plants was an unexpected but intriguing application. This linked to ideas in my chemistry syllabus about decomposition of molecules.
The reason I incorporated bonding into my entry is due to the knock on effects it has on chemical properties. Knock on effects is a reason why I love working on multiple step mechanisms, like the synthesis of luminol, which I was able to perform at a taster day. Perhaps my favourite science, chemistry allows me to see deeper into biological pathways and see my maths knowledge used in quantitative analysis. Organics is my favourite aspect of chemistry not only the mechanisms, but also the predictions of molecules behaviour intrigues me. I have just begun reading about aromatic chemistry in hope to learn new mechanisms and teach myself about functional groups I am currently unfamiliar with.
During my research I discovered game theory plays an important role in evolution as it helps predict evolutionary stable strategies, it was interesting to see how mathematical modelling can be used in the natural world. I really enjoy competing in the senior math challenges because of the different style of questions and the deeper level of thinking it requires. In last year’s competition I came top in my year group something that inspired me to take part in the girls’ maths Olympiad.
My entry also included applications of Gecko’s abilities in engineering like the potential creation of internal body tape. This led me to undertake a work placement at QinetiQ in human performance, assessing the impact on physiology in extreme military environments. I enjoyed applying my scientific knowledge to new situations. My dream to complete a PhD was reinforced after working for 2 days in research and development at the Royal Berkshire hospital, this made me appreciate the processes behind creating evidence-based medicine.
Working as a retail assistant at Waitrose and being Deputy Head Girl, I have adopted excellent time management and organisation. In my role I have had the pleasure of helping others, especially tutoring year 7 students in maths, going back to the basics of the subject and explaining them in a way to suit my audience has been a true learning experience.
Behind the Statement
How did you make start on your personal statement or begin planning?
I created a table of things I had done and what effect they had on me
How did you decide what experiences to include in your personal statement? What did you cut out?
All experiences that related to academics, included experiences that where selective to get on
How did you get these experiences in the first place?
Research and signing up to mailing lists
How did you structure your personal statement?
Based in on my essay prize title and used the different aspects of the essay to branch into other subjects of interest
How did you decide on an introduction for your personal statement?
I began it with my essay title question
How did you decide on a conclusion for your personal statement?
My hopes and aspirations for the future
What do you think are the strengths of your personal statement?
concise and to the point
Is there anything you wish you knew beforehand/advice?
I wish I'd known that its more about the content and not about fancy language or writing style