Villiers Park Personal Statement

Student, Lauren Francom, recently took part in a prestigious Gifted and Talented Programme at the University of Aberdeen. 

Lauren, who studies Chemistry, English Language and Literature, Psychology and History at The Sixth Form College, was selected to take part in a prestigious Gifted and Talented Programme from June 30 to July 2 at the University of Aberdeen’s historic King’s College Campus.  Lauren, a former Weatherhead High School pupil, travelled to Scotland to take part in a series of thought-provoking lectures, stimulating seminar sessions and student events designed to help Britain’s most talented students realise their full potential and to give them a flavour of life at university.

Lauren took part in the University of Aberdeen's programme for Politics as she is considering this as a career choice, however, she is taking full advantage of the Higher Education opportunities available to thoroughly explore her options as she has also taken part in a placement at Villiers Park to explore History and is taking part in Edge Hill University's Gifted & Talented Scheme from 27th July, exploring Higher Education opportunities in Law. Lauren said, "I want to be prepared as possible when applying for University and I think all of these opportunities are going to make my personal statement really stand out."

 See below for Lauren's account of her time on the Gifted & Talented Programme:


"Upon arriving at the University of Aberdeen it was evident that the staff and my peers would be lovely – everybody was friendly and welcoming. We were taken for registration in the University’s Sir Duncan Rice Library (fun fact: the architecture represents granite under a microscope as Aberdeen is nicknamed the Granite City).

At the library we were given a brief talk by the University Principal who explained why Aberdeen was one of the best places to study. We were also told what would take place in the days ahead by Amanda Wilson who had arranged the gifted and talented scheme. It was here that we found that we may be offered a place at the University depending on how we fared in the upcoming assessments (the subject group presentation and our essays).

Studying in Scotland is different because the Universities are far more flexible as it’s possible to change your course and take more subjects if you are not enjoying your original course choice. Following this surprising, but pleasant announcement we were put into our subject groups and introduced to the lecturers. There were three others in my group: Beatrice, Willow and Stella.

On the first day we were given a tour of the campus to demonstrate what Aberdeen has to offer by a current student who told us the ins and outs of the University and what it was like to study at Aberdeen. It was clear that there was a surprising amount to do on the coach tour around Aberdeen city (plus during Summer there are dolphins in the harbour). On the sea front there is a lot of sea-side attractions (such as Codona’s Amusement Park). The University also offers students membership to the Olympic standard Sports Village which caters for those using it recreationally or elite athletes. For our evening meal on the first day we had a BBQ in the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens which boasted exotic plants. We even had the chance to meet the curator of the garden and he explained origins of certain plants.

On the Wednesday we were given the chance to view the Zoology museum which contained taxidermy, skeletal material, fluid preserved specimens and models. On the final night we had a networking dinner in Elphinstone Hall where the Vice-Principal gave a speech and we spoke to some tutors, admission officers, past students and lecturers. (Fun fact: it is rumoured that if you walk on the grass you will never graduate!)

The Tuesday consisted of brief subject sessions - an Introduction, followed by a set assignment (750 – 1000 words “How democratic is the UK in 2015?”) and explaining the presentations.

On Wednesday we had subject sessions from 9am - 5pm. For the most part of the sessions, we debated on the following issues:

  • Brainstormed: what is democracy?
  • Watched youtube videos on democracy and election 2015
  • Given talk on UK GE 2015/Trident/other issues/democracy/terrorism
  • Turn-out (why was the turn-out so poor?)
  • Should we change the voting age to 16?
  • What is social capital? (civic engagement/networks/trust/community bonds)
  • The rise of other parties (Green/UKIP)
  • New social movements

On Thursday we were given from 9am - 10:30am to prepare for our presentations in front of the other groups. As a group we decided to split into pairs and create an interactive presentation to demonstrate what we had learned during our group sessions.

Our presentation went well, and it would seem I have been offered a place to study at the University of Aberdeen if I would like to in September 2016!"

Lauren Francom - Uni of Aberdeen

Click here for more information on our Honours Programme and Higher Education Support.

Sample Maths Personal Statement

Mathematics has always been a big part of my life. As a young boy, my father would make up games to play on long car journeys, stating a number and asking me to do a series of basic calculations whilst keeping track of how that number changed. These fun, light-hearted games developed my abilities and inspired me to search for other games that would allow me to understand the discipline in greater depth, such as Sudoku, which trained me to spot number patterns.

As the years have passed, I have found myself deeply interested in the theory underpinning these games. I am particularly interested in proofs, discoveries and new equations, which has led to me reading a wide range of books on the subject, including ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ by Simon Singh, and ‘Taming the Infinite’ by Ian Stewart. This has also kindled an interest in the methods behind mathematical proof and discovery. I have always wondered how mathematicians could discover something new in Mathematics and prove it to the community. I have made this the subject of my extended project qualification, a 5000 word essay on ‘Godel and proving the incompleteness theorem’

In an effort to extend my knowledge of Mathematics beyond the curriculum, I have attended several advanced courses. I completed a five day course with the charity trust Villiers Park in March 2011 and a one day course at the Royal Institute for Mathematics in June 2011. These were an excellent opportunity to encounter high level mathematics and to speak to those studying and working in the field.

Through pushing myself to understand the theory encountered on these courses, and within the curriculum, I have gained a sense of the complexity of the discipline. The study of polynomial theory in Further Pure 1, for example, proved both fascinating and challenging. Having missed some teaching due to unavoidable commitments, I independently answered many questions on the roots of polynomial equations and ultimately made it one of my strong points. The theory has fascinated me ever since and I am sure that I can overcome the same educational challenges that it originally presented, and ultimately gain the same academic rewards throughout undergraduate study.

In 2010, my strong performance in the subject led to me receiving the school award for mathematics. It is not only my passion for the discipline which has allowed me to become involved in my school community, however. As part of the Sixth Form mentoring system, I spend two thirty minute sessions a week with my mentee and I have also been appointed Head Boy. My role includes attending Governor’s Meetings, organising prefects, arranging committees for year book and prom, and controlling the sixth form budget. I also represent the school at general and Sixth Form open evenings.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading science fiction novels and play sport whenever I can. I am a fully qualified F.A. referee, after completing my training in October 2009. My deep love of football is also complemented by an enjoyment of rugby and hockey.

Mathematics has shaped my life, my study and my free time for many years. This dedication and passion for the subject has led to me to many intellectually rewards as I have delved deeper into this fascinating, and fundamental, discipline. Having developed the skills and knowledge necessary to grasp complex mathematical ideas, I would relish the opportunity to continue this process of discovery throughout undergraduate study.

We hope this sample Maths personal statement has been insightful.

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