PS Tip 92: Engineering personal statement

When applying for an engineering course, your enthusiasm is going to go a long way. It’s a very difficult subject to do well in, and an even more difficult industry to progress through.

People don’t become engineers on a whim; it’s less a career and more a lifestyle choice.

With that said, when writing an engineering personal statement you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve got the enthusiasm and ‘spark’ both to get you through the course and to succeed in the industry long-term.

Now, there are many different varieties of engineering, so you’re going to need to tailor this advice to the discipline that interests you, but if there’s one quality that universities always value in prospective engineering students, it’s this: The desire to know how things work.

If you like to pull things apart and put them back together, whether that be television sets, bikes or even cars, that’s the sort of thing you should include in your statement. Relevant work experience is also going to help out a lot, as with any course, but make sure you’ve taken the time to speak to the people you’re working with. Nothing proves you’re interested quite like prying useful information out of seasoned pros.

Finally, make good use of your current studies – maths, particularly decision-based maths, and sciences will go a long way. Additional reading is also very beneficial, and if you can work some of your favourite learning points into your personal statement then so much the better.

One additional aside is that engineering students, like a lot of scientific/technical applicants, have a tendency to create quite one-dimensional, matter-of-fact statements. Clearly there’s nothing wrong with basing your statement in hard facts, but you shouldn’t dismiss the more creative elements of personal statement writing.

One thing we often do for such clients is to work on the way their statement flows, sounds and feels. That may sound insignificant, but it’s really not – In fact it’s a call-back to my earlier point about making sure your statement is interesting. Ignore this at your peril.

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