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English Lit Personal Statement Examples

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English Literature personal statement example 1

"I have chosen to study English Literature because I don’t as yet have a clear idea of what career I want to enter and feel it is a subject that will give me plenty of options after my education has ended. Furthermore I believe that it will provide me with the basis for the kind of innovative thinking necessary in any job as well as give me a broad range of transferable skills that many employers would appreciate.

The one thing that I really enjoy doing and would never get tired of is reading and am constantly looking out for stimulating and thought-provoking material. It was therefore only natural that I drifted towards studying English Literature at college. That experience gave me an excellent introduction to the world of academia, as well as wetting my appetite for the subject by enabling me to fully see the many literary issues and themes that were available for research, discussion and analysis. College also made me realize just how valuable good writing, researching and presentation skills are to communicating and finding employment.

I am currently looking for a university where modules are taught in a atmosphere of discussion and where independent thought and contribution is encouraged and valued. It is for these reasons that I have chosen to further my studies at your university and also because of its good academic environment and strong professional reputation. Since my first prospective email right through to when I attended your open day (where I walked around and talked to staff) I realised that your institution had a warm and welcoming environment and was a intellectually stimulating place in which to be a undergraduate. I was also pleased to discover that although it is a big university, it's very easy to get around. I firmly believe that your university is the place to be for anyone with a serious interest in English Literature."

English Literature personal statement example 2

"It is estimated that there are over three hundred and fifty million people in the world who speak English as their first language and over one billion who can speak it as a second language. These  simple facts show that English is one of the most widely used forms of communication on our planet and it was this reason more than any other that first inspired me to learn more about it.

During my research at college I quickly discovered that it was one of the richest languages known to mankind, had an immense vocabulary and that the only way to truly master it was through formal higher education. Throughout my studies I became amazed at the power of simple words and the effect they can have on people. History is full of examples of creative writing being used to build hopes, inspire people, create revolutionary movements and destroy lives. I came to the conclusion that language if used correctly can express how we feel about ourselves and others and stimulate both intellect and imagination. 

At college I studied the development of English Literature over the course of history and read works from its Anglo-Saxon beginnings onwards right through the Middle Ages to the present day. I was so eager to learn that I would regularly read and studied outside of the syllabus. My tutors were very supportive and thanks to them I now have a comprehensive understanding of drama, poetry, grammar, punctuation and the effects of digitalisation on literature.

Apart from simply enjoying reading and writing I am also attracted to learn more about literature and the written word because to me it’s more than just a rewarding challenge it’s a active pleasure. I want to earn a degree that is for me as well as any future career. On a more practical level a degree in English literature can open many doors to a successful career. A graduate can enter the jobs market with well-developed skills of oral communication, research and writing, together with a high level of cultural literacy and critical sophistication. All of these transferable skills are highly valued by employers in many industries.

As well as spending time reading great book and learning about language academically I also wanted some practical work experience in a job related to literature. So over the summer months I took a Saturday job as an assistant to a professional copywriter and author. Under his guidance I learnt how to analyse literature at different levels, discovered authors from different periods / parts of the world and began to think critically about what I read. Recently I have also used my spare time to became a member of a local reading club, participated in debating societies and developed a keen interest in contemporary non fiction as well as fiction.

Right now I feel confident enough to enrol on a degree course at your university. My grades from college will demonstrate a proven ability to do a lot of independent study and research. The glowing references from my course tutors will also show that I am able to use my initiative, creativity and strong imagination to write compelling articles. On top of all of this I can quickly gain a complex understanding of text and then communicate my conclusions and ideas through a reasoned and articulate analysis in the form of a essay or oral presentation.

I went to both your university and English department open day, where I got a feel for student life and familiarised myself with the campus. I found the college to be a enjoyable and stimulating place in which to carry out my studies with helpful and friendly academic and administrative staff. A degree programme at your institution will help me to study a subject that I love. In conclusion I would like to say that I have chosen to study at your university because I believe your course can harness the energy of its students and help them reach their full potential."

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Sample English Literature Personal Statement

Like many of my generation, my love of literature was originally inspired by Harry Potter. As a non-English reader, however, I was not content to wait for the next Dutch translation and set about teaching myself to read English at the age of 12. Continuing my education in literature through the work of some of the great authors, such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, I gained far more than a command of English. I also gained an awareness and appreciation of their subtle art, which drew me into fascinating worlds and experiences as foreign to me as their language. Endlessly re-reading Austen revealed a complex comedy of manners and commentary on social relations as relevant today as it was when it was written; a far cry from the simple love stories implied by a summary of her plots. Encountering English Literature through these works made me realise the truth in C. S. Lewis’ assertion that, “literature adds to reality; it does simply describe it”. My response to literature has matured as I have; ensuring it plays a continuing role in shaping and illuminating my reality, rather than offering mere description.

Needless to say, the challenge of gaining grounding in the literature of another language has fostered an interest in issues of translation. As a keen Tolkien fan, I have been inspired by his essays and translations to learn more about medieval literature, while reading Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf has also inspired an interest in Anglo Saxon literature that has required a grasp of the basic principles of Old English.

It is not only grappling with issues of translation that has proven my dedication to studying English Literature, however. Due to some unfortunate health problems, I also missed a proportion of my final year at secondary school. Despite this setback, I have dedicated myself to gaining the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake undergraduate study in the field. In 2009, I received special permission from the University of Antwerp to study both their first and second year English courses in a single year. I supplemented this in 2010 with several literature courses taken at Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education. Working towards the study of English Literature for over 10 years, I have also tried to build a foundation of critical knowledge through reading a range of work, such as David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction and Bennett and Royle’s An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory. As a keen poetry fan, with limited opportunity to study it, I also enjoyed John Lennard’s The Poetry Handbook. Encountering both fascinating critical ideas and the works to which they relate, such as the use of voice in the writing of Kazuo Ishiguro, has deepened my appreciation of literature and encouraged me to learn more about the creative mechanics that inspire it.

Literature is also central to my extra-curricular pursuits. For 10 years I took drama and elocution classes at theatre school, including analysing poetry and drama. Exploring my understanding through creative writing, I am proud to say that I have had poems and a short story published in various magazines. A classically trained singer and self-taught pianist, I also collaborated with the composer Frits Celis, writing lyrics for a popular choral work. Organising my local library’s book club, I have recently become passionate about transmitting my love of literature through selecting material and leading discussion.

My passion for English Literature has continually driven me to pursue knowledge of the field, despite difficult personal circumstances. As an inquisitive, eager student and zealous reader, I have demonstrated the ability to pursue this knowledge through my own hard work. Being offered the opportunity to bring together this knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm within a formal educational environment would be a delightful opportunity to deliver on the promise and passion that has driven me thus far.

We hope this example English Literature personal statement has been helpful in writing your own personal statement