I have spent my spare time over the last two days writing my personal statement (AKA “admissions essay”) to the University of Western Australia. Whilst all the happy little school leavers have a relatively simple time applying for a position in UWA’s Computer Science program, I (being a “mature age” student) have to write a goddamned essay. Without it, 10% of my potential entry marks (I assume the other 90% comes from the same place as those school leavers… the TEE) go up in smoke. The statement, which is basically a letter to the university, must detail my motivation, my past experience, ‘strategies’ I have in place that I plan to use in my studies (what the fuck does that mean?) and my opinion of my past academic achievement.
Well, as far as my TEE results go, I consider my past academic achievement to be pretty damned fine; I had a TER of 90.2 (the cutoff for Computer Science hovers around 80). Unfortunately, it’s the “enroll to Curtin University in a pissant degree/drop out/take a year off/re–enroll in the same pissant degree/drop out” that could reflect poorly on me.
Three years ago, as I was deciding which courses and universities I would like to attend upon graduation from high school, I made a simple decision; I decided that I didn't want to spend my working life behind a computer screen. In retrospect it was a foolhardy decision based on the assumption that, since I already spent a great deal of my leisure time on the computer, a career doing the same thing would chain me to my desk indefinitely. After three years and several false starts, I have come to realise that it would be foolish of me not to embrace this opportunity to transform a hobby that I love into an enjoyable and fulfilling career.
The rest of the statement is pretty much the same as the opening paragraph quoted above. Sucking up to the dean of admissions, going on and on about how dedicated I am to studying computer science (and, specifically, programming), talking at length about my ‘support networks’ and whatnot. I mean, it’s all true, but the way that make you write it seems to lack, well… dignity.
Now I’m off to post this sucker to the people in charge of my future. From there, all I can do is wait for January of next year to roll around to find out if I have a place at UWA. Yikes.