Occasional media reports about the use of personal statements and their value in the admissions process gave a misleading impression, which we want to rectify.
We want to assure all applicants that, here at Downing, when making our admissions decisions, we certainly do take into account the information contained in personal statements.
We recognise that the process of writing a personal statement can help a student to better understand and express their own interests and motivations. This in itself is an important element in the preparation for an interview.
Downing College interviews a very large proportion of its applicants. We routinely use personal statements to inform the interview process. Remember that interviewers will already have read your personal statement before they interview you, so although your personal statement will be used to inform the interview process, there may or may not be significant reference to it during the interview itself. However, do read through your personal statement before your interview and remind yourself of the books you have mentioned, etc.
Supplementary Application Questionnaire
The University of Cambridge's Supplementary Application Questionnaire, which all applicants are asked to complete after submitting their UCAS application, includes specific questions that allow students to expand on or fill in gaps in their personal statements.
In this way we try to ensure that we have consistent, relevant information about all our applicants, making our selection process as fair as possible.