Each applicant must provide a Personal Statement. It gives you the opportunity to explain why you have the qualities to become a Gates Cambridge Scholar:
The Personal Statement is used by the Gates Cambridge Shortlisting Committees to distinguish between candidates who have been highly ranked by departments on academic grounds. It helps the Committees identify those candidates who, as well as being academically outstanding, possess a capacity for leadership and commitment to improving the lives of others. Note that this is the only part of the application form where you are asked about your 'fit' with Gates Cambridge.
Describe - in not more than 500 words - how your interests and achievements, both academic and extra-curricular, demonstrate a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. Please also set out why you think there is a good fit between your professional aspiration and the graduate programme at Cambridge for which you are applying.
Key points to consider
You should also bear in mind that the attributes described above are broadly interpreted, and are dependent on the experiences of each applicant, so there is no magic formula for the Personal Statement. But some key points to consider are:
- While there are a no hard and fast rules about what you should put into your Personal Statement, make sure that whatever does go in hits a Gates Cambridge 'button'
- Keep it focused and stick to 500 words maximum - it's all we need, and being concise is a useful skill
- Provide examples to back up your statements and avoid generalisations
- It should not be a copy or re-hash of a personal statement for another scholarship, since the criteria may not be quite the same
- Be realistic and concise - avoid exaggerating or labouring a point
- Show that you have really researched the course you are applying for and clearly link it to your future plans
- Review the short biographies of Gates Cambridge Scholars to get an idea of the types of people who have been successful in obtaining a Scholarship
- Ask an advisor and/or someone else to review your statement to ensure it reads well and is free of error and be sure to tell them what the Gates Cambridge criteria are
- Do a final check for spelling and grammar before submitting