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How to demonstrate your passion for your subject

It goes without saying that in order to make a successful application to Oxford or Cambridge, you HAVE to be passionate about the subject you hope to study. However, sometimes making this clear to your prospective tutors and admissions officers can be a slightly more difficult task. We’re guilty of using the phrase ‘demonstrate your passion’ in lots of our advice without going into more detail about how to actually do this. In this article, we’re going to go through the key ways through which you can demonstrate that you are fired up and truly passionate about your subject.

There are multiple stages throughout the application process where you will get the chance to show your passion for your subject: in your personal statement, at interview and in an admissions test. Although we have the chance to do this, however, there is no set formula for how to do this; each of these elements is a blank canvas on which you are able to show tutors how you think and respond to stimuli relating to your subject off your own back. The applications process in general is the perfect chance to show that you are dedicated to your topic, and are guaranteed to work hard throughout your degree in order to learn as much as possible about the subject you’re passionate about.

The first, and crucial, step in being able to show your passion is to think critically about your relationship with your subject, considering what it is specifically about it that draws you to it and motivates you to keep learning more. Once you have considered this, now think about all the ways you have gone above and beyond the syllabus to find out new things about your subject; perhaps you have watched documentaries on the topic, undertaken your own experiments, or spent your weekends volunteering for a related organisation? Anything goes here, provided that it relates to your subject. Think deeper than you are perhaps encouraged to in school: think about the underlying theories and foundations which make your subject what it is. You don’t need to have all the answers; just make sure that you’re challenging yourself to dig deeper into the big academic issues surrounding your topic. Tutors are looking for candidates who aren’t afraid to tackle the big issues, so forcing yourself to think about these things early doors is a great way to prepare for the application process.

It is important to gather evidence for your responses to each of these questions. Where did your initial interest come from? How have you developed this from a casual interest and into a serious application to study it at university? If you have read a specific book, how did it change or reaffirm your opinions of your subject? Never make empty or sweeping statements in an application; always ensure that everything you say is backed up with an example or is building up to something of substance.

Get in touch

Finally, remember that there is plenty help out there if you’re feeling stuck! Whilst a blank canvas in the form of a personal statement is a fantastic opportunity, it can also be a very daunting task to get started on all by yourself. Here at Oxbridge Applications we specialise in offering tailored, subject-specific advice to applicants every single day, all curated by a team of Oxbridge graduates who have all made the most of the process themselves. For more details about how we can support you in your application, email info@oxbridgeapplications.com, or call us on +44 (0)20 7499 2394.

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