History and Philosophy Sample Personal Statement

  History and Philosophy Sample Personal Statement


In order for any society to function and progress, it is necessary that they are able to document and learn from their past. Indeed, understanding the way in which an aspect of history came to unfold provides a powerful way of understanding what is yet to come.

The value of looking to the past for today’s questions was reiterated to me recently at a lecture I attended as part of my school’s Academic Society: the lecture focused on the analysis of American past presidential campaigns in order to make predictions regarding the ongoing 2012 elections.

I have had the privilege of learning about many other facets of American history as part of my Cambridge Pre-U. I have enjoyed learning about, for instance, the Civil War and its impact on the current shape of American society. Through a lecture entitled ‘The Evolution of Presidency After the Civil War’ I was able to consider what the presidency was set up to do, and how its role was influenced by the war.

I also have an interest in the ‘boom years’ of the 1920s, which was the focus of an extension essay I completed over the summer. I particularly enjoyed reading ‘Hard Times’ by Studs Terkel, which contrasted this era with the subsequent depression.

In addition to American history, I have also relished studying British history. I have read, for example, ‘William Pitt the Younger’ (Eric J. Evans), as I was keen to learn more about the man who became Britain’s youngest prime minister. With regard to more contemporary British history, I have read Simon Jenkins’ ‘Thatcher and Sons’, which explores Thatcher’s lasting impact on British politics and on her successors.

Besides from providing me with a solid foundation of knowledge in American and British history, the Cambridge Pre-U has also allowed me to enhance my analytical skills. I look forward to being able to draw upon and develop these as I commence my degree.

Inspired by studying ethics during GCSE religious studies, I decided undertake philosophy during 6th form. Whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed debating with others about a range of questions within the subject, I have particularly enjoyed studying determinism and its implications for free will. Indeed, I took the initiative of writing an article on the subject, which came to be published in my school’s magazine.

Whilst to develop my understanding of free will I read articles such as C.A. Campbell’s ‘Is Free Will a Pseudo-Problem?’, I have, of course, completed reading in a range of other fascinating subjects. For example, through reading John Stewart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ I became intrigued by the subject of moral truths. For my academic achievements within the subject, I was honoured with the school’s Philosophy Prize.

Outside of academia, I am involved in a range of activities that have allowed me to foster a range of skills and attributes. For instance, I am a part of Millfield’s elite dance team, ‘Bazique’, for which I was selected to be ‘Dance Captain’. In this role, I am responsible for arranging training sessions and events. Consequently, in addition to developing as a leader, I have improved my organisational and time-management skills.

I have also practiced karate from a young age, and, having earned a black belt, I have competed in national and international competitions. My greatest achievement in karate was winning a bronze medal in the under 16 category at the Irish International Championships. Through my involvement in martial arts, I have become a highly disciplined individual, demonstrating commitment to anything that I pursue.

Given my passion for history and philosophy, I am certain that I will be able to exhibit that the same dedication to my degree that I have shown so far throughout my academic career and in my extracurricular activities. I am, therefore, confident that I will be successful in higher education, and hope that I can be an asset to the university.


We hope that this History and Philosophy Sample Personal Statement will aid you in your application and achievement of university status.