Top Tips for a Cambridge Engineering Personal Statement

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Cambridge Engineering Personal Statement – Top 10 Tips: Dos and Don’ts

The Cambridge Engineering Personal Statement is a crucial component of your university application. It presents a unique opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other applicants. You would be able to articulate your story and explain your interests beyond that of numbers on an admissions test. Furthermore, it gives the interviewer a chance to understand who you are. It also provides a platform to bounce off questions during your interview. 

They can tailor questions to your personality, interests, and commitment to who you are as a person and your amalgamation of experiences before you. To guide you through the arduous university application process, our Oxbridge application experts have compiled a list of top 10 Cambridge Engineering Personal Statement tips. This includes dos and don’ts– for your Oxbridge Engineering Personal Statement for the 2024/25 application cycle. 

Looking at Cambridge Engineering personal statement examples can prove to be a double-edged sword. On one hand it can be useful to gain an idea of how to structure your personal statement. However, a personal statement is personal. It can be very difficult to write personally when you’ve been influenced by someone else’s writing.

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General Advice for your Cambridge Engineering Personal Statement

The Engineering course at Cambridge first starts off by providing a broad and general engineering knowledge to its students. It then allows students to specialise in later years. During their specialisation, in-depth teaching and training would be given in the chosen discipline. As it is an Engineering course, an ideal candidate would be one who has good analytical skills. It would also be someone who is interested in and/ or have good foundational knowledge in computing and design.

Hence, in your Engineering personal statement, Cambridge admissions tutors are looking for you to clearly demonstrate that you have the aforementioned interest and skills. Furthermore, when planning out your personal statement, make sure you research Cambridge’s achievements in Engineering. You can include them in your writing to illustrate your interest in Engineering. 

Additionally, when you are crafting your Cambridge personal statement, you would most likely also be applying to four other university courses. This may result in your statement being vaguer. The University of Cambridge is aware of such and will require you to fill out an ‘Online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)’. This is shortly after submitting the UCAS application, so make sure you’ve created another condensed version of your personal statement that you can directly submit to Cambridge.

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Top 5 Tips for your Cambridge Engineering Personal Statement

Illustrate that you are well-read in Engineering

When writing your Cambridge personal statement, Engineering doesn’t have to be one of your expertise! After all, you are applying to study Engineering, and you haven’t even started the course yet! However, showing that you are well-read in Engineering is a great way to tell Cambridge that you are interested in it. It also shows them that you are comfortable with reading large volumes of text or that you appreciate academic rigour.

If you do not know where to start, you can google Cambridge Engineering reading lists, or you can access them here at this link: Cambridge Engineering Reading List. Books are a great way to learn more about the subject. However, there are many other media forms that you can consume as well! Examples of such include magazine columns and news articles which are a great way to be updated on the latest innovations and findings! Or even non-text-based sources such as podcasts, Youtube videos, or documentaries. Some examples of great news sites to visit are Scientific American, Vox, and Nature.

You can try to incorporate such content into your everyday life. This could be reading a few news articles instead of scrolling on Tiktok. Or listening to podcasts instead of your usual playlist on your way back from school. This makes learning a lot more accessible and fun!

Focusing your application on your interest in Engineering

Cambridge is looking out for students who would be a good match for their Engineering course. An ideal student would definitely be one who is interested in Engineering. As mentioned, being someone who is widely read in Engineering is one way of demonstrating such interest. Another way that you could elaborate on this passion is by explaining why you are interested in Engineering. Are there specific aspects of this course that enthrals you? Are there details about this course that sets it apart from other courses? Have you gone through a personal experience to have a unique motivation for the course

Furthermore, participating in Engineering related courses or experiences is a great way to show your interest in the course. This is because being more involved in the field can grow and cultivate your interest in it. It also confirms that you are indeed passionate about it as you learn more about it.

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Explaining to Cambridge about specific qualities that you have that would make you a great Engineering student

As mentioned before, Cambridge is looking out for students that are a great fit for their Engineering course. Another way of showing Cambridge this is by explaining to them that you have certain qualities, traits, or skill sets that would make you a great Engineering student. For example, a good Engineering student would be one who has great analytical skills. You can show that you display this skill set by mentioning creative problem-solving competitions that you have participated in and won.

An example of another type of valuable skill is one who is able to persevere and commit despite difficulties. A good example of an experience that would hone such a skill could include that of being part of a research project. This is because it is common that you would not immediately get a favourable experimental result when pursuing research. 

Reflecting on all the experiences that you have mentioned

Even though you might feel tempted to not elaborate on the experiences that you have mentioned, or that certain achievements are self-explanatory in their title, keep in mind that the reflection on the experience is as valuable as the experience itself, if not more. Your reflection should include talking about how that experience has grown your interest in Economics. Or how it has led you to be equipped with certain skills that are valuable to an Engineering student.

Highlighting to your Cambridge admissions tutors how your experiences are linked to these points would make it clearer to them how you are fit for the course. 

Start writing your Cambridge Engineering personal statement early and always proofread it

Do not expect yourself to submit the first draft that you have written as your final Cambridge personal statement. This is because you might have forgotten or missed out on achievements or experiences that you otherwise would have wished to talk about. Not only that, but it is also valuable to get seniors or friends to proofread your Cambridge Engineering personal statement. They would be able to give you objective advice on what aspects of your personal statement are good and what should be further elaborated on or changed.

Even if they are not familiar with the application process, they could provide good feedback on the clarity and readability of the ideas that you are trying to convey. However, do take note to take care when letting other people read your Cambridge Engineering personal statement (try not to share it if possible!). This will avoid any troublesome and complicated plagiarism issues.

Top 5 things to AVOID for your Cambridge Engineering Personal Statement

Not having a good structure when writing your Engineering Cambridge personal statement

Your Engineering personal statement should be structured in a way that can communicate your ideas effectively. Having a poor or disorganised structure could make your Cambridge personal statement hard to read. It could also cause you to forget to mention crucial points. A suggested structure could include beginning your essay with a short 3-4 line paragraph introducing your interest and passion for Engineering. A particular detail about the course that enthrals you, or if there was a specific moment that caused you to be curious about it.

Next, your body paragraphs could focus on elaborating on your interest in the course. If there are any specific details of the course that you are passionate about. Or if you have any qualities or skills that are useful as an Engineering student. Each of your body paragraphs should only have one major theme. Lastly, you could choose to conclude by summarising any points in 2-3 lines that you want your Cambridge admissions tutor to take away and remember.

Having an incorrect or misguided understanding about what the Engineering course is about

Most applicants’ understanding comes from what they have seen in films or television shows, or subjects that they have studied in high school. However, this could cause a misguided understanding of what the Engineering course is actually like. Make sure that you thoroughly research the course before applying. This will help you as a future Engineering student as it is good to know what your next four years are like! It will also help you when writing your Cambridge Engineering personal statement. For example, mentioning certain details or aspects of the course that interest you would be good to include in your Cambridge Engineering personal statement.

Not writing simply or clearly, especially when you are trying to excessively use difficult vocabulary

It might be tempting to embellish your essay with unconventional words, or to use a thesaurus to enhance your Cambridge personal statement. However, do take note that it is much better to prioritise clarity and readability. If you are not familiar with a word, choose to explain your thoughts in a simple and coherent manner rather than opt for something that you are unfamiliar with. This is because the main aim of your essay is to effectively convey what you wish to communicate to the Cambridge admissions tutor. Always aim to be clear and concise! Cambridge also did mention on their official website to use clear, plain English, so you can be clear that that is definitely something they value.

Making general sweeping statements

Many applicants feel the need to throw in a long list of qualities that they have because they think that it is a desirable trait to have. However, this can quickly turn it into a sweeping statement that adds no value to their Engineering personal statement at all. For example, stating that you are a great analytical thinker sounds like a great addition to your Cambridge Engineering personal statement. However, it adds completely zero value if you do not justify or elaborate on it.

This means that you should talk about why you can say that you are an analytical thinker. Have you participated in analytical competitions that you have won? Was there a particular person or organisation that you helped using your analytical skills? Think about it this way… If someone said that they are friends with Justin Bieber you would not believe them unless they have proof. Similarly, you cannot list traits or qualities about yourself and expect Cambridge to value your statement unless you show them that it is true.

Reflecting on your experience in an unrealistic or unauthentic way

Reflecting on your experience is key to writing a great Cambridge Engineering personal statement. However, try to reflect on them in an authentic and realistic way. This means that you should only talk about one main idea from each of your experiences. For example, it is not ideal to talk about how your experience at the national debate competition has led you to develop leadership skills, critical thinking skills, greater ability in teamwork, as well as patience. This might be true, but it starts to dilute the experience and the idea that you are trying to convey starts getting lost in a sea of good qualities. Your admissions tutor would not know what to focus on.

Try and keep each experience limited to only one main important quality. Do not let your Cambridge Engineering personal statement become a long laundry list of ideas. Less is more!


What should I focus on in my personal statement for Cambridge’s engineering course?

Your personal statement should highlight your passion for engineering, demonstrating your curiosity and engagement with the subject beyond your current studies. Include specific examples of projects, extracurricular activities, or readings that have inspired you. It’s also important to reflect on what these experiences taught you and how they have prepared you for a degree in engineering. Cambridge looks for evidence of your problem-solving skills, creativity, and ability to overcome challenges, so be sure to include relevant examples.

How important is work experience or practical exposure in my personal statement?

While practical experience or work placements can be beneficial, they are not a prerequisite for applying to Cambridge. If you have such experiences, they can be great examples to demonstrate your interest and skills in engineering. However, if you don’t, consider discussing personal projects, competitions, or self-led learning that show your enthusiasm and proactive approach towards the subject. The key is to showcase your engagement with engineering in any form.

Can I mention specific areas of engineering I’m interested in, or should I keep my statement broad?

It’s absolutely fine to mention specific areas of engineering that interest you, especially if you can articulate why and how these areas excite you. However, remember that the Engineering course at Cambridge covers a broad range of topics in the first two years before specialising, so it’s also good to demonstrate a wide-ranging interest in the field. You can strike a balance by mentioning specific interests while also showing enthusiasm for the breadth of engineering topics.

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