Alia Morris, from St Swithun’s School, was a joint winner of the first ever Three Minute Personal Statement competition for sixth-form students. The new concept is based on the Three Minute Thesis competition, which is popular on the university circuit with PhD students worldwide.
The new initiative is part of St Swithun’s School’s academic enrichment programme, which provides an elevated academic layer “for students needing rigorous challenge throughout their school years”. At sixth-form, it seeks to equip potential Oxbridge candidates with the critical and creative thinking skills that will help them prepare their applications.
The Personal Statement competition gives students three minutes to convey the key message of their personal statement, and to demonstrate how they would like to be perceived in their Oxbridge interview. Without the aid of presentation slides, competitors need to impress their audience and convince them that they are the ideal candidate for their subject of choice.
‘The new concept is based on the Three Minute Thesis competition, which is popular on the university circuit with PhD students worldwide.’
Following an initial round at St Swithun’s, five girls took on a team from Cheltenham College in the final. Alia, who is applying to study Economics, impressed the judges with ‘the effective structuring of her presentation, her genuine love of and commitment to economics, and her combination of quiet confidence and warm approach in talking to the audience’.
Dr Elizabeth Mackintosh from St Swithun’s School, who worked on the development of the competition with Dr Graham Mallard from Cheltenham College, said: “All the competitors performed brilliantly in different ways, and it was a superb experience for them all. This competition looks set to grow as there are already ten schools asking to join the event in the next academic year.”