History Personal Statement

Sample History Personal Statement

Far from indulging a preoccupation with the dusty irrelevances of long-forgotten events and cultures, as has been the popular clich of the study of history for many years, the true student of history is, by necessity, thoroughly engaged with the contemporary moment. As a key methodology in understanding the present, history offers almost limitless opportunities to explore the formation of our world while also continually taking care to investigate its own methods and apply a theoretical rigour that suggests at least the possibility of finding definitive answers.

It is a fascination with the intertwined processes of both uncovering the past and unpicking the way in which undertake this activity that has driven me towards the continuing study of history throughout my school career. While I have performed to a high standard across a range of subjects, it is in history that I have truly found the most intellectual satisfaction, gaining impressive grades at both GCSE and AS-Level, and predicted to exceed these at A-Level and in the AQA Baccalaureate, which I intend to take in June 2011.

A focus on the history of the Soviet Union has fostered a personal interest that has also inspired me to continue studying in this area in an extra-curricular capacity. Reading works such as Orlando Figes’ ‘A People’s Tragedy’ and Ryzard Kapuscinski’s ‘Imperium’ offered successful examples of the way in which the grand movements of history can be combined with a focus on the everyday effect on those who lived through them. In order to greater understand this fascinating period I decided to undertake an Extended Project Qualification, posing the question “How successful were Stalin’s collectivisation and industrial programs in modernising the USSR between 1928 and 1941?” The successful completion of this project has not only offered the opportunity to gain a greater depth of knowledge in this specific period but also offered an opportunity to gain experience of core study skills, such as time management, and those specific to history, such as the interpretation of various sources.

In addition to my interest in the history of the Soviet Union I have worked hard to broaden my knowledge of the discipline. I have discovered a voracious appetite for books dealing with almost any period of history, thoroughly enjoying Tom Holland’s take on the rise of Christendom and early European history in ‘Millenium’ and also gaining an introduction to the study of history itself, in the form of Richard Evan’s compelling ‘In Defence of History’. As a prospective student contemplating the earliest steps on my journey through the discipline, the questions raised by the study of historiography appear central to the future production of truly valuable work within the field, and it is certainly an area that I would be keen to pursue through further study.

While my passion for history has played a key role in both my studies and my extra-curricular activities, I have also found time to participate in the wider life of my college, gaining a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and a Junior Football Organiser’s Award and occupying the role of Treasurer on the College Council. Each of these activities has proven an excellent opportunity to gain communication and leadership skills that have improved my ability to work as part of team. As a meticulous, hardworking and highly motivated individual, pushing myself to achieve set goals outside of my chosen field has improved both my confidence in my ability to bring these qualities to bear in a range of fields and my conviction that they find their greatest expression in combination with my dedicated enthusiasm for history.

We hope this sample History personal statement has been useful.