I am pleased to share two Classics personal statement examples written for undergraduate university applications. The first statement is for an applicant interested in pursuing Classics while the second explores a combined Classics and Modern Languages degree.
Both Classics personal statements were composed to:
- Demonstrate the applicant’s genuine, longstanding academic interests and aptitudes
- Highlight relevant coursework, skills, achievements and experiences
- Convey the applicant’s personality, goals and fit for the programme
- Use style, tone and content expected for a competitive process of applying to a UK university
- Both got offers from Bristol and Edinburgh University
Classics Personal Statement
As I gazed out at the ruins of the Roman forum on a childhood family holiday, tracing outlines of crumbled columns with my eyes whilst imagining citizens in togas bustling about on ancient streets, I felt the sparks of fascination with the classical world flicker into the flame of passion that has fuelled my academic journey ever since.
I have been fascinated by the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome. As I began studying Latin and Classical Civilisation at school, my passion for the classical world grew even stronger. I was enthralled by the myths, literature, art, and history that transported me back thousands of years, revealing intricate details of societies so similar yet so foreign to our own.
By the time I reached sixth form and had the opportunity to take both Classical Civilisation and Ancient History at advanced levels, my enthusiasm was firmly cemented and I relished the chance to further immerse myself in analyses of the primary texts, material evidence, and differing modern interpretations that bring the classics to life.
Throughout my A-Level studies, I have been consistently challenged, intrigued, and inspired. Reading extracts from Herodotus’ Histories in Ancient History illuminated the scholar’s groundbreaking ethnographic approaches whilst also revealing his personal subjectivities. Studying Aristophanic comedy in Classical Civilisation not only entailed delving into the intricacies of 5th century BCE Athenian society that contextualise the genre’s conventions and content, but also applying modern theoretical frameworks like New Comedy and the Carnivalesque in written coursework that strengthened my analytical abilities. Such enriching academic experiences have provided me with a solid foundation of knowledge whilst allowing me to develop nuanced perspectives on the ancient world.
Beyond the classroom, I have sought opportunities to nurture my passion for the classics. A recent trip to Sicily and southern Italy brought the ancient sites of Greek and Roman antiquity alive before my eyes, from the Valley of Temples with its striking Doric architecture to the remarkably well-preserved mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale.
Additionally, as an avid reader, I often find myself returning to classical themes and references in modern literature, deepening my appreciation for how the classics continue influencing the present day. From the epic journeys in works like Joyce’s Ulysses or Walcott’s Omeros to the class stratifications examined by Faulkner and Fitzgerald, traces of the ancient world creatively permeate whilst offering compelling comparisons to modern societies.
With a longstanding fascination for classical civilisations and a proven academic aptitude evidenced by my consistently strong performance across humanities A-Levels, I am confident in my abilities to excel in a Classics degree programme. The opportunity to build upon the foundations I already possess through studying a breadth of modules spanning literature, material culture, languages, history and more with esteemed scholars in the field would allow me to gain extensive expertise. Upon graduating, I hope to either pursue postgraduate studies in Classics or work in an education or heritage focused role, thereby enabling me to kindle others’ passion for the classics much like my own was first sparked not too long ago.
Classics and Modern Languages personal statement example
From translating Sappho’s emotive poems in Greek to studying the themes of fate versus free will in my French literature classes, the interwoven worlds of classics and modern languages have long captivated me.
These twin passions, nurtured in my bilingual upbringing between Melbourne and Paris, have only grown stronger during my studies and will continue flourishing through university and beyond.
My diverse academic interests are evidenced in my equally strong performance across A-Levels including Mathematics, Physics, Economics, and French. While mathematics sharpens one’s logical precision and physics reveals nature’s mathematical elegance, my lingual studies hold the most meaning.
Translating the words of iconic figures like Sappho or Anacreon or tracing mythology’s impact in modern works provides unparalleled insight into the human condition – the joys, sorrows, and challenges felt hundreds of years apart rendered suddenly universal when given a new voice.
One project synthesising my language abilities was a comparative analysis between Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and its modern adaptations like Jean Cocteau’s Infernal Machine for my French course.
Beyond examining the shared tragic themes, I explored how contemporary sociopolitical contexts shaped each version, from Cocteau subtlely reacting to France’s WW2 occupation to Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad’s Incendies mirroring civil war horrors. Distilling such complex ideas across languages and eras was hugely rewarding.
My proudest translation achievement is finishing Lucian of Samosata’s 1st-century True History – perhaps the first-ever science fiction text with its imaginary voyages to space colonies and battles with alien lifeforms. While witty satire attracted me initially, I became engrossed by Lucian’s pioneering creativity.
As an aspiring novelist already working on several drafts, I may too one-day pen tales mingling fantasy, comedy and mythic undertones.
With a robust background spanning both classical and modern languages paired with diverse analytical abilities from the humanities to sciences, I am well-prepared to excel in a Classics and Modern Languages programme.
The opportunity to further strengthen my Greek and Latin, study additional modern languages like Italian or Mandarin Chinese, explore linguistics, and trace how classical ideas permeate global literature excites me enormously. By graduating with multilingual expertise and cultural appreciation, I hope to either pursue translation, humanities research or creative writing where my interdisciplinary skillset will be invaluable whilst letting me delve deeper into my varied passions daily.