0

Good evening from Germany!

I'm currently writing a personal statement for my UCAS application and have got a problem concerning one of my sentences. Originally, I wrote:

The decision to study X emerged during the last year and was...

What I would like to express is that this is not something that I've always wanted to do, but that I first thought about studying X about a year ago and that it developed into the decision to apply for this course.

Not, I revised my personal statement with a former tutor of mine, who said that the verb “emerge“ (obviously) is not correct in this context. It's just that the German translation emphasized exactly what I wanted to express with this sentence. My tutor told me, it was better to write it like that:

The decision to study X came during the last year and was...

Personally, I'm not sure that is exactly what I want either. Sure, it expresses very clearly what I try to convey with this sentence, but still, it just doesn't seem elegant or formal enough for a personal statement that tutors of some of the best universities in the U.K. will read. Especially since this is the opening sentence.

Unsure if my tutors approach was the best, I contacted an online service that offers to revise your personal statement and improve it. Their approach, given my original version, was this:

My decision to study X is one I have contemplated during the last year and...

So, they changed it to my decision and obviously used a pretty different expression which I am not sure of if it conveys exactly what I want to say.

Now you may say, that's only one sentence in a 4000 character long personal statement! Sure, but it's the opening sentence and, as I said, tutors of some of the best universities in the U.K. are going to read it, so I want to make a strong first impression.

What do you say, how would you write my opening sentence? And what do you think: my decision or the decision? Thanks in advance.

  • I disagree that emerged is inappropriate. It makes sense to me. It's the same thing as saying that your decision firmed up or solidified. It's something that you became aware of. Alternatively, if it's the collocation of decision with emerged that you don't like, you could say that your desire to study X emerged . . . – Jason Bassford Sep 2 '18 at 17:37
  • Developed? Formulated? Check them in a dictionary to see if they mean what you want – marcellothearcane Sep 2 '18 at 19:58
  • 1
    @JasonBassford. Thank you, that is REALLY good. Exactly what I was looking for! My desire emerged... genius! :D – Whazzup Sep 2 '18 at 20:09
0

I'm converting a comment I made to the question into an answer because of how well received it was—and it might be beneficial to someone else in the future.


Mirroring another answer, I disagree that emerged is inappropriate.

It's the same thing as saying that your decision firmed up or solidified, and that it's something that you became aware of over the last year.

I think that it better captures the sense of your realization of what you wanted to study than dropping it would.


However, if it is the collocation of decision with emerged that you don't like, you could use a different noun:

My desire to study X emerged during the last year . . .

1

Your sentence:

The decision to study X emerged during the last year and was...

Adding 'my' clearly idicates it was your decision:

My decision to study X only emerged during the last year and was...

And the use of emerge is apropos.

to become apparent

My sense is this is formal enough but if you want to the 'contemplate' sentence, it would work too!

0

You could say "I came to the decision to study X after much deliberation". This has the advantage of being in the active voice and making it clearer that the decision was positive and well-considered. Alternatives are "I decided to" instead of "I came to the decision to" and "consideration" rather than "deliberation" but the meaning would be similar. I only suggest the longer version because it has slight implications of longer and more careful thought.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.