The Essay that Got Me into Cambridge
Many of you guys have messaged me to ask which other universities I applied to and what my application to these places looked like. I will share a full list of all the universities I applied to very soon. I decided to share the personal statement that I submitted to St. John's College at the University of Cambridge today. I was accepted to Cambridge as a law student.
The UK personal statement is much more academic than the US Essay but I also enjoyed writing it because it really makes you reflect on why you want to study a specific subject. Here is the written version of my personal statement:
Growing up in Germany, I realised the importance of law when learning about the Third Reich: The law was abused to strip Jews of their fundamental rights through the Nuremberg laws. This event has shown me how law could be used to authorise the oppression of a group in a given social context. Law affects everyones' lives - no matter whether they practice law or not.
Law's ability to decide about the living conditions of entire peoples gives it great power. I want to study law because having the knowledge of law would enable me to prevent the abuse of the power of law.
Studying History as a higher level subject has equipped me with great research and analytical skills. My work in History has made me more sensitive to the credibility of sources. My English Language and Literature course (higher level) has exposed me to different text sorts and prepared me to analyse anything from a shampoo commercial to one of Shakespeare's plays. Writing my Extended Essay on the Allies' motivations for initiating the Nuremberg trials gave
me the opportunity to analyse the relationship between national politics and the support for international law. The Nuremberg trials set an important precedent in international law and analysing their roots meant analysing the origins of specific principles in international law. My higher level Global Politics course prepared me with a foundational understanding of international power structures and decision-making. I was able to apply this knowledge in the course "Genocide and Humanitarian Intervention" at Stanford University where I analysed the impact of the Genocide Convention on international actors in numerous case studies. I deepened my understanding of the application of and compliance with international law by also studying international relations as part of Stanford's Human Rights Intensive Studies. My studies have exposed me to several case studies where law had been used to legitimise injustice which further encouraged me to learn more about the application of law in different contexts.
Working at the NGO Crossroads put me in touch with asylum seekers in Hong Kong. Working with them gave me an insight into Hong Kong's poor support for asylum seekers and its non-compliance with the Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. I explored this issue further in my Global Politics Engagement Activity on refugees' dependency on NGOs in Hong Kong. My research made me aware of the importance of local jurisdiction and national law and their potential limitations on international law. Having debated for my school from seventh to
tenth grade, I developed the ability to see different viewpoints to situations. I joined Model United Nations in eleventh grade and was chosen to lead it one year later. Leading my school's MUN team equipped me with the ability to prioritise tasks and effectively plan all steps in a work process. A demanding course such as law requires the ability to schedule all your tasks in order to succeed. MUN taught me to defend the interests of the country I am representing and to negotiate diplomatically while not losing sight of national interests. National interests often clash in MUN and this taught me how to make compromises without giving up too much of my country's national goals. Being able to convince others of your opinion and to effectively negotiate a contract are skills required for practicing law.
Studying law at the undergraduate level will equip me with foundational knowledge in legal proceedings and the skills required for systematically analysing legal cases which I could apply in my graduate studies on international law. The UK is one of the UN Security Council's veto powers which makes her an influential country in the creation and enforcement of international law. Her international significance makes her the perfect country to pursue my legal studies.
I hope this helps you guys with writing your personal statements! Please feel free to message me if you have any questions!
Lots of Love,