Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Writing Your Personal Statement

The personal statement is a key part of the university application process, and is completed by up to half a million applicants each year.

Recent research, carried out on behalf of the Sutton Trust, compared the quality of personal statements from independent and state schools. 

The researchers examined over 300 personal statements from students with the same grades who applied to the same university department.  They found that applications from independent schools were more likely to be well-crafted and contain a wide range of high status, relevant work experience.

They also found significant differences in presentation - writing errors were three times more common in the applications from state schools.

The Sutton Trust are campaigning to make the application process fairer by:
  • Asking students to reflect on which attributes they would bring to a course or university, rather than simply listing their previous achievements. There should also be a limit on the number of experiences described.
  • Universities taking young people’s background into account, and judging low and middle income applicants according to the academic and extracurricular opportunities available to them.
  • Schools and colleges individually or collectively providing more practical support to help students through the university admissions process, something already the norm for more privileged students.
  • UCAS changing its ‘free response’ policy to prevent the sale of pre-written ‘personal’ statements.
  • The professions introducing more programmes to provide systematic support for young people from low and middle income backgrounds to access internships and high quality work experience.
So the debate continues, but whatever application system is in place Words Worth Reading Ltd can help you improve your chances of a university offer with a well written UCAS personal statement.

Graduate Employment:Opportunities Abroad

Recent figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show an increase in the number of graduates who have chosen to work abroad since the start of the recession.

In 2011, 27% more graduates worked overseas than had done so in 2008. For students from Oxford and Cambridge, there was an even greater increase of 35% in the same period.
Although this is still only a small proportion of all UK graduates (less than 4%), a recent survey by the British Council found that 1 in 3 people felt they would have a better job if they had lived or studied abroad
Jo Beall, a Director at the Council, commented on the survey results: 
'The good news is that this poll shows people are beginning to recognise how vital international skills are for enhancing their career. Research last year revealed that more UK employers look for international awareness and experience above academic qualifications. But the bad news is that not enough people in the UK are taking opportunities to gain international experience. That needs to change if the UK will successfully compete in the global economy.'

For more information on job-seeking, visit the Wordsworth Reading resource page for job-seekers at


Friday, 7 December 2012

Reading for Pleasure Campaign

The Society of Authors is running a campaign to encourage reading for pleasure in schools. The campaign aims to:
- provide a library in every school run by a specially trained teacher or librarian.
- support teachers with initiatives which will inspire children's love of reading.
- include author visits and residences in Ofsted’s accreditation process.
The Society has lobbied the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb,and raised an Early Day Motion in Parliament in support of this campaign. 
Early Day Motions are rarely debated in the House of Commons, but provide a mechanism for raising awareness of issues. So far, this has been signed by 44 MPs with representation from across the political spectrum.   The motion is:-
That this House notes that one of the Government's priorities is for all children to read daily for pleasure; believes that every school should have a well-stocked library; further notes that research shows that children who have access to a school library and who read for pleasure reach higher levels of attainment in all subjects; further notes that the best way to encourage children to read for pleasure is by free voluntary reading; and calls on the Government to continue to take all necessary steps to encourage school libraries.
Interested in writing for children? Take a look at our Writer Pages to see how we can help!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Charles Dickens museum reopens after £3m restoration

A Lottery-backed project has transformed Dickens's London home. The museum is due to reopen next Monday.
When visitors arrive at the museum, they will find the author's shadow painted on the staircase wall to guide their way into the museum.
Dickens rented the house in Doughty Street for three years at £80 a year, and moved in in 1837 as a young husband with his new wife, Catherine Hogarth, and their first child, soon to be followed by two more. It was in this house that he made his name, publishing Nicholas Nickleby under his own name.
A £3.1m Heritage Lottery-backed restoration has transformed the building, opening the house next door as visitor facilities and incorporating a lift, giving disabled access for the first time to the basement and upper floors.
In the drawing room, where Dickens regularly entertained friends with performances from his works, visitors can sit on the sofa and hear the voice of the actor Simon Callow reading his words.
The back bedroom is shadowed by death, where his 17-year-old sister-in-law died in his arms, inspiring many deathbed scenes in his novels. On the walls there is a photograph acquired three weeks ago, of the scene of the Staplehurst train crash in 1865. Dickens, unhurt in the crash in which 19 people died, helped rescue many of those who were injured.
The attic is open to visitors for the first time, here they will find a barred window from the long since demolished Marshalsea prison. Where a 12 year old Dickens was imprisoned with the rest of his family when his father’s reckless spending got the family into debt.
The house was saved from modernisation by becoming a shabby boarding house, and then saved from demolition by public subscription, it became a museum in Dicken’s honour in 1925.
The one thing that may surprise visitors is that the house now doesn't look particularly Dickensian. The architect Dante Vanoli explained the restoration as "cleansing", removing layers of later alterations, rescuing original floorboards from under 20th-century lino, and taking out doors inserted in 1925 that gave parts of the building a Tudor appearance.
The house where Dickens invented the traditional Victorian Christmas is to be the only museum in the capital open on Christmas Day.

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Source: The Guardian 
Image: Lin Pernille Photography

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Not Just Your Average Guide Books

Lonely Planet is one of the largest and well know travel guide publishers, but recently they have been putting out travel-related titles that aren’t just guide books.

Founded in 1973 by husband-and-wife team of Tony and Maureen Wheeler, Lonely Planet is now wholly owned by BBC Worldwide. Its core business has always been in travel guides, but over the past five years its trade and reference titles have been rapidly increasing.

Asia Pacific sales and marketing director Chris Zeiher  says; “We believe that publishing an inspirational and reference list of titles will create more frequent engagement with our travellers, and potentially reach a new audience, or a non-travelling market, for example, the armchair traveller.”

Lonely Planet has accumulated a large portfolio of images over the years and Chris Zeiher says this was the inspiration for a new line of books. “We had an idea to pack these stunning travel photographs in book format for customers to enjoy.
“This is when titles like Chasing Rickshaws and One Planet were created back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.”

The success of One Planet made the company realise that there is a demand out there for inspirational titles. This resulted in Lonely Planet investing in, and creating, its most successful non-guide book to date: The Travel Book.

The company is also reaching out to younger readers with its Not-For-Parents series launched just last year.  The aim of which is to inspire young minds to travel. This is not a series of guidebooks for children, but enchanting and fun volumes for children to get inspired about the world around them.
Currently, non-guide books comprise approximately 17% of Lonely Planets’ volume, and Zeiher expects this to continue rising in the years to come.
“We believe that publishing in other genres will inspire our travellers, and our loyal community, to think about destinations in different ways, and want to experience genuine connected travel experiences. This is at the core of what it is that Lonely Planet does; connecting travellers to the heart of a place.”
If you have a manuscript, but not sure what to do next, let us help you with our Publisher Packs.

Source: Writers Forum
Image: xlibber, Flickr