‘It’ll look good on your personal statement’: self-marketing amongst university applicants in the United Kingdom
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
University and Colleges Admissions System
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Abstract‘Selling yourself’ through personal statements and interviews is now a standard practice for university applicants. This article draws on a multi-case-study research project to report on the self-marketing orientations of students within three 16–19 institutions in England. These orientations (active/passive; internal/external; retrospective/prospective; and integrated/segregated) were embedded within and shaped by each site’s strategic response to the conditions of the local education market-place. It is argued that the patterns of these orientations across different institutions is related to the resources and support available to students, the educational trajectories that were considered appropriate for them, and the pedagogic identities fostered by the institution as a whole. Where these differentially prepare students to access universities and courses, schools and colleges may be contributing to, rather than challenging, the socially stratifying work of the education system.
CitationShuker, L. (2012) ‘It’ll look good on your personal statement’: self-marketing amongst university applicants in the United Kingdom 2012:British Journal of Sociology of Education