Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The holy grail?...

So, news this week that researchers at the University of Hertforshire have discovered the holy grail. Yep, they've identified the ten magic words you should make sure you include on your UCAS form if you want to get in, and the ten magic words you should avoid like the plague. Now I'm not one to carp at an institution that is trying hard to help students with no family background of Higher Education - good on 'em, I say - but, hmmm, if everyone starts using these words, won't their currency be devalued?.....

The other thing that is interesting about this article is how this research was conducted. All we learn is that it was a joint effort of the Admissions department of the university and the Psychology department. That's it, but it's worth stopping and thinking about how we might have tackled the task if we'd been asked. There are several potential language investigations in here if you can get your hands on the data and the consent to use it. Analyse successful patterns of language in Oxbridge applications, job applications, etc - wherever the written language gets the applicant through the door for an interview. The Hertfordshire study focused on 10 key items of lexis, but are there other features that contribute to success?

Check it out. And think very carefully before using these ten words on your UCAS form - you want to stand out from the crowd, not be a Hertfordshire clone! Learn from the IDEA here - that some forms of expression represent you more positively than others. That's the trick, not the ten magic words...

Check it out.

The ten words that spell job success... and the others that mean failure

Say the magic words


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