If you are applying for either undergraduate or postgraduate study, you will be asked to write a personal statement. In other words, provide evidence to both the college and the department as to why you think you would be an ideal student. This is very important if you are applying to Durham as we don't interview students (unless you are applying for a professional training course such as teaching or medicine). The departments are interested in your academic work and what knowledge you have about the subject.
At St Cuthbert's, we're more interested in what you do in your spare time (and yes, we are interested in knowing about your part time job in your local supermarket or what you did in your gap year), what interests/hobbies you have and what you think you would contribute to the college.
We're interested in you if you are captain of a club or society or take on a senior role in your college or sixth such as being a prefect or head boy or girl. However, we are also interested in you if you don't do any of these things but you are part of a team and/or contribute to a local charity or community. Being a member of a team or community is what being part of a Durham college is all about. If you have taken a gap year, it's great if you managed to work as part of a project abroad, or worked in a local school or charity. So, in your statement tell us about YOU; your achievements, your ambitions, your goals. Tell us all the good things about you and put yourself in our shoes; would you offer yourself a place if you were reading your personal statement?
Finally, always remember to get someone to have a look at your statement before you send it and always remember (and this really important), if you are applying to other universities, do not forget to edit it before you send it.
Best of luck with your applications!