Blowing your own trumpet on a University College Application Service form to get ahead of the other competition so you stand out is the norm.
Richard Dawkins was asked for an honest reappraisal of what he would say if applying again at 18:
I’d like to come to Oxford to read biology, but I really haven’t got a very good reason. I drifted into the biological stream at school, partly through the influence of an inspiring teacher but mostly just following in father’s footsteps. Biology probably is my best subject, but that isn’t saying much. I’m a lousy naturalist, which may disappoint my parents, and I’m not great at laboratory work. But I have started to think about deep questions of existence. Why are we here? How does life come to exist on this planet? Why is it the way it is? I think evolutionary biology is the right area to find answers, and I know Oxford is world class in evolution. If the competition isn’t too severe, perhaps you might take a chance on me? I’d like the opportunity to surprise you.
In a New York Times profile Dawkins has already spoken honestly about his time as a schoolboy:
Clinton Richard Dawkins was born in Kenya, where his father was an agricultural specialist with the colonial service. He later returned with his parents to England and in due course arrived at Oxford, an intelligent enough boy. “I didn’t have a very starry school career,” he says. “I was medium to above average, nothing special.”
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog