Bellerbys Economics - Mr Stephenson

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Personal Statements

Some of you are beginning to think now about applying to university - and I've already had some questions about personal statements:

You don't need to lose any sleep over this. Personal statements are most useful for older people who are trying to get into university but perhaps don't have any A-levels - just years of practical working experience.

For most A-level students, the personal statemens are really just a formality. Most universities barely glance at them - remember they may be processing tens of thousands of applications in one year - the process is now highly automated. Offers are issued automatically for most courses - the grades required being the 'price' of that course based on supply-and-demand for places.

Sample personal statements can be found here:

If you would like to write your personal statement in rough and email it to me, I would be pleased to smooth it out for you.

Basically, the personal statement should include:

a) Where you come from
b) Why you have chosen the field of study that you have
c) What you see yourself doing in five/ten years time
d) What extra-curricular things you have done / work experience you may have had and what you learned from it
e) specific personal interests - what motivates you

The last two may include things like voluntary work, or paid work, competitions you have entered, teams you have played for, interesting visits you have been on and so on. Personal interests should not include reading, watching TV, playing computer games, going to the movies - everyone does that. But maybe you play the piano, or you are a taekwondo champion or things like that.

For some universities - Oxford and Cambridge in particular - the personal statement is critical. Everyone who applies to Oxbridge will get A's in all their subjects, so they decide on offers based entirely on the personal statement and interview. I would be pleased to give you a mock interview nearer the time. The interview is also important for UCL - although it is rumoured that UCL will be phasing out the interview soon as it is expensive. Most universities no longer give interviews.

Here is some more information on applying to Oxbridge:

The other common question I get asked at this stage is: what are the best universities for Economics. Well, here's the league table so you can see for yourself:


  • wow~~actually I am thinking about writting a rough personal statement recently, but donno how to start . And is it an advantage if you hand in your personal statement much ealier than the other applicants?

    By Anonymous cindy, at 2:27 pm  

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