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What makes a good personal statement?

Your statement should be as original as possible, as this is the way in which you can differentiate yourself from other applicants applying to the same course as you and who have, or are predicted, similar grades. Your statement should focus mainly on your academic abilities and achievements.

There are several questions you should think about before you start writing your personal statement:

  • Why have you chosen the course you have listed?
  • What interests you about your chosen subject?
  • How have you developed you subject interest outside of your school studies? Have you read any relevant books or articles, attended lectures or followed online courses. How did these activities inform your choice of course?
  • What are the ‘big issues’ in the subject(s) you have applied for, or what do you find most interesting about them? What are your thoughts on these topics?
  • Which jobs, paid work or placements have you undertaken, and what you have learnt from them? If these experiences influenced your choice of degree, why?
  • If you are applying for deferred entry, then you should indicate why you are taking a gap year and what you plan to do during it.
  • If you are applying at the post-qualification stage, then why did you take time out between college and university? What have you been doing during this time?
  • What are your social, sports or leisure activities (although these are not as important as your academic capabilities)?
  • Have you held any positions of responsibility in your school or college?
  • Have you attended any schemes or activities at LSE or other universities (such as Summer Schools, Saturday Schools, LSE Maths, LSE Choice, etc)?
  • Have you won or applied for any sponsorships or placements?
  • Emphasise any skills you have gained (e.g. communication/IT/decision making)
  • What are your career plans for when you graduate from university?
  • What are your future plans?
  • Why should we choose you over the other 17,500+ applicants who apply to LSE

You should also ensure that you fully utilise the space available to you when writing your personal statement. UCAS state that applicants can use a maximum of 4,000 characters, or 47 lines, in their statement and we would expect applicants to the School to fully use the space allowed.

Mature applicants

If you are a mature student, as well as thinking about the questions listed above, you should also include information on:

  • Why do you want to return to study?
  • If your degree will result in a change of career, why have you decided to change career?
  • You should also provide details of any relevant work experience, plus information on your current or previous employment  

International students

If you are an international student, as well as thinking about the questions above, you should also include information on:

  • Why you want to study in the UK
  • What evidence do you have that you can complete a degree in English? Are any of your studies completed in English?
  • Have you had a position of authority or used your communication skills effectively? For instance, are you on the school debating team?

Research

Before you write your personal statement, please visit our course guides in the online calendar|. These guides give further information on the course content of each of our undergraduate programmes and will provide you with an understanding of the course. This is particularly important for courses where the content can vary from institution to institution. For example, students applying to History at Cambridge can choose to study Ancient History as part of their degree. However the History course at LSE does not offer any Ancient History units. If the Admissions Tutor reads a personal statement which includes information on an applicant's interest in Ancient History, they will not make the applicant an offer as it does not show evidence of interest in the particular course that is offered at LSE, which focuses on International History.

You may also wish to visit the Departmental websites, as these pages also provide further information on the course.

For further information please visit our Admissions Criteria| web pages for the course you are applying to. These pages have been written by each of the departmental Admissions Tutors, so you can gain further information from these pages on what the Admissions Tutors are looking for in an application.

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