Hey I would definitely appreciate it if someone could please take a look at my personal statement and tell me if it is relevant and if theres anything i can do to improve it.
Here's LSE's website's info on the way to write the statement:
"Your personal statement (Question 26) should describe your academic interests, ambitions, research interests and explain the reasons why you undertake graduate study in the subjects you have chosen.
There is no fixed word limit but in general your statement should be up to 2-3 typed A4 sides."
Here's my essay:
I am P T Abilash, and I am currently a third-year economics student at University College London (UCL). I attended school entirely in Singapore up to Junior College level, where I took my A levels. I then came to UCL to do my undergraduate course in economics.
My first experience of economics came when I enrolled for my undergraduate degree. However, although I was new to studying economics at an institution full-time, the subject matter itself never seemed daunting or arcane. As it turned out, not doing economics as an A Level subject gave me an opportunity to explore the subject in my own time, and eventually get a feel for its intricacies and nuances at my own pace.
I am drawn towards economics as it is able to provide logical explanations about inconspicuous daily observations. I can analyze and explain observations using mathematical or quantitative models and correlate it to what I have learnt. This now means my interest in economics growing year on year and I feel the next progressive step in my development is to pursue a master's degree as there is much yet for me to learn.
The first time my interest in economics was piqued was in the first year of my junior college. An economic weekly 'The Economist' carried a particular article that really intrigued me- 'The Big Mac Index'. It had never occurred to me to consider why the same ubiquitous item being sold the world over was priced so differently across countries, even with the currency exchange rates considered. I then continued to read the rest of the magazine to see how economics related to the world around me. I was fascinated, and have hardly missed an issue till today.
I subsequently increased the expanse of my reading on the subject, taking in established works like Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" as well as modern literature like "Freakonomics". Within a short time I progressed to formal textbooks to ensure I clearly understood the implicit concepts in articles I read, and that was when I really found that I was gaining a deep interest in economics. I was able to use my basic knowledge to form opinions and arguments about economics, and I became consciously aware that this would be my eventual field of study at tertiary level simply because it mattered to me personally and explained events I was witnessing.
In the field of economics, I am most intrigued with the areas of financial economics and theory of the firm with regards to types of competition. I enjoy learning about markets and their constituent entities - the firms and the consumers - and how they interact with one another in different scenarios. Equally interesting is the econometric analysis involved to determine the different levels of competition in markets. I have taken courses in my last two years in university that allow me have a slight emphasis on these areas of interest, yet maintain an expansive enough variety to keep my knowledge base deep. The real world applications motivate me to learn more about these areas, as well as others in economics in order to complete my education in this field.
The financial aspect of economics appeals to me differently since I have always found an innate fondness for mathematics and statistics. Financial economics appeals to my more mathematical background prior to and during university and allows me use those skills. Econometrics and Finance modules I have taken have allowed me increase my knowledge in this area. The econometrics aspect allows me to use my quantitative skills while still using strong economic theory. My interest in econometrics and its importance in an Economics Master's course make me believe I will derive much benefit from it. I have always actively taken modules to prepare myself for a master's course throughout my undergraduate degree.
My eventual career path once I finish my studies is of vital importance. I have refrained from overtly narrowing my career aims to simply becoming an economist alone although this is my preferred career path. However, I am just as eager to become a financial analyst. Studying a master's course in economics is a definite requirement and a foundation I will eventually need to build upon. I have a clear picture about the roles and responsibilities of an economist and a financial analyst, by virtue of my experiences in the UCL Economics and Finance Society. By attending events by companies and job fairs, I have gained insights into what tasks either party performs and the educational qualifications required. I have also become acquainted with the variety of prospects that a further qualification provides. This provided added motivation to pursue a Master's degree.
I am a flexible and pragmatic person and am prepared to take the initiative in order to distinguish myself from my peers. With my career goals in mind, I enrolled in the ACCA professional qualification programme (An accountancy programme) during my summers after the first two years in college. I have finished five out of the fourteen examinations required to gain the professional qualification thus far and am fully committed to finishing the course during my summer breaks. This will definitely be a wonderful complement to my master's degree in economics and prove my worth as an individual with a wide range of abilities. In view of the goals in my career, I feel that this opportunity to study economics at a master's level is definitely a great benefit. Combining economics and accountancy will give me an edge in a competitive and ever-changing job market.
I sincerely believe I can contribute significantly to the programme and to the university in many ways as I am a focused and driven individual. Through learning economics at a higher level and interaction with lecturers about the topics I aim to become well-versed in this field and apply that knowledge when I start to work. My determination to learn is shown by never giving up on understanding concepts which at first were a little demanding, as I believe that everything I am learning will accrue a strong foundation for me to build upon in the future. Economics has now become a part of my everyday life, and I am always trying to expand my knowledge base.
I have an opportunity here to, in effect, improve not only my education, but also myself as an individual. Having an opportunity to learn in an environment with others as passionate about the subject as myself would mean that an exchange of views and ideas would benefit all parties. I have always strived to be the best at what I do, and I am sure the academic environment at LSE is conducive to my progress and will allow me to explore economics at a deeper, more meaningful level. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. Thank You.
EF_Sean, thanks for your comments. I have checked with LSE's admission department (when i went to their graduate drop-in sessions) and they require 2-3 pages on A4, and their estimate of the word requirement is 1000-1500, although they are quick to claim there is no minimum or maximum. However, that being said, there were some parts in the essay(paragraph 4 amongst them) that upon re-reading did feel rather superfluous and i took you advice to try and change those and the sentences which were too general and added some points in as well. Please help read and advise on any changes needed. Thank you.
The standard estimate for word count tends to be about 300 words per page, and in any event, shorter is always better, given how many of these the admissions officers have to read.
The problem your essay has at the moment is that much of the length seems to come from simply writing verbosely, which is never good. For instance:
"My economics course thus far has been a truly enjoyable journey and I want to continue reading economics at a higher level. The fact that economics is able to provide logical explanations about inconspicuous daily observations reinforces my passion for the subject."
Obviously you enjoy economics, and obviously you want to study it at a higher level. You are applying for a Masters degree in the subject. The entire first sentence is just a waste of time. The second sentence is better, but it could be cut down considerably without any loss of meaning, thusly:
"I am drawn to economics because it provides logical explanations for everyday occurrences."
So, all told, you've taken 42 words to say what you could have conveyed in 13. Most of your essay is like this. Even if you are determined to have 1000-1500 words, you don't want to get them by taking 400 or so words of real content and artificially inflating them. That makes for dull reading, and the admissions officers will probably stop after the first 100 or so and toss the essay in the trash bin. So, go through and cut ruthlessly. You can always make it longer later on by adding more actual material to it.
To continue this short series of blogs on the LSE postgrad application process, this blog will be focusing on questions that pop-up once you’ve sent your application in. Whilst no application is ever the same, some of the questions about the process tend to be fairly common.
As tempting as it is, sitting and staring at the LSE For You page all day will not make the decision come any quicker.
Q. I applied for course X in October, whereas my friend applied for course Y in November. They’ve heard back and been offered a place, but I’ve not heard anything. I’M NOT GOING TO GET IN, AM I?
A. Hold your horses. Whilst the main admin bits and bobs of everyone’s application is done centrally, the decision of whether or not you get in is decided by the individual department you applied for. Some departments are a bit busier (slacker?) than others, so you might wait longer.
Similarly, even if you friend has applied for the same course as you, your referees, or any other aspect of your supporting documents might take slightly longer to process, but this doesn’t mean at all you’ll be in with any less of a chance of being considered.
Q. This mythical second/third/fourth e-mail in the application process, it has just never appeared. I think LSE have forgotten about me.
A. If you made sure any physical items were sent recorded, and you read all the instruction thoroughly when applying online, it’s very doubtful they’ve forgotten about you. We’re hitting the festive season, understandably, LSE staff are entitled to a Christmas break. The Christmas holiday, coupled with the fact that we’re coming into the time when there is an increase in applicants means that you’re going to need to wait a tad longer for processing. The current processing time frames is particularly useful webpage to have a look at. Should you call LSE admissions and give them a nudge? It’s a tricky one, by all means call up to confirm that they’ve received your items and are processing them, but realise that if you and every other applicant does this, it will slow the speed of which they can process your stuff dramatically.
It’s also worth pointing out that it’s pretty certain that at some point a ‘technical’ issue will crop up with their computer system (as it happens most years), which will slow them being able to upload and update statuses. This usually gets ironed out after a day or so.
Q. Ok I’ve had email 1-4. Now I’m just waiting for the offer, it’s been ages and I’ve heard nothing!
A. You’ve got 8 weeks to sit and wait it out. I suggest you don’t sit and watch paint dry for that time but get on with your life! If the 8 weeks have run out, then it’s worth calling the admissions department and asking for an update. It’s not advisable to call the department themselves as they’re a busy bunch and probably won’t take kindly to it. In my experience I was one of the first on my course to be offered a place, and I was told literally at the end of the 8-week period.
Q. I’ve been looking on online web forums and there are applicants discussing their resumes and profiles which seem to be so much stronger than mine. I don’t think I’m going to get in.
A. Whilst it is certainly useful to have an idea of the competition, don’t write yourself off. Others might be stronger in some aspects, however there’s no doubt you’re stronger in others. LSE is not looking for 50 identical clones to sit in a classroom and be lectured at. This is grad school, they want intelligent persons who bring variety and opinion. Every application will be considered for its individual merits, there is no single common LSE grad-student mould.
Q. ‘LSE for you’ isn’t working. I don’t know what to do? Does this mean I’m having my application status updated?
A. Possibly, but chances are ‘LSE for you’ is just simply not working. It did this a lot when I applying, and continued to do it when I’m now a student at LSE, so I wouldn’t over think it.
Q. I’ve got my decision back, and I’ve been put on a waiting list. Is that a nice way of letting me gently down?
A. No, not at all. They may offer you an alternative but similar course, or they may return to your application at a later date once they’ve reviewed all the others and let you in. Alternatively they may offer you a place but require you to provide further evidence or agree to take a summer school before starting your masters. Those who applications who department doesn’t think cut the mustard tend to be rejected very quickly, so don’t think all is lost. It does mean you’ve got to keep on waiting though…
Want to have a chat with others in the same boat as you? Been given an offer and want to meet others on your course? Make sure you join the LSE 2013-14 Postgrad Facebook page.