Economics is a well sought-after degree choice, as finance and business are fundamental to modern life. There is also an option to take many different paths, but if it's a subject that you want to study at university then you will have to stand out.
Your personal statement is a brilliant chance to do just that. It gives you a platform to present yourself and describe how you're exactly what the university needs.
It can be daunting when you first start your personal statement, but rest assured we have gathered information on what experts feel should be included in a great economics personal statement.
Below are the tips that were given, but if you're interested in learning more then make sure to visit our collection of economics personal statements.
"Honesty is key"
You don’t always need be studying economics to apply for a course at university, but your personal statement needs to explain your interest in it.
Honesty - and some detail - is key. Too often applicants make vague statements like 'economics informs everything' or ‘as an avid reader of The Economist…’ but these don’t impress.
Instead, say something meaningful about the books you've read, economists' blogs you follow or topical issues you’re following, including what in particular you find interesting (or even disagree with).
In short, be yourself, be honest and make sure you evidence your enthusiasm for the subject.
"Display a desire to understand key economic concepts"
You will need to show a passion for the study of Economics. This could be shown in a variety of ways, such as by showing an interest in current economic and/or business affairs – such as in reading The Financial Times, The Economist, and so on.
Another way would be by displaying a desire to understand key economic/business problems/questions/concepts – such as “does austerity work?”, “what is inflation?”, “what level should the interest rate be?”, “what makes a firm successful?” and “how do firms cope with different types of risks?”
A combination of having an aspiration for finding economic, financial or business type jobs, as well as a passion for the study of Economics and business related subjects is integral. You should highlight any Economics/Business/Finance related experience, or jobs, that you might have.
For an Economics with Banking programme, a desire to learn about, or work in, the financial sector would also be useful.
Alternatively, for a Business Economics programme, a clear interest in the role and workings of private/public/profit/non-profit organisations would be preferable.
"Give examples of economic decisions to illustrate awareness"
A good student should make the distinction between the Macroeconomics and Microeconomics. In doing so a student would perhaps give examples of economic decisions that are either Macro or Micro in nature to illustrate their awareness of the distinction.
Students who talk about “policy” decisions (not just theory) that are either macro/micro based (giving examples) are showing real insight for the subject area.
Often these examples can be drawn from what are the topical debates being discussed in the news (e.g. currently/ Brexit and the implications for UK growth depending on the result of the referendum).
Thinking ahead student could also mention if they are interested in taking a placement year to add to their degree.
"Discuss how current events has influenced rethinking of economic ideas"
Motivation to study the subject is the most important aspect of the Personal Statement, you must explain why you want to study a degree and why the universities you are applying to should offer you a place to do so.
There are several ways of making this convincing to the Admissions staff when applying for an economics degree. You can discuss how current / recent economic events influenced you to study economics (e.g. financial crisis, eurozone crisis, austerity, EU membership debate.)
Building on that, you could discuss how current / recent events have influenced the rethinking of economic ideas / the debate between orthodox and heterodox schools of thought, e.g. the largely unanticipated Global Financial Crisis. Alternatively, you can explain how your choice of post-16 subjects influenced you to study economics, i.e. how they can be applied to develop a greater understanding of the economic world.
You are encouraged to present evidence of understanding challenges that studying economics at university will bring, e.g. it might be from ab initio, or require extra mathematical learning. Explaining your career aims after graduating with an economics degree is useful, i.e. ensure that this degree will be relevant.
However, the most common mistake to be avoided is vagueness from applying for different subjects; this is obvious to the reader of your Personal Statement through lack of focus / specificity and failure to support statements with evidence.