PSs of successful PPE Applicants Watch
There is no need to flame me if you disagree with this concept or feel uncomfortable with sharing your personal statement.
I have received the following offers:
Magdalen, Oxford (PPE):AAA(Including maths)-Firm
LSE (Government and Economics):AAB-Insurance
UCL (Philosophy and Economics):AAA
Exeter (PPE): AAB
PPE offers me the chance to actively fight to improve the lives of as many people as possible by allowing me to explore new areas in the governance of our lives. I want to study a subject that is progressive; one that maintains its focus but still has an appreciation of the past. Many of the issues raised by Marx in the “Communist Manifesto”, such as poverty caused by the excesses of Capitalism, are still apparent today, raised again by those such as Stiglitz in “Globalisation and its Discontents”. Why have they not been resolved and what will it take to do so? Asking that question is the reason why my long-standing passion has led me to explore this course; I care deeply about the effect I might have. I have developed a particular interest in the study of the development of political history through the 20th century through reading a vast variety of British and American political biographies; Stephen Graubard’s “The Presidents” I found to be a most excellent history of the development of American Politics.
My A-Level subjects naturally complement my proposed course of study. My initial interest in Government and Politics and Economics has developed into a fascination over the course of my A-Level study. Having cared about these subjects long before studying them formally, I will now take this further by entering for the AEA in Economics. In particular, I enjoy the study of government macro-management of an economy. History has allowed me an insight into politics and philosophy, albeit in an applied sense. In order to better understand the theory, I have greatly enjoyed reading Gaarder’s “Sophie’s World”. I have been encouraged by my time at the Humanities Summer School held at King’s College, Cambridge in July 2005, especially in developing an interest in continually questioning what our apparently natural responses to events are.
I have taken every opportunity and created others in setting myself on the path of making a difference. This includes work experience placements to explore an alternative view of economic policy at the GMB trade union. I have also been fortunate to have witnessed political policy discussed at formation when at the Fabian Society, as well as during implementation when at ministers’ private offices at the Department of Education and Skills. I particularly enjoyed the meeting of specialists in a particular policy area at both placements. My voluntary activity has also been hugely beneficial in providing a practical experience of politics from the founding and chairing of the Harrow Youth Council as well as representing my constituency at the UK Youth Parliament for 2 terms for which I received accreditation from Millennium Volunteers. My involvement in its International Affairs Select Committee has sparked an interest in Comparative Government. I also teach Jainism at the highest standard at my community religion school, guiding its eldest students through the quagmire of ideas that is philosophy of religion for over 2 years. The ability to argue and debate a point is a key skill required by this course and one which I have been fortunate to experience as Captain of the School Debating Team, leading it through the Elizabethan Union Dinner Debate and the Durham Union Schools Debating Competition. This same ability is reflected in my Public Speaking Gold Award, achieved with Merit.
Beyond my keen interest for my subject, I have completed a number of extra-curricular activities. I play Water Polo for my school, as well as the ’cello, performing in a variety of school orchestras. Other interests include enthusiasm in cricket, in my involvement with Bessborough Cricket Club. These, and other factors, have led to my appointment at as a School Lieutenant, involving the day-to-day running of the school, leading a team of prefects. This will all help me in realising my eventual ambition of serving at the forefront of public life.
St. Edmund Hall, Oxford (PPE): AAA- Firm
Grey College, Durham (PPE): AAB- Insurance
Nottingham (Philosophy and Economics): AAA or AABB
Manchester (PPE): AAB
York (PPE): AAB
Exeter (PPE): AAB
My ‘A’ level subjects have opened my mind to new ideas and thoughts and have encouraged me to supplement required studies with wider reading, such as ‘The Economist’. I am studying comparative US/UK government as part of my Politics ‘A’ level. Bagehot’s ‘English Constitution’ has revealed for me new insights into the debate between the pragmatism of the British system with the supposedly ‘rigid’ supreme laws of the American Constitution. Within my History ‘A’ level, I found researching the New Deal era of America stimulating, considering how the tendency of the Roosevelt governments towards creating a quasi welfare state had a resounding impact on the philosophical values of Americans.
I believe my successive academic achievements indicate my aptitude for PPE. I achieved 98% (or greater) in six modules at AS level; including 296/300 in Politics, and fully intend to continue this standard into A2. I am proud to have received the ‘Outstanding achievement in History’ award, the Taylor Cup for Mathematics, and ‘Student of the Year’ in both History and Politics.
Over the summer I spent a week in Merton College, courtesy of the Oxford Access Scheme. During the week, I wrote an essay on whether liberty is ‘primarily about the absence of law or the authorship of law’. In order to address this problem, I investigated Swift’s ‘Political Philosophy’ as well as more detailed studies, for example, Mill’s ‘On Liberty’. The challenging week culminated in a tutorial, which I found to be an invigorating approach to learning. Indeed, it introduced me to new concepts, encouraging me to analyse ideas with increased rigour, thus requiring me to re-consider my reading.
I have had an interest in debating since my school team progressed to the English Speaking Union’s national semi-final. In Year 11, I was elected House Captain by the popular vote of two hundred pupils. Recently, as a member of the College debating society I enjoyed debating the question, ‘By what social institutions or contracts may human happiness be assured?’, inspiring reflection on whether philosophic or economic practice is conducive to it. Weekly employment in a local library, along with studying towards six and a half ‘A’ levels and reading voraciously, have developed my time management, preparing me for the demands of a joint honours degree. I feel my energy and enthusiasm for academia have increased, and it is in this spirit that I aspire to read PPE at university.
Sorry about the lack of paragraphing, it seems to destroy it in UCAS track. You can see the offers I got in my signature.
So philosophy appeals to me because it dares to consider these issues that other disciplines shirk. I have been intellectually fascinated by topics in epistemology and have enjoyed beginning to think through the contrasting opinions of Descartes and Russell on the topic. However, ethical questions, discussed by philosophers from Socrates to Simon Blackburn, have a deeper impact for me because they are central to life and the human condition.
My interest in economics developed through studying history and reading about current affairs in The Guardian and The Economist. Learning about the role that economic factors played during the rise of Hitler and Mussolini in the early 20th century persuaded me of the profound effect an economy can have on the welfare of individuals and groups in society. This compelled me to read further: Paul Krugman's 'Peddling Prosperity' and 'The Truth about Markets' by John Kay revealed much about the moral issues that arise in economic systems. Studying mathematics and physics has, among other things, taught me modelling techniques and numerical methods which will prepare me for the statistical aspects of economics.
As chair of the school council, I enjoyed the great responsibility of leading discussions between pupils holding very diverse opinions. This required tactfulness and, in some cases, a nurturing approach. The experience taught me the importance of fairness and clarity when discussing and assessing issues that matter to people. In this role, I interviewed candidates for the headship of the school, exercising skills of assessment and evaluation. Being on the school council confirmed my respect for democratic institutions. I am encouraged by the rapid progress made towards democracy following the French Revolution and the reform of parliament in 19th century Britain. I share that modernist belief in the power of people and politics to change the world for the better, despite fashionable worries about apathy and disillusion.
I have represented my school and local area in badminton, cricket and football, successful both as a team player and as an individual. Playing piano and clarinet is a recreation for me. I am enjoying Mozart, Bartok and Satie at the moment, though I have been accused of making Mozart sound like Beethoven! I am relishing the writing of Hardy and Hemingway, interested to see the individual pitted against fate.
I know that going to university will enhance my career prospects but frankly what matters to me is education for its own sake. I would be thrilled to continue my studies, to immerse myself in every opportunity that university can offer and to equip myself to make a difference in the world.
Ever since reading 'Sophie's World' aged nine
Oh come on.
I agree to the latter but it did not seem to do too much harm.
In order to answer that question, I have enjoyed exploring topics within political philosophy through reading Mill's 'On Liberty' as well as ideas by modern thinkers, such as Rawls and Nozick. Developing my own viewpoint has helped me to realise that political philosophy does not exist in a vacuum, but is intrinsically linked with ethical and economic considerations.
Economic policy plays a vital role in politics and I firmly believe that giving the Monetary Policy Committee independence was the best political decision of the last decade. Having participated in the Bank of England's 'Target 2.0' competition, I am aware that setting interest rates is hard enough without political interference. As team leader, my role in this competition involved analysing the latest economic data each month to reach a decision about interest rates, as well as balancing arguments to answer questions under pressure from the real MPC. Our success earned a place in the National Final, as one of the top 6 teams in the UK. To broaden my knowledge further I have also attended several economic lectures, including talks at HM Treasury, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and the Institute of Social and Economic Policy. These lectures highlighted to me the importance of numerical analysis in explaining economic ideas, therefore, in order to be better prepared for the quantitative aspects of economics, I have taught myself six modules of Mathematics. This will allow me to both finish A-level Mathematics and complete AS-level Further Mathematics in my gap year. Studying independently has also allowed me to develop a self-reliant approach to work, which I feel will be invaluable in an environment where the emphasis is on independent learning.
Within school, I have been President of the Debating Society, which involves coaching younger pupils, as well as competing. Debating on impromptu motions has allowed me to explore all perspectives, on issues such as morality, economics and politics. It has improved my ability to effectively present my opinions orally and argue my conclusions cogently. My competition successes have included winning the Northern Debating Championship, reaching the National Finals of the Oxford Union and Cambridge debating competitions and National Semi-Finals of the St. Andrews and ESU Mace debating competitions. Aside from this, I enjoy outdoor sports and have completed expeditions in Australia and Iceland, as well as having climbed Ben Nevis. Furthermore, I remain actively involved in Liberty's campaign against national identity cards.
This year, I will be working for KPMG on their gap year programme; this will provide me with an invaluable insight into business and its operation. Alongside this, I will be studying for a qualification in Mandarin. Having travelled extensively in China, I have witnessed first hand the social problems of the globalising economy. I was deeply moved by hardships rural communities faced, convincing me that I would like to teach English to schools in these areas, in order to allow the children the best start in life.
Hope its of help to someone!
Oh come on.
But, as he said, didn't seem to do him any harm
I am aware of the spelling/grammar mistakes: I blame them for getting rejected by Warwick,
Offer: AAA St John's Oxford PPE
By the way, I wouldn't recommend putting A very short intro... on your PS. Read it, by all means, but for a discussion in interview you're best going for something controversial and "meaty" - something you can get argumentative about. For instance, I talked about Richard Layard's book - Happiness - which challenges the conventional wisdom of GDP growth as being a universally good thing in developed countries.