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    I was wondering if any successful PPE Applicants out there would be kind enough to post their personal statements here for others to read and learn, and especially to serve as a guide to the next batch of applicants on what they should be striving for in terms of structure. I'm sure other potential PPEists would be keen to read the PSs of their fellow coursemates too.

    There is no need to flame me if you disagree with this concept or feel uncomfortable with sharing your personal statement.
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    I posted mine in the LSE subforum where it got slated by the Oxbridge-haters.....oh well.

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...=197111&page=2
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    Tom Holder has also posted his on his marvellous PPE Guide:

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=109491
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    While A-level Economics has developed and maintained my interest in the subject, reading and discussion outside the relatively narrow remit of the course has led me to believe that the study of economics, especially at the macroeconomic level, is complemented by an appreciation of political context. My reading on globalisation has provided a powerful example of this idea. I found the libertarian economic defence of globalisation proposed by Martin Wolf in 'Why Globalisation Works' convincing but felt that he did not adequately consider its political and social implications. I thus read Joseph Stiglitz' argument, in 'Globalisation and its Discontents,' that the WTO and IMF play a significant role in furthering the political agenda of the Washington consensus as well as spreading the Western economic model, with some interest. The recent dispute over EU textile quotas and the latest collapse of MG Rover have also highlighted for me the political and ethical motivations that often lie behind economic decisions. While protectionism rarely makes economic sense, its political and ethical imperatives mean that governments are still willing to pursue it. The nature of proposed anti-terrorism laws intended to combat the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, arguably a result of globalisation, have also led me to consider personal freedom and the circumstances in which the state is justified in limiting it. To this end I have read J S Mill's 'On Liberty' and 'Utilitarianism', and 'Utilitarianism: For and Against' which has introduced me to more contemporary developments in the ethical theory. I am keen to explore the political and economic applications of ethics further and Jonathan Wolff's 'Why Read Marx Today' as well as a recent talk by Professor Wolff setting out some of his own criticisms of capitalism have helped demonstrate to me that capitalism is by no means an ethically satisfactory economic system. A practical example of the way in which politics and economics link was provided by a stint at the hedge fund Caxton Associates, where I tried to predict the effects of economic and political decisions on the currency and interest rate markets. This experience has helped me to appreciate the significance of fiscal policies like the 1971 suspension of US gold convertibility. As well as considering the relation of politics and macroeconomics, I have also enjoyed exploring the mathematical foundations of various microeconomic models, especially those related to the theory of the firm, using techniques acquired from my A-level Mathematics course and from my study of basic game theory. The work of Steven Levitt in 'Freakonomics' also strengthened my conviction that economics can benefit from incorporating elements of other disciplines into its models. The Critical Thinking AS course and my own reading of Graham Priest's 'Logic: a Very Short Introduction' have made me appreciate the need for analytical rigour and reasoned argument, especially in the often highly normative fields of political theory and economics. I am president of the school Economics Society, responsible for engaging Paul Volker, Chairman of the Federal Reserve in 1971, Jonathan Wolff and Martin Wolf to present their views first hand. I also make a point of keeping up to date with current affairs in the FT and The Economist, partly for practical reasons, since some friends and I have begun to put our observations of economic and political events to use by trading financial instruments with some success. I am undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh gold award, have received the Envision community service award and regularly stage manage school plays. I also enjoy playing squash and taking part in trap shooting competitions. Balancing my various commitments with my social life has taught me to cope with a busy schedule and I believe this will help me deal with an intense university workload and thus enhance my understanding and appreciation of my chosen subjects.

    I have received the following offers:
    Magdalen, Oxford (PPE):AAA(Including maths)-Firm
    LSE (Government and Economics):AAB-Insurance
    UCL (Philosophy and Economics):AAA
    Warwick (PPE):AAB
    Durham (PPE):AAB
    Exeter (PPE): AAB

    (And Harvardnconditional)
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    (Original post by My Personal Statement)
    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.
    This got me the following offers:

    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
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    My ambition to study PPE stems from a fascination with current affairs. I am eager to apply the theories underpinning academic thought to real world problems. For example, I am interested in the events unfolding in Germany, as political uncertainty perpetuates economic stagnation. PPE has a real attraction for me because it uniquely combines a broad understanding of the world with the opportunity to specialise. Further, I consider the disciplines of philosophy, politics and economics to be strongly interrelated, and expect reflection on one course element to augment my comprehension of another. For instance, I feel that the philosophy of utilitarianism informs polity, as one is drawn to the question of the relationship between individuals and the state. Consideration of this problem has inspired me to read Mill’s ‘Utilitarianism’, and I look forward to studying this further as part of a PPE degree.

    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.
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    During the past few years I have developed a great interest in the disciplines of politics, economics and philosophy. I am particularly interested in psephology and the effects of ideology on politics and have furthered my interest in these subjects through extra curricular reading of classics such as John Stuart Mills' essays on 'Liberty', 'Utilitarianism' and 'Representative Government' as well as more modern works such as Francis ***uyama's 'The End of History and the Last Man'. For news and opinion based essays on philosophy, politics and economics I read The New Statesman, The Economist, Prospect and a daily newspaper. I am an active member of the semi-autonomous Liberal Democrat Youth and Student Wing (LDYS) which has helped me gain experience of various political ideas by debating issues such as flat rate taxes, international development and constitutional reform. I attended the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Blackpool as a voting delegate where I met people with a variety of political experience and took part in major debates. As the Chair of LDYS England I gained leadership and organisational experience whilst observing how a political party is run. As a Constituency Secretary for the main Liberal Democrat party I gained experience in local politics as well as improving my organisational skills. I am the Member of the UK Youth Parliament for Central Norfolk, which means that I am the directly elected representative for all young people aged between 11 and 18 in two parliamentary constituencies (Norwich South and Norwich North). Through this position I have worked with MPs and Councillors to find solutions to problems affecting young people. One of my aims is to secure reduced bus fares for young people in Norfolk and I am campaigning to this end. I also organised political events for the Youth Parliament. For example, during the 2005 elections I set up and chaired a debate aimed at young people between local parliamentary candidates including Charles Clarke. During my lower sixth form year I took part in the Young Enterprise scheme acting as the Finance Director for an award winning Young Enterprise company. This improved my organisational skills and also allowed me to apply some micro economics in a practical environment. I gained work experience by spending a week working in a solicitor's office and by working part time in a charity shop for 6 months. During the summer I attended a camp with the German 'Junge Liberalen' the youth wing of the German Free Democrats Party. This gave me experience of German politics and a different perspective as well as improving my German and communication skills. I took part in a German exchange and am writing my German coursework on the September elections there. I also spent a week at a Summer school for Oxbridge applicants where I improved my thinking skills as well as gaining experience in a wide range of subjects that I otherwise would not have encountered. I enjoy martial arts, particularly karate which I have studied for nine years. Karate keeps me fit and has improved my mental and physical focus and control. I am the chair of my school's senior debating society and organise debates as well as chairing and speaking in them. Debating is a challenge that I particularly enjoy. I am certain that I have the necessary commitment and determination to successfully study politics, economics and philosophy at degree level.


    Sorry about the lack of paragraphing, it seems to destroy it in UCAS track. You can see the offers I got in my signature.
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    Ever since reading 'Sophie's World' aged nine, I have wanted to understand both the cultural, social and economic ideas that shape society and also the underlying metaphysics of reality.

    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.
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    (Original post by edmundwillis)
    Ever since reading 'Sophie's World' aged nine
    Oh come on.
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    (Original post by samlangfield)
    Oh come on.
    :confused: Are you questioning whether I read it or whether it sounds extremely cheesy?

    I agree to the latter but it did not seem to do too much harm.
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    A country's political and economic structures are what govern life - it is this relevance that inspires me to study Politics and Economics. British politics has always fascinated me and I am keen to explore modern developments in this area. Reading both the 'Orange Book' (Liberal Democrats) and 'Direct Democracy,' which promotes a new model for the Conservative Party, has shed a new perspective on the impact of referenda and initiatives. During the May General Election, I was able to gain a first hand look at British politics through my work for a political party. I was particularly intrigued by the trade off between the ideological perspective of the party and the aim of maximising votes. Politics, for me, is not just an empirical study, but also one that asks a normative question about how we ought to live.

    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!
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    (Original post by samlangfield)
    Oh come on.
    lol that's exactly what i thought

    But, as he said, didn't seem to do him any harm
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    *bump* because I got PM'd about it, and thought others might like to take a look.
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    My decision to apply to studying PPE has been primarily based around my desire to engage in different forms of analysis, combined with an extensive interest in current affairs. I have always enjoyed considering different arguments about how people should live, especially in relation to real world problems such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, or the morality of America's use of the atomic bomb on Japan. Before committing myself to these disciplines without having studied them formally at school, I have read various works on the subjects. I found Paul Krugman's "The Accidental Theorist" a fascinating guide to commonly held economic beliefs, in particular his use of analogies to bring points across. On the philosophical side, I read through "Utilitarianism: For and Against", a book which also introduced me to various ideologies such as hedonism and deontology, although I found myself questioning positions on both sides of the debate. I particularly enjoyed Bernard Williams' objections to utilitarianism, and subsequently read another of his works, "Morality". I very much hope to be able to discuss these sorts of themes in a university setting. For my political reading I have read Wolff's "An Introduction to Political Philosophy", being fascinated by new ideas, and formalising thoughts I had had before. I like to keep myself in touch with global affairs at all times. I have been reading 'The Economist' consistently for over a year, and find myself engaging with the issues that are raised to the point of finding out more and questioning their arguments. Currently the German Election has left me thinking about the benefits, or not, of proportionally representative systems. In mathematics, I was invited to the international selection round of the British Mathematical Olympiad on the basis of my performance, and I have been consistently engaged with problems outside the sphere of GCSE or A level work, finding approaches to problem solving especially interesting. Reading Paul Zeitz's "The Art and Craft of Problem Solving" sharpened my techniques for getting into problems, with the most important idea being flexibility. In studying history, I consider many different views before synthesising them into my own thoughts. This has meant reading around the subject for my work, and I particularly enjoyed writing a more extended essay over this summer on the origins of Nazi power, drawing on differing schools of thought before deciding on my opinion. This involved reading historical works of different nationalities and time-frames, such as AJP Taylor's "The Course of German History" and William Carr's "A History of Germany 1815-1990." I have enjoyed reading literary works, and those which have particularly appealed to me often involve some consideration of how societies operate, and the moral questions this raises. In particular I enjoy considering different notions of dystopia with works such as Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World', Orwell's '1984' and Zamyatin's 'We,' I have been forced to consider what exactly about each society that is portrayed makes it so distasteful. In school life I have been active in many different fields in order to try and take the most out of school. I play the Viola with the School Orchestra having previously led the Junior Orchestra on violin. I have been board 1 on the school chess team since the beginning of Year 11, frequently travelling to inter-school matches. I have participated in school activities such as the 42 mile Lyke Wake Walk across Northern Yorkshire, and I was stage manager for a school production of 'Edgar's House' written by a fellow pupil. I regularly attend lectures such as those organised by the school's 'John Locke' Society, and I also play sports in the school football and cricket teams.


    I am aware of the spelling/grammar mistakes: I blame them for getting rejected by Warwick,

    Offer: AAA St John's Oxford PPE
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    i removed it
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    Did any of you get asked questions on the books you'd mentioned?
    • Thread Starter
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    Yeah, alot of people were questioned on books which they had claimed to read. That's why listing books in your PS without having actually read them is a huge gamble. If you list it, make sure you know the gist of its content, and ponder upon its implications, question its theories and assumptions, and see how you can link the concepts mentioned there to other economic theories. They want to see your ability to think critically and infer, not just read.
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    But would it be detailed stuff... I mean I've read An Introduction to Political Philosophy for instance but half the stuff in there I can't remember.. you know all the various arguments and technical words for things. Will they specifically ask questions or will they be like so what do you think about ... saying ... in ...?
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    It really varies from tutor to tutor; there's no specific question they'll ask on a particular book, for example. You would probably be best off if you skim though the book again a few days before the interview to familiarise yourself once again with the concepts and arguments mentioned. During the interview, try to display your ability to analyse/criticise/compare/link the concepts with background knowledge. If you don't know the answer, try to make an educated guess. If you cannot make an educated guess as well, then do not try to lie your way through. Be frank and explain to the tutor that you cannot clearly recall what was mentioned, or what you had revised. Honestly, as trite as this may sound, is often the best policy.
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    No, they would probably ask you a very general question about the book. My interviewers were even more general than that: "What book are you reading at the moment?"

    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.
 
 
 
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