Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Hello

    I'm currently studying for my AS Levels in English Literature, French, Classical Civilisations and Maths and am trying to decide whether to apply for English or PPE in October. I was pretty set on applying for English until recently when somebody mentioned that because of the career I have in mind (Home Office) that a degree involving Politics may be more useful. I am interested in Politics I should mention, but I'm not sure if perhaps applying for PPE is incredibly risky as I have never studied Politics, Philosophy or Economics and could find myself doing a degree I don't enjoy - that's if I get in of course.

    However I am confident in my passion for English probably because I already study it, so the question really is should I stick with English and hope that it is a suitable degree and know I will enjoy it, or go with PPE because it is more relevant and hope the interest I have in it is enough?

    Thanks
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Do English, take my word for it.

    I did the exact opposite to you, was really interested in doing PPE but was put off by the kind of people who did it, the scary intellectual competition and the whole vague stigma about the degree. My english teachers all told me to apply for english and I was like "yeah just go for it, don't want to be a PPE guy", got totally found out at interview, was clearly not suited to the degree (got rejected by 4/5 unis) and realised that I didn't like what the majority of english is about. Also I realised that my objections to PPE were patently absurd and reflected very badly on me as a person, I was basically stereotyping based on guardian articles.

    Took a gap year, applied for PPE and got 5/5 offers. You're so much better doing what you love and what you are good at, they go hand in hand. I'm just annoyed it took me 18months to work it out. And don't get me wrong, I still LOVE books.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    What does it mean when you say

    "was put off by the kind of people who did it, the scary intellectual competition and the whole vague stigma about the degree."?
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    Do English. It's what you're interested in and I'm pretty sure that you can go into the Home Office with a good degree in any subject.

    You definitely don't need PPE and I see little point in applying for a course that you're not already passionate about. Even if you weren't seen through straight away at the interview stage and somehow did get in, only a real interest in your subject will motivate you to do well and to cope with the hard work of an Oxford degree.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I agree with the previous posts! Don't change your mind just because someone has said PPE might be better for a particular career. If you like English, do English! There is no sense whatsoever in investing three years of your life in something you'd prefer to not do.

    If you're worried employers will ask 'why have you not offered us more political stuff lalala' you could prepare for that by looking for an English course that allows a good deal of choice, so that you can study political texts? I don't know, just an idea!

    Finally, having not studied P, P or E makes no difference whatsoever really. I applied for PPE with Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Geography... but I'm a nice person!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by heintzst)
    What does it mean when you say

    "was put off by the kind of people who did it, the scary intellectual competition and the whole vague stigma about the degree."?
    To be honest, I don't really know, I was being very stupid. I think it was the sense that all these politicians, journalists etc. did the degree and seemed to have an iron grip on so many elite positions. It doesn't help when you read articles on BBC news like "why does Ppe rule Britain". So there's the stigma, as for the intellectual competition, the one guy Who got into to study PPE was a super genius I couldn't compete with, which scared me. And a few people I met who wanted to do PPE were the kind of driven, thoughtless types.

    Very silly reasons, and I don't believe there's anything wrong with the people doing PPE anymore (met some lovely ones), but you asked.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I am quite ignorant about what the degree can do for my career ...perhaps I'm the type who is trying to get in for its intellectual value. Previously I thought PPE would be an i-banking/hedge fund type of degree.

    I understand your concern that people who get in these type of programs tend to be super geniuses. Recently, a high school friend of mine just got a place at Stanford for Financial mathematics (another started doing Harvard PhD in economics...and who was a mathemagician at Williams college in Massachusetts) - and that's something I can never do. I'm terrible at any math beyond calculus-integration. Though I'm applying to PPE the coming year, I have a little fear that I will do poorly in its maths component.

    English or PPE, they're all good. I know of at least two very successful people who did English as undergrad : Mitt Romney and Hank Paulson - both did Havard MBA. I think for undergrad, it's more about "doing what you like" than "doing for career training".
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    As above - if you are passionate about English, do English. Your interest will come across at interview, which will be an advantage in getting in, and you will enjoy and be committed to your degree. Choosing a subject that you hope you may become interested in is a recipe for disaster.

    The civil service accepts good graduates with all sorts of degrees - English will be absolutely fine.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lucilou101)
    Hello

    I'm currently studying for my AS Levels in English Literature, French, Classical Civilisations and Maths and am trying to decide whether to apply for English or PPE in October. I was pretty set on applying for English until recently when somebody mentioned that because of the career I have in mind (Home Office) that a degree involving Politics may be more useful. I am interested in Politics I should mention, but I'm not sure if perhaps applying for PPE is incredibly risky as I have never studied Politics, Philosophy or Economics and could find myself doing a degree I don't enjoy - that's if I get in of course.

    However I am confident in my passion for English probably because I already study it, so the question really is should I stick with English and hope that it is a suitable degree and know I will enjoy it, or go with PPE because it is more relevant and hope the interest I have in it is enough?

    Thanks
    Hi,

    I think doing the degree you would find most interesting is sound advice but some things to consider might be:

    - I had lots of friends who did English because they liked reading books and got quite disenchanted as they ended up reading lots of books, about books. The same A level subject can be very different at university.

    - Economics was like this for me. At A level it's very political, at university it's either mathsy or quite like psychology - game theory etc. I don't know what you expect but sometimes people think it's about the stock market and banking when this is not the case at all. You can of course apply the principles to that but you can apply the principles of economics to to pretty much everything - it's very much the science behind decision making.

    - If you want to work in the home office then do you not have an interest in politics and economics anyway?

    - Most PPE courses should give you some flexibility so if you find that you don't enjoy one of the subjects you can do less/none of it and concentrate on what you prefer.

    - Economics gives you skills that you won't get from an English degree and these are very sought after (not just in the city). I did an economics degree and now I work in advertising - I get more input and a higher salary (we're not talking astronomical here, this is a long way from finance) simply because I can do things that pure arts/humanities graduates often struggle with (like excel). Data and measurement are becoming more and more important in many sectors and economics will give you a real head start. I'd think this is certainly true in the home office.

    - There are stereotypes and preconceptions about most students/graduates - politics students are middle class beret wearing hippies, scientists are world of Warcraft nerds, economists know the cost of everything and the value of nothing (yawn) etc. You'd struggle to find a subject without some negative connotations I think.

    good luck with whatever you decide.
    Offline

    5
    ReputationRep:
    I agree wholeheartedly with the majority. What your prospective employers will be looking for is a really good degree - and you are not likely to get that if you read, however dutifully, a subject that hardly interests you.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Go with English. I don't think doing Politics will give you in much of an advantage when you're applying for civil service jobs.

    - Economics gives you skills that you won't get from an English degree and these are very sought after (not just in the city). I did an economics degree and now I work in advertising - I get more input and a higher salary (we're not talking astronomical here, this is a long way from finance) simply because I can do things that pure arts/humanities graduates often struggle with (like excel). Data and measurement are becoming more and more important in many sectors and economics will give you a real head start. I'd think this is certainly true in the home office.
    :confused: They probably struggle with Excel and data analysis because they lack quantitative ability rather than because they did the wrong degree. Unless you're dealing with some pretty serious quantitative stuff, a smart English graduate with A level maths should have no problems...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lucilou101)
    Hello

    I'm currently studying for my AS Levels in English Literature, French, Classical Civilisations and Maths and am trying to decide whether to apply for English or PPE in October. I was pretty set on applying for English until recently when somebody mentioned that because of the career I have in mind (Home Office) that a degree involving Politics may be more useful. I am interested in Politics I should mention, but I'm not sure if perhaps applying for PPE is incredibly risky as I have never studied Politics, Philosophy or Economics and could find myself doing a degree I don't enjoy - that's if I get in of course.

    However I am confident in my passion for English probably because I already study it, so the question really is should I stick with English and hope that it is a suitable degree and know I will enjoy it, or go with PPE because it is more relevant and hope the interest I have in it is enough?

    Thanks
    This is pretty interesting for me – I'm applying to Oxford this year for English although I did think about PPE briefly (mostly for the PP bits; I hate maths), and have been to countless informative talks and sat through a few interviews before getting my offer.

    What I would say is that it seems to me that Oxford care about two things (indeed I have been told this at an information evening by someone who works in admissions): that you're good at the subject you're applying for, and that you care a lot about it. In my interviews I was glad when I got to talk about the bits of my personal statement/course/whatever that I enjoyed the most because it gives you an opportunity to talk about yourself and what connects with you personally. Also, with the exams you have to pass to even get an interview, the work you have to do for the interview, and the indubitably massive quantities of work you'd have to do if you actually got there, you really want to be doing something that totally grabs your interest.

    What I would also say is that it seems to me that English is a pretty open-ended degree that will keep all sorts of options job-wise available for you. It's a lot about communication and also involves some study of history, and is fairly comprehensive, so you will be suited to jobs that involve lots of work and interaction with other people. I'm sure a degree in English would not preclude you from taking a job at the Home Office. The thing is, an Oxbridge degree is fairly invaluable and is regarded as impressive by employers in its own right, purely because of the intensity of the work for any subject (I know a 2nd-year Natural Sciences student at Cambridge who is forever deleting job offers from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs from his inbox).

    And briefly on the point about your A-Levels perhaps not being suited to PPE: you really want to give yourself every possible chance. While alternative subjects might help you stand out at interview (I was quizzed on my Maths A-Level, annoyingly), you might not want to stray too far from the norm – simply because of how competitive places are. Your subjects seem pretty well-suited to the study of English, so I'd recommend going for that if you decide that's what you're most interested in

    tl;dr: do english.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    tjf8, when you say you hate "maths" - how much do you hate it? Do you hate it in the sense that you did not do well in math at high school or you predict that it's going to cause some grief for you during your university years?

    I'm a little concerned about that too as mentioned in an earlier thread under this OP...
    I haven't asked anyone who is already a PPEist about the intensity of math in the course. Is that going to be very intensive or is it going to be okay for people who aren't that good at math?
    Well I can't say I'm "bad" at math..but I'm only good till pre-calculus (I got 170/170 for GRE math, and 770 SAT II math...and AP calculus AB 5/5)...but I'm pretty bad in stuff like, differential equations

    Maybe I should start a new thread asking about these
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    Do the one your interested in. Oxford subjects (like all) are very difficult and if your gonna spend 3 years studying a degree you have no real interest in, your wasting your time
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Do History.


    Because.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Thank you all for replying

    I think I've decided to stick with English, it's what I'm passionate about and although quite a few people have told me its a pointless degree - I don't care!

    Thanks again


    Posted from TSR Mobile
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brussels sprouts
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.