Personal statment for ppe, politics/international relations and philosophy

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Report Thread starter 2 years ago
Hey there,
I'd like to apply to these universities for these courses
LSE and Oxford - ppe
University of Edimburgh- politics and philosophy (I'm from Italy and in our school system we don't have the requirement for economics)
St andrews - international relations and philosophy
I'm still thinking about the fifth one (maybe kings college, I accept suggestions if you have).

LSE wants me to write equally about the three subjects, I'm not sure about oxford but it seems less strict with the ps. Since I'm not applying for economics at st andrews and edinburgh I don't want this to be a disadvantage for my application to them.

Are there successful applicants to these universities that had the same problem, (not necessarily with economics just with one of the three ppe subjects) that can share their experience and how they managed with it? It would be very helpful if you could also share your personal statment please
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Report 2 years ago
I belive the general advice is your PS needs to reflects all the courses you are applying for, which only really works if the courses are very closely related. Universities understand you are applying for slightly different courses - but it may be odd if you are not choosing the same course as your PS focuuses on if it is offered at that uni. There is lots of advice online about this if you Google.

Although not quite the example you are hoping for, perhaps the following may be helpful.

My oldest child has just finished reading PPE at Oxford. If I remember correctly, she thought about applying for a mix of PPE and P&IR, but while she realised it was possible, she personally found it too hard to do a combined PS for both courses.
Although her PS covered all three aspects of PPE, it wasn't really balanced, and mostly focused on politics with smaller references to philosophy and economics. She had offers from Oxford, York and Exeter, but was rejected from Warwick with feedback suggesting her PS wasn't as strong as it could be (they seemed to really want to see economics) and from Durham who said her application wasn't as competitive as others but didnt say exactly why - if may have been her grades as well.
In context, her grades were very good but not amazing compared to other applicants - 1A* 3A A level predictions (and this is what she actually got), 4 A at AS and 3A* 12A at gcse) but she had a really high TSA score for Oxford. She had a mixed performance at interviews - including a brilliant one where they were really interested in something she had put in her PS about research she had done into maternal healthcare barriers for gypsy travellers - this was linked to her passion for equality and human rights, but she nearly didn't include as it didn't fit the traditional "brief for PPE".
So while Oxford may not be as reliant on PS (as they are able to look the whole application in more detail and also use admission test to reduce numbers at shortlisting) they are really looking for passion and engagement at interview and a good PS helps. But other competitive (hugely oversubscribed) unis will use the PS and grades as an easy filter to reduce numbers, while others are just looking for a "good enough" application and will offer to a larger proportion of applicants as they know not everyone will firm them.

Sorry for such a long response, but I think it highlights that this is an art not a science 😀 and my advice is to think hard about the course you want (maybe you can narrow it down) and write a PS that is true to you. And maybe start writing draft PS for the individual courses and in different combinations to see what works.

In terms of 5th uni, include at least one "less competitive" uni in your choices. The ones you have mentioned are all hugely oversubscribed.

In terms of sharing PS, I don't think Student Room allows this (to protect people from being copied), but there are official examples online (including some combined ones) and I think TSR offers a PS service where you can send in a draft for advice.

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