How do I write a personal statement for a Master's degree? (Economics) Watch

dreamer1998
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I've decided I'm going to apply to a few universities for MSc Economics. The thing is, I don't have much work experience directly related to my degree to talk about, apart from recently becoming a research assistant for one of my lecturers. I've been advised to include this but mainly focus on my academics. But the problem is, that I have absolutely no idea where to start.

My ultimate goal would be UCL, and they do give a fairly helpful guideline on their website:
"When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study Economics at graduate level
  • why you want to study Economics at UCL: we want to see what you have found out about how we approach the study of economics at Master's level at UCL, and what specific skills and aptitudes you have that will help you succeed on our MSc programme.
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • details of your skills in mathematics, calculus, probability and statistics, and linear algebra
  • any skills you have with spreadsheets, statistical software, mathematical programming or working with data"

But I'm fairly overwhelmed by all this, and I really want to give myself the best possible chance of getting in. If anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it!
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PG_Law
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(Original post by dreamer1998)
I've decided I'm going to apply to a few universities for MSc Economics. The thing is, I don't have much work experience directly related to my degree to talk about, apart from recently becoming a research assistant for one of my lecturers. I've been advised to include this but mainly focus on my academics. But the problem is, that I have absolutely no idea where to start.

My ultimate goal would be UCL, and they do give a fairly helpful guideline on their website:
"When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study Economics at graduate level
  • why you want to study Economics at UCL: we want to see what you have found out about how we approach the study of economics at Master's level at UCL, and what specific skills and aptitudes you have that will help you succeed on our MSc programme.
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • details of your skills in mathematics, calculus, probability and statistics, and linear algebra
  • any skills you have with spreadsheets, statistical software, mathematical programming or working with data"

But I'm fairly overwhelmed by all this, and I really want to give myself the best possible chance of getting in. If anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it!
I am not sure about Economics, but, I applied for Law this year and I followed this pattern for all universities, except KCL:
The first paragraph is an introduction to you. Typically, you could write something that can catch the attention of the reader- it can either be an achievement, extraordinary work experience, or something you are good at. This paragraph is usually 300-ish words long.
The second paragraph talks about your interest in the subject and why you want to pursue it. Basically, "Why Economics?" or "What inspires you to study Economics" and/or, "What and why do you want to study in a particular field?" This basically helps universities understand your drive and helps them to decide why you are a good candidate. You could add extra-curricular activities, seminars, work experience or other such relevant things that are related to your programme, that can be evidence of your deep-rooted interest in the subject. You can write a good 400 words with respect to this.
The third paragraph can be about why you want to study in a particular uni. So, professors, societies, subjects offered and things like that. Basically, things that would explain why you are interested in THAT particular uni. 200-300 words would suffice.
The final paragraph is generally about "Why you are a better candidate than others?'
The KCL SOP was different, as they have a more difficult programme (in my field, specifically; I don't know about Econ) and they have a strict word limit. Besides, their entry requirements were more difficult than the others.
If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact.
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Liverpool Hope University
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(Original post by dreamer1998)
I've decided I'm going to apply to a few universities for MSc Economics. The thing is, I don't have much work experience directly related to my degree to talk about, apart from recently becoming a research assistant for one of my lecturers. I've been advised to include this but mainly focus on my academics. But the problem is, that I have absolutely no idea where to start.

My ultimate goal would be UCL, and they do give a fairly helpful guideline on their website:
"When we assess your application we would like to learn:
  • why you want to study Economics at graduate level
  • why you want to study Economics at UCL: we want to see what you have found out about how we approach the study of economics at Master's level at UCL, and what specific skills and aptitudes you have that will help you succeed on our MSc programme.
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • details of your skills in mathematics, calculus, probability and statistics, and linear algebra
  • any skills you have with spreadsheets, statistical software, mathematical programming or working with data"

But I'm fairly overwhelmed by all this, and I really want to give myself the best possible chance of getting in. If anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it!
Hi dreamer1998 :hello:

Not too long ago a recent graduate of ours provided these key tips to writing a personal statement which you may find beneficial:

How I Wrote My Personal Statement

1. What and Where to Study:

Deciding what I wanted to study at university was my first hurdle. It is important to research the course content as, although many universities offer the same titled course, the course content can be completely different.

Once I had researched the universities that offered the course that I was interested in, I then visited their open days to see which course and university would better suit my preference. As each university was different, it was also useful for me to research the entry requirements to see whether I held the qualities that they were looking for and of which I could put in my personal statement.

Top Tip - Do not write any specific universities in your personal statement as this will be sent to all of your 5 choices.


2. Academic Achievements


Once I had decided what courses I wanted to apply for, I considered the relevance of my current course. I explained how my current course provided me with the knowledge needed to progress to university level study. From balancing a number of A-Level subjects, I had definitely gained relevant skills that would complement my university choice.

Top Tip: How does your current course prepare you for university? This could be in terms of subject knowledge or skills that you have gained.


3. Work Experience

As well as the skills gained from my current studies, I had to consider what skills I had gained from work experience. For some courses, you may require particular work experience to meet the entry requirements, so it is important to consider this. Universities will not only be looking at what experience you have, but most importantly what skills you have developed and why that would benefit you as a university student. Relate all transferable skills you have gained back to the course you have chosen and explain how these skills will benefit your studies. It is important to also include any voluntary work you have done or any extracurricular activities where you have gained further transferable skills.

Top Tip: Do not lie about what experience you have, you may be asked about this if you are require to attend an interview.


4. Write a Draft


Although it may seem that you have including everything you can from the previous 3 steps, making a few drafts will help you to develop both the structure and the content further. Most schools/colleges/sixth forms will offer services to check over a draft of your personal statement and offer great advice on any room for improvement. To spot any grammatical or spelling errors, you may find it useful to read your personal statement aloud or ask a family member to read over it for you. I made more than one draft and I checked, checked and checked over it again before submission.

Top Tip: Do not upload your drafts on any social media or online platforms as this may be acknowledged on the plagiarism checkers.


5. Submission

If completing a UCAS application, remember to check that you are within no more than 4000 characters or 47 lines. If you are over these guidelines, universities will not see your whole personal statement and may miss some of your important and relevant information.

I hope this helps,


Melissa :five:
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