How to get increase chances of getting into LSE/ a prestigious university

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killak434
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Hello, everyone....
I was just wondering what I could do to increase my chances of getting into a university like LSE; I am considering studying economics at University but I really dont like the idea that I will only have grades and nothing else on top which would make me different from other candidates. I have been dedicating all my time to revision etc to get into a prestigious university and i worry that i may not get into them. Im pretty sure everyone will have the same grades as me, who are applying to top universities.

Currently, i'm in year 12 studying:
- Physics, on track for an A star (receiving A stars in all tests and putting in the extra work)
- Economics, on track for an A star (receiving A stars in all tests and putting in the extra work)
- Maths - on track for an A star (current grades in tests: B, A*,A,A)

Any help on what else I could do to increase my chances of getting into a top 10 university, would be highly appreciated.

Also if i got all A stars, would that be enough? I feel i'm at a stage where I am putting in so much work, where i physically cant do anymore work, that all A stars is achievable.
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artful_lounger
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Without further maths you would be at a disadvantage for LSE single honours economics. Something along the lines of more than 85% of successful applicants to LSE single honours economics have AS or A-level FM, and I would wager the ones who don't went to schools that didn't offer it (if that is the case for you, make sure your academic referee notes this on your reference!). So, for LSE specifically probably the single best thing you could do to make yourself more competitive is to find a way to take AS FM next year. Otherwise it's worth noting LSE put a lot of emphasis on the personal statement, so take the time to write yours carefully if you are applying there - particularly focus on "show" rather than "tell" when demonstrating your interest in the course, and undertake appropriate wider reading that you can then critically reflect on in your personal statement in showing that interest (as opposed to just listing a bunch of books you've read and saying how you studied the subject at A-level and liked it...).

For other "top" economics courses, AS FM would still be very useful once you are on the course and may indicate promise to admissions tutors. For those courses though, the personal statement may not be so important. For some universities, like Oxford, your GCSE grades will be an important consideration; for others, like Cambridge, they won't be that important, and the new pre-interview admissions assessment would likely be more important (although they will undoubtedly take into account the fact it's a new assessment).

Bear in mind just getting an offer is only the first step, and may, for some universities, actually be the easiest part. You then actually need to achieve that offer - and some courses at some universities tend to make a very large number of offers, but they will be set at a very high level in terms of grades and they will not consider "near miss" applicants at all on results day. I don't know how much this is true of economics specifically, however.
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LeapingLucy
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The fact that you don't have A-level or AS-level Further Maths is a problem, unfortunately. Among applicants to LSE Econ with FM, about 40% get offers; whereas for applicants without any FM, it's only 5%. LSE doesn't count it against you if your school doesn't offer FM, but if it does and you chose not to take it, then your chance of an offer is pretty much zero.

Regarding what you need beside grades, you need an excellent personal statement, that clearly demonstrates your interest in the subject. This needs to go far beyond your A-level studies - you need to show how you've taken initiative outside the classroom and have individually developed your interest in Economics. This could include books you've read, articles from the Economist or the Financial Times, podcasts you've listened to (LSE has a very comprehensive public events programme, all of which are released online as podcasts - find some about economics and listen to them), talks you've attended, documentaries you've watched etc.

When you write your personal statement, btw, don't just list these things - draw out points that you found particularly fascinating, try and make connections between them, and show how learning one thing led you to explore it further.

E.g. Listening to Podcast X, I was fascinated by Topic Y, because... This led me to explore it further by reading Book Z, which argued that... I found this argument particularly compelling because...
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Saeven
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i was thinking about applying to lse for economics and philosophy, i'm not doing further maths, will that put me at a disadvantage as well?
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LeapingLucy
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(Original post by Saeven)
i was thinking about applying to lse for economics and philosophy, i'm not doing further maths, will that put me at a disadvantage as well?
No, you don't need FM for the Econ joint honours courses (apart from Maths and Economics, obviously)
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Saeven
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(Original post by LeapingLucy)
No, you don't need FM for the Econ joint honours courses (apart from Maths and Economics, obviously)
thank you
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Anonymous #1
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Thank you for the response...Iv asked my teacher if it is possible to sit Further Maths AS next year and he said it would be unrealistic, due to the way they teach it as they don’t teach it with AS in one year then year 2 the rest of Further Maths, they do it as mix. Meaning I’d have to sit a full further maths paper, in which I’d have to take a gap year most likely to do it to ensure I don’t compromise any of my other subject grades. I’m alright with a gap year as I can complete any other things Iv wanted to do in my life, such as charity work and also this will allow me to get some money to fund myself during university. In terms of a gap year, should I sit Further Maths or AS further maths; does it matter which one I take as long as Iv done further maths?.As if I sit A level further maths I will most likely have to teach myself, which I believe will be hard; whereas if I sit AS maths I could spend my gap year getting my grade to an A star and brushing up on a few things I’d need to do for the exam. Is this a good idea and is LSE really the university I need to go for a high paying economics job? My teacher says other prestigious universities such as Cambridge don’t require further maths due to the new a level maths, something to do with them being the new linear ones (harder). If they were the old a levels then it would be realistic on why they ask for further maths. What are your thoughts. Another thing, is pure economics really beneficial knowledge wise and for future business type jobs? Iv looked into politics and economics and I really don’t like it as I just don’t like politics, I like more macro and micro economics.

I really appreciate your reply though as I have been in the blind on the actual requirements for top universities for economics as Iv not had a lot of guidance.
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killak434
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Without further maths you would be at a disadvantage for LSE single honours economics. Something along the lines of more than 85% of successful applicants to LSE single honours economics have AS or A-level FM, and I would wager the ones who don't went to schools that didn't offer it (if that is the case for you, make sure your academic referee notes this on your reference!). So, for LSE specifically probably the single best thing you could do to make yourself more competitive is to find a way to take AS FM next year. Otherwise it's worth noting LSE put a lot of emphasis on the personal statement, so take the time to write yours carefully if you are applying there - particularly focus on "show" rather than "tell" when demonstrating your interest in the course, and undertake appropriate wider reading that you can then critically reflect on in your personal statement in showing that interest (as opposed to just listing a bunch of books you've read and saying how you studied the subject at A-level and liked it...).

For other "top" economics courses, AS FM would still be very useful once you are on the course and may indicate promise to admissions tutors. For those courses though, the personal statement may not be so important. For some universities, like Oxford, your GCSE grades will be an important consideration; for others, like Cambridge, they won't be that important, and the new pre-interview admissions assessment would likely be more important (although they will undoubtedly take into account the fact it's a new assessment).

Bear in mind just getting an offer is only the first step, and may, for some universities, actually be the easiest part. You then actually need to achieve that offer - and some courses at some universities tend to make a very large number of offers, but they will be set at a very high level in terms of grades and they will not consider "near miss" applicants at all on results day. I don't know how much this is true of economics specifically, however.
Also, just to add from my other reply. My college teaches Further maths like this. In year 12, they cover the full A level Maths course. Then in year 13, they cover year 1 and 2 further maths. This will make it really problematic for me to do this as for A level maths, i have only covered AS Maths so far. Is A level Further maths really necessary for LSE, or say if i did AS further maths and achieved an A or even A* and my other grades at mostly A star with other things not only grades, such as charity work and other peoples suggestions in this forum; will i have a chance of being accepted compared to a person with A level further maths? Please take into account I will most likely be taking a gap year to gather some funds for university and to do further maths as in year 2 i dont think id be able to get a goods grade in it without sacrificing my grades in other subjects.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by killak434)
Also, just to add from my other reply. My college teaches Further maths like this. In year 12, they cover the full A level Maths course. Then in year 13, they cover year 1 and 2 further maths. This will make it really problematic for me to do this as for A level maths, i have only covered AS Maths so far. Is A level Further maths really necessary for LSE, or say if i did AS further maths and achieved an A or even A* and my other grades at mostly A star with other things not only grades, such as charity work and other peoples suggestions in this forum; will i have a chance of being accepted compared to a person with A level further maths? Please take into account I will most likely be taking a gap year to gather some funds for university and to do further maths as in year 2 i dont think id be able to get a goods grade in it without sacrificing my grades in other subjects.
I think at least you should take AS Further Maths if possible - and have your academic referee note in their reference that you didn't initially take it in your choices and hence you were unable to follow the full syllabus due to how they teach. Perhaps discuss whether it's possible for you to attend all the lessons across the year but only be entered for the AS exams (you'd need to do a bit of work to make sure you revise the right topics but you wouldn't need to revise everything). If you're going to take a gap year, I would advise you plan to take the A-level FM exams then. Whether you do the AS exams along with your year 13 studies or do the entire course in the gap year is up to you; I'm not sure if one option or the other would be preferred by LSE - you could always contact them and ask how they might view that.

As for how likely you are yo be successful without it, see LeapingLucy's excellent reply. Essentially, you can reasonably assume in your circumstances that without FM you will not be made an offer at all for single honours economics. At the end of the day, LSE economics is very mathematical, LSE is a very popular university, and economics is their flagship course and hence among the most competitive courses there. For these reasons, it is very easy for them to simply reject applicants without FM, unless they see that the student never had the opportunity to pursue it in the first place (and they still need to be convinced otherwise of that students mathematical ability and commitment to the course etc as usual).
Last edited by artful_lounger; 10 months ago
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RG1234567890
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(Original post by LeapingLucy)
The fact that you don't have A-level or AS-level Further Maths is a problem, unfortunately. Among applicants to LSE Econ with FM, about 40% get offers; whereas for applicants without any FM, it's only 5%. LSE doesn't count it against you if your school doesn't offer FM, but if it does and you chose not to take it, then your chance of an offer is pretty much zero.

Regarding what you need beside grades, you need an excellent personal statement, that clearly demonstrates your interest in the subject. This needs to go far beyond your A-level studies - you need to show how you've taken initiative outside the classroom and have individually developed your interest in Economics. This could include books you've read, articles from the Economist or the Financial Times, podcasts you've listened to (LSE has a very comprehensive public events programme, all of which are released online as podcasts - find some about economics and listen to them), talks you've attended, documentaries you've watched etc.

When you write your personal statement, btw, don't just list these things - draw out points that you found particularly fascinating, try and make connections between them, and show how learning one thing led you to explore it further.

E.g. Listening to Podcast X, I was fascinated by Topic Y, because... This led me to explore it further by reading Book Z, which argued that... I found this argument particularly compelling because...
Hello Lucy,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and wonderful response. It is much appreciated. I know it is very late but if you don't mind, I would like to ask you a question. You mentioned that the chance of getting an offer from LSE is approximately 5% if you don't have Further Maths or don't take AS/A -level Further Maths. What would you recommend a student to do if your school doesn't offer FM and that it is close to impossible to do it outside of school as this year, the exams are cancelled? Could you recommend any other ideas or things I can pursue to showcase my mathematical prowess?
For some background information, I am applying for 2022 and this means that I am submitting my UCAS in September this year (2021).
Thanks
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Without further maths you would be at a disadvantage for LSE single honours economics. Something along the lines of more than 85% of successful applicants to LSE single honours economics have AS or A-level FM, and I would wager the ones who don't went to schools that didn't offer it (if that is the case for you, make sure your academic referee notes this on your reference!). So, for LSE specifically probably the single best thing you could do to make yourself more competitive is to find a way to take AS FM next year. Otherwise it's worth noting LSE put a lot of emphasis on the personal statement, so take the time to write yours carefully if you are applying there - particularly focus on "show" rather than "tell" when demonstrating your interest in the course, and undertake appropriate wider reading that you can then critically reflect on in your personal statement in showing that interest (as opposed to just listing a bunch of books you've read and saying how you studied the subject at A-level and liked it...).

For other "top" economics courses, AS FM would still be very useful once you are on the course and may indicate promise to admissions tutors. For those courses though, the personal statement may not be so important. For some universities, like Oxford, your GCSE grades will be an important consideration; for others, like Cambridge, they won't be that important, and the new pre-interview admissions assessment would likely be more important (although they will undoubtedly take into account the fact it's a new assessment).

Bear in mind just getting an offer is only the first step, and may, for some universities, actually be the easiest part. You then actually need to achieve that offer - and some courses at some universities tend to make a very large number of offers, but they will be set at a very high level in terms of grades and they will not consider "near miss" applicants at all on results day. I don't know how much this is true of economics specifically, however.
Hello University Forum Helper,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and wonderful response. It is much appreciated. I know it is very late but if you don't mind, I would like to ask you a question. You mentioned that the chance of getting an offer from LSE is approximately 5% if you don't have Further Maths or don't take AS/A -level Further Maths. What would you recommend a student to do if your school doesn't offer FM and that it is close to impossible to do it outside of school as this year, the exams are cancelled? Could you recommend any other ideas or things I can pursue to showcase my mathematical prowess?

For some background information, I am applying for 2022 and this means that I am submitting my UCAS in September this year (2021).

Thanks
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Hello University Forum Helper,
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and wonderful response. It is much appreciated. I know it is very late but if you don't mind, I would like to ask you a question. You mentioned that the chance of getting an offer from LSE is approximately 5% if you don't have Further Maths or don't take AS/A -level Further Maths. What would you recommend a student to do if your school doesn't offer FM and that it is close to impossible to do it outside of school as this year, the exams are cancelled? Could you recommend any other ideas or things I can pursue to showcase my mathematical prowess?

For some background information, I am applying for 2022 and this means that I am submitting my UCAS in September this year (2021).

Thanks
I would suggest your academic referee note in their reference that your school doesn't offer FM. However you might also want to see what support the AMSP (https://amsp.org.uk/) offer, as part of their mission is to expand access to A-level FM and so they may be able to help you find a way to pursue the AS or A-level in FM. You could look at some mathematical extracurriculars otherwise, such as the senior maths challenge/BMO type stuff, which does not I believe presuppose any material from A-leve lFM.
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