shbmus
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I am planning to apply Imperial, LSE, UCL, Warwick and Cambridge. I am expecting good grades in A level (A*, A*, A) however not clear on selection criteria. I know, so much dependency on personal statement but thinking how personal statement can influence my chance for receiving call / offer. All above universities are quite competitive so thinking whether I need to include "safe" university in above list.Any thoughts...
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artful_lounger
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LSE doesn't offer single honours mathematics, and they are hugely focused on the personal statement, so if your personal statement is not specifically targeted towards their joint honours course you quite likely get rejected. You may as well drop LSE and apply to another maths course elsewhere as a "safety" option as such.

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I would also note that Bristol is generally considered the next in line after Oxford/Cambridge/Imperial/Warwick in terms of the reputation of their maths department/course.

Last edited by artful_lounger; 11 months ago
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by shbmus)
I am planning to apply Imperial, LSE, UCL, Warwick and Cambridge. I am expecting good grades in A level (A*, A*, A) however not clear on selection criteria. I know, so much dependency on personal statement but thinking how personal statement can influence my chance for receiving call / offer. All above universities are quite competitive so thinking whether I need to include "safe" university in above list.Any thoughts...
Well, as artful_lounger says above, LSE don't offer a pure maths course - they do offer courses like maths with economics where there is 75% maths, but not single honours maths! As a result, it might makes sense to replace LSE with a safe option, if you want that - but ultimately, you have the best knowledge of whether you need one! Secondly - personal statements aren't that important for maths, especially at the universities you're applying for. They do matter, and are worth making a good effort for, but far more important are your grades (predicted, and GCSEs although they are weighted differently by different universities) and scores in any admissions tests.

Basically - Warwick tend to give offers out to most people who have good grades and decent applications generally - the challenge for them is making the offer, as you either need A*A*A*, or A*A*A and a good grades in the STEP or the MAT! Cambridge, meanwhile, do call the majority of their applicants to interview, so as long as you have good GCSE grades as well, and a good reference and PS, you would be fairly likely to get an interview there. The challenge, of course, is then doing well enough in the interview to get an offer, and then getting the required grades and doing well enough in the STEP. I don't know much about UCL or Imperial's criteria, but I don't think they overemphasise the PS that much - it matters, but don't overthink it.

Hope that helps!
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Darth Caedus)
Well, as artful_lounger says above, LSE don't offer a pure maths course - they do offer courses like maths with economics where there is 75% maths, but not single honours maths! As a result, it might makes sense to replace LSE with a safe option, if you want that - but ultimately, you have the best knowledge of whether you need one! Secondly - personal statements aren't that important for maths, especially at the universities you're applying for. They do matter, and are worth making a good effort for, but far more important are your grades (predicted, and GCSEs although they are weighted differently by different universities) and scores in any admissions tests.

Basically - Warwick tend to give offers out to most people who have good grades and decent applications generally - the challenge for them is making the offer, as you either need A*A*A*, or A*A*A and a good grades in the STEP or the MAT! Cambridge, meanwhile, do call the majority of their applicants to interview, so as long as you have good GCSE grades as well, and a good reference and PS, you would be fairly likely to get an interview there. The challenge, of course, is then doing well enough in the interview to get an offer, and then getting the required grades and doing well enough in the STEP. I don't know much about UCL or Imperial's criteria, but I don't think they overemphasise the PS that much - it matters, but don't overthink it.

Hope that helps!
Just to clarify, my comment about the PS applies only to LSE - they are notorious sticklers for personal statements being tailored to their course specifically (likely due to the huge number of applicants they get and not interviewing or for maths, using STEP/MAT to filter applicants/offer holders).
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Just to clarify, my comment about the PS applies only to LSE - they are notorious sticklers for personal statements being tailored to their course specifically (likely due to the huge number of applicants they get and not interviewing or for maths, using STEP/MAT to filter applicants/offer holders).
Yes, that makes sense! It's interesting, as the one person I know personally who applied to LSE (for Maths and Econ) applied for Maths everywhere else and had a completely Maths PS, but got an offer anyway :confused:

However, one person definitely doesn't prove a trend, and I have heard they're very strict on it from other people.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Darth Caedus)
Yes, that makes sense! It's interesting, as the one person I know personally who applied to LSE (for Maths and Econ) applied for Maths everywhere else and had a completely Maths PS, but got an offer anyway :confused:

However, one person definitely doesn't prove a trend, and I have heard they're very strict on it from other people.
It could be the maths joint honours courses are specifically less focused on it (since as you say, in general maths departments elsewhere aren't really particularly fussed about personal statements usually) there; I do see a lot of prospective maths applicants considering (or actually) applying to LSE along with ones like the OP has suggested.

I always found that practice a bit bizarre since it seemed to imply the applicant wasn't really that interested or invested in maths as a subject specifically and just wanted the sense of prestige associated with certain universities and with a course viewed as "difficult"...
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
It could be the maths joint honours courses are specifically less focused on it (since as you say, in general maths departments elsewhere aren't really particularly fussed about personal statements usually) there; I do see a lot of prospective maths applicants considering (or actually) applying to LSE along with ones like the OP has suggested.

I always found that practice a bit bizarre since it seemed to imply the applicant wasn't really that interested or invested in maths as a subject specifically and just wanted the sense of prestige associated with certain universities and with a course viewed as "difficult"...
That would makes sense, based on the (very limited) knowledge I've heard from people who've applied.

And yes, a lot of applicants do seem to consider LSE alongside other 'prestigious' universities when applying for maths - it does make it look like they're not invested in maths, although I think it might have more to do with maths applicants assuming that courses with economics would still cover all the same maths, and not being aware of the very significant differences between them in focus and topics!
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shbmus
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Thanks All. It gives me food for thought. I feel, I may get good grades (A*, A*, A*) and good score on STEP / MAT but I was concerned whether I will get call from above universities. It's not clear how exactly universities call the candidate. If it;s only down to grades then I am sure, I will make it. however if there are other factors like PS, Reference then I am not sure how it will play out.I am confident on references but PS - it;s subjective.

Any thoughts?

As I mentioned, all are "quite tough" hence exploring "safe" option..I am seriously thinking to include Bristol.
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Darth Caedus
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(Original post by shbmus)
Thanks All. It gives me food for thought. I feel, I may get good grades (A*, A*, A*) and good score on STEP / MAT but I was concerned whether I will get call from above universities. It's not clear how exactly universities call the candidate. If it;s only down to grades then I am sure, I will make it. however if there are other factors like PS, Reference then I am not sure how it will play out.I am confident on references but PS - it;s subjective.

Any thoughts?

As I mentioned, all are "quite tough" hence exploring "safe" option..I am seriously thinking to include Bristol.
As we said above, the personal statement isn’t really a factor for most Maths departments at the unis you’re looking at - as long as you show enthusiasm for the subject in it, it will neither help nor hinder you!

The key thing is to get good grades, which you say you should do - that will definitely get you offers from Warwick and UCL. For Imperial, as long as you do well on the MAT and have good grades then you should get an offer, and Cambridge will probably interview you if your grades are good.

An insurance university is probably a good idea, although whether you need it is completely up to you! Bristol probably shouldn’t be a backup choice though as it still has a high offer - you might want to consider a course with only As in its offer, such as Nottingham or Birmingham, both of which have good maths departments (Nottingham is my insurance offer, for example).

I think you’re overthinking the personal statement - for Maths, all universities will likely do is check to make sure you’re enthusiastic about the subject - your offers / calls to interview will depend on your grades, and that is where your focus should lie, as well as prepping for interview and admissions tests. Good luck!
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shbmus
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Thanks all. It helped. I will focus on grades and STEP / MAT.
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rae52
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I personally wouldn't bother putting a safe option, I expect there will be plenty of places on offer through clearing at very good but less selective universities, especially this year. That is assuming you have no strong preference on your safe choice, in which case I would consider being able to wait to choose an advantage. Obviously, if you have a particular university in mind then put it down.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by rae52)
I personally wouldn't bother putting a safe option, I expect there will be plenty of places on offer through clearing at very good but less selective universities, especially this year. That is assuming you have no strong preference on your safe choice, in which case I would consider being able to wait to choose an advantage. Obviously, if you have a particular university in mind then put it down.
I would have thought the same but there were not particularly rich pickings in clearing for maths degrees last year. I think a problem for maths can be that the offers from UCL, Warwick etc are so high that it doesnt take much of a slip up to fall short.
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