Does anyone have experience of applying to LSE?

(43 Posts)
lawlawlaw Mon 04-Apr-16 23:34:43

My daughter is seriously considering applying to the LSE for International History.
That being that she gets the AS results of course haha.

Does anyone here have any experience applying there?
I've been told that it's ruthless.

OP’s posts: |
bojorojo Tue 05-Apr-16 10:08:02

My DD knows several people who went there. All were Chinese. I am not sure what you mean about ruthless, but it is an institution that is individual and only suits some people. She would need to be absolutely sure she would enjoy the course and I am not sure it could be described as a "relaxing" environment. However, it is not a leading university because it is easy or not demanding.

Also consider if London living is for her. It is expensive but obviously there are other advantages from being there. I think LSE is world leading but it depends what else you want from a university. Is LSE is really a good match or does she just likes the idea but would not perhaps be so keen on the reality? It seems to suit career driven "heads down" people, but I am sure this is not a description of everyone there.

zazas Tue 05-Apr-16 22:43:02

My daughter seriously looked at applying to LSE for this year but although she thought the degree was fantastic decided against it purely because she felt she wasn't ready for living in London. Or as bojorojo said, "she just liked the idea but was not so keen on the reality."

However one thing that she/we noted (I accompanied her on the Open Day!) was that they specifically said that they wanted a personal statement that came across as LSE being the student's first choice. They wanted direct reference to the course they were applying to and were unlikely to consider as strongly a applicant whose statement was ambiguous. It was never stressed like this (as least in our experience including Oxbridge) at any other university, in that they 'appreciated' that their university was probably one of five the student had chosen. We found that interesting!

bojorojo Tue 05-Apr-16 23:55:28

That is a really interesting comment about how to word the ps. After writing my comment above, I looked at their web site. It lists the modules available (for the Bistory courses) and who teaches them. I think that is quite precise information, in my experience. Presumably students who do not make it to an open day are disadvantaged. I wonder if writing a ps specifically for LSE disadvantages the applicant elsewhere? The ds of someone I know failed to realise he needed Further Maths for their Economics course, so always read the small print!

bojorojo Tue 05-Apr-16 23:56:26

History courses!!!

jeanne16 Wed 06-Apr-16 07:48:39

I am also not sure what you mean about ruthless. It is highly sought after, though and seems particularly popular with foreign students. My DD received an offer from LSE for Economics but turned in down in favour of Cambridge. I only mention this because she certainly did not make her PS specific to the LSE. They will have known she was making an Oxbridge application based on the early date, so this did not affect their decision.

BoboChic Wed 06-Apr-16 07:50:21

Yes, I have lots of experience but mostly of applicants with the French bac. It's very selective and somewhat random IME. The Personal Statement is extremely important for LSE.


BoboChic Wed 06-Apr-16 07:55:26

Anecdotally, the LSE offer hit rate among applicants I have helped with UCAS is 100% among applicants who have also applied to Oxbridge.

Needmoresleep Thu 07-Apr-16 11:22:25

I doubt there is any easy formula such as "hit rate among applicants is 100% among applicants who have also applied to Oxbridge".

The LSE website will tell you how many applicants and how many places. Many courses are very competitive.

The important thing obviously with any competitive University that does not interview is to get the Personal Statement right. It will be scored. There will be guidance. Follow it closely to make sure you pick up every point you can. Go through the website carefully and give as many good reasons as you can for why you want to do the course. Evidence any specific interest you have which backs up your reasons.

Its not the University that will be ruthless. The competition may be.

One tip with LSE, is that they have a great series of public lectures, worth going to if you can get there. A chance to get a feel of the place and to develop/provide evidence of any interest.

I have noticed that bojorojo has consistently posted slightly negative comments about LSE as if one of her DC has had a poor experience perhaps during the application process. It is hard to get a place, but for a child that wants to be in the centre of a world city and likes the course, it is fantastic, great academically, and truely international.

(DS goes there and indeed many of his friends are Chinese, but often born in places like Manchester or Hounslow!)

HocusCrocus Thu 07-Apr-16 21:48:28

Op, my Ds applied for the History BA (not international history) . I agree with Nomoresleep - the hit rate amongst Oxbridge applicants will not be 100%, my guess is, not by any manner of means. (although to be fair I think Bobo meant 100% of those she has helped and I think not necessarily history .) I give you Exhibit A - my Ds was accepted at Oxford (for History) , rejected by LSE. I would make sure that the course she is applying for is what she is really, demonstrably interested in and not just a - that looks a quite interesting thing. (I exaggerate but I hope you see my point.) IIRC LSE's History courses have a rather different focus than the others DS applied for. It is very competitive but if she loves the look of the course then don't be put off. (Their application guidance including Ps is very good as I remember. Unusually amongst the other Universities DS applied to they want a word on what you want to do after you graduate - again IIRC). I have no basis for this but DS was straight humanities at A level and I wonder whether an applicant with Maths or Economics in the mix would have presented as a stronger candidate in that they have a fair few options for History which focus on Economic history. However don't be put off by this post as I have no evidence for that.

Anyway, my 2 pennyworth .

UhtredRagnorsson Sat 09-Apr-16 08:52:30

One of DD's friends applied there this year, she got an achievable offer and has firmed it. She didn't tailor her PS specifically to LSE. She will be doing law. She has superb GCSEs and ASs though.

I applied there back in the Stone Age and got an offer too which I rejected.

Isthiscorrect Sat 09-Apr-16 09:33:54

Ds has a place at the LSE, currently in his second year. He had five offers, one unconditional. He did not apply to Oxbridge. He spelt a key word relating to his subject incorrectly (sigh) and still managed a place. His personal statement was not tailored specifically to the LSE, however it was very personal and detailed, regarding why he had to be allowed to study that particular subject.
As an aside London is ferociously expensive but offers many many opportunities. He passion for his subject means he is in the right place. He is not Chinese neither are the two best friends he has made, although he does have a number of Chinese friends amongst the multitude of friends he has made.
TBH I think th LSE gets a bad rap with regard to international students, yes there are cohorts of students from various countries but there are students living the student life and taking everything that is thrown at them.
He did attend open days at each uni he applied to and he attending the offer holders day. Not sure there was anything that couldn't be found online, it was more of a nice to meet you event IMVHO.

Needmoresleep Sat 09-Apr-16 11:46:43

Hocus, this does not surprise me. A very bright friend of DDs has just been rejected from LSE. She assumes that it is because she is taking humanities and languages ast A level, no maths and economics.

I don't think you are expected you are expected to tailor your PS specifically to the LSE. But that it helps if there is a natural fit. Eg that even with top grades you might struggle if you were applying for geography and your interests were more physical rather than economic.

And it cannot be repeated enough. With very competitive courses that do not interview (LSE or elsewhere), you need to make sure your PS ticks the boxes.

bojorojo Sat 09-Apr-16 14:17:07

Neither of my Dds applied to LSE but one had strong views, and still does, about the type of student that is suited by LSE. That is not a particularly negative view but I think it is accurate and realistic. The type of student it suits will be competitive, possibly quite driven to do well, relish the type of education on offer there and really want to be in London. It is world class but she thinks it does not suit everyone. Therefore knowing your personality and what you want from a university is perhaps more important here than elsewhere.

BurningGubbins Sat 09-Apr-16 14:39:42

I went to LSE for part of my degree (I did an odd intercollegiate thing). As mentioned above, it's full of bright young things keen to get ahead, which suits some more than others. There is also a very high proportion of international students who have paid an outrageous amount in fees and are therefore really studious and want to get their money's worth. Neither of these are a bad thing, but it makes the feel of the place different.

I had less fun in the LSE part of my course but the teaching was fab and I'm glad I get to write it on my CV.

Needmoresleep Sat 09-Apr-16 14:40:39


mummytime Sat 09-Apr-16 15:13:53

Lots of LSE's external lectures are available as podcasts, so even if you can't get to London for them you can listen. It probably helps get a feel for the place. They were running taster days in June, so it might be worth seeing if there are an places still available if your son can make a day in London.

Needmoresleep Sat 09-Apr-16 15:29:27

Oh. My comment was for borojo. I'm not sure second hand views from someone who does not attend does much more than perpetuate stereotypes. For whatever reason there is a MN orthodoxy that Oxbridge is good London is bad.

It is horses for courses. DS is very happy at LSE and enjoys the academic challenge it provides. Though he would be the first to admit it does not suit everyone.

Moreisnnogedag Sat 09-Apr-16 15:51:45

I feel the need to defend LSE somewhat. I attended there doing Social Anthropology and absolutely loved it. It was a much more open and welcoming course than I was expecting.

For those commenting negatively about its number of international students, that's because it's internationally renowned and I don't think LSE had loads more than Imperial.

OP, if your DD is being encouraged to apply there by her school I imagine she will cope with the workload. It's bound to be harder than at other unis but isn't that the point? She'll come out with a highly respected degree with great prospects.

Moreisnnogedag Sat 09-Apr-16 15:55:20

Yip 47% foreign students at LSE and 66% at Imperial

BoboChic Sat 09-Apr-16 17:18:53

I've got 67% overseas at LSE and 46% overseas at Imperial...

Needmoresleep Sat 09-Apr-16 17:58:31

Ha. Looked it up. Seems our Bobo is a Brexit girl. Home students 49% made up of 29% UK and 20% EU.

But that is all students. LSE has a lot of post grads where non UK students can be expected to form a higher proportion of the whole. (Not least because their home fees for things like a Masters in Economics are way higher than say Cambridge.)

Kaytaylou123 Sun 10-Apr-16 08:46:39

My DD's friend got 4 As at AS Level and all A*s at GCSE and got rejected from LSE from law it seems extremely ruthless as you say...

BurningGubbins Sun 10-Apr-16 12:21:14

I brought up the international students thing. It wasn't to be disparaging about them (I've been an international student at a uni overseas too, it's a different experience), it was just to point out that it creates a different vibe.

In those days (not that long ago) a big part of the uni experience was having fun and socialising. My personal experience at LSE was that that was less apparent than at the other world renowned uni I did the rest of my course at because students who were paying tens of thousands more than I was were worried about wasting that investment and socialised less. Perhaps all students are like that now as the fees are so much higher.

I was making the point only to highlight that universities can feel different from each other. A campus uni would be different again.

Isthiscorrect Sun 10-Apr-16 17:54:33

I am under the impression from Ds that LSE are very aware of how they are perceived with regard to the student experience. It would appear they are working hard to ensure a more 'regular' student experience. For sure the students do work extremely hard, (that is not to say other students don't) Ds has justhad a weeks working holiday, last week we visited and he worked whilst we did other stuff before we met up and now he has two weeks of revising. He is still enjoying student life, some of the socs are still meeting over the holiday, possibly because quite a few students stay all year.
To be honest, having read student room when he was applying for LSE and frightening myself witless with all the tales of work work work I am really quite happy with how things have turned out. Of course it is none of my business but I am pleased to know this.

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