Successful Personal Statement For Economics At Cambridge

Read through a successful Economics Personal Statement for Cambridge with a full analysis by Oxbridge Tutors. Find out why the Personal Statement helped the candidate to receive a Cambridge offer.

Last Updated: 12th April 2022

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Welcome to our popular Personal Statement series where we present a successful Personal Statement, and our Oxbridge Tutors provide their feedback on it. 

Today, we are looking through a Economics applicant’s Personal Statement that helped secure a place at Cambridge University. The Economics Course at Cambridge provides a rounded, rigorous education in Economics which is valuable for a wide range of career paths.

Read on to see how this candidate wrote a Personal Statement that helped secure their place on a reputable degree. 

Here’s a breakdown of the Personal Statement:







The universities this candidate applied to were the following:











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Economics Personal Statement

The right answer – does such a thing even exist? When considering the field of mathematics, my response would be an unequivocal yes – indeed, I find its simplicity and elegance some of its most attractive qualities. For economics, however, the question of a right answer is not so straightforward. My interest in economics was sparked when I read “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics”. I found the search for a logical explanation behind seemingly illogical behaviour intriguing, and the idea that small changes to incentives could effect such large changes to those behaviours fascinating.

To further my understanding, I attended lectures at the LSE, including one given by Ha-Joon Chang. His arguments challenged much of what I had learned – deregulation and trade liberalisation would not, apparently, stimulate competitive growth, while education, it turned out, could not be counted on to increase entrepreneurship or productivity. These contradictions made me eager to read his “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism” and “Bad Samaritans”. Although relishing his controversial stance on almost everything, I found his central thesis – that by using protectionism to support fledgling domestic industries, other poor nations can emulate South Korea’s success – overly optimistic and one-size-fits-all. As Paul Collier argues in “The Bottom Billion”, many are trapped by conflict or bad governance, with even bleaker prospects after “missing the boat” on which many Asian economies sailed away to prosperity.     

While economics is rooted in the world around us, with all its fascinating, messy complexities, mathematics derives its beauty from its abstract nature. It is unique in that it can lead us to an answer that is not merely the right one, but is true in an absolute sense. This was emphasised by G. H. Hardy in “A Mathematician’s Apology”, where he spoke of a mathematical reality distinct from the ordinary one, of which we can only ever hope to produce a “partial and imperfect copy”. Another of the appeals of mathematics is its breadth of application. I was able to explore this over the past three years in a series of Royal Institution master classes covering topics from graph theory to the mathematics of juggling. My decision to continue with mathematics was confirmed when I undertook the AEA; I found it challenging but immensely satisfying to be able to use simple concepts from the A-level core modules to solve even the most daunting problems.

Over the past year, I have mentored two students in mathematics. Explaining concepts to them helped deepen my own understanding and led me to explore proofs behind theorems I had previously accepted. In addition, acting as a primary school classroom assistant inspired me to set up my own volunteering scheme, in which I and other students help children learn to read. I have enjoyed competing in the UKMT Mathematics Challenge, in which I won a medal at Olympiad level, and the UK Linguistics Olympiad, in which I twice progressed to the selection round for the national team. I have also represented my school in the Hans Woyda competition, and am excited to be doing the same in the Target 2.0 challenge later this year.

Despite their differences, the authors I mentioned above hold something in common: their use of empirical methods to reach conclusions. It is here that the attraction of combining the study of mathematics and economics becomes especially apparent. Without mathematics, economics risks beginning to earn its title “the dismal science”, reducing to speculation and rhetoric without even the emotional investment enjoyed by politics. This is not to dismiss the importance of normative economics, but to say that it draws meaning from a basis in fact. I am not arguing for sound bite solutions to complex questions, but rather that, even in a field as hotly debated as economics, the right answer is still a worthwhile goal, reachable through the use of data and copious amounts of trial and error.

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Good Points Of The Personal Statement

This statement is thoughtful and interesting, and conveys clear motivations for studying Economics, as well as demonstrating a good level of preparation for university study. The student elaborates on their response to each preparatory activity they engaged in, rather than falling into the trap of simply listing books read and lectures attended. They are clearly passionate about the subject, and show promise as an economist, which they demonstrate in, again, not only listing their achievements, but explaining what they took from the experience, and subtly indicating what this says about them as a student.

Bad Points Of The Personal Statement

I have very little to say in criticism of this essay except that, perhaps, it could come across as a little cliché. Questioning whether there is such a thing as ‘the right answer’ in the introduction, and concluding that pursuit of the field to which they’re applying for further study is worthy are both very common.

UniAdmissions Overall Score:

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is an exceptional personal statement. Not only is the student accomplished, they convey this without bragging, and in enough detail that we gain insight into their abilities, motivations, and personal interests, rather than simply receiving a list in prose form. Though the ideas with which the student begins and concludes the statement are somewhat unoriginal, the explanation found in between is exceptionally strong, and justifies the unoriginal sentiments – they’re clearly not being added just as throwaway lines.

This Personal Statement for Chemistry is a great example of demonstrating motivation and development which is vital to Admissions Tutors.

Remember, at Cambridge, these Admissions Tutors are often the people who will be teaching you for the next few years, so you need to appeal directly to them.

Check out our other successful personal statements and our expert guides on our Free Personal Statement Resources page.

Our expert tutors are on hand to help you craft the perfect Personal Statement for your Cambridge Economics application.

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