What Up WSO Fam. I'm a rising senior in High School in Cali and am really interested in LSE. I'd love to go to school overall just for environment/networking, level of education, being able to learn abroad, and of course the prestige. I know how selective and difficult it is to get into LSE especially as an international student. As a perspective for me I've had an internships with a JPM Wealth Management Group the last 3 years which is my strongest extracurricular and I have a pretty good GPA. Most likely will major in finance or management.


Comments (23)

Aug 1, 2022 - 1:28am
monkeymaster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Any tips/suggestions on the application process of frankly information regarding the school is much appreciated!

Aug 1, 2022 - 4:46am
nutmegger189, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Quick thing you may not have considered: do you want to work in the US or UK after your graduate? If the former, you are a lot better off going to school in the US.

Regarding the application, UK uni applications are much less about extracurriculars and much more about top tier grades. Not exactly sure what the level is for internationals but if it's anything like the UK equivalent, it's very high.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Aug 1, 2022 - 7:51am

70% of students there are internationals. Pick the right degree and its doable. 

Also: UK universities don't care about extracurriculars. LSE doesn't interview so the personal statement is very important; make sure you aren't using the american approach.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Aug 1, 2022 - 7:04pm

talking about extracurriculars. Uk universities care about super curricular and academic pursuits related to the field you're applying to. You don't talk about being nationally ranked in tennis to get into LSE or Oxbridge or UCL or whatever Econ; you talk about podcasts you've listened to, books you've read; what questions they've made you research and think about, what your own opinions on academic topics are etc.

Aug 1, 2022 - 11:57pm
Patrick Basedmann, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Don't understand why people say extracurriculars don't matter, I would say they do matter quite a bit at top universities in the UK

  • Analyst 3+ in PE - Other
Aug 2, 2022 - 4:21am

Nope not at all went to LSE and have many friends at Oxbridge/Imperial. Little care on extracurriculars by top UK unis relative to the US unis

  • Associate 1 in ER
Aug 2, 2022 - 5:46am

I agree, not sure why people act like you don't need to talk about it. I think it probably does not have as great emphasis as in the US but still important.

Almost everyone I know who I went to school with, went to Russell group unis and were in at least 1 club/sport/society etc. and talked about it in their personal statement. Yes you don't need it if you get 4 A*s, but in reality 95% of people did something in high school, even if they didnt carry it onto university.

Also thinking ahead, having interesting/good extracurriculars is helpful when applying for internships and jobs. People like someone who has outside interests and isnt a drone 

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Aug 2, 2022 - 11:49am

Your EC's are not important. Top schools care about super curricular activities:

Oxbridge doesn't place much weight on the personal statement at all, Imperial, UCL and LSE definitely do... Do not waste time by telling them what sports you play, the Ph.D/academic reviewing your statement isn't going to give a shit.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Aug 2, 2022 - 12:09pm

Not really, your personal statement is what makes you stand out for UCL/LSE-type schools lol. I've literally worked in admissions, I know what we look for... ECs matter for internships but for imperial/lse/oxbridge you're not getting any brownie points for them.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Aug 2, 2022 - 12:49pm

I don't see how ECs back up any course outside of vocational ones. Again, I'm saying supercurriculars are necessary. These are directly relevant to your degree: going to a summer school or conference, reading a specific book, podcasts/projects whatever. Fair enough though.

Most Helpful
  • Associate 1 in ER
Aug 3, 2022 - 7:34am

not sure where the MS/disagreement is coming from overall as we agree that academics are most important factor. No amount of ECs are going to compensate for getting 3 Bs. But I meant for those at the fringe which there a lot (say 1 A* and 2 As or something) having good ECs and interests can help balance hence its necessary.

I disagree with you that ECs don't back up your course though. If you arent attending say a finance/business club or competition for econ majors, debating for law, or french society for language majors etc. it comes across like you're not that interested or lazy.

Non-vocational courses like sports/arts are also helpful as it can help show your soft skills which is important to succeed at uni. It shows your ability to work in a team and/or lead (important for courses with group projects). Also shows that you can balance work and social life, be on time, understand the value of practicing a skill etc.. Additionally many top universities have good sports teams, so having candidates who are potential players is helpful for their sports credentials. You might also be able to use your experience in these ECs as to why you are interested in your course (e.g. read soccernomics so got interested in biz mgmt. etc.)

  • Analyst 1 in HF - EquityHedge
Aug 2, 2022 - 2:21pm
Aug 2, 2022 - 12:54pm
SuperBambino, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Saying that ECs don't matter is a massive, massive inaccuracy. 

All top unis in the UK, Oxbridge and LSE included, are likely flooded with applications from South Asian/South East Asian/East Asian applicants, where academic intensity is ridiculously high. CIE Examinations, who run the International GCSE and A-Level exams, even have a separate paper for those geographies that is intentionally harder than other geographies (Europe, MENA). 4 A*s is a walk in the park for them, especially as many of these schools literally build their curriculum around getting an A* vs actually teaching valuable skills. These international kids are ridonkulous, they are putting in study hours that would probably make an IB analyst sweat. I unfortunately know too many with straight A*s who were rejected from Oxbridge and "settled" for the likes of Durham, Warwick, Exeter, Manchester, UCL, etc. 

What sets you apart is your ECs. The nuance around ECs though is that it needs to make you sound like a compelling candidate and tell a story about why you want to study x, and that you're a high achiever who is destined to be an amazing alumus/alumna. Listing ECs like "I was part of the football team" or "I competed in the county tennis tournament" or "I worked at Sainsbury's on the weekends" is an L - the ECs have to be exceptional, and they have to show you're exceptional, and that you have high-achiever qualities like leadership, entrepreneurship, etc. Your personal statement isn't a LinkedIn bio about who you are, it's a sales pitch about why you'd be a great fit for the program and the uni. Your JPM internships are a great start. 

EDIT: To drive the first point home, these international kids are doing 4-6 A Levels and getting A*s across the board. Dropping a subject after AS is unheard of. High grades at this point and with this competition is quite frankly table stakes. 

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Other
Aug 2, 2022 - 2:12pm

The things top universities care about aren't called extracurriculars; they're called supercurriculars. You really don't need to be doing something outstanding like becoming an entrepreneur for an oxford degree in philosophy; that's just inaccurate. Oxbridge and other top schools have made it abundantly clear that they're not interested in irrelevant extracurriculars and even place low weight on the personal statement. 

I just graduated from Oxbridge and you can literally see our selection criteria for different degrees via WhatDoTheyKnow. Have a look at Oxford's PPE criteria: The personal statement is of low priority. Oxbridge specifically interview a lot of people in academic interviews where you work through a problem and will also likely need to do an admissions test separate to your qualifications... These are way more important than your personal statement.

I'm getting a lot of MS from people that just blatantly do not understand how university admissions work even though I've provided actual evidence and links to resources these schools want their applicants to use to make competitive applications.

I'll link it again for the dumbasses that MS'd them: FWIW the first is a video made by an Oxford admissions tutor on what they look for in a personal statement and the second is a link with useful super curricular made by Oxford.

  • Associate 1 in ER
Aug 3, 2022 - 7:41am

I think the reason people are MS'ing your posts is because you appear to be making blanket statements that ECs are not useful, while for most places they are. Everyone here agrees that academics are the most important factor, but that relevant ECs can be helpful, but not enough solely to get into these unis.

I think the advice/links you have posted are great, but appear to be geared to Oxbridge and perhaps not other top unis which have different views on this, can only speak to my experience and those close to me.   

Aug 14, 2022 - 7:59am
@J1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you for all the helpful advice! May I ask if the info you shared above also applies to top MSc finance programs (e.g., Oxford MSF, LSE MSF, etc.)? I'm graduating from a European uni next year and I'm looking to apply for top MSc programs in the UK to break into London IB. Any advice is appreciated

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 3, 2022 - 7:37am

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  • Associate 1 in ER
Aug 3, 2022 - 7:46am

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