How to Get Into LSE

‘How do I get into LSE’ is a question that I run into again and again! Luckily, as an LSE alumnus, I know exactly how to answer it. Here at The Profs, 85% of our students applying to LSE get in!

Unlike Oxbridge, LSE never interviews as part of their admissions process. So, your application really is EVERYTHING. Your academic history is very important to LSE and will strongly influence your chance of an offer. However, most applicants have top grades so a great academic track record does not guarantee your admission, nor will it help you to stand out. We’ll dive into some tips on how to demonstrate the X factor in this article.

Plenty of our team have studied at LSE or worked in admissions for top-tier universities. So, if anyone has the know-how to make your application as perfect as possible, it’s us. In our experience, we’ve seen that very few students know how to write an undergraduate university application that targets LSE’s unique admissions criteria. Thankfully, we offer the right support and preparation to aid you in submitting an application that stands out and maximises your chances of an offer.

Read on for insider information from our team of LSE admissions experts.

Contents:

  1. What is the LSE acceptance rate?
  2. What are the most competitive courses at LSE?
  3. Is LSE a Russell Group university?
  4. LSE’s entry requirements
  5. LSE’s courses and entry requirements
  6. Does LSE give contextual offers?
  7. What do I do if I don’t meet LSE’s entry requirements?
  8. Insider information on LSE
  9. 7 tips for getting into LSE
  10. Advice from an LSE Alumnus
  11. Get 1-to-1 guidance from an expert admissions tutor

Is LSE a good university?

LSE is one of the best universities in the world. It sits in the top five universities in the UK and closely follows Oxford and Cambridge in world league tables for the subjects it offers. Due to this outstanding reputation and LSE’s specialism in social sciences and humanities-based subjects, places are extremely competitive.

What is the LSE acceptance rate?

In 2021, the LSE acceptance rate was 6.6% (according to data by UCAS). Of the 25,845 applications London School of Economics received, it offered places to just 1,715 students. It’s worth noting that LSE and Imperial have particularly low acceptance rates due to offering a lesser variety of courses and thus having fewer spaces for applicants.
For its most competitive subjects, LSE’s acceptance rate is significantly lower than its average. For example, Economics with Economic History has an acceptance rate of just 4.9%. If you’re aiming high for a place on one of LSE’s competitive courses, contact the Profs’ admissions consultants for expert support.

What are the most competitive courses at LSE?

All of LSE’s courses are extremely competitive, however the most competitive courses are: Economics with Economic History, Government and History, Government and Economics, Social Policy and Economics, and Politics and International Relations. The Profs have expert tutors who can offer dedicated application support for each of these degree programmes and help you to reach the A level grades required for entry.

Is LSE a Russell Group university?

LSE is one of 24 Russell Group universities and has a worldwide reputation for its outstanding quality of research. The Complete University Guide ranks LSE as the third best Russell Group university behind only Oxford and Cambridge.

Though belonging to the Russell Group of universities isn’t the only mark of a top university (many leading universities are not Russell Group), it is a good indicator that LSE prioritises the quality of its research as well as the quantity. In fact, according to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 58% of LSE’s research is assessed as ‘world-leading’ and 35% is rated as ‘internationally excellent’.

What are the LSE entry requirements?

Insider tip: As a top Russell Group University, LSE asks for high grades and places more value on historic grades than other universities. No matter the course, LSE is looking for a consistent track record of outstanding grades across GCSEs (or equivalent) as well as A levels. This is especially the case for undergraduate applicants. For example, if you are applying for an Economics degree, it is imperative that you perform well in Maths and Further Maths, and it is great if you take extra Maths qualifications.

Do I need to take Further Maths?

If you are applying for a quantitative course (especially one offered by the Maths department) LSE will probably require or favour Further Maths. In these circumstances, if your school offers Further Maths you should take it. Whether or not it should be a third or fourth A level, depends on your course. If your school does not offer Further Maths, it is important that your referee mentions this for you. If they don’t, you should. Check out our article on what to do if you don’t meet LSE’s entry requirements for more tips regarding what to do if you’re not taking Further Maths. All that said, it’s important that you check the specific subject requirements of your chosen course to be sure.

LSE’s entry requirements vary depending on the course you’re applying to study and the country you’re applying from. The table below shows the A level grades required for entry as well as some of the most common international qualification requirements for courses in general. If your qualifications are not in this table, or you need more information on English language requirements, check LSE’s information for international students. You can also get in touch with the Profs for dedicated support from one of our international admissions experts.

QualificationEntry requirements
A LevelsRange from A*AA-AAB, depending on the course.
International Baccalaureate (IB)Range from 37 points overall (with three Higher level subjects at grades 666) to 38 points overall (with three Higher level subjects at grades 766).
European Baccalaureate (EB)80-85% overall depending on the course.
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)5*55-555 in your electives, depending on the course, and 4 in English and Mathematics, and 3 in Chinese and Liberal Studies.
AP (Advanced Placement) and High School Diploma (USA)Five APs at grade 5, taken over a maximum of three years and a minimum High School Diploma GPA 3.7;
Or three APs at grade 5, and two APs at grade 4, taken over a maximum of three years, and a minimum High School Diploma GPA of 3.7, depending on the course.
Other international qualificationsCheck the full list of international qualifications accepted by LSE.

International students: If you are an international student from a non-English speaking country, LSE will want evidence of your English language proficiency. Your fluency in English will weigh into whether you’re admitted or not. However, the level that LSE requires depends on the course so it is important that you check.

LSE’s courses and entry requirements

Please note that the entry requirements for LSE differ depending on your chosen course, so make sure you check on the relevant course page before applying. Better yet, we’ve synthesised all of LSE’s most competitive and/or popular courses and laid them out clearly in an undergraduate and postgraduate table. Check them out!

We also have a previous article walking you through how to get into LSE for a Masters degree.

Does LSE give contextual offers?

LSE does offer systematic contextual offers to students from disadvantaged backgrounds that meet its criteria. The majority of students won’t meet this criteria and will be made standard entry offers ranging from A*AA to AAB depending on the course, but it’s still worth checking if you are eligible for LSE’s contextual admissions.

What do I do if I don’t meet LSE’s entry requirements?

If you don’t meet LSE’s entry requirements, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up on your application. A) Our expert A level tutors can help you boost your grades.
B) It might not be too late to improve your student profile. C) There are many alternative ways to stand out and make up for where you lack. In need of advice? We’ve got you covered. Check out our in depth article on how to get into LSE if you don’t meet their entry requirements!

Insider information on LSE

LSE values:

  • Historic grades – they want to see that you’ve always been a high academic achiever.
  • Quantitative skills, particularly for courses like Maths and Economics.
  • Experience! Having relevant work experience can give you the edge. LSE wants students that will start prestigious jobs after university and build great careers. It is very attractive if you can talk about how great it was to work for X company and that you hope to work professionally for them after university. Work experience also demonstrates keen passion, interest, and suggests that you have begun building skills that will help you along your degree.
  • Research that complements ongoing studies being carried out by your chosen department. LSE specifically states that they value research that will broaden, diversify and/or complement their existing research. Hence, it is great if you read up on your department’s research and are able to discuss it in detail, as well as mention how you would contribute to it.
  • Extra dedication! You can stand out by mentioning scholarships, awards, class prizes, the percentile you were ranked in your class (if your school offers this), and competitions such as the UK Maths Challenge. Even things like a high chess ELO ranking could help you prove the academic capability of your mind. Reading is also important.

7 tips for getting into LSE

1. Quicker isn’t better!

LSE does not interview, so your application is everything and it’s very important you pour all the necessary time and effort into it.

Most schools pressure their students to submit rushed, suboptimal applications, but LSE are typically slower than other top universities to review their applications. By waiting a couple of weeks and perfecting your application, you can boost your chances. At The Profs, our consultants have helped postgraduate students apply as late as May or June AND receive offers!

Insider tip: Download the application questions into a Google Doc before writing. Mull over them. Write up a few drafts. Be thorough and turn in the best version of your answers possible.

2. Do you actually know your specific requirements?

Although LSE has generic requirements that apply to many courses, there are also additional requirements you need to meet for some courses. For example, if you want to study Data Science, you must achieve AAA and one of these subjects must be Mathematics, while for Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, you must achieve an A* in Mathematics. Our A level tutors have a proven track record of helping students achieve As and A*s in critical subjects, so if you’re in need of a boost, reach out to the Profs for support.

Insider tip: Go beyond subject requirements, show expertise in the subjects that LSE recommends or subjects that you think could help demonstrate your suitability for the course. For example, if many successful students in your course take English and you don’t, you could write for the school newspaper. If LSE recommends taking History and you don’t, you could join the History club or complete independent research or a project for the History department.

Choose the degree that’s right for you, and check your grade and subject requirements on our table.

As well as specific subject requirements, some of LSE’s courses may require admissions tests for entry. For example, all applicants applying to study the LLB (Law) course are required to sit the Law National Admissions Test (LNAT), which you’ll need to register for and take before the UCAS application deadline. If you need help preparing for an admissions test, the Profs’ expert tutoring is the best way to level up your knowledge.

3. Is your academic record as polished as possible?

LSE is among the highest ranking and most sought-after universities in the UK for social sciences. The entry requirements for its most popular courses, such as Economics and Economic History (requires AAB), are often lower than those of Oxbridge and UCL, but just as – if not more – competitive. Check out our previous guide on how to get into LSE for Economics – this includes all of our founder’s top tips!

Achieving the highest possible grades is valued highly by LSE and will help you to stand out among the thousands of applicants.

Our A level tutors have helped many students achieve top grades and get offers from their first and second choice universities, including LSE. Whether you’re falling behind in one subject or need more intensive, all-round support, reach out to our team and we’ll get you the help you need.

Insider tip: If you have dropped a few grades in core subjects, such as Maths, it is important to bolster your academic record in other ways during your application, such as skills you demonstrated during your work experience or additional achievements. For example, you might consider taking the TMUA, MOOCs, or UK Maths Challenge to demonstrate your mathematical ability and bolster your application. If you’re applying to a postgraduate degree in a business discipline despite not having studied any quantitative subjects you might consider taking the GMAT/GRE to make up for this.

Insider tip for those doing the GMAT: Check your course requirements to know whether you’re expected to complete the GMAT, and if you’re an international student, check international entry requirements. If you are on a course requiring the GMAT, prepare for it early! And if you’ve met specific criteria in terms of work experience, degrees or achievements, or other conditions, then consider a GMAT waiver which will allow you to forgo a grade submission. Contact The Profs if you’re unsure about whether you’re eligible and need help with the process – we have tons of experience helping students complete the GMAT waiver and get into their chosen university.

Insider tip for postgraduates: LSE offers many courses at their Summer School, which could drastically improve your application. Also, many of the postgraduate courses that do not require the GMAT/GRE still favour students who have taken it. Hence, depending on your subject of interest, completing this test could make you stand out as an academically robust candidate. Moreover, there are a bunch of reputable online courses that you can take as well.

4. You’ve mentioned a solid 5-year plan, right?

Getting into LSE is a great goal to have, but it’s also important to think about the long-term plan and how a degree in your chosen subject from LSE specifically will help you to achieve your future academic or career goals. You may want to go on to make the most of LSE’s fantastic research facilities by studying for a Master’s or PhD. Perhaps you want to make the most of LSE’s outstanding career prospects and land a graduate job at your dream company. Have a well-researched 5-year career plan with specific job roles and companies mentioned.

Insider tip: LSE values applicants with a clear and ambitious career plan because they want their students to go on to get good jobs after university and maintain a strong LSE alumni network. So, mention your career aspirations in your application and be specific. What institution or company do you want to work for, and what do you want to specialise in? If you’re not sure, educate yourself.
If you’re applying for a postgraduate degree, you will need to present a very clear objective behind this course: what do you hope to achieve with this and what makes your research proposal special?

Surprisingly, a lot of applicants forget to mention what they intend to do with their degree as well as why they are applying, or why they are a good student for their chosen course at this university. But this is exactly what the application is supposed to focus on, rather than just proving why you’re great.

Insider tip: University research is essential. Why specifically LSE? What does LSE offer that makes it well aligned with your academic and career goals? Your reasons for wanting to study at LSE should not be generic.

The Profs offer advice on crafting the perfect personal statement, just watch our video or read our previous blog on this subject.

5. Lay the ‘groundwork’ for acceptance

One way you can make your application stand out from the thousands of other LSE applicants is to gain relevant work experience in your field. Whether paid or unpaid, having experience working in your desired field will provide you with invaluable real-life knowledge about the industry.

Work experience in a relevant industry to your chosen discipline can demonstrate your drive and commitment to the subject. Expressing what skills you have learned from this experience and how they will help you with your course will also make you a more attractive candidate.
Remember, context is important. Remain as relevant to your degree as possible. For example, if your degree values quantitative skills you should be referencing work experience that marries up with this.

Insider tip 1: Get work experience at a prestigious institution/company and highlight that you are looking forward to working there properly after university. This will show LSE that you have a career lined up after your degree to support their employment survey and alumni network.

Insider tip 2: Show that you have the X factor by demonstrating an entrepreneurial spirit. Being able to say that you started your own business, even if it was a small side hustle, will give you an edge.

If you can’t secure work experience, try to engage in as many extracurricular activities related to your chosen subject area as you can. For instance, if you’re applying for a Social Policy or Politics course, you could take part in voluntary work, get involved in local social causes, or attend political conferences to demonstrate your interest outside of a strictly academic setting.

Even if you have work experience, extracurriculars can be a great opportunity to boost your application. If the activities are related to your chosen subject, they can demonstrate genuine passion and interest in the subject. If you have any accomplishments within your extracurriculars, they can be evidence that you have talent, capability, and skills that will equip you for your degree. That said, don’t mention fluff, check that your extracurriculars genuinely relate to your chosen course and strengthen your application. Ensure you add new experiences to your repertoire if you’re falling short in any areas of your application.

For postgraduates:

For postgraduates courses at LSE, work experience or even professional experience is sometimes a requirement, or recommended. Hence, it is very important to check your course’s entry requirements and make sure you complete what they ask and/or suggest. Even if the experience is not requested, most of the postgraduate courses state that you should mention it if you have any, which insinuates that this could make your application more competitive. Therefore, it is a good idea to get some work experience either way, to maximise your chances of getting into LSE. The level that this experience should be depends on the topic of your course and its requirements. And again, make sure that you stick to roles and industries that complement your course.

Don’t forget to mention the experience you might have picked up during your undergraduate course. LSE offers ‘Spring Weeks’ which are designed to give you a comprehensive introduction to your relevant industry. So, it is great if you are able to say you’ve completed this as it proves you have some experience, but more importantly it shows that you have initiative, motivation and passion. Similarly, if you completed an internship, or if you were a part of any university society, especially if you had a position such as president or treasurer, it’s extremely valuable to highlight this.

6. Invest plenty of time into writing your personal statement

For LSE’s many competitive subjects, lots of applicants will inevitably achieve the grades required for entry. LSE will therefore use applicants’ personal statements as a key factor in deciding who to offer places to. That’s why investing plenty of time and passion into writing your personal statement is so important in the application process.

Use your statement as a chance to express who you are and what makes you unique. As well as describing your ambitions, skills and experience, dedicate your personal statement to explaining why you would be an excellent candidate for your chosen course. The Profs’ personal statement tutors can provide further guidance and support on how to write a stand-out statement tailored to LSE.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

7. How to ACTUALLY go beyond your school syllabus

When it comes to writing your personal statement, ensuring that you have a passionate and in-depth understanding of your subject goes a long way.

Show that your understanding of the course is beyond comprehensive by talking about very specific and complex concepts. The best way to do this is to do your research and go beyond the curriculum and A level understanding. If you take the time to read a large breadth of quality literature around your subject, you can reference academic texts or textbooks and analyse them to demonstrate that you are able to work at university level. Careful not to read the most popular texts that most students in your field might point to. Try to find something unknown, underrated, niche, and/or peculiar.

Better yet, research your specific department, and discuss how you would contribute to their existing published research or accomplishments. If you really want to impress LSE, you could study the first 2-3 weeks of a 1st year module for your chosen course and talk about this in your application to show that you are ahead of the competition.

Our tutors can help you to understand where the ‘sweet spots’ are and what to read in order to stand out in your application. Reading as extensively around your subject as possible will help to prove that you’re proactive and engaged and that, most importantly, you would make an outstanding LSE student.

Advice from an LSE Alumnus

As an LSE alumnus, our founder knows all the tips and tricks to get into LSE.
Check out his video on the process.

Get 1-to-1 guidance from an expert admissions tutor

At the Profs, we have many admissions consultants who can guide you through the process of applying to LSE, as well as Oxbridge, UCL and other top universities. In fact, 85% of our LSE applicants get in!

Dont meet LSE’s entry requirements? Whether it’s your grades, subjects, or English language proficiency letting you down, we can help! We know tried and tested paths to success. You can book an application review with us where we can let you know your chances and walk you through your most viable options to being admitted.

We can even support you in your wider degree-level education, helping you with everything from writing your dissertation to applying for postgraduate courses. Get in touch with our friendly team today to access our dedicated support.

Maximise your chances of getting an offer from LSE by reaching out to us today!

FAQs

Where is LSE?

LSE is located in central London, close to Holborn and Temple tube stations. The campus is next to the Royal Courts of Justice building, while the financial district, Westminster and the Houses of Parliament are also all within easy reach.

Does LSE do clearing?

LSE does not usually participate in Clearing and is one of just a handful of universities not to do so. Other universities that do not participate in Clearing include Oxford, Cambridge and UCL, as well as some other competitive and Russell Group universities that do not have free spaces to offer on their courses (this can change from year to year).

When do LSE give out offers?

LSE aims to make offers to applicants as soon as possible. LSE states that it makes offers from early October through to the 18th May 2023 (the UCAS deadline for final decisions), so the earlier you apply, the earlier you may receive an offer.

How hard is it to get into LSE?

LSE is one the most competitive universities in the UK. Its acceptance rate was just 6.6% in 2021, and you will need top A level grades (or equivalent) and outstanding academic performance in order to be considered. Nevertheless, if you have a strong track record of high academic achievement, a real passion for your chosen subject, and a strong personal statement, you will be in a strong position to be considered for a place.

Does LSE accept transfer students?

LSE does accept transfer students under certain conditions, however the competition for spaces is extremely high and so in reality, the number of transfer students tends to be very limited. If you have completed your first year of undergraduate study at another university, it is possible that you may be permitted direct entry to the second year of an LSE course if you meet LSE’s list of requirements. However, second year entry is extremely rare and many departments (including Economic History, Geography and Environment, Social Policy, Statistics, and others) do not allow it. Third year entry is not permitted under any circumstances.

Is LSE a good school?

LSE is one of the best and most competitive universities in the world. It closely follows Oxford and Cambridge in UK league tables and sits in the top five of UK universities for the subjects it offers.

Is LSE better than UCL?

LSE and UCL are both excellent universities. Generally, LSE is considered slightly more prestigious for the subjects it specialises in, such as Economics and Politics. LSE is also more competitive than UCL, with an acceptance rate of 6.6% compared to UCL’s 12%. However, UCL offers a far greater number of courses and specialises in a broader range of subjects, including Medicine and the Sciences, and is considered one of the best ‘all-rounder’ universities in the UK.

What is LSE famous for?

LSE is renowned for its specialised undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including BSc Economics, BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Master’s in Management (MiM), and more. Its courses are designed to teach students theory as well as to study and apply their learnings to real world issues.