It’s a well-known fact that the General Course programme is one of the most competitive programmes to get in to, and there can be a lot of anxiety surrounding the application process. Since I went through the process at this time last year, I’ve narrowed down a couple of key tips for you to keep in mind as you prepare to apply for the programme:
Make Sure You Are Familiar with All Financial Information Before Applying!
Financial planning may not be the most exciting part of your application process, but nevertheless, it is important for you to be aware of all the potential costs for tuition, accommodation, and the other expenses of living in London. London is expensive, so it may be helpful to save for a couple of months before arriving. In addition, you should reach out to your Financial Aid office (if you’re studying in the US) to clarify more about your future aid packages during your year abroad. Fortunately, I was on a merit-based scholarship at the time, so I did not have to worry, but a lot of my friends had to communicate back and forth with the Financial Aid office before applying anywhere. The tuition that you pay abroad may vary depending on what university you go to. In my case, my tuition remains the same while I’m abroad. For other universities like the University of Michigan, for example, your tuition may increase if you’re paying the in-state tuition. In that case, you may need to apply for scholarships sponsored by your home university or by LSE.
Meet with your Study Abroad Advisors
Study abroad advisors are the best resources for you during the research process, as they are the most familiar with the programme requirements. Advisors also have speciality regions, so make sure that you talk with the one focused on the UK. In addition, you should also clarify any incoming questions about transferring credits to your major. For example, for my major, I could only transfer 2 general business courses so that impacted the course list draft that I submitted as part of my application.
Do your homework
To craft the most successful application you should do your best research into LSE and the unique things it has to offer to students. A good way to read more about the insider perspectives of exchange students is to visit blogs and read information written by previous General Course students. One great resource I found was written by an Emory student on his General Course experiences. The brochure for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year can be found here. In addition, try to browse the LSE website and social media handles to get a feel of the campus and connect with students from your home university who have previously been at LSE, for better school-specific information.
Approach the professors who can speak on your best behalf and proofread your essay
In general, you should try approaching professors with whom you have developed a good relationship over the years and who can speak on your best behalf. If you don’t have anyone in particular in mind, that’s fine too. Just make sure that you try your best to actively contribute to the classroom and do well in the classes taught by your chosen references. Professors are usually always willing to write a recommendation letter, but you should approach them early, to make sure that the references are submitted on time. Try scheduling a meeting with them to discuss your interests and how participating in the General Course programme will help further them. In addition, you should ask your friends to comment on your application essay or ask for assistance from the Writing Center to polish your work.
Submit your application and sit tight
After hitting the submit button, there’s nothing else that you can do to influence the outcome anymore. At this stage, you should sit tight, take a well-earned rest, and focus on other things.
I hope that this guide was helpful and best of luck to everyone who is applying to the programme. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.