'I would have never looked at LSE because I assumed it was just economics and politics.'
James Roberts is a first-year student at the London School of Economics (LSE) where he’s studying BSc in Language, Culture, and Society. He has also chosen to study Mandarin. Initially, James wanted to study linguistics, but when he discovered this course at the LSE he was intrigued. In this guide, James shares more about his journey from school to university, and some top tips based on his experience so far.
What was your journey like to LSE?
I was going to apply for linguistics at five different universities. After I sent my application, I changed one of my courses to this one at LSE as a back-up in case I changed my mind. About a week before I made my decision, I actually decided to do this course rather than the linguistics course I'd applied for. I was going to do French as my chosen language, but about two weeks before enrolling I decided to change it to Mandarin.
Did you face any challenges when you were applying?
I think the biggest challenge that I faced during the application process was the COVID lockdown. We had to apply remotely with little face-to-face help from the teachers. It surprised me how quickly I managed to do it all, as I'd planned quite a lot in advance, so was ready to submit my application in September.
How did you use Unifrog to help plan your next steps?
I used Unifrog to shortlist courses, as it cut down all the courses that weren't appropriate for me in terms of subjects and grades, and actually opened my eyes to new courses. I found the Language, Culture, and Society course through Unifrog. I would have never looked at LSE, because I assumed it was just economics and politics.
I also used Unifrog for MOOCs shortlists as well, as I really wanted to do them and put them on my Personal Statement. Plus, it allowed my teachers to see what I was doing without me having to update them. MOOCs really helped me with study skills and following an online teaching programme. Having that sort of self-determination to do it to completion is something that I found really useful at university, because that’s how all the lessons are run.
What do you wish you had checked before applying?
I wish I'd done a deeper dive into what actually I'd be studying, rather than just looking at the title of the course, because for some linguistics courses, quite a lot of the modules are very different across universities. I didn't really realise this until after I'd applied and I was looking at the course I had applied for. The work that I did for the course put me in a really good position to be able to do well on the course I'm doing right now. And it also gave me the motivation to get through the application process, because sometimes it can be really daunting.
What was surprising about LSE?
One of the biggest misconceptions about LSE is it's all just economics and politics, but there are some really niche courses as well. It's nice to meet people and understand that social sciences are really broad. I didn't even look at the LSE website and didn't expect there to be a language course. And then I looked at Unifrog, and I realised there was a two-year-old language course and I applied for it just to see what it was like.
What’s your favourite thing about your course?
I think my favourite thing about my course is how varied it is, and how each of my modules feels like a different subject from the other. It gives me variety; I can swap and change between which modules I'm focusing my wider reading on.
Top tip for choosing a pathway
Just absolutely follow your heart and do what you want to do. If it ends up changing, just completely embrace the change.