Politics: less can be more
Demonstrating your understanding of and interest in studying politics is a key way of impressing tutors:
‘The most persuasive statements are those that are clearly written and which get straight to the point. Less is often more. I simply want it made clear to me that an applicant is academically interested in studying the subject at university, that they’ve done their homework, and have a sense of what the academic study of politics is actually about… that it’s not just current affairs.
The University of Bristol helpfully outlines what tutors are looking for in politics applicants on its website – you need to show evidence of:
- your engagement with the subject beyond the A level (or equivalent) syllabus
- what it is that specifically and explicitly enthuses you about the debates you engage with, the books you read, and the ideas you discuss
They would also be very interested in your reflections on any relevant volunteering or campaigning you might have done, but it’s you as an individual and your intellectual engagement with ideas that they most want to get a feel for. There's no model answer – it just needs to be unique to you. Or one other way you might stand out, in Dr Allen's view, is by speaking to an admissions tutor at an open day and following it up with an email exchange.