Supporting Economics-related University Applications

On the agenda for October's EconEdChat were 3 questions:

1) How can we support students applying to study Economics-related University courses?

2) What does effective feedback in Economics look like?

3) How can we teach Behavioural Economics?

This post focusses on the first question.

References and Resources

The Tutor2U 'Applying to Study Economics at University - 2020 Guide' is really useful - highly recommended. It has links to Econ department websites, a summary of entrance requirements to selected institutions, recommended reading and other enrichment activities and sample personal statements.

CORE is mentioned a bit (as it is every month...)

You can read about the Bank of England Degree Apprenticeship here.

You can (and should) listen to Economics in Ten on all your standard podcast platforms. I did an interview with Gavin which you can read here

I like the Jacques' Maths for Economics and Business textbook, which is a pretty standard 1st Year text, to find some suitable maths questions. I also use this booklet to introduce them to the use of calculus in Econ. METAL has some lovely stuff too. The legacy MEI Maths A-Level used to have a 'comprehension' paper, and a few of these are worth a look. I like these:

-Prisoners Dilemma

-Greener Travel

-The World Population

-Scheduling Lifts

-How far to shop

-Insurance for Young Drivers

-Electing Members of the European Parliament

The 'Ice Cream stands on the Beach' classic is usually something along the lines of "There are two ice cream stands on a beach. Customers will choose which stand to go to based solely on proximity. Assuming the two sellers want to maximise sales, where will the stands end up? Is this socially optimal?". The outcome can be explained by Hotelling's Law of Spatial Competition - there's a nice video on it here.

I didn't explain it very well, but my go-to is something like: 'There are 10 people in a room. Each is given a piece of paper with each of £1, £2, £3....£8, £9 and £10. The piece of paper can be exchanged for cash, or swapped with someone else. However, whilst you can look at your own number, you cannot communicate this to anyone else, and you cannot know what anyone else has. What is your strategy?'. Essentially, if everyone acts rationally, no one ends up trading.

Fermi estimates are part of the (not-so) new Core Maths qualification, so if you're after some resources , that might be a good avenue.

Discover Economics has some nice resources for those who want more information on what Econ courses are like. The Economics UCAS page is also pretty good.

The Economics Network keeps a list of Economics contacts at UK Universities. They aren't admissions contacts but might still be worth squirrelling away somewhere.

I think that's everything we referenced, but if we talk about something in the video and it's not clear, let me know and I'll add extra references!

Econ Ed Chat takes place the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm BST. All welcome.