This question will obviously differ for different subjects.For more clinical scientific subjects, you will not need to write about many books.
So what makes for the perfect personal statement in Economics?
The simple first answer to this question is genuineness and relevance.
Even when they do this, they should find a single issue to discuss concisely with references to the literature they have explored.
The candidate should convey an excitement and curiosity in discovering and discussing an issue in Economics applied to a current aspect of life.
If the student has already started the process of organising internships or other work experience related to Economics, this indicates, determination and maturity.
Admissions tutors hardly expect 17-year olds to have completed internships with Morgan Stanley before starting their personal statements but the process of networking can easily be started by attending seminars on Investment Management and Economics run by top universities such as UCL.Having said all this, Economics at university is all about mathematics and statistical analysis these days.This may change with time as assumptions of rationality and maximisation are abandoned but, for the time being, students without a strong mathematical or statistics background when entering university will be at a distinct disadvantage unless they are able to pick up mathematical concepts very quickly.A student would have to convey clearly their preference for both subjects as well as their aptitude in each rather than trying to write generically about both.In all, after completing the personal statement, a student should be able to look back and see that he or she has expressed why they are enjoying their current studies, what they have learned from professionals in the field, what economic issues concern them and what practical steps they have taken in terms of gaining future employment in the field.It is both a strength and a weakness of the UCAS system that one application covers all universities and so students should not be too concerned about differentiating between universities on their application.A more important point is perhaps the differentiation between courses when a student is applying for say Accounting and Finance as well as Economics at the same time.Examples of relevant issues are poverty in developed economies, the instability of financial markets and the economic impacts of migration but any issue, no matter how small, can be turned into a vehicle to convey the genuine enthusiasm of the candidate for Economics.The second essential quality in an Economics personal statement is evidence of initiative and forward planning in the field.In fact, many universities are more concerned with the aptitude of students for the Subject rather than their reasons for choosing particular universities.However, if a student wishes to mention the reasons for choosing particular institutions, it may be best to list a set of qualities which are common to his or her choices such as individual attention to student learning, good sports facilities, wide range of societies or good links to the financial services industry etc.