Do extra-curricular activities actually matter on application forms? Watch

im so academic
Badges: 13
#41
Report 8 years ago
#41
(Original post by wdywuk)
In 15 or so years processing application forms I never ever made a decision based on the PS. A quick glance to see if they played any decent level of sport was as much attention as they got ..and maybe a quick read before an interview.

If applicants did what they actually claimed this country would be in great shape.....

Similarily, the reference. We did a survey a few years ago and approx 70% of all applicants ended up with lower grades than were predicted. I also lost count of the number of references that were identical, with just the name changed (and sometimes the name hadn't been changed!).

I'm sure there are a lot of universities who do read each and every PS but as more and more universities move to central admissions where the form is processed by someone a fairly lowly admin person, who is not in a position to comment on the relevance of the PS to the course applied for........

When UCAS introduced the "plagiarism" report a few years ago for the PS, I campaigned for it also to flag up "plagiarised" (used more than once)references
I take it that, in your experience as an admissions tutor (so to speak), achieved grades were more important than the PS/reference/predicted grades due to the fact that it is not entirely accurate?
reply
ByronicHero
  • PS Reviewer
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#42
Report 8 years ago
#42
If it is relevant to your subject, or demonstrates qualities that will clearly aid your studies then yes; if not, then probably not. Of course it is hard to say as few if any of the people commenting here will be involved in university admissions and it will ultimately depend on who looks at your application and what they are or are not looking for.
0
reply
overtherainbow
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#43
Report 8 years ago
#43
for my course at least, (vet) the ECs were a good way of proving that i could work with people in the final job as communication is pretty important as my sciencey a levels could have meant i was the wrong type of person. Also i have no idea how i was meant to answer the nottingham questionaire (vet and maybe medicine) without examples from a job, or some form of EC. Grades are much more important but it definately depends on the subject and the uni, my bristol interview was pretty much entirely on ECs and work experience
0
reply
boba
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#44
Report 8 years ago
#44
I dunno about for university but my dad hires people and he said he would never hire anyone who didn't have any so maybe its better to have some anyway
0
reply
nulli tertius
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#45
Report 8 years ago
#45
(Original post by wdywuk)
In 15 or so years processing application forms I never ever made a decision based on the PS. A quick glance to see if they played any decent level of sport was as much attention as they got ..and maybe a quick read before an interview.

If applicants did what they actually claimed this country would be in great shape.....

Similarily, the reference. We did a survey a few years ago and approx 70% of all applicants ended up with lower grades than were predicted. I also lost count of the number of references that were identical, with just the name changed (and sometimes the name hadn't been changed!).

I'm sure there are a lot of universities who do read each and every PS but as more and more universities move to central admissions where the form is processed by someone a fairly lowly admin person, who is not in a position to comment on the relevance of the PS to the course applied for........

When UCAS introduced the "plagiarism" report a few years ago for the PS, I campaigned for it also to flag up "plagiarised" (used more than once)references
If you exclude the personal statement and reference you are left with school, actual grades, predicted grades and possibly (but increasingly improbably) interview.

I believe you are an engineer in which case you may still be able to make meaningful distinctions based on past and predicted grades in relevant school subjects.

However for many humanities subjects at good universities, admissions tutors are faced with an increasing number of applicants with near perfect scores. Furthermore should one really prefer for a history degree the A* historian who also has an A in A level psychology over the A* historian with a B in A level chemistry?

If they don't try to make something of the PS and reference what are they left with?
0
reply
username457532
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#46
Report 8 years ago
#46
(Original post by im so academic)
But does it actually make you a better physicist?

Remember 17 year olds are applying for undergraduate (physics) courses; I'm sure the majority of them will not be explaining their new theories in any time soon (!!!).

When you say "it had taught me not to give up when I struggle at something", someone who takes AEA/STEP early and gets a Distinction/S respectively also shows that, in conjunction with showing your mathematical capabilities for a course such as Physics. That is worth far more than a Duke of Edinburgh.
I applied to all masters courses. I explained that afterwards I hope to study for a PhD and then be a research physicist. As well as this, my top two choices have placements which specify that a large proportion of the students have their research published. And anyway, whether it's in the next five years doesn't matter, I've got that confidence now because I've already done it.

Yes, I could have done that. But as a depressed teenager I try not to take too many extra exam as I'll get stressed and make myself ill again. As well as not giving my A Levels the right amount of attention.

Kayaking was a real struggle - I have Raynauds (which reduces circulation in my fingers and toes by a lot even when it's not very cold) although I didn't know it then. I struggled with the amount of pain and cried because I couldn't move my fingers and it was February so the river was freezing. Nothing helped. But I carried on. I've never felt so proud of myself in my life. Maybe it seems like nothing to you, but it means so much to me.

It's all made me into a better, more mentally healthy person. I think that makes me a better physicist.
0
reply
im so academic
Badges: 13
#47
Report 8 years ago
#47
(Original post by SmallTownGirl)
I applied to all masters courses. I explained that afterwards I hope to study for a PhD and then be a research physicist. As well as this, my top two choices have placements which specify that a large proportion of the students have their research published. And anyway, whether it's in the next five years doesn't matter, I've got that confidence now because I've already done it.

Yes, I could have done that. But as a depressed teenager I try not to take too many extra exam as I'll get stressed and make myself ill again. As well as not giving my A Levels the right amount of attention.

Kayaking was a real struggle - I have Raynauds (which reduces circulation in my fingers and toes by a lot even when it's not very cold) although I didn't know it then. I struggled with the amount of pain and cried because I couldn't move my fingers and it was February so the river was freezing. Nothing helped. But I carried on. I've never felt so proud of myself in my life. Maybe it seems like nothing to you, but it means so much to me.

It's all made me into a better, more mentally healthy person. I think that makes me a better physicist.
But it is not fair to use your experience to discriminate against other candidates. You may think it makes you a better physicist, but that is your subjective opinion.

The fact is, your mathematical capabilities and your ability to express physical ideas in mathematical contexts etc are far more important than "kayaking", which many candidates will not have the opportunity to do so.

For you to imply that that is something useful in a Physics application, well, frankly, it is not for the top universities.
reply
username457532
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#48
Report 8 years ago
#48
(Original post by im so academic)
But it is not fair to use your experience to discriminate against other candidates. You may think it makes you a better physicist, but that is your subjective opinion.

The fact is, your mathematical capabilities and your ability to express physical ideas in mathematical contexts etc are far more important than "kayaking", which many candidates will not have the opportunity to do so.

For you to imply that that is something useful in a Physics application, well, frankly, it is not for the top universities.
So I have had opportunities, some people will have had less, others more, others just different. I can use all I have to show who I am. Honey, baby, sweetheart... If you'd read my other posts I said I'd done other physics things: built a small rocket for a competition at school, taken part in a Royal Navy engineering day, competed in the Space Olympics, as well as writing what I'd learnt from my AS coursework.

I can say whatever I want about whether something's made me a better physicist. I'm not comparing myself to anyone else, only to the person I am now that I've done this stuff.

Many candidates don't have the chance to do many things. Doesn't make what someone else has done unfair. And truthfully, I'm the one with the uni offers, not you. So evidently they liked my PS...
1
reply
xoxAngel_Kxox
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#49
Report 8 years ago
#49
(Original post by SmallTownGirl)
Kayaking was a real struggle - I have Raynauds (which reduces circulation in my fingers and toes by a lot even when it's not very cold) although I didn't know it then.
Not got anything constructive to say, but just that I have Raynauds too, it's horrible :-(

I used to be in a brass band, but I had to leave because we did a lot of marching and as you can probs imagine having your hands clamped around very cold metal really doesn't help!!
0
reply
username457532
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#50
Report 8 years ago
#50
(Original post by Gemma :)!)
Not got anything constructive to say, but just that I have Raynauds too, it's horrible :-(

I used to be in a brass band, but I had to leave because we did a lot of marching and as you can probs imagine having your hands clamped around very cold metal really doesn't help!!
Yeah... I can imagine that hurts. A lot. Oh well, I have an impressive collection of tights since I realised that even in summer sometimes I can't not cover my toes...
0
reply
Valindrius
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#51
Report 8 years ago
#51
Personally, I don’t actually have any extracurricular interests in the sense of sport, musical instrument, societies, trips, etc since I think they’re a considerable waste of time unless they help me gain knowledge, act as effective stress relief mechanisms, or are pertinent to my academic development.

For example, I do visit the local Crown, Magistrates, and County Courts regularly; read legal philosophy and legal history; read the New Law Journal or Weekly Law Reports; participate in legal debates; etc which some might see as EC yet I see as the bare minimum needed to show interest in my subject if time is available for it given the lack of physical energy they need. I also don't think they should be a truly important factor since many people have to work during education in order to survive, therefore don't have the time necessary for such things.

As a result, I did mention the ideas, developments, and changes of perspective that such things have introduced me to, but specifically stated in my Cambridge SAQ that I can’t ‘windsurf whilst writing sonnets’ as I don’t think that a great deal of social or physical activity is needed to progress as a person. I take a holistic perspective and think that I can’t singularly identify events that led to the acquisition of so-called ‘skills’ since they are a part of who I am thus are derived from the infinitely unpredictable causal ripples that have created me as I exist today.

It is primarily by thought alone that I have changed, rather than actual experience. Sometimes experiences can trigger change but a person with sufficient imagination and open-mindedness to warrant a place on a high level course should surely be able to conceive of hypotheticals that challenge them and cause change without the need for pretentious trips.

Naturally, others may rightly and rationally disagree with that as I don’t claim to have found an absolute. I just think that everything should link back to your subject in a direct manner, rather than a contrived one. I’ve been involved in leading charities but I didn’t claim, say, that it increased my empathy skills thereby allowing me to appreciate the emotive issues attached to Law, as such is presumptuous, self-righteous, and arrogant to my mind.

Overall, I take the perspective that seems to be suggested by Robert Frost, whilst I may think that I took the path less travelled, they are both ‘equally worn’ and lead to the same outcome. Anyhoo, sorry for the rant, but this is why I loathe the concept of 'extra-curricular' factors.
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • Cranfield University
    Cranfield Forensic MSc Programme Open Day Postgraduate
    Thu, 25 Apr '19
  • University of the Arts London
    Open day: MA Footwear and MA Fashion Artefact Postgraduate
    Thu, 25 Apr '19
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
    Undergraduate Open Day - Llandaff Campus Undergraduate
    Sat, 27 Apr '19

Have you registered to vote?

Yes! (314)
37.83%
No - but I will (64)
7.71%
No - I don't want to (62)
7.47%
No - I can't vote (<18, not in UK, etc) (390)
46.99%

Watched Threads

View All