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    I want to apply to York, Durham, Leeds, Birmingham, Cambridge and Edinburgh in October for English/English&History, none of which have the reputation of being easy to get into. I noticed that a lot of people's statements posted on here include descriptions of extra curric such as model Parliaments, winning essay competitions, nationwide scale sport, instrumental skills, etc. Also, people stressed that universities want to see "what you can give them other than good grades".

    I no longer play an instrument, I've always enjoyed but frankly been pretty crap at sport, and my college don't seem to offer as many chances to enter competitions, etc as my old private school did. I did enter a debating competition organised by the Rotary and received a special letter from the organisers saying how impressed they were by my performance, but I can't really mention it other than to say I "participated" as I wasn't allowed to win - my third team member failed to turn up and so it would've been against the rules for us to go through Other than that, I've done very little academic extra curricular other than winning a mock trial thing and reading widely around my subjects.

    I know passion for your subject is the most important thing, and I have plenty of that - but to what extent are these extra curricular things taken into account by university tutors? I'm just worried that not being able to write an impressive paragraph about my extra curricular in my PS will let me down.
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    You should mention these things as it shows your interest in skills that might be useful for your degree, and that you're well rounded, however i don't believe it to be that important in a personal statement. I had a list of extra curricular activities as long as my arm but it didn't really help me. I think it is much more importnat to show enthusiasm, talk about books you've read, your interests - show a variety of knowledge, perhaps even a paragraph as a mini essay for history or English to show your knowledge. xx
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    Totally agree with YJ (mousey). Personally, I don't do much organised stuff out of school, but that doesn't make me a boring person and doesn't mean I have no social skills or anything. Not having reams of e/cs didn't seem to affect my application, unless *that's* the reason Durham rejected me! :eek:
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    You should definitely try and mention other stuff - although extra-curric shouldn't take up more than 1 paragraph
    Could you take up a hobby over the summer?
    How long ago did you give up your instrument?
    Put in mock trial - i did!! :p: It "improved your public speaking and analytical skills and encouraged you to think on your feet"
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    hehe like the mock trial thing there

    I was wondering whether I should try to take up more things - I know people say it's really lame to take up activities just because it might help you to get into university rather than because you actually want to do it, but I genuinely would love to take up some new hobbies e.g. I'd love to start a college magazine, or join debating, or enter essay competitions or mock Parliaments. Unfortunately the fates seem set against me: I tried the first, and found in my apathetic college *no-one* else was interested ; debating society is during period F which is most people's free but due to a timetable clash I have a lesson then and they won't change it; I did public speaking but got screwed over as mentioned above ; and I don't know where you find out about competitions and things yourself.

    Any suggestions?
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    You can't be as bad as me- I have nothing to write about! All I've done in school apart from lessons is help out at the 6th form open evening, do toilet duty sometimes and I used to listen to Year 7 kids read in one of my frees. Nothing impressive at all really, and that sort of thing would probably be more suited to my reference than my personal statement. I've been asked to take part in the bar mock trials next year though, and I might see if I can help out in some lower school French lessons, so that should give me at least a small paragraph. I agree with what the others have said though; most universities won't be that bothered as long as you can show you do something apart from studying. Your academic achievement and potential and passion for your subject are still the most important things.
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    (Original post by kellywood_5)
    All I've done in school apart from lessons is...toilet duty sometimes.
    :cool:

    Thinking about what I just wrote above, I think extra-curricular activities related to your subject give you a distinct advantage. I had nothing related to geography outside of school really, and have never even been abroad (that's not exactly my fault though, is it?!).
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    I don't think you need a whole lot of extra-curricular activities to apply for UK universities. Compared to applicants to the Ivies in the US, you have a far easier time in that sense. Here's an example of one average Harvard application.
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    I lied at put down loads of BS about extracurricular activities. Like everyone else, I dont really do that much with myself.
    I made sure I knew a bit about each lie. For example, I said that I was a semi-pro hockey player playing for my district team. (Ive played hocked twice in my life). When asked about it in the interview, I made sure I knew what the latest matches were. Funny thing is, UCL was really impressed with it in the interview. I think its one of the reasons I got the offer!!
    Everyone lies to a certain extent in their PS. Just dont go overboard, like me.
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    (Original post by *Bethany*)
    I want to apply to York, Durham, Leeds, Birmingham, Cambridge and Edinburgh in October for English/English&History, none of which have the reputation of being easy to get into. I noticed that a lot of people's statements posted on here include descriptions of extra curric such as model Parliaments, winning essay competitions, nationwide scale sport, instrumental skills, etc. Also, people stressed that universities want to see "what you can give them other than good grades".

    I no longer play an instrument, I've always enjoyed but frankly been pretty crap at sport, and my college don't seem to offer as many chances to enter competitions, etc as my old private school did. I did enter a debating competition organised by the Rotary and received a special letter from the organisers saying how impressed they were by my performance, but I can't really mention it other than to say I "participated" as I wasn't allowed to win - my third team member failed to turn up and so it would've been against the rules for us to go through Other than that, I've done very little academic extra curricular other than winning a mock trial thing and reading widely around my subjects.

    I know passion for your subject is the most important thing, and I have plenty of that - but to what extent are these extra curricular things taken into account by university tutors? I'm just worried that not being able to write an impressive paragraph about my extra curricular in my PS will let me down.
    I did a rotary club presentation competiton-I didn't win but I still put it in my PS and wrote about how it enabled me to develop my communication skills etc. I then expanded upon this and wrote about how I have taken part in lots of debates (sat in the audience for a few) and stood for youth parliament election. Didn't get any votes but they don't know that!!!

    As you are applying for english why not focus your PS on showing off your english related backgroud...

    Just make sure that for any activities you write about you say why they are important and what skills they have given you!!

    Extra activities can't be the most important thing to have filling your personal statement. In mine I had one paragraph at the end about public speaking/debating/politics/prefect. The rest of the PS was about my subject and why I wanted to do it and what I had done in it. (although one paragraph of that was about my drama experience but my unis actually requested that-not in most subjects though!!! Just drama is a bit different)
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    Would young enterprise, ccf (army, navy, raf) and duke of edinburgh help for a course like History, for example? Just to show your involved at school? Not that i actually do any of those activities but still.... :rolleyes:
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    It would probably help for any course! Universities apparently want to see you have a life, so it would help with that part. Plus you can talk about the personal qualities you show through those activities e.g. ccf would give you leadership and responsibility, young enterprise helped you to take the initiative in doing something or another etc.
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    Thanks everyone your comments have been really useful. I don't want to tell outright lies about my extra curric, partly because I don't feel right about it and because I would be terrified of being caught out - not worth the risk! I think, having taken advice here into account, I'll probably concentrate on extra curricular relating to my subject - e.g. saying that debating, public speaking and Mock Trial helped me to build on my discussion based skills developed in class, independent thought, confidence, etc - then briefly sketch out one or two of my more interesting ( :confused: ) hobbies
 
 
 
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