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    Heya,

    As someone who will be filling in my UCAS form this October, I was just wondering - how important is the non-academic side of your PS? I'm hoping to apply to some of the top universities (good AS results permitting!) to study English Literature and have pretty good GCSE grades (8 A*s, 1 A, 1 C *boo hiss on Art*), but I've never done a great deal of extra-curricular activities such as D of E, helping a younger student, taking part in clubs, achieving grades for instruments etc etc. I'm passionate about reading and my subject, and have done a few things such as helping out with the school newsletter (we don't have a student newspaper), becoming a prefect and Young Enterprise, and will also be attending a summer school for English this summer. However, I'm worried that this won't be enough if I'm considering applying to prestigious unis such as Cambridge, York, Durham etc. I know that contributing to university life is an important part of becoming a student and would be willing to get involved in societies more catered to my interests when there (at secondary school the only clubs seem to be for sport or music), but as a course is more centred around what you're actually doing in it rather than if you're a part of juggling society or whatever, is this going to be a big problem for me? Is there anything in particular I should be considering doing over the summer to boost my application, or would it be wiser to concentrate on reading up even more on certain authors so that I can talk more fluently about English in an interview? Any help would be realllllly appreciated, thanks!
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    The non academic side of your PS is kind of important, as it shows how well rounded you are, by doing academics followed by extra curricular activities. The extra curricular activities you mentioned above (i.e. D of E, helping younger students, etc..) is good enough already. Universities value the D of E award as part of the extra curricular activities stuff.

    To boost your application, you should read books from famous author's.

    If you are not sure what to write in your personal statement, refer to this website (scroll down until you see a title 'peresonal statements'): http://www.ucas.ac.uk/apply/applying_online.pdf
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    Although Camb, Durham etc. will be interested in seeing that you are a well-rounded person, what is by far the most important is academic ability and commitment (as far as I've heard, applying the same year as yourself). My plan so far is to detail only extra-curriculars that actually have some relevance to my subject (rather than some peoples' "I work in an orphanage with small children at weekends", which seems to have no meaning whatsoever), and then explain exactly how it relates to my subject.

    With some universities, you can get away with, or may even be encouraged to put down slightly less relevant and more obscure hobbies (A speaker from Manchester Metropolitan recalled with fondness a statement he received from a girl who listed one hobby as "belly-dancing"). However, although they may help you to stand out at some institutions, it's much more likely to be ability that discriminates at the top- so if it's not relevant, don't put it down.

    Just my two cents.
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    Hm.. you're off to a good start with your prefectship, enterpise thing, and newsletter, but yeah.. you may have to "buff" it up a bit to make it look better. One thing that springs to mind is charity. A couple of weekends for sever charities (really going for name value here) dosent take up too much time and if you can sustain it for a couple months then youve got something really nice stuff to put in your PS. Charitble actions I found were extremely pliable to fit your situation.. so if youre short, I would suggest doing some hours at your local red cross, salvation army, etc etc
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    I think you'll be fine There will of course be applicants with more extra-curricular activities than you, but I don't think they're that important, and certainly won't compensate for inferior academic performance. Top universities should be much more interested in your academic achievement/potential than what else you've done. Anyway, you already have some perfectly good extra-curricular activities; helping out with the student newsletter, Young Enterprise and the summer school. Trust me, that's miles better than what I have! You should concentrate on wider reading to prepare for your Cambridge interview. Universities probably get quite bored of reading the same things over and over again, so activities related to your subject, such as the summer school and maybe an essay competition or public speaking, would make you stand out.
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    Trust me when I say I have done very little extra curricular activity in my lifetime, my school does not encourage extra curricular activities really... I am good at scrabble but the closest scrabble club to me is miles away, I play tennis but prefer badminton...is there a badminton club where I live? Of course there isn't ..

    I've occassionally helped out with business and enterprise, and am planning to be quite active in advancing the schools G&T provision next term (Probably becoming NAGTY student councillor), but that is in the future and I can not really say that it is something which I have already done.

    But one thing which I always joke that will make me stand out from other Oxbridge candidates is that I am not in a debating society and I do not play a musical instrument, wow I am special :p:

    Does reading course related books count as Extra curricular activity?
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    (Original post by KAISER_MOLE)
    Trust me when I say I have done very little extra curricular activity in my lifetime, my school does not encourage extra curricular activities really... I am good at scrabble but the closest scrabble club to me is miles away, I play tennis but prefer badminton...is there a badminton club where I live? Of course there isn't ..

    I've occassionally helped out with business and enterprise, and am planning to be quite active in advancing the schools G&T provision next term (Probably becoming NAGTY student councillor), but that is in the future and I can not really say that it is something which I have already done.

    But one thing which I always joke that will make me stand out from other Oxbridge candidates is that I am not in a debating society and I do not play a musical instrument, wow I am special :p:

    Does reading course related books count as Extra curricular activity?
    lol, :laugh: ! Yep I'd say I'm special in that I don't play an instrument or a sport

    I would've thought so, surely reading around your subject is the best extra curricular thing you can do as it shows passion for your subject, keeps you up to date and makes you perform better at interview
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    (Original post by *Bethany*)
    lol, :laugh: ! Yep I'd say I'm special in that I don't play an instrument or a sport
    Me too! We should start our own society lol :p:

    (Original post by *Bethany*)
    I would've thought so, surely reading around your subject is the best extra curricular thing you can do as it shows passion for your subject, keeps you up to date and makes you perform better at interview
    That's good to hear- at least I have my wider reading to write about, when I actually do it, that is!
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    (Original post by kellywood_5)
    Me too! We should start our own society lol :p:



    That's good to hear- at least I have my wider reading to write about, when I actually do it, that is!
    hehehe Society for the Sporting and Musically Challenged - although that doesn't sound v positive does it Perhaps the title should convey the feeling that we are just *too good* at every other aspect of life to bother with sport or music...hm... I was ok at the clarinet and really enjoyed playing it but gave up official lessons in favour of teaching myself ( so no grades past 2 or 3-I forget) cos I was sick of missing English lessons for it! As for sport I'm just rubbish

    Yep - what with PS's to write and books to read, parties and holidays to go on, I think we're in for a jam packed holiday.....
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    (Original post by *Bethany*)
    hehehe Society for the Sporting and Musically Challenged - although that doesn't sound v positive does it Perhaps the title should convey the feeling that we are just *too good* at every other aspect of life to bother with sport or music...hm... I was ok at the clarinet and really enjoyed playing it but gave up official lessons in favour of teaching myself ( so no grades past 2 or 3-I forget) cos I was sick of missing English lessons for it! As for sport I'm just rubbish

    Yep - what with PS's to write and books to read, parties and holidays to go on, I think we're in for a jam packed holiday.....
    You are; I don't have any parties or holidays, just the PS and reading lol. It's more than I had to do after my GCSEs though and that was even longer!
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    I haven't got room to put in my sport and music: some things are more important to put down than whether you won the county champtionship, like how much you love your subject. This apparently befuddled my teacher.

    I'm taking English like you, so I've just put in the relevent things. Drama, public speaking, etc. These are things that you could probably get into over the summer, outside of school, if you really wanted to. But basically, wider reading. We were advised to pick an author and read three or four of their works, and then just read whatever came into our paths.
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    (Original post by Unpossible)
    it's much more likely to be ability that discriminates at the top- so if it's not relevant, don't put it down.

    Just my two cents.
    I disagree with that. Because your top universities will be getting so many applications with AAAA and AAA or AAAB that this makesi t impossible to 'discriminate' against ability because practically everyone is at the same level (or rather, everyone is in the level which the A levels show) As well as showing that a person is rounded, extra curricular activites show that a person didnt dedicate their whole life to getting their results. i.e. I think top unis will prefer someone who got AAAB but plays rugby wice a week and does a soup run to someone who got AAAA but only because they worked night and day to get it. And I think its important to put anything that you can down onto the form. Just because it doesny 'seem' relevant it doenst matter, it demostrates that you as a person are more than just 3 or 4 exam results.
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    (Original post by UpliftMof0)
    I disagree with that. Because your top universities will be getting so many applications with AAAA and AAA or AAAB that this makesi t impossible to 'discriminate' against ability because practically everyone is at the same level (or rather, everyone is in the level which the A levels show) As well as showing that a person is rounded, extra curricular activites show that a person didnt dedicate their whole life to getting their results. i.e. I think top unis will prefer someone who got AAAB but plays rugby wice a week and does a soup run to someone who got AAAA but only because they worked night and day to get it. And I think its important to put anything that you can down onto the form. Just because it doesny 'seem' relevant it doenst matter, it demostrates that you as a person are more than just 3 or 4 exam results.
    I guess that's true, but if you're talking the *very* top, ie Oxbridge, extra-curricular activities probably aren't that important because they can use submitted work, interviews and their own written tests.
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    (Original post by Mata)
    I haven't got room to put in my sport and music: some things are more important to put down than whether you won the county champtionship, like how much you love your subject. This apparently befuddled my teacher.

    I'm taking English like you, so I've just put in the relevent things. Drama, public speaking, etc. These are things that you could probably get into over the summer, outside of school, if you really wanted to. But basically, wider reading. We were advised to pick an author and read three or four of their works, and then just read whatever came into our paths.
    Strongly seconded. I didn't actually realise how little room you have on a statement - plus I have to describe my feelings towards *two* subjects, English and History (they should allow more room for that...) So the plan is: para1 = why I love the subjects and how I've pursued them in my own time (lectures at universities&wider reading mainly); para 2 = brief description of how my other two AS levels tie in; para 3 = extra curricular related to my subjects e.g. public speaking&debating, passionate interest in theatre esp. Shakespearean (v. brief description of my favourite performance so far and why it was inspirational), program for able students thing which allowed us to engage in some great thought provoking lectures and discussion groups with experts and other colleges; para 4 = if there's room, brief description of general hobbies.

    Do you agree with that quote on semi colons btw? I love semi colons :eek: hehe
 
 
 

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