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    Hey
    I desperately want to apply for 2014 entry in physics, but have very little physics related extra-curricular activities, other than outside reading, whilst every other physics applicant on here seems to be entering competitions or going to summer schools etc. My question is, how much importance do the top universities place on this? I know Oxbridge only really care about academics, but what about the ones just below, such as Imperial, Durham, Manchester etc? If it makes any difference, my non-physics related extra-curricular is fairly sturdy, play football, part time job, football referee etc.
    Thanks in advance to anyone that replies!
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    I am on the same boat as you haha!
    My physics teacher told me that most uni's do not put much emphasis on extra curricular activities relating to physics but it would look good to mention it in your personal statement.
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    Work experience is much less relevant for physics than it is for something like medicine. I got offers from the three unis you mentioned above (Imperial, Durham and Manchester) and had no work experience or competitions. They care more about your interest for the subject, which is why I did outside reading (New Scientist, books) and also wrote two essays (one on cryptography which is maths tbf and another on quantum computing, both required plenty outside reading and research). I'd recommend you do the same or similar since it shows you have an interest and independancy and research skills.
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    Thank you both, the first for letting me know I'm not the only one, and the second for some good advice. If you don't mind me asking, how does one go about letting them know about the essay(s)? They don't ask for you to send item anything like that (as far as I know), did you just mention it in your PS?
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    They don't ask for it don't worry (at least they didn't for me or anyone I know) but you mention it in your PS like "to further my interest in quantum mechanics, I wrote a 2000 word essay on quantum computing blah blah blah". You're teacher will help you, don't worry. One thing though, I was asked about my projects at every interview, so be prepared to talk about them. They don't expect you to be experts, but to at least have done sufficient research and be able to talk about the projects and the main ideas so long as you genuinely do a project and look into it, you'll be fine.
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    Makes very little difference, it's a small advantage if you've done physics related work experience, but it's so hard to get it's hardly required. And if you've got sturdy other extra activities you'll be fine.

    Tip for personal statements: Make sure you talk about maths in there, and something like "i love the connection between maths and physics blah blah". The big step up in university physics is a lot more maths in the pure physics content, so they look for people who appreciate this and will be able to handle this.
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    (Original post by King Hotpie)
    Hey
    I desperately want to apply for 2014 entry in physics, but have very little physics related extra-curricular activities, other than outside reading, whilst every other physics applicant on here seems to be entering competitions or going to summer schools etc. My question is, how much importance do the top universities place on this? I know Oxbridge only really care about academics, but what about the ones just below, such as Imperial, Durham, Manchester etc? If it makes any difference, my non-physics related extra-curricular is fairly sturdy, play football, part time job, football referee etc.
    Thanks in advance to anyone that replies!
    I imagine what they want is to see various ways that prove your interest/aptitude for physics, whether that be through directly physics related ECs or not. For instance, in my PS I mentioned my chess playing, and I talked about the computational,analytic and intuitive aspect that it shared with the physical sciences. I imagine this would score more points that someone who just wrote "BTW, I spent 4 weeks last summer in CERN", without saying anything else about it, even though spending time at CERN is obviously a lot more directly related to physics.

    I also mentioned science articles I'd read, but again, talked about why they inspired/excited me. I talked about an experiment/project I had done in S6(Y13) chemistry, and how it felt to investigate an issue and find results myself.

    I got offers from KCL, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow. I'm on a Manchester foundation year ATM, so if I pass, then I'll also be able to progress onto 1st year at Manchester.

    If you'd like me to send you a copy of my PS, just let me know. It's obviously not going to be perfect, but it may be helpful.
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    (Original post by navennn)
    They don't ask for it don't worry (at least they didn't for me or anyone I know) but you mention it in your PS like "to further my interest in quantum mechanics, I wrote a 2000 word essay on quantum computing blah blah blah". You're teacher will help you, don't worry. One thing though, I was asked about my projects at every interview, so be prepared to talk about them. They don't expect you to be experts, but to at least have done sufficient research and be able to talk about the projects and the main ideas so long as you genuinely do a project and look into it, you'll be fine.
    Hi, if you don't mind me asking, what types of projects did you do, or what would you recommend a prospective physics applicant to do.

    I will be a mature student due to time out for my illness, I was wondering what types of things I could do to show my interest and dedication to physics.
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    (Original post by LadyJoka)
    Hi, if you don't mind me asking, what types of projects did you do, or what would you recommend a prospective physics applicant to do.

    I will be a mature student due to time out for my illness, I was wondering what types of things I could do to show my interest and dedication to physics.
    Myself, I wrote a maths essay (1750 words) on public key cryptography, however this was sort of compulsory, so while I was doing that I stumbled on quantum computing, so wrote another 2000 word physics essay on quantum computing. I also read new scientist, generally kept up to date with the world of physics but nothing too much.

    Showing interest is exactly what it says on the tin, so perhaps write an essay, read new scientist every now and again, try to do some further research into things you did from A level physics. If you want, pm me your email address and I can email you my personal statement/essays for some idea of what to do.

    Sorry for the ramble but I hope that helped, good luck with your application and pm me/reply if you need any help!
 
 
 
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