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    Are my extracurriculars good enough for ICL and/or Cambridge, if I were to apply to do an engineering undergrad degree?
    I currently do/plan on doing:
    -Play piano
    -Being a tutor rep
    -Helping on taster day events
    -Running an engineering club at college
    -Entering competitions
    -Work experience
    -Gold DofE
    -Sports (tennis, ping pong, chess)
    -Gap year, doing voluntary work

    Thanks




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    Extra curriculars don't matter at all, just make sure that if you're applying to the most competitive universities like Imperial and Cambridge that your grades are similarly competitive.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Extra curriculars don't matter at all, just make sure that if you're applying to the most competitive universities like Imperial and Cambridge that your grades are similarly competitive.
    That's the thing. To look competitive, I need to have a good set of extracurriculars, coupled with A* and A grades. Otherwise, I won't stand out, since everyone else applying will almost certainly have equally good grades.
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    (Original post by Engineering Lad)
    That's the thing. To look competitive, I need to have a good set of extracurriculars, coupled with A* and A grades. Otherwise, I won't stand out, since everyone else applying will almost certainly have equally good grades.
    You defecated all over his chest man
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    On a Cambridge open day they said that they don't care about extracurricular and are far more concerned by things like grades and interviews (no idea about Imperial) but they do care IF they are relevant to the subject you want to study as they display a genuine interest in it and you can talk about them at interview so things like relevant work experience are worth doing
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    No it's not good enough, you need to know at least 7 languages.
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    No if you haven't won a Nobel prize yet then you don't stand a chance sorry...
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    (Original post by IShootLikeAGirl)
    On a Cambridge open day they said that they don't care about extracurricular and are far more concerned by things like grades and interviews (no idea about Imperial) but they do care IF they are relevant to the subject you want to study as they display a genuine interest in it and you can talk about them at interview so things like relevant work experience are worth doing
    So what other extracurriculars do you suggest I do, which relate to engineering?
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    (Original post by Engineering Lad)
    So what other extracurriculars do you suggest I do, which relate to engineering?
    Do some reading so you'll be an engineering beast in your interview and stuff to mention in PS, work experience as i said, lecture/study days at colleges/universities, any societies or stuff like this: http://www.etrust.org.uk/eese.cfm universities love study days, lectures and educational schemes
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    (Original post by Engineering Lad)
    That's the thing. To look competitive, I need to have a good set of extracurriculars
    No, you don't, because admissions tutors couldn't care less about how well prospective engineers can play the piano. Grades are all that matter.
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    Agree with the above poster, extra-circulars that are music/art related aren't the most relevant things in the world. It would be far more beneficial if there was an engineering project or something of the sort instead.

    There needs to be something that shows why you want to do engineering and separates you from people who still think engineering involves a spanner, some bolts and a hard hat.
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    (Original post by Engineering Lad)
    That's the thing. To look competitive, I need to have a good set of extracurriculars, coupled with A* and A grades. Otherwise, I won't stand out, since everyone else applying will almost certainly have equally good grades.
    Cambridge have said that they don't care. However they probably will if it is related for example if you wanted to become a doctor and you were a St John cadet. What do you want to do? Also top unis look at UMS (% got in exam compared to others) generally they are looking for 93% UMS.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    No, you don't, because admissions tutors couldn't care less about how well prospective engineers can play the piano. Grades are all that matter.
    But an admissions tutor would certainly care about the fact that I've had work experience in the engineering industry, as well as having run my own engineering club. Since that shows I have a keen interest, as well as a passion for the subject, which is highly important that you make evident during an interview.
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    (Original post by Engineering Lad)
    But an admissions tutor would certainly care about the fact that I've had work experience in the engineering industry,
    Not particularly, no, as it doesn't prove that you are academically capable of passing the course (particularly important at the universities you have listed as their courses are amongst the most academic/theoretical in the country), which is the primary concern of admissions tutors.

    Work experience is more relevant for mature students who are seeking to enrol on the course from having previously worked in a related role, e.g. a technician. The whole PS and work experience thing on UCAS is largely a hangover from the days when polytechnics converted into universities and thus the polytechnic and university admissions systems were merged. The polytechnics had a section for a PS as a lot of applicants to them were mature students who maybe didn't have much academics. Universities didn't, as it wasn't relevant to them.

    as well as having run my own engineering club.
    Perhaps, depending on what you actually do in your club, but just make sure that your primary concern is your grades, because if these drop you'll miss your offer(s), and if you have high offers, which you will from the universities you've listed, then a dropped grade doesn't leave you much room to manoeuvre.

    Since that shows I have a keen interest, as well as a passion for the subject, which is highly important that you make evident during an interview.
    From what I've heard interviews (the ones where a decision is made based on the result of the interview) are largely based on maths and physics questions. Admissions tutors aren't going to admit someone who can talk the talk but not walk the walk.

    Overall it's not extra-curriculars I would be worried about if I were applying to Imperial or Cambridge.
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    As mentioned, just doing stuff is typically not important. You could do a thousand things which are completely useless for engineering and it wouldn't give you any benefit to the course or to your job prospects.

    You'd be better off talking about a couple of things and highlighting their importance, transferable skills and things which show you're the right person for that course. The engineering club at college would fit that bill in theory, but what exactly have you done and what was the outcome? You can use the CARL layout - Context, action, result, learning. Engineers are big on that!

    Look at the course content and match your skills to their profile. Is there a particular module you or the university are big on? Write about it and how you possess the skills to complete it. I don't even think I mentioned my DofE award (pretty much everyone has them). I wrote more about recent research and the future of engineering. I mentioned where we are, where we are going and where I will fit in and why that course will take me there.
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    (Original post by Engineering Lad)
    So what other extracurriculars do you suggest I do, which relate to engineering?
    Personally I think the error is thinking of them as extra curriculas - I mention a little (one sentence) about sport and D of E. But most of the things I had on mine that you are thinking of as extra curricula where very much engineering related.

    I had engineering education scheme, entering design competitions, engineering work experience, things that weren't directly school work but were very much engineering focused. But then at interview they just ask you about them at the start to get you to feel at ease they aren't actually interested in your answer (was pretty obvious at the time) - maths and physics questions on the other hand they care about a lot.
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    I'm going to slightly go against the grain of thought here, For the very top universities, everyone applying is going to have good grades - simply put, if you're not straight As, then you're not getting in.

    A lot of extra curriculars as utterly irrellevant, yes, but not all. Admissions tutors are there for the following reasons - to get the highest quality students, who will pay their fees for a full term (i.e. 4 years for an MEng), and go on for gainful employment to make the department look good.

    So if you have extra curriculars which help with those last things, then they can be an asset. So whilst a little teamwork and leadership is fine to mention it'd get you 1 pt whereas being involved with your engineering institute, approaching companies/institutes for sponsorships, and applying for science/engineering prizes will get you 10. (these points don't exist btw, but if they did).

    It's rare that people really know what they want to do after uni, but a healthy awareness of the options of what is available after university shows that you've researched engineering and are aware of what you're getting into (this is all part of being willing to stay there for the full term). Chartership routes, EngDs, PhDs - where do you see yourself in 3 years after uni type stuff. Don't BS - it'll be painfully obvious, but showing awareness is good.

    As has been said by all the others though - this stuff doesn't matter one bit if you don't make the grades. That is your first priority, as they will break your application. lack of extra-curriculars wont.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    No, you don't, because admissions tutors couldn't care less about how well prospective engineers can play the piano. Grades are all that matter.
    This. The general statement issued by top universities is that they don't care about extra-curriculars unless you can explain (reasonably) how that helps you with the subject you're applying for. The EES or Headstart for instance would look great on a personal statement. In contrast, playing the piano and playing sports is pretty much irrelevant. You could talk about how they show you have excellent time management I suppose, but it's really not a huge plus at all.
 
 
 
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