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    Hello!

    I'm applying for Cambridge this year for the HSPS course. I'm really passionate about the subject and have a keen interest in politics and international relations in real life. However, I've come to realise that I haven't got enough "super curriculars" to put on my personal statement. I've applied for the Sutton Trust summer school at Cambridge, and I went on the CUSU Shadowing Scheme with a HSPS student. What else could I do to make my super curriculars look more impressive? Any books that it would be good to read?

    Also, if anyone on here is a HSPS student/fellow applicant and wants to share tips about personal statements/interviews/anything then I'd be very grateful.

    Thanks!
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    Shadowing a student or merely studying are traditional things that everyone can do. My advice is to get some real-world experience, like an internship at the UN or Doctors without Borders or even a business, something you can really use to discuss and explain your observations. This will give you material for essays and a way to stand out at interview. Even the story of how you found or created a situation could be interesting.

    Our daughter was interested in archaeology, so we sought opportunities for her to pursue it. She started small, with brief internships locally (medieval sites in France), then she went to Israel twice to work on digs, one a summer camp and the next year as an assistant at an actual excavation, where she observed conflict between German sponsors and Israeli researchers on methodology as well as mastered some techniques herself. This dovetailed with her own research into the historical roots of Christianity, in particular the archaeology of the Bible and the search for the historical Jesus. This gave her concrete subjects for her essays and stimulated admissions officers to approach her about what she did. (Yes, she actually was asked to discuss the use of the Bible in archaeology, which journalists talk about in recent articles about oxbridge interviews.) She got an offer in HSPS.
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    (Original post by LordStark)
    Hello!

    I'm applying for Cambridge this year for the HSPS course. I'm really passionate about the subject and have a keen interest in politics and international relations in real life. However, I've come to realise that I haven't got enough "super curriculars" to put on my personal statement. I've applied for the Sutton Trust summer school at Cambridge, and I went on the CUSU Shadowing Scheme with a HSPS student. What else could I do to make my super curriculars look more impressive? Any books that it would be good to read?

    Also, if anyone on here is a HSPS student/fellow applicant and wants to share tips about personal statements/interviews/anything then I'd be very grateful.

    Thanks!
    You really do NOT need to have work experience unless you're applying for medicine.
    Most important thing is build up and strengthen your knowledge and analytic ability on what's happening in the world, both currently and historically, from objective/academic point of view.

    If you're main interest is in politics and international relations, a lot of reading on the subject should be good enough.
    I assume you already follow current affairs on newspapers and tv/radio news programmes (Newsnight? Daily Politics? There're many fantastic programmes on Radio 4 you shouldn't miss. Get BBC radio iPlayer app. You can download it and listen to them on the go)
    I'd also recommend reading The Economist every week (if you're not doing it already), at least, and lots of books. Or Time, Newsweek.

    Also there're some lectures/talks organised by university/think thank/research institute/etc. on the subject that is open to public, so it's worth attending those as many as possible not just for your PS but for your genuine interest, too.

    So read, read, and think about what you read. Try not to be judgemental and become too opinionated when you think about those. It's important to gain ability to observe and analyse things from objective and unbiased point of view because that's what they want to know if you're capable of.

    Those things would be enough if you do sufficiently and effectively. But if you really want to have a work experience, maybe you can try your local MP and see if he/she can give you some time yo spend with them in the office.
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    You really do NOT need to have work experience unless you're applying for medicine.
    Most important thing is build up and strengthen your knowledge and analytic ability on what's happening in the world, both currently and historically, from objective/academic point of view.

    If you're main interest is in politics and international relations, a lot of reading on the subject should be good enough.
    I assume you already follow current affairs on newspapers and tv/radio news programmes (Newsnight? Daily Politics? There're many fantastic programmes on Radio 4 you shouldn't miss. Get BBC radio iPlayer app. You can download it and listen to them on the go)
    I'd also recommend reading The Economist every week (if you're not doing it already), at least, and lots of books. Or Time, Newsweek.

    Also there're some lectures/talks organised by university/think thank/research institute/etc. on the subject that is open to public, so it's worth attending those as many as possible not just for your PS but for your genuine interest, too.

    So read, read, and think about what you read. Try not to be judgemental and become too opinionated when you think about those. It's important to gain ability to observe and analyse things from objective and unbiased point of view because that's what they want to know if you're capable of.

    Those things would be enough if you do sufficiently and effectively. But if you really want to have a work experience, maybe you can try your local MP and see if he/she can give you some time yo spend with them in the office.
    I am strongly of the opinion that if the EC is clearly relevant to your discipline, it can help the application.
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    (Original post by alcibiade)
    I am strongly of the opinion that if the EC is clearly relevant to your discipline, it can help the application.
    I'm not saying super-curricular (EC related to your subject), hence those suggestions I made for OP.
    I'm saying work experience is not necessary or required unless you're applying for medicine. And it is not my 'opinion' but I'm simply reiterating advices given by admission tutors/people in this forum many times.

    Do you know what the main purpose and target of programmes like Sutton Trust summer school or CUSU's Shadowing Scheme are for?
    It's great if you (or your parents) can afford to go to a trip abroad to have great experience like your daughter or have some connections in the industry/field that'd give you an opportunity for work experience, but not everyone is so lucky.

    So many applicants assume and worry they need to do something special and fancy to stand out. But you can explore and develop/strengthen knowledge and interest/passion in the subject well enough by just doing simple things like reading a lot and thinking critically about what's written in the books, etc. or other things as I memtioned. Important thing is how effectively you do it, not what you do it.
 
 
 
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