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    Apologies if this isn't the right place to post this.

    So I've just finished Y11 (predicted 10A*,1A at GCSE, also did AS French), but I'm now constantly concerned that I haven't really done much at all that will impress universities/employers in the future. I'm hoping to apply for maths (or possibly linguistics) at a top university (hopefully Oxbridge), but I've been spending far, far too much time concentrating on GCSEs, when I could have been doing more AS levels, volunteer work, etc. I've done UKMT individual challenges, my local uni's maths competitions, and Grade 3 Piano (low, I know) - but that's about it. Now, though, I have the whole summer ahead of me. Any ideas on what I could do to strengthen my university application whilst I have the time?Thanks in advance
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    (Original post by archipelaglobule)
    Apologies if this isn't the right place to post this.

    So I've just finished Y11 (predicted 10A*,1A at GCSE, also did AS French), but I'm now constantly concerned that I haven't really done much at all that will impress universities/employers in the future. I'm hoping to apply for maths (or possibly linguistics) at a top university (hopefully Oxbridge), but I've been spending far, far too much time concentrating on GCSEs, when I could have been doing more AS levels, volunteer work, etc. I've done UKMT individual challenges, my local uni's maths competitions, and Grade 3 Piano (low, I know) - but that's about it. Now, though, I have the whole summer ahead of me. Any ideas on what I could do to strengthen my university application whilst I have the time?Thanks in advance
    Don't worry you still have a year to do things to put on your application...
    I would say 1) either get a job or do volunteer work for sure, 2) Try and join a sports team, 3) Carry on playing piano you could do at least another grade in the next year and grade 3 is still a lot more than most people can do.

    Basically try and make yourself as well rounded as possible and with your top grades as well then you shouldn't have a problem getting in to the top unis....of course you can do more than these 3 things but these 3 are always solid and will make you an attractive candidate.
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    (Original post by archipelaglobule)
    Apologies if this isn't the right place to post this.

    So I've just finished Y11 (predicted 10A*,1A at GCSE, also did AS French), but I'm now constantly concerned that I haven't really done much at all that will impress universities/employers in the future. I'm hoping to apply for maths (or possibly linguistics) at a top university (hopefully Oxbridge), but I've been spending far, far too much time concentrating on GCSEs, when I could have been doing more AS levels, volunteer work, etc. I've done UKMT individual challenges, my local uni's maths competitions, and Grade 3 Piano (low, I know) - but that's about it. Now, though, I have the whole summer ahead of me. Any ideas on what I could do to strengthen my university application whilst I have the time?Thanks in advance
    Oxbridge applications are not strengthened by extra-curricular activities, nor are most academic degree course applications. Spend your time being immersed in the subject you wish to study, not spreading yourself thinly on irrelevant activities. Do extra-curricular things because you want to, not for an application.
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    (Original post by Carnationlilyrose)
    Oxbridge applications are not strengthened by extra-curricular activities, nor are most academic degree course applications. Spend your time being immersed in the subject you wish to study, not spreading yourself thinly on irrelevant activities. Do extra-curricular things because you want to, not for an application.
    So you don't think that playing the piano would be of help? I've heard conflicting information on this; some people seem to think that any extra-curricular activities are a bonus, and my school's Head of Sixth Form seems to think that anything that is even slightly relevant to the subject I want to study would be useful. And music and maths aren't entirely separate, after all.

    It's also difficult to know what to spend my time on if I'm not sure what I want to study.
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    (Original post by archipelaglobule)
    So you don't think that playing the piano would be of help? I've heard conflicting information on this; some people seem to think that any extra-curricular activities are a bonus, and my school's Head of Sixth Form seems to think that anything that is even slightly relevant to the subject I want to study would be useful. And music and maths aren't entirely separate, after all.

    It's also difficult to know what to spend my time on if I'm not sure what I want to study.
    No, I don't. If you are thinking of Oxbridge, take a look in the forum to see how this question has been answered before. If you don't know what to study, then spending the summer looking into both options would be a sensible starting point, so that you can direct your efforts accordingly. Spending your time doing random, unrelated things won't help you.

    Here's my sticky on applying for English:
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...6#post37765516
    It's not necessarily your subject and it's a bit old now, but I'm quoting it for the part about what the lecturer said about extra-curricular activities, and what she said holds true for other academic courses and top range universities. Do what you are interested in because you are interested in it. Being the world's best saxophone juggler will help you not one whit if you are applying for maths. And let's be honest, grade 3 piano is not a fantastic achievement, really, is it?
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    (Original post by archipelaglobule)
    Apologies if this isn't the right place to post this.

    So I've just finished Y11 (predicted 10A*,1A at GCSE, also did AS French), but I'm now constantly concerned that I haven't really done much at all that will impress universities/employers in the future. I'm hoping to apply for maths (or possibly linguistics) at a top university (hopefully Oxbridge), but I've been spending far, far too much time concentrating on GCSEs, when I could have been doing more AS levels, volunteer work, etc. I've done UKMT individual challenges, my local uni's maths competitions, and Grade 3 Piano (low, I know) - but that's about it. Now, though, I have the whole summer ahead of me. Any ideas on what I could do to strengthen my university application whilst I have the time?Thanks in advance
    Try and get work experience over the summer because places will fill up soon, and research taster courses and summer schools early (Sep to Dec). I missed the deadlines to a few I really wanted, then mention it if you do get in, in your personal statement as it shows you've taken the initiative to go to a place even though it is voluntary. My school says go out and volunteer at a charity shop...developing communication skills...becoming more confident talkting to customers..showing that you are wiling to help etc. I personally didnt do this, but many have and it will look good on your personal statement.

    What you need to do is link your passion and hobbies to the subject you intend to apply for and aspire to do. Read around the subject on various websites. Yes it' slightly early as you've just finished but get into activities around the start of year 12 as you will be busy studying for AS. Trust me A Level will be something else as year 2 has a paper covering content on everything over the two years.
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    (Original post by archipelaglobule)
    So you don't think that playing the piano would be of help? I've heard conflicting information on this; some people seem to think that any extra-curricular activities are a bonus, and my school's Head of Sixth Form seems to think that anything that is even slightly relevant to the subject I want to study would be useful. And music and maths aren't entirely separate, after all.

    Only do and include extracurriculars in your P.S. if they strengthen your academic profile and show the development of skills relevant to your field of study.

    A few good examples I could think of:
    Law - Debating, Model United Nations, European Youth Parliament, Law Essay Competitions, Going into court and following cases
    STEM - UKMT, Physics/Chemistry Olympiads, Cambridge Summer School(s)

    That's excluding reading around your subject and/or work experience (where appropriate).

    If you think that playing the piano is indeed relevant enough to mention on a personal statement, you will have to explicitly link the skills gained through music practice/reading/composition to maths. It's ultimately down to how much stuff you have to talk about - you may find yourself in a position where you have no directly relevant stuff to write about in your P.S. and therefore have to include less relevant material.
 
 
 
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