Do you need extracurricular activities to get into Oxbridge?

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Samii123
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#1
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#1
I'm in year 12 right now and I've been thinking of applying to oxford or Cambridge next year to do engineering. Which type? I'm not sure yet, but everyone has been telling me that on top of outstanding grades and a good personal statement, I need to do extracurricular activities like be apart of a sports team or join a club or something and that the other things alone won't be enough to get a place. The problem is that I just haven't done any of that but do you really need to do all that extracurricular stuff?

Btw, sorry if this was the wrong forum to post this in, I didn't know which one to put it in.
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ddrrzzeerr
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#2
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#2
Nah. They want the best academically. That is it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education...ctivities.html
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Michiyo
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#3
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#3
I would say yes.

Oxbridge get thousands of applicants with the best grades predicted. The only things they can use to choose between two people who got the same grades at AS and GCSE is to look at their personal statement (extracurriculars included), reference, and interview performance if applicable. This is especially true if your subject combination is very common, like Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics or Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry with a good grade in STEP. (Given that you want to study engineering, I can safely bet these are the A-levels you are taking.)

But here is the thing: your extracurriculars should be made relevant to your subject. You should emphasise the experiences and skills you gained from these extracurriculars and how they prepared you for your degree.

No matter how much Oxbridge say they do not care about extracurriculars, all the people who have been accepted into Oxbridge that I know had amazing extracurriculars. You need to stand out among the other swarm of students with the same grades as you; keep in mind your competition is very high. I know a girl who did every single relevant maths-related extracurricular possible, did work experience in two different firms, and other stunning extracurricular stuff who STILL got rejected by Oxford.

My best advice is for you to up your game and do some relevant extracurriculars.
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Samii123
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Michiyo)
I would say yes.

Oxbridge get thousands of applicants with the best grades predicted. The only things they can use to choose between two people who got the same grades at AS and GCSE is to look at their personal statement (extracurriculars included), reference, and interview performance if applicable. This is especially true if your subject combination is very common, like Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics or Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry with a good grade in STEP. (Given that you want to study engineering, I can safely bet these are the A-levels you are taking.)

But here is the thing: your extracurriculars should be made relevant to your subject. You should emphasise the experiences and skills you gained from these extracurriculars and how they prepared you for your degree.

No matter how much Oxbridge say they do not care about extracurriculars, all the people who have been accepted into Oxbridge that I know had amazing extracurriculars. You need to stand out among the other swarm of students with the same grades as you; keep in mind your competition is very high. I know a girl who did every single relevant maths-related extracurricular possible, did work experience in two different firms, and other stunning extracurricular stuff who STILL got rejected by Oxford.

My best advice is for you to up your game and do some relevant extracurriculars.
Do you think something like engineering work experience would be realistic? I have heard that engineering work experience is often quite hard to come by.

Correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Just because they had done extracurricular activities doesn't mean that it's the reason they got in. There could very well be many students who haven't done extracurricular activities and have got in, without actual numbers you can't really be sure of the influence it has.

Also, if extracurricular activities improve your chances so much and you say that the girl did as much relevant extracurricular activities as possible, then do you not think that the reason she didn't get a place was because of her statement or grades or interview performance? To me that suggests that if Oxbridge do value extracurricular activities in some way then it's valued quite low relative to everything else needed to get a place because if someone doesn't get accepted with an outstanding amount of extracurricular activities then Oxbridge must be setting their priorities in different areas
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HANNAHBENLOLO
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#5
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#5
No this isn't America and Oxbridge isn't Ivy League.

All you need is: high grades, excellent references and to demonstrate that you understand what subject you are applying for, and why you want to study it. If you meet those, then even the interview isn't that decisive. It's all about your application [compared to others].
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username2950448
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Michiyo)
I would say yes.

Oxbridge get thousands of applicants with the best grades predicted. The only things they can use to choose between two people who got the same grades at AS and GCSE is to look at their personal statement (extracurriculars included), reference, and interview performance if applicable. This is especially true if your subject combination is very common, like Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics or Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Chemistry with a good grade in STEP. (Given that you want to study engineering, I can safely bet these are the A-levels you are taking.)

But here is the thing: your extracurriculars should be made relevant to your subject. You should emphasise the experiences and skills you gained from these extracurriculars and how they prepared you for your degree.

No matter how much Oxbridge say they do not care about extracurriculars, all the people who have been accepted into Oxbridge that I know had amazing extracurriculars. You need to stand out among the other swarm of students with the same grades as you; keep in mind your competition is very high. I know a girl who did every single relevant maths-related extracurricular possible, did work experience in two different firms, and other stunning extracurricular stuff who STILL got rejected by Oxford.

My best advice is for you to up your game and do some relevant extracurriculars.
Ugh, this is terrible advice.

Unless the extracurricular activities are relevant to the subject to which you are applying for as an academic discipline, then they are simply not relevant, let alone necessary.

Mention what made you interested in X subject (avoid cliches...), how you have furthered that interest, your opinions on some stuff you have read in doing so, etc. Playing the flute and softball won't help you, knowing why you like your subject and illustrating evidence of engagement with it will.
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Chief Wiggum
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#7
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#7
Nope, decisions will be based on academics.
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samb1234
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Samii123)
I'm in year 12 right now and I've been thinking of applying to oxford or Cambridge next year to do engineering. Which type? I'm not sure yet, but everyone has been telling me that on top of outstanding grades and a good personal statement, I need to do extracurricular activities like be apart of a sports team or join a club or something and that the other things alone won't be enough to get a place. The problem is that I just haven't done any of that but do you really need to do all that extracurricular stuff?

Btw, sorry if this was the wrong forum to post this in, I didn't know which one to put it in.
Do extracurricular activities because you want to do them, not because you think it's going to give you a better chance, The admissions process is about identifying the candidates who can do well academically at uni, and ultimately that is all that really matters. If you have extracurriculars directly related to your subject then that might help you a bit but again isn't needed, and things like the fact you played football once a week on a friday for 2 weeks really aren't going to come into their decision at all.
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Doones
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Samii123)
I'm in year 12 right now and I've been thinking of applying to oxford or Cambridge next year to do engineering. Which type? I'm not sure yet, but everyone has been telling me that on top of outstanding grades and a good personal statement, I need to do extracurricular activities like be apart of a sports team or join a club or something and that the other things alone won't be enough to get a place. The problem is that I just haven't done any of that but do you really need to do all that extracurricular stuff?

Btw, sorry if this was the wrong forum to post this in, I didn't know which one to put it in.
No. Extracurriculars (DofE, being captain of a sport, volunteering in a local charity) are absolutely not relevant for Oxbridge*. Supercurriculars, ECs that are directly relevant to your course, can be helpful but are not required.

Engineering work experience, for example, is fairly hard to get so you will not be disadvantaged if you don't have any.

The absolutely most important things are having strong academics and a good interest in your intended course.

Also, to the poster that mentioned STEP, yes Maths is v important for Engineering but only 1 or 2 colleges at Cambridge have a STEP requirement.

*But of course you can do these things because you want to, just not to "impress" Oxbridge admissions.

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Ayman!
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#10
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#10
Extracurriculars – most probably not.

Supercurriculars – definitely!
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Samii123
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#11
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#11
Thanks for all the advice everyone, very helpful!
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Min.1
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#12
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#12
i hope you're telling the truth , because i was graduated from a community school and i havent done much of extracurricular activities about my a level subjects but the ive got a good grade for a level and also gcse so i was thinking to apply for grammar school for sixth form in order to apply for Oxbridge.Do you think that will be possible?
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