Join TSR now and get answers to all your questions about uniSign up now

Extra-Curricular Activities in Personal Statement Watch

University Navigation

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi All,

    I want to study maths at Cambridge and was drafting my personal statement due in a couple of months (just to get it out of the way). Reading around the forums, I see that extra-curricular activities mean nothing unless they are related to the course you wish to take. One big extra-curricular activity of mine is chess and I was wondering if this is related enough to maths to be put in my personal statement?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by soupram)
    Hi All,

    I want to study maths at Cambridge and was drafting my personal statement due in a couple of months (just to get it out of the way). Reading around the forums, I see that extra-curricular activities mean nothing unless they are related to the course you wish to take. One big extra-curricular activity of mine is chess and I was wondering if this is related enough to maths to be put in my personal statement?
    With something like chess and maths, I don't think it's too difficult to write about their common ground (problem solving, logical thinking, etc) , why you love them and how/what you've learning in either which benefits your understanding of the other, etc.
    For Cambridge, PS is not about a list of things you've done, but about what/how you've learned from it that's beneficial to your future study at uni.

    But you only write one PS which is looked at by other unis on your UCAS application. And there're universities that value extracurricular things than Cambridge, so don't write it to cater only for Cambridge. You'll have SAQ to write specifically for Cambridge.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I attended a talk by a Cambridge applications person who said something like

    "All hobbies, even unrelated ones, can help your personal statement if it means you can go 'as well as getting these great achedemic results, I still managed to find time to fit in these hobbies'"

    I'm paraphrasing a bit, it was a couple of years ago but that's the general gist.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jonzza_81)
    I attended a talk by a Cambridge applications person who said something like

    "All hobbies, even unrelated ones, can help your personal statement if it means you can go 'as well as getting these great achedemic results, I still managed to find time to fit in these hobbies'"

    I'm paraphrasing a bit, it was a couple of years ago but that's the general gist.
    That's very different from what I'd heard from Admission Tutors at Open Days and in this forum, though......
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by vincrows)
    That's very different from what I'd heard from Admission Tutors at Open Days and in this forum, though......
    It probably came with the caveat that, beyond showing that you didn't spend your entire time studying, there's no pont going into a huge amount of detail if it's unrelated to your degree. (OP: chess is related enought to be worth at least a couple of lines).
    I'm just quoting from what I was told. Most admissions tutors probably see a lot of applicaions that go on way too long about an irrelvant hobby which is why they'd sound like they're trying to ward you off it. But any hobby one has been committed to and put a lot of time into should be worth at least a small mention; unless one's personal statement is already so brimming with great stuff that something else would have to be pushed out to get it under the word count.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jonzza_81)
    It probably came with the caveat that, beyond showing that you didn't spend your entire time studying, there's no pont going into a huge amount of detail if it's unrelated to your degree. (OP: chess is related enought to be worth at least a couple of lines).
    I'm just quoting from what I was told. Most admissions tutors probably see a lot of applicaions that go on way too long about an irrelvant hobby which is why they'd sound like they're trying to ward you off it. But any hobby one has been committed to and put a lot of time into should be worth at least a small mention; unless one's personal statement is already so brimming with great stuff that something else would have to be pushed out to get it under the word count.
    Are you sure it's not at other university you heard that?
    I'm sure there're many universities which has a similar view like that.

    What I remember very clearly is that one admission tutor saying 'we get a lot of questions about how/if having done extracurricular might help with application for Cambridge. The simple answer is, no, it won't very much' because in reality many of their competitive applicants are all capable of managing both study and some kinds of hobby/other activities (and/or well as being a head boy/girl/prefect, done DoE, etc. etc), and to a very high level in many cases. So having a lot of non-academic stuff won't make you stand out among them. If there're 2 candidates with identical academic profile and one has achieved Grade 8 in piano (or whatever) and the other doesn't, and if they are competing for the very last place of offer, it's possible the former may (the admission tutor actually emphasized 'may' very strongly) be in a better position, but in reality two (or more) candidates having identical academic profile never happens and because they look at all aspects of your application individually and holistically, what really matters and what they're interested is what is related to the subject you're applying for.
    • TSR Support Team
    • Clearing and Applications Advisor
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jonzza_81)
    I attended a talk by a Cambridge applications person who said something like "All hobbies, even unrelated ones, can help your personal statement if it means you can go 'as well as getting these great achedemic results, I still managed to find time to fit in these hobbies'"
    I'm paraphrasing a bit, it was a couple of years ago but that's the general gist.
    I suspect you are paraphrasing a lot... that's contrary to Cambridge advice:
    https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....udents-prepare

    "How important are extra-curricular activities?

    As our admissions decisions are based on academic criteria, we expect to see evidence of students’ super-curricular activities and wider engagement with their area(s) of academic interest, such as reading and other exploration relevant to the course applied for.

    In addition, we look at how these activities demonstrate other characteristics that will aid students' transition to life at university, such as how they balance their academic and personal commitments, and have developed particular skills or qualities such as perseverance, independence, leadership or team-working.

    A student's participation (or not) in specific extra-curricular activities that are not relevant to the course applied for are not taken into account and do not affect their chances of being made an offer of a place at Cambridge."

    And for maths specifically (as per the OP) the PS is not very important at all.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    I suspect you are paraphrasing a lot... that's contrary to Cambridge advice:
    https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....udents-prepare
    Fair enough, I stand corrected. Maybe they've changed their adivce in the last few years or maybe I'm miremembering
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jonzza_81)
    Fair enough, I stand corrected. It appears they've changed their adivce in the last few years
    Be careful what you claim.
    Some of us have been here for a very long time.....

    It was at Open Day in 2008 (so quite a few years before you applied to universities) that I first heard what I mentioned above.........and the advice on the matter both on their website and by ATs in this forum have been constant all the time, too.
 
 
 
Poll
Is GoT overrated?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.