15-kumar-a
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I've got two years to build up a repertoire but I've only got a few maths competitions, bronze DofE and volunteering to put under my belt. Where should I start?
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by 15-kumar-a)
I've got two years to build up a repertoire but I've only got a few maths competitions, bronze DofE and volunteering to put under my belt. Where should I start?
What do you want to study? Maths?

You don't need DofE or volunteering. A personal statement is there to show why you want to study XYZ subject. That's it. You should be doing DofE/Volunteering for personal enjoyment, not for a personal statement.

A 'few maths competitions' is more than the vast majority of applicants.
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LeapingLucy
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What course are you applying for?

That should be your starting point. Your personal statement should be primarily about why you want to study that particular course - you need to be able to demonstrate your interest in that subject through books you've read, documentaries you've watched, podcasts you've listened to, talks you've attended or essay competitions you've entered etc.
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15-kumar-a
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(Original post by LeapingLucy)
What course are you applying for?

That should be your starting point. Your personal statement should be primarily about why you want to study that particular course - you need to be able to demonstrate your interest in that subject through books you've read, documentaries you've watched, podcasts you've listened to, talks you've attended or essay competitions you've entered etc.
I'm applying for Economics at Cambridge so I really need to stand out. However, I have virtually no competitions that I can include mostly because of lack of options/support. So I'm at a bit of a loss here. I'm still not entirely sure what kind of extracurriculars they want to see on it which is mostly why I'm struggling so much. Would an internship be a good place to start?
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aioheuiawe
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In regards to extra-curriculars, they are not important. You're more looking for super-curriculars imo. Things like books read, lectures attended, academic extras etc.
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LeapingLucy
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(Original post by 15-kumar-a)
I'm applying for Economics at Cambridge so I really need to stand out. However, I have virtually no competitions that I can include mostly because of lack of options/support. So I'm at a bit of a loss here. I'm still not entirely sure what kind of extracurriculars they want to see on it which is mostly why I'm struggling so much. Would an internship be a good place to start?
Competitions aren't essential. You can easily demonstrate your interest through reading books, watching documentaries, listening to podcasts. As you do these things, try to note down particular points that you find interesting, and draw connections between the things you learn. You'll soon find you're able to structure a personal statement around these.
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LeapingLucy
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And just FYI, Cambridge won't care about D of E or volunteering (unless it's economics-related). Your PS should be as economics-focused as possible.

If you go to a state school, have you looked into applying for Sutton Trust summer camps?
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Theloniouss
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It depends where you're applying and what for. I got offers from all my unis (including Cambridge). My personal statement consisted of: 4 books, 4 online courses and like, sport and music I guess? You really don't need so many things to talk about to write an effective personal statement.
(Applied for biology, if it's relevant)
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15-kumar-a
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(Original post by aioheuiawe)
In regards to extra-curriculars, they are not important. You're more looking for super-curriculars imo. Things like books read, lectures attended, academic extras etc.
Extremely sorry for the number of questions but do internships in finance count as super-curriculars?
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aioheuiawe
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(Original post by 15-kumar-a)
Extremely sorry for the number of questions but do internships in finance count as super-curriculars?
Perhaps, at a stretch. I wouldn't say they're super-curricular, but you could include it anyway. Finance isn't entirely economics so be careful there, don't get caught out. As long as you can link it . Internships are great nevertheless
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15-kumar-a
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(Original post by LeapingLucy)
And just FYI, Cambridge won't care about D of E or volunteering (unless it's economics-related). Your PS should be as economics-focused as possible.

If you go to a state school, have you looked into applying for Sutton Trust summer camps?
Yikes well there goes those years of volunteering. Oh well.

I go to a grammar school, would I qualify for the summer camps?

Edit: Just checked and yep I do. Thanks for telling me about them!

Last question (promise): If I get a job tutoring children in maths would that count for anything?
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15-kumar-a
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(Original post by Knortfoxx)
It depends where you're applying and what for. I got offers from all my unis (including Cambridge). My personal statement consisted of: 4 books, 4 online courses and like, sport and music I guess? You really don't need so many things to talk about to write an effective personal statement.
That's actually really helpful, thanks.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by 15-kumar-a)
That's actually really helpful, thanks.
Forgot to say, but it's worth noting I also talked about teaching myself half of further maths - Some colleges are definitely very into the "show how independent you are" stuff, and my maths teacher won't shut up about how impressive it is, so I imagine this will have also mattered.
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15-kumar-a
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(Original post by Knortfoxx)
Forgot to say, but it's worth noting I also talked about teaching myself half of further maths - Some colleges are definitely very into the "show how independent you are" stuff, and my maths teacher won't shut up about how impressive it is, so I imagine this will have also mattered.
Thank you! And wow, you taught yourself half an a-level subject, and the hardest one at that?? Incredibly impressive, teach me your ways!!!
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aioheuiawe
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Try and find out what you'll need for after the personal statement, and try and tailor it to that. If that makes any sense... E.g. I realised that maths was a very large part of my course, so purposefully read maths books to try and cater to this. In the end it didn't help me that much, since it turns out there was an unofficial requirement of further maths haha. But since I did this research, I knew this way earlier than rejection.

Just a quick note :d
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by 15-kumar-a)
Thank you! And wow, you taught yourself half an a-level subject, and the hardest one at that?? Incredibly impressive, teach me your ways!!!
Trick is, learn FS1 and FS2. They're the easiest modules to learn from the textbook (but most - if not all - unis will be unaware of this)

Edit: the most important thing, however, is to link everything you do to the course you've chosen. The links don't even have to be true - they just have to make sense. For example, the main reasons I took stats are because I found it easy and I hated mechanics (which everyone else was doing), but it was very easy to link stats to biology, so I did.
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royalty1702
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(Original post by 15-kumar-a)
I've got two years to build up a repertoire but I've only got a few maths competitions, bronze DofE and volunteering to put under my belt. Where should I start?
Passion is key! Books articles and lectures are the key! Volunteering and DofE aren’t of interest to top unis. Be as relevant as you can. Also, are you in year 11 because I don’t think I knew what a personal statement was in y11!
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15-kumar-a
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(Original post by royalty1702)
Passion is key! Books articles and lectures are the key! Volunteering and DofE aren’t of interest to top unis. Be as relevant as you can. Also, are you in year 11 because I don’t think I knew what a personal statement was in y11!
I am in year 11 but to get to top unis (Oxbridge) our school has a selection system within our sixth form so there's extra competition! Because of this many students have started preparing their personal statements and getting interview training in year 10 so technically, I'm a bit behind. It's such a shame for volunteering to not be considered though as it's an amazing thing to do but oh well!
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15-kumar-a
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Thank you all for helping me with my questions, a lot of my doubts are now cleared and I have a clear direction as well.
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15-kumar-a
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(Original post by Knortfoxx)
Trick is, learn FS1 and FS2. They're the easiest modules to learn from the textbook (but most - if not all - unis will be unaware of this)

Edit: the most important thing, however, is to link everything you do to the course you've chosen. The links don't even have to be true - they just have to make sense. For example, the main reasons I took stats are because I found it easy and I hated mechanics (which everyone else was doing), but it was very easy to link stats to biology, so I did.
Thank you!
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