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Good things to get cracking on for Uni application? Watch

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    Well, I know it's early (I'm only just coming into year 11), but I've been looking and I want to get into a really top Uni, (I've been looking at Cambridge) and I know how competitive it is for places, so I was just wondering what stuff I could get cracking on that would help my app look good. I'm well aware that their main focus will be on the academic side (A levels etc etc) but I just want some other stuff to put on to make it look good, so; any ideas?

    Thanks.
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    Excellent GCSEs.

    And uh...yeah. :|
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    Yeah, yeah, i know the whole academic side they look at, and i'm pretty strong in that area (working at about 7 a*'s, rest a's at GCSE atm), and looking to take Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths for Alevel, i was just asking for other stuff taht may help boost my chances?
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    (Original post by warthogBE)
    Yeah, yeah, i know the whole academic side they look at, and i'm pretty strong in that area (working at about 7 a*'s, rest a's at GCSE atm), and looking to take Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths for Alevel, i was just asking for other stuff taht may help boost my chances?
    I couldn't think of anything.

    A good personal statement? It may be better to write that later on though, maybe during year 12. You could start it now I guess, but you won't have as much to put in. Relevant work experience for certain subjects....but again, it might be better to do it in year 12.

    So I'd concentrate mostly on the grades. The interview is VERY important, but obviously you're quite a long way away from that. And even if you do extra stuff, it's a bit of a lottery anyway, so concentrate on the grades and keep your options open.
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    Work experience... LOTS of it!!
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    im wondering this too?

    possible work experiance? getting along with teachers who will write ur referance? interest in ur subject?
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    Hey man im in exactly the same situation as you (assuming your male). Its amazing how many people are in our situation except there is nothing that we can do at this stage that will significantly boost our chances of getting into cambridge for example. Im finding that my GCSE's in english, history and languages are the biggest scandal on the face of this earth; actually in general trying to get an infinitely high number of A*'s will prove useless upon the transition to lower sixth. I know an older kid in upper sixth who achieved 10A*'s but has faced resit after resit and only 2 A's and 2 C's at A level. Upon reflecting upon this i have decided to approach this last year of GCSE with not the ambition of achieving 10A*'s but more understanding and taking interest in the material(ESPECIALLY IN YOUR PLANNED UNIVERSITY COURSES) because that will inevitably ensure a smoother transition and may well get me 8+ A*'s. Like i mentioned in full capitals i highly recommend taking and interest in the subject that your are genuinely enticed into at this stage and building that relationship up because that is what will count at Cambridge. Getting 10A*'s through being a robot then enslaving yourself into getting 4A's at A level but turning up to the Cambridge interview and acting like you've just memorized an encyclopedia without thinking about it or your particular interest will end you in a rejection.

    Actually, screw that, i just recommend you follow the advice but forget about a certain university, the people who truly end up happy are the people that choose the university that suits them. Infact anyone who can argue that an engineering or mathematics course at imperial isn't as "good" as one from Cambridge has a champagne bottle stuck up their ass. IT REALLY DOESNT MATTER. Do you want to be a slave for what should be the most enjoyable 3-4 years of your life.

    Also you really dont need to be an extra curricular master. I only play one sport at A team level and i am happy. You will also need to build up (from now) confidence, interviewing and communication techniques. Its amazing how many highly laborious students enter a interview room with 6A's at A level yet talk as quiet as a mouse.
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    I hate the fact that Uni applications and applicants have become such a coldy calculated exercise. "Oooer one ought to do some volunteer work so one can shine on ones UCAS application!"/"What must I do to look better?" Do what you want and what you are interested in, not for the sake of it or looking better in the eyes of the admissions tutor. Also if you were to be asked about such things in an interview wouldn't it be better to have done only a few things or have only a small amount of things to talk about, but enthusiastically and with knowledge rather than a whole host of random things you did for the sake of it to look good? It [the whole of your UCAS app] needs to come across as genuine, personal, personable and individual.
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    Focus on your GCSE'S? I mean eughh. No one thought about Uni until they were out off the way.


    Anywho, some work experience would be good and also some volunteering, but please only volunteer if you want to, don't just do it for UCAS.
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    (Original post by Terrorfication)
    Hey man im in exactly the same situation as you (assuming your male). Its amazing how many people are in our situation except there is nothing that we can do at this stage that will significantly boost our chances of getting into cambridge for example. Im finding that my GCSE's in english, history and languages are the biggest scandal on the face of this earth; actually in general trying to get an infinitely high number of A*'s will prove useless upon the transition to lower sixth. I know an older kid in upper sixth who achieved 10A*'s but has faced resit after resit and only 2 A's and 2 C's at A level. Upon reflecting upon this i have decided to approach this last year of GCSE with not the ambition of achieving 10A*'s but more understanding and taking interest in the material(ESPECIALLY IN YOUR PLANNED UNIVERSITY COURSES) because that will inevitably ensure a smoother transition and may well get me 8+ A*'s. Like i mentioned in full capitals i highly recommend taking and interest in the subject that your are genuinely enticed into at this stage and building that relationship up because that is what will count at Cambridge. Getting 10A*'s through being a robot then enslaving yourself into getting 4A's at A level but turning up to the Cambridge interview and acting like you've just memorized an encyclopedia without thinking about it or your particular interest will end you in a rejection.

    Actually, screw that, i just recommend you follow the advice but forget about a certain university, the people who truly end up happy are the people that choose the university that suits them. Infact anyone who can argue that an engineering or mathematics course at imperial isn't as "good" as one from Cambridge has a champagne bottle stuck up their ass. IT REALLY DOESNT MATTER. Do you want to be a slave for what should be the most enjoyable 3-4 years of your life.

    Also you really dont need to be an extra curricular master. I only play one sport at A team level and i am happy. You will also need to build up (from now) confidence, interviewing and communication techniques. Its amazing how many highly laborious students enter a interview room with 6A's at A level yet talk as quiet as a mouse.
    I exactly agree with you mate, I've been doing a lot of looking around the subject area (Natural Science) and trying to get some relevant work experience (best i found was genetics clinic, but it's kinda relevant). But i agree with what your saying completely, to put it in a more basic form - it doesn't matter how good you are and it's not all how many A*'s you can get, 'cos that doesn't matter if you can't socialise and talk to people!

    Thanks for the advice everyone!
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    (Original post by spacepirate-James)
    getting along with teachers who will write ur referance?
    Hm. I'm applying this year and mine will be written by my 6th form head..who I'd never talked to prior to year 12. If you're going to a college, it's even more pointless. :p:
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    (Original post by Apfel)
    I couldn't think of anything.

    A good personal statement? It may be better to write that later on though, maybe during year 12. You could start it now I guess, but you won't have as much to put in. Relevant work experience for certain subjects....but again, it might be better to do it in year 12.

    So I'd concentrate mostly on the grades. The interview is VERY important, but obviously you're quite a long way away from that. And even if you do extra stuff, it's a bit of a lottery anyway, so concentrate on the grades and keep your options open.
    I wouldn't bother with the Personal Statement just yet, you'll only end up re-writing it in year 12.

    There are several things you can focus on in the meantime, the key is to come across as a diverse individual with a real interest in the subject outside of the classroom. Therefore, as the previous poster has said you should try to do relevant things outside of the classroom. Read around the subject with some popular science books (it sounds like you're going down that route), have an occasional read of some scientific journals too. If you can, get involved in Summer schools or subject specific away days/events that you can talk about. All of these will help to show a genuine interest outside of the classroom.

    For sciences relevant work experience is hard to come by, so isn't expected (unless you're thinking of medicine/vet/bio type subjects when it is more useful). However, any experience is good experience as you can develop transferable skills and talk about them in your PS or at interview. Similarly get involved in lots of outside interests you you're not having to resort to "I enjoy socialising with friends" when it comes to extra-curricular activities. Perhaps sport, music or voluntary work, especially if you can play a key role in this like a Captain or panel member/leader/treasurer etc.

    These things are not exclusive to Cambridge and will put you in extremely good shape wherever you choose to apply. As Kates says though, only do things because you want to do them and because you genuinely enjoy them, else there is no point.
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    I've been doing a bit of looking around recently (with 7 weeks off coming up) for some related (yes- science related) work experience/summer schools/volunteering but they seem to be very hard to come by, anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks.
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    Have some hobbies both in and out of school, especially ones that relate to your chosen degree. You're obviously into the science/maths side, do your school have any opportunities to tutor younger students? If not, why not suggest the idea? Might only be an hour or so a week but it looks good if you're willing to impart your knowledge on others.

    If you have a part time job this can look good as it shows initiative and hopefully that you've learnt the value of earning and money at a young age. Also doing some volunteering work would also look good on your CV. Have an active social life and make it look like you're doing something worthwhile outside school rather than vegging in your room playing computer games.

    Read some books related to your subject area (and actually read them because they may well ask about specific bits at your interview), 'I was particularly interested in the ____ module we did in GCSE ____, so I read the book ____ by ____ which expands on this topic, I found the author's theory on _____ helped me to have a greater understanding about _____.' etc.

    Just a few points there off the top of my head, not specific to Cambridge but advice I've been given/would give on what looks good on a personal statement. Basically you want to make yourself out to be an intelligent, sociable member of your school and community as a whole with a passion for your chosen subject.
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    (Original post by Apfel)
    Hm. I'm applying this year and mine will be written by my 6th form head..who I'd never talked to prior to year 12. If you're going to a college, it's even more pointless. :p:
    meh, i didnt know what else to put...

    :confused:
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    (Original post by haz220807)
    Have some hobbies both in and out of school, especially ones that relate to your chosen degree. You're obviously into the science/maths side, do your school have any opportunities to tutor younger students? If not, why not suggest the idea? Might only be an hour or so a week but it looks good if you're willing to impart your knowledge on others.

    If you have a part time job this can look good as it shows initiative and hopefully that you've learnt the value of earning and money at a young age. Also doing some volunteering work would also look good on your CV. Have an active social life and make it look like you're doing something worthwhile outside school rather than vegging in your room playing computer games.

    Read some books related to your subject area (and actually read them because they may well ask about specific bits at your interview), 'I was particularly interested in the ____ module we did in GCSE ____, so I read the book ____ by ____ which expands on this topic, I found the author's theory on _____ helped me to have a greater understanding about _____.' etc.

    Just a few points there off the top of my head, not specific to Cambridge but advice I've been given/would give on what looks good on a personal statement. Basically you want to make yourself out to be an intelligent, sociable member of your school and community as a whole with a passion for your chosen subject.
    Thanks for the advice, i like the idea about the tutoring, i will definitely suggest that. Btw - i hadn't mentioned that i have taken my science GCSE a year early and am now starting AS Science a year in advance, would i be able to fit that into my personal statement or elsewhere?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by warthogBE)
    Thanks for the advice, i like the idea about the tutoring, i will definitely suggest that. Btw - i hadn't mentioned that i have taken my science GCSE a year early and am now starting AS Science a year in advance, would i be able to fit that into my personal statement or elsewhere?

    Thanks
    Definitely put that in!
    If you chose to do that then you can say it's because of your interest in the subject, if your teacher decided then it's because of your ability in the subject.

    Anyone reading your personal statement is going to want to know (a) why you want to be on that specific course and (b) why they would want you to be on that course so (a) is because you love it and (b) is because you're an amazing, well balanced, interesting person. Just sell yourself! It's much easier to do if you prepare in advance and have plenty of things to say about yourself, which you seem to be doing well.
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    (Original post by haz220807)
    Definitely put that in!
    If you chose to do that then you can say it's because of your interest in the subject, if your teacher decided then it's because of your ability in the subject.

    Anyone reading your personal statement is going to want to know (a) why you want to be on that specific course and (b) why they would want you to be on that course so (a) is because you love it and (b) is because you're an amazing, well balanced, interesting person. Just sell yourself! It's much easier to do if you prepare in advance and have plenty of things to say about yourself, which you seem to be doing well.
    Well, i was put forward for taking it a year early because of ability, and was given the choice whether i would or not, and i chose to due to my interest in the area!

    okay, that gives me a more solid base to build on, knowing that they are the things they are looking for, i think i can sort some stuff out

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by warthogBE)
    Well, i was put forward for taking it a year early because of ability, and was given the choice whether i would or not, and i chose to due to my interest in the area!

    okay, that gives me a more solid base to build on, knowing that they are the things they are looking for, i think i can sort some stuff out

    Thanks!
    Best of both worlds then!
    'Due to my ability in the subject, I was given the option of taking the GSCE at the end of year 10; despite the extra work involved in this I was more than willing to take on this challenge and achieved a grade __ overall.'
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    (Original post by haz220807)
    Best of both worlds then!
    'Due to my ability in the subject, I was given the option of taking the GSCE at the end of year 10; despite the extra work involved in this I was more than willing to take on this challenge and achieved a grade __ overall.'
    The grade is elsewhere in the statement anyway so probably not worth mentioning. You can mention doing it early, or it could go in the reference.
 
 
 
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