The summer holidays are just around the corner! You’ve worked hard for the whole year and are no doubt looking forward to some well earned rest before entering what’s likely to be a hectic final year. But, in and amongst catching up on sleep and Game of Thrones, it’s a good idea to use this holiday as a time to get ahead for next year…
If you’re thinking about studying in the UK then you’ll no doubt already be thinking about your UCAS Personal Statement. Your Personal Statement is the written part of your University application that should describe your achievements and motivations, evidence of your skills, and why you’d be an asset to a university. You need to think of the Personal Statement as selling yourself like a product; it should highlight why you have the desire, skills, and experiences to be selected by the institutions you are applying to. Your personal statement is a reference about your academic qualities and what you have assimilated from your studies. But, whilst it should be dominated by your academic experiences and interests, it is vital you show off your other achievements in terms of extracurricular activities, hobbies and passions.
In 2018, 1,213 students applied to study at Trinity College Cambridge (1 of their 31 colleges), and The University of Cambridge extended offers to just 216 of those applicants. With this level of competition, your UCAS personal statement needs to show more than your academic excellence; it needs to make you stand out.
Here’s how you can best use your summer holiday to ensure you get into your top-choice University:
Get some work experience
Whether it’s excelling in a project, or shadowing an industry professional, work experience is a fantastic opportunity to gain some practical experience in a professional environment. Work experience also really helps to convey your interest and enthusiasm in a particular subject area. If you’re interested in a career in law, for example, getting some experience in a legal practice shows you are serious about this career field. That said, perhaps right now you know which subject you’d like to study, but not which industry you’d like to enter. And that’s absolutely fine! Any experience in a work environment is a good thing when it comes to building up transferable skills. Get out of your comfort zone and into a professional environment.
Listen, read and learn
It is really important to focus a significant amount of the statement on your chosen subject. It’s no good saying you want to study History because you like it; you need to give evidence that you have gone out of your way to research or read around the subject. Magazines, films, documentaries, blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels… if it’s in your subject area, start engaging and think about what you are learning. Anything that shows what else you’ve done to further your interest and knowledge of your subject is vital.
Your time as a student is precious. That means that anything you choose to do outside of school hours gives admissions tutors an insight into what you really care about. Often, people decide to volunteer and support a cause that is meaningful to them, but people also volunteer to give back to a community that they have grown up in. Volunteering is great as it shows you have a dedication towards making the world a better place in a very hands-on way. It shows you’re driven by more than money; it proves that you have the motivation to go beyond bare minimum, and universities appreciate students who care about their communities of choice.
But perhaps most importantly, take some time this summer to simply re-energise. You’ve got a big year ahead, so take a bit of time out to relax and do the things you enjoy. Have fun, think about what you need to do to reach your goals next year, make some connections, learn something new, and go beyond your qualifications.
Let Causeway Education help you along the process.