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How to Collect and Organise Extra Academic Activities for Your Personal Statement in Year 12

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By Ana De Sousa – 28th May 2024

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One of our legendary school members Ana has pulled together THE guide for anyone Googling "how to put extracurriculars in personal statement" - or even "how to find extracurriculars for personal statement" ! Superstar.

How to Collect and Organise Extra Academic Activities for Your Personal Statement in Year 12

When I was in Year 12, I was told I needed Extra Academic Activities to add into my personal statement, but I had no idea where to start. Extra Academic Activities are activities outside of your regular academic curriculum that showcase your interest in the subject you further want to study. For instance, if you want to do a degree in marketing, you can prove that you are the right candidate by mentioning a book on marketing you read, which sparked your interest, and thus you did an online work experience in marketing where you developed relevant skills. This shows admissions tutors that you are genuinely interested in the particular degree.

In this blog post, I'll share ideas on Extra Academic Activities and tips on organising and evaluating your experiences for when you come to write your personal statement.

Finding Your Interest

My first piece of advice is to find your area of interest and potential ideal degrees. Extra Academic Activities help you discover what you enjoy outside of lessons. Through various activities, I learnt a lot about what I did and didn't like, which helped narrow down my study preferences. Try to start this process early so you can focus on activities that will enhance your personal statement.

Potential Extra Academic Activities

Online Pathways and Platforms

Platforms such as Zero Gravity allow you to further explore your subject interests. Zero Gravity connected me with a mentor, providing me with insights from a real-life student about my desired degree. Zero Gravity also offers masterclasses on various subjects which you could mention in your personal statement. In addition, the Sutton Trust Pathways program introduced me to consulting and included an online work experience with the Boston Consulting Group. This experience helped me decide which aspects of business I liked and didn’t like.

Work Experience

One of the best Extra Academic Activities I did was an online work experience through SpringPod. They offer various online academic lessons and opportunities for virtual work experiences with renowned companies. Additionally, during my Year 12 summer, I worked at a global company in B2B marketing. This work experience was hard to find but invaluable, as it helped me confirm my choice to study international business. While only some degrees like Medicine and Dentistry require work experience in your personal statement, I found it beneficial for all fields. Knowing what potential jobs are like reassures your interest and demonstrates your commitment to the subject. Be sure to have a look at the Opportunities page on the Zero Gravity platform - they have work experience for Year 12 and Year 13's as well as university students.

University Summer Residential Schools

As a Year 12 student, I highly recommend participating in free university summer school programs. Universities like Cambridge and Oxford offer free residentials where you can experience university life for a few days. Please be aware there are paid for expensive ones that are run by private companies and not the university - make sure to sign up for the free university ones. These programs often include subject-specific lectures, helping you to see if university life and the subject are right for you. I attended several summer schools in different subjects, which reassured me about my degree choice. These experiences also boost confidence and help you develop social skills which you can add to your personal statement.

Reading Relevant Books

While many students read books and watch TED Talks as Extra Academic Activities, I believe this is too common of an activity to add into your personal statement. However, mentioning one book or video that significantly influenced you can still be impactful. I briefly mentioned a book that piqued my interest in management and led me to pursue further work experience in this area of business.

Organising and Collecting Your Extra Academic Activities

Documenting and evaluating your Extra Academic Activities is crucial for an effective personal statement. I found Notion to be an excellent tool for organising my experiences but you can also use Docs or Word too. These are questions I used to evaluate my extracurriculars and I would make sure to write about it as soon as I finished with the activity.

  • What did you do and when did you do it?

  • How did this activity impact you?

  • What are the primary skills you’ve gained that are relevant to your course?

  • How does this experience influence your decisions in pursuing your study goals?

  • How does this experience relate to your general ability to succeed in your course?

  • What is your biggest takeaway from this activity?

  • Are there significant interactions that impacted your desire to take the course?

This organisation will make it easier to recall and to write about your experiences when writing your personal statement. Furthermore, I did about 9 Extra Academic Activities which was already way too much to add into my personal statement. I would recommend doing 5 or 6.

By finding your interests, engaging in various Extra Academic Activities, and organising your experiences, you'll be well-prepared to craft a standout personal statement. Start early, stay organised, and let your unique journey shine through in your application. These steps not only help you write a more effective personal statement but also give you a clearer understanding of your interests and goals, making the entire application process smoother and more rewarding.

Cheers Ana! For more incredible advice on levelling up your personal statement and finding super-curriculars, check out our range of masterclasses on the topic - tailored from subject choice to university. Or, apply to receive mentoring with us, in which you'll be matched with a university student either studying at your dream uni or studying your dream degree, who can give you the tips you need to break through UCAS. Or, just ask our online student community - made up of literally *thousands* of students, they have the answers to any and all application questions.

Happy application season!

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