There’s always a sense of relief when the school holidays come around. However, this period, when you’re under less pressure, can be an invaluable opportunity to explore the subject you would like to study at university, develop your passion for it, and enhance your personal statement at the same time. The crucial thing about enhancing your personal statement is that what you do should come from a place of authenticity rather than box checking. Here are a few suggestions.
Take time to really enjoy reading around your favourite subject
So often in term time it feels like a race to get through books, master equations, memorise dates or understand formulas. Without the pressure of time, coursework or exams, use the opportunity to read and explore your favourite subjects simply for the joy of learning. Being able to show informed passion for the subject you want to study is what top universities are looking for.
Visit university cities
University is about more than studying. It’s three or more years of your life in a location you may never have visited before. Why not use the holidays to go and explore the university cities and destinations that you think you are interested in? You can get a better understanding of where you would like to go, whether you want to go to a campus university or not, and get a sense of the logistics (how far is it from home? How accessible is it by public transport).
Find out about the courses at different universities
You might think that you want to go to Cambridge University, for example, because it has a great reputation. However, the really fundamental thing is to make sure the course they offer in your subject is one that you’re excited about – that might be because of the professors or the structure of the course. For example, there’s a difference between Oxford and Cambridge, when it comes to studying Natural Sciences. At Oxford, you directly apply to one specific science, while Cambridge does it under one whole course. So, pick the one you like better.
Do an internship or work experience
Most people choose a subject at university with some sense of the career that they want to have afterwards. However, the best way to know if the career you think is for you really is for you is to get out and experience a little of it. Perhaps there’s volunteer work at your local hospital that you can take part in if you are interested in medicine. Maybe there’s a veterinary clinic that needs an intern. Making the effort to explore around your subject area will not only look great on your personal statement, but it will also genuinely give you a sense of whether you’re on the right path for you.
Take time to think
Studying at an elite university isn’t just about the facts and figures that you can reel off in an interview. It’s about taking the information you have gathered, forming an opinion and being able to argue your position coherently. Alongside your reading and exploring around your chosen subject, take time to think about it and feel free to develop your own opinions. Even if they are fundamentally flawed, having a coherent argument or constructive debate about a topic is a great way to show your passion for it!
Spend time with your friends
No, seriously. Aside from the fact that the holidays are about having a little fun as much as anything else, so much learning at university is about engaging with your peers. Listening to other people’s perspectives on a subject, learning from their opinions, being able to have a healthy debate, and seeing things from different angles is part of a positive university experience. So why not start now?
At CamVision Education we specialise in applying to university – especially to the Russell Group, or the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) through our University Application Mentoring. If you would like support with your university applications, contact us for more information.