Although a student’s extra-curricular activities are crucial when applying to highly selective colleges and universities in the U.S., there has traditionally been much less emphasis on outside activities in UK university admissions. This seems to have changed some as Times Higher Education, reporting on a new study recently released by a gap-year company, says:
Most admissions staff believe achievements outside the classroom are more important to gaining a university place than 10 years ago.
The full text of the report by World Challenge emphasizes the following:
- A student’s extra-curricular activities are likely to have the greatest impact in situations where tutors are deciding between two students with highly similar academic records or when a student is slightly below the required marks.
- Different universities – and different courses within the same university – assign varying levels of importance to extra-curricular activities, partly depending on how competitive the course is.
- Universities feel that the impact the activity has had on the student is more important than the type of activity itself. However, work experience and regular volunteering are perceived to add the most value to a personal statement.
In the end, however, students only have so much time during the school year to take part in extra-curricular activities so planning early to fit some of these activities into summer can be most beneficial.