You are about to go to your final year of high school so you decide to relax and charge batteries, right? WRONG. Summer before university application is the time when you absolutely shouldn’t just relax. I work with students who apply to universities in the UK and many of them don’t know how much they are capable of doing in the 2 months of their summer break.
Before diving in, let’s answer one question: What is this summer break for?
You use it to build your profile and plan out your personal statement.
By your profile I mean a list of things that will make you stand out among other applications (I explained why you want to stand out in the first post of this series). Planning how you will distribute and use these things will help you 1. craft an A grade Personal Statement and 2. see what things you are still missing and thus you will know what should you put emphasis on.
So, I’ve decided to give you a little list of things you can do to make the most of the time just before applying to universities. I’ll explain every point based on my own experience, as I was then a prospective Biomedical/Biological/Medical/Natural Sciences student interested in genetics, medicine and curing the world.
- Land an internship or try to get work experienceKnowing I could easily get into a hospital I went into two different ones where I spent a few weeks shadowing doctors and i.a. discussing proper patient care and, as at one of the two hospitals, I went into paediatric ward, how to talk to kids about procedures in a way that will make them less stressed about being in a hospital.
why should you do it: you get a first-hand experience of what it’s like to work as a professional after your chosen university courses and thus you show to the admission officers that you are serious about your uni choices
- Read something interesting that is in line with what you want to study at the university (ideally more than one book)Throughout my summer break before IB2, I’ve read several books related to my chosen university courses. I was also reading frequently articles published on websites focused on science and technology.
why should you do it: mentioning your reading can be a foothold during an interview and will demonstrate the drive to broaden your knowledge in the spare time
- VolunteerI did some volunteer work as part of my main project in high school which focused on educating students aged 13-17 about diabetes.
- Improve your skills (edx / courserea aka moof)I took a course on GMO to learn more on top of what I was taught at school about it.
why should you do it: it shows that you really are invested and use your own time to improve your knowledge
- Take part in a projectSee no.3
why should you do it: you’ll improve your time management skills and demonstrate that you know how to work in groups (unis in the UK like group projects, I myself did several this past year)
- Look at your past experience and see if anything there is useful
- Learn more about something that you find interestingThis can include participating in classes organised by universities, going on a course, getting a certificate etc.
why should you do it: again, this will show your dedication and, if you choose something outside your university course area, that you have passions!
I hope that thanks to this list you’ll spend your summer enjoyably and will have plenty of things to write about in your personal statement! Next Thursday expect a post full of tips on how to actually write a killer personal statement and win your way into admission officer’s heart😉