Summer studying image

 by Ruth Boyce
, posted On 21 May '21
 Schools and Colleges Senior Development Officer at the University of Winchester

Tips for the Summer - how students can use the Summer break to enhance their applications

As well as a well-earned rest from study, encouraging students to use the summer holidays to their advantage can help boost their chances when it comes to university applications. Here are my top 5 Summer easy wins all students should be able to achieve.

1. Research

I know it is obvious, but they can still use the virtual to their advantage; attend open days, talks, employer sessions. Read though course descriptions, identify which keywords keep appearing and what skills are required. If they want to undertake a course that will have lots of debating and discussion, they need to check where their weaknesses are and consider how they can develop these skills.

2. Mini-Experience

This might be volunteering, employment or a work placement. But break it down, students sometimes get hung up on completing a full week. Easiest I’ve seen is to find a useful person and talk to them; the neighbour’s sister, brother’s friend’s Dad, perhaps even the people they live with. Genuine conversation can be a great way to gain a sense of experience. Ideally related to their sector interests but actually all sorts of roles can be useful. This doesn’t need to be packaged as “When I chatted to my dad” but “Having spoken to an engineer” – they can get a lot into a statement from a small experience.

3. Days Out

With trips and visits curtailed this year, students might not have the field work or experiences to highlight what they know. However, some organisations have a great virtual offering, particularly museums and galleries, but with things opening up there is scope to do the real thing. It doesn’t have to be grand, might be a local museum (perhaps not visited since they were in primary school) or could be a day trip to local city/town to look at the architecture, consider the businesses in the area, visible changes due to COVID etc. Critically assess what is on their doorstep or venture somewhere new.

Image of a student reading a blog and listening to music

4. Read it

We all encourage students to enhance their skills and knowledge, TED talks, podcasts, completing a mooc. But let’s not forget good old reading, urge student to search using google scholar for academic papers and research. A couple of hours of useful reading/investigation can be paragraph on a personal statement – more useful if its research from the university they might be wanting to apply to.

5. Watch it

Do young people still even watch TV? This can be a great way of finding out more and having the ability to reference case studies or examples. Not brilliant for every subject, and I’m not talking Call the Midwife but there are some fantastic documentaries and true-life stories that can be insightful. Look to BBC4, Panorama or Youtube:Learning or watching the news as stress free ways of enhancing knowledge when they have a spare few minutes.

If students can use the summer break to have a go at some of these easy wins it could help them explore their interests and have a little more to say when it comes to their personal statement.

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