University Tips Blog
Image of a student working on a university application
A headshot image of the author, Izzy Kelly

by Izzy Kelly

Aimhigher Project Officer at Aimhigher West Midlands

posted on 4 Nov '23

Application + Offer = Place. Tips to make your university application stand out

Whether you are going to university, applying for an apprenticeship, or looking for a job, there’s a variety of things you can do to help make your application stand out from the crowd. I will provide a few suggestions here.

Work experience

Work experience looks great on personal statements, job applications and CVs, but you must be able to reflect upon what you have learnt and how it is relevant to your future. By taking the time to consider what you have gained from the experience, you will be able to use this knowledge to effectively demonstrate your skills and discuss what you enjoyed, what you found challenging and how you overcame these challenges.

Some university courses (e.g., Medicine, Social Work and Teaching) require a minimum number of hours work experience, so be sure to check this if you do apply to higher education.

Part-time work

You can demonstrate potential to universities and employers by taking on an evening or weekend job. By working for just a few hours per week, you can gain employability skills such as problem solving, money handling, communication and many more. These are useful to talk about in applications and interviews. However, it is important to ensure that any part-time work doesn’t affect your school or college work.


Doing voluntary work shows that you are driven and focused by giving up your time to support a charity or other organisation. This is another great opportunity for you to build skills, including dedication, compassion and commitment, which are important for your future.

Clubs and hobbies

Talking about interests or hobbies adds personality to an application and can set you apart from your peers. This is why it is important for you to have other skills outside of your studies. Having hobbies can also provide a healthy outlet which may help you to manage stress as you take on more responsibilities as a young adult.

Other opportunities

Taking up opportunities that link to the career or course you want to pursue can really support an application. This could include attending a taster lecture at a university, trips, or extracurricular clubs like STEM. You may also consider performing arts clubs or completing free online courses from places like Future Learn and others.

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