While it might seem like it, not all your university life will be taken up by work. If you’re lucky, you might even find yourself with days where you have nothing to do! That’s where extracurricular activities can be fun (and sometimes, useful). Not only do extracurricular activities give you a break from the stresses of university life, but they can even help enrichen it.
In this article, I’ll be taking you through some examples of extracurricular activities for university applications, as well as for university life.
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What are the best extracurricular activities for university applications in the UK?
Contrary to popular belief, universities don’t prioritise one type of extracurricular activity over another! A sport you play as a hobby is just as important to a university as some charity work you’ve done.
What’s important is what the extracurricular activities say about you. For more on this, check out this article by Go Student.
However, I’ll give you a few examples of activities to include in your application. One useful extracurricular activity to include in an application is a summer school.
Summer schools, particularly ones run by the university you’re applying to show that you’re interested in education outside of going to school. Information about summer schools can be found in this Think Student article.
Another useful extracurricular activity for a university application is volunteering. You may have already completed some volunteering if you are a student in the UK, as part of mandatory work experience. This Think Student article has some great information on why volunteering is good for you.
Do you need to include extracurricular activities in your personal statement?
Extracurricular activities aren’t a requirement for a good personal statement. However, if you have completed extracurricular activities, it can be a big advantage.
Universities look for applicants who are productive and involved in the community around them. Any kind of extracurricular activity that shows them this – no matter how small – is useful for a personal statement but isn’t necessary.
If you want more advice on things to include in your personal statement, you’ll find this Think Student article helpful.
Are extracurricular activities important?
Your university application is very personal – it’s supposed to convince universities that you’re the right student for your course. Extracurricular activities are a great way of showing a university what you’re interested in. If you participate in any extracurricular activities, I’d advise including them all in one paragraph of your personal statement!
Extracurricular activities are also important for wellbeing while you’re at university. It’s important to try and achieve a good balance of work and socialising, and extracurricular activities are a great way to do so.
Later in the article, I’ll take you through the kinds of extracurricular activities available for you at university.
Do universities care if you do extracurricular activities?
At university, you’re treated like an adult: you have full control over what you do (or don’t do). Universities don’t care if you do extracurricular activities or not – as long as they’re in compliance with the university’s rules.
What you do in your personal time (i.e., outside of your contact hours) isn’t the university’s business as long as it isn’t illegal!
Will you enjoy university if you don’t do any extracurricular activity?
As I mentioned previously, how you spend your personal time is completely up to you when you’re at university. You can still enjoy the university experience even if you choose not to participate in extracurricular activity at all.
However, they are great ways to spend your time and meet new people, so I’d really recommend them!
What extracurricular activities are available at university?
One of the main aspects of university life is extracurricular activity. At university, extracurricular activity comes in the form of clubs and societies.
These are groups or communities centred around a particular theme. What’s great about university is that this theme can be anything at all if it’s popular enough!
This means that university clubs and societies don’t have to be as academic as the universities themselves! For example, the University of Oxford has a Taylor Swift society.
Clubs and societies range from sports to volunteering to interests like gaming or painting. If you have something you’re really passionate about, you should check on your university website if there’s a society/club for it!
Societies and clubs are fun, student-run social events, and the best opportunity you’ll have to meet people like you. They’re one of the biggest parts of the university experience. Sometimes they can feel overwhelming, but I promise they’re a great way to take a break from your work.
Does a job count as an extracurricular activity?
If you work as an unpaid freelancer or do volunteer work, then this is considered an extracurricular activity. However, if you’re completing paid work in term time, having a job is not an extracurricular activity.
Some universities’ policies don’t permit students to work, and as a full-time student you can only work a certain number of hours a week. If your university feels that your job is interfering with your studies, they may ask you to work less hours or quit your job.
For more information about university policies on working, check out this Think Student article. For more information on the number of hours you can legally work as a student, see this Think Student article.
What should you do if an extracurricular activity interrupts your studies?
Even if the extracurricular activity is associated with your university, your studies take priority at all times. If your activities overlap with any of your seminars, classes or tutorials, you will be expected to prioritise those over the extracurricular activity.
If you miss your academic commitments, you may be punished by the university. For more on what may happens if your attendance at university drops, check out this Think Student article.
However, university clubs, sports and societies always take place outside of academic hours. If all your extracurricular activities are tied to the university, this won’t be a problem for you!
Can you do too much extracurricular activity?
The simple answer is yes, you can. Just like overworking yourself, being busy too often can also be quite stressful! It’s important to take breaks often and not overload your day.
It can be hard to know when you’re overcommitting yourself. However, if you’re starting to feel like you have no time for yourself, it might be best to abandon some activities.