Development Activities & University Admission

recent research undertaken in the UK has identified an increasing role in 'soft skill' development, and extra-curricular activities, in the admissions to university and the likelihood of success in studies.


See this extract from the article:

 Universities were unwilling to identify any particular activity as being
particularly valuable, instead emphasising the need for students to focus on
experiences that are going to be relevant and directly beneficial for the
course that they are applying for.


The key findings of the report were as follows:


• 97% of universities and students surveyed said that it is important for
prospective students to demonstrate their involvement in extra-curricular
activities in their personal statement.

• 58.5% of universities think that it is more important for students to
demonstrate extra-curricular experience in their applications compared with
10 years ago.

The top three ‘soft-skills’ that universities are looking for are
communication (64.6%), planning/organisation (46.2%) and independence
(38.5%). Students perceived the most valuable ‘soft-skills’ to be
communication (45.3%), responsibility (40.7%) and team-work (39.3%).

• Extra-curricular experience will increasingly be taken into consideration
by admissions tutors following the decoupling of A-levels from AS-levels,
given the unreliability of predicted grades.

As graduate employability contributes to university rankings, admissions
tutors are using extra-curricular experience as a tool to enable them to
recruit the most employable students.


The real value of extra-curricular experience is seen as not only helping
students to stand out and secure a place at university, but also to prepare them to succeed at university and on into the workplace.


“Overall the general advice is that students need to really think about what

extra-curricular activities are going to be most relevant and have most
impact on their personal development. It is about quality over quantity; not
necessarily filling your time with every opportunity possible but focusing
on a couple of really key activities that will best prepare you for where you want to go in life.”

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