Summer boredom-busters for Year 12s
Once you've watched absolutely everything on Netflix and physically can't sleep any more, tick off a few of Ruby's summer to-dos (and get ahead on next term)...
This summer, resist the temptation to sleep the days away. Instead, try one of the following – the 'future you' will thank you later:
Revitalise your CV/personal statementUse the long break to fit in a couple of CV and personal statement-enhancing activities. Work experience stints don't have to be long – five days is the normal amount. But you could do longer or shorter if your desired place of work experience offers it.
Think outside of the box – you want to do something that will make you stand out to admissions tutors. For example, a friend who was applying to study veterinary sciences volunteered to work alongside a dairy farmer for a couple of weeks. This gave her a unique experience to talk about in both her personal statement and interview.
Similarly, my brother shadowed a PHD student in his lab, gaining invaluable knowledge and an inside look at what science at university-level (and beyond) is truly like.
It's experiences like these that will help you decide whether that subject or area is truly what you want to study for the next three years.
Museum tripsGreat for any subject, museums often host special events and exhibitions during the summer holidays.
Many have free entry, particularly in London. If you don’t live close to London, look up local museums to see if you have any subject-relevant ones nearby.
If you do choose to write about these visits in your personal statement, don’t simply say: ‘I recently went to the Natural History Museum’. It’s not about what you’ve done, but what you’ve learned as a result that’s the impressive part. How did this visit change how you thought about a subject? What interested you the most (and why)?
Book some open daysDing, ding! Autumn means round two for open days – hopefully you got to one or two already to get you in the mood for what these days involve, what you should ask and what you should look out for. Seeing a university in the flesh can really make or break your decision.
Book your spot on upcoming open days as you begin your research and come across universities that stand out. This way you can book any train tickets in advance for a cheaper fare, and simply get it in your parents’ diary so they can book time off work, arrange childcare etc. and come with you.
- Must-read: Open day mistakes to avoid
Pick up a bookJust like trips, excursions and lectures, reading books outside of your curriculum demonstrates a dedication to study that goes above and beyond what you’ve been asked to do for school, as well as a genuine interest in that subject – ideal material for your personal statement.
For subjects like English, this will seem obvious. But for subjects like maths, reading can be overlooked. For subject-specific reading lists, think back to any books your teachers may have name-dropped. Alternatively, try official university websites to see what their current students are studying as part of their course (and get a glimpse of what you might be tackling should you end up there).
Want to take a break from reading? Listen to podcasts or watch some relevant documentaries instead – perfect for any long journeys you might be making over the summer.
Ruby spent a week at Oxford University last summer: read her residential photo diary here
Look backSince you’ll be studying linear A-levels, you'll have to retain everything you learned in Year 12 for your exams at the end of Year 13. Thefore, it might be a good idea to look over what you covered in the last year, and address any tricky topics or problem areas now, before moving any further.
Now I can almost feel your convulsive shudders at the very thought of ‘revision’ during summer - just hear me out!
Next year will be very busy, with teachers cramming to finish A2 courses (and Ucas applications taking up a lot of time) - there may not be much time to properly dive back into what will be year-old topics, come exam-time.
Whatever you can do now, while you have some free time on your hands, will make life a lot easier later.
And lastly, make sure you do relax. It’s just as important to de-stress, spend time with family and friends, and have some fun. You've got a big year ahead, after all...