- Get good grades
- have an interest in your chosen field of study or the university
- Get work experience in that area
- If you can’t get work experience then do voluntary work
According to a survey of 63 university admissions teams, by a company which arranges school expeditions abroad, those four factors are more important than a Duke of Edinburgh Award, playing a team sport, learning a musical instrument, being in a school play, or travelling abroad.
Students should devote 70-80% of their personal statement to their academic interests and achievements and the rest to extra-curricular activities.
And when describing these activities they should describe the skills or the personal development that has happened rather than just make a list of achievements. Skills or qualities highly valued include communications, organisation, and independence.
Basically it’s the same as writing a CV so a good place to start getting it right.
Of course what they don’t say is how important it is to have good contacts to get work experience. And we’ve all heard about the unpaid interns!