Best Extracurricular Activities To Spice Up Your Personal Statement

August 24, 2021

Summer is the best time to get that all important university credit – so use it wisely. When you go back to school, you’ll be charged with the not-so-exciting task of writing your personal statement. So here are just some of the extracurricular activities you can do to stand out from the crowd and earn that coveted "well-rounded candidate" status. 

Team Sports

One of the most important extracurricular activities that gets you a quick tick is team sports. So whether you play netball, football, or even row every week, make sure you jot this down. It’s a great way to put yourself out there, and also demonstrate a keenness to join a society at university. It’s not all about work, after all.

The reason why universities like to see these types of hobbies is that it shows grit, resilience and team spirit – all of which are extremely valuable for your degree. Sometimes you’ll have to engage in group projects, so you need to show that you can work collaboratively. You don’t have to be a championship league player, just simply express an interest in the sport.


It will come as no surprise that volunteering is the ultimate win-win. What better way to show you’re passionate about your course than by giving up your free time to help others and gain experience. It’s truly a double whammy that can't fail to earn you credit with admissions tutors.

Depending on where you want to volunteer, there are a lot of placements over school holidays; from 2 weeks up to 2 months. Most organisations will require a background check and you might need a reference from a trusted source. A great place to find volunteering opportunities is via the Do It site or Reach. Don't leave this until the last minute because everyone will have the same idea!

Duke of Edinburgh 

Dylan Morgan, Content Executive at Twinkl Education Publishing shared with us how beneficial Duke of Edinburgh can be. “It’s a brilliant initiative which encourages a lot of soft skills needed both in the world of work, as well as in university”. 

More popularly referred to as D of E, the Duke of Edinburgh award is a challenging but non-competitive extracurricular activity run for 14 to 25 year olds. Achieving a bronze, silver or even gold award demonstrates self-reliance, determination and guts!

“As a marketing graduate, Duke of Edinburgh helped me develop problem-solving situations,” Dylan says. “For example: communication (like speaking to team members) and relationship building (new friends, teamwork).” There are even logistical things to consider like how much food you need on the journey, how to set up a tent and read a map. 

“This is sometimes overlooked, but it can also show you're keen to embrace a challenge, a new experience, or just like hiking and being outdoors!”


Similar to volunteering, applying for a two week internship is a great way to demonstrate your passion for the course. Remember that UCAS receive thousands of applications per year; so if you want to get into your top-choice university, you have to think outside the box. This will also help you decide whether this is a career or job you actually want to pursue in the future!

Think of an internship like work experience: you’re learning practical skills and gaining knowledge that you won’t learn in a textbook. It will help build the case that you are an exceptional candidate for this course.

There are some really cool placements you can enrol in, from publishing at Penguin to clerking at a law firm. To find intern opportunities in your given field, try Prospects or Target Jobs to give you a leg up. If your field is particularly competitive, you’ll want to research and apply sooner rather than later.  

Creative outlets

Extracurricular activities come in many different forms and can be as simple as journaling. Think about all the creative things you enjoy or would like to try out, like blogging, video creation via TikTok, painting or playing an instrument. All these examples show that you are talented and skilled.

The reason why universities love seeing this kind of material in your personal statement is because it helps them understand your character. They can see you have a wide-range of interests that go beyond the academic basis. 

Let's not forget, it takes a lot of effort, patience and commitment to practise a hobby – especially independent activities – so this bodes well on your application. It can be assumed that if this is what you do for fun, you’ll be able to apply this to your studies. 

The main takeaway

The key thing you need to take away and apply to your personal statement is that you want to present who you are. It’s great that you’re applying for a course at the university you love, but behind all those words is a person who has a drive to learn new things and master new skills. Extracurricular activities help to paint a picture of you, which ultimately gives you a golden ticket into university.

Unsure how to write your personal statement?

For more information on university applications, personal statements and a FREE review, check out our resources here.

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Naida Allen

Naida is a witty wordsmith with a love for writing and reading. She is a Content Writer and Social Media Executive at Tutor House — the top UK provider of online and in-person tuition. She specialises in topics relating to mental & physical wellbeing and career advice.

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