What are super-curricular activities?
“Super-curricular” means taking your knowledge and engagement above and beyond what you do in school. It’s not the same as “extra-curricular” – that’s the stuff you do outside of school that isn’t linked to your academic work (we’re thinking playing sport or volunteering here). A super-curricular activity might be doing some extra reading to explore a topic you’ve studied at school in more depth. On the other hand, it might be a way to discover a brand-new area of research you hadn’t heard about before. Reading is the most obvious place to start but you can engage with subjects that interest you in loads of different ways – listen to a podcast, watch a documentary, explore an online resource, visit a museum, take part in a project… the list is endless!
Why are super-curricular activities useful?
Engaging with a subject because you’re interested in it is great preparation for life at a top university like Oxford. In your university application it’s a good idea to demonstrate that you’re an enthusiastic, motivated and curious student who can work independently. We’re not looking for people who can memorise lots of facts – instead, we want to see that you can think critically by finding connections, reflecting on and even challenging what you’ve read and watched. We also want to see that you’re interested and enthusiastic about the subject you’ve chosen to study at university. If you’re finding the super-curricular activities boring then that might be a sign that you haven’t found the subject that’s right for you – don’t worry, just try something else.
Let’s get started…
Here are some great places to begin your search. Oxplore is ‘The ‘Home of the Big Questions’ and introduces you to the discussion-led way of teaching we use at Oxford. Staircase 12 is a resources hub and reading bank from University College, Oxford and has a huge selection of ideas for super-curricular activities. And our Personal Statement guide offers you some top tips for integrating what you’ve done and read into a competitive application.
Picked up one of our postcards?
Here are links to all of the suggestions on our Hertford Challenge postcard – don’t forget that you can find lots more personalised suggestions on Staircase 12 above.
Books, journals and current affairs
Podcasts and lectures
Societies and foundations
British Pharmacological Society
The British Psychological Society
British Science Association
Institute of Materials, Minerals Mining
Institute of Physics
London Mathematical Society
Royal Astronomical Society
The Royal Institution
The Royal Society
Royal Society of Biology
Royal Society of Chemistry