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How to Structure Your Time Over the Summer Holidays to Get Ahead on Your University Applications

The summer holidays present a valuable opportunity for aspiring university applicants to make significant progress on their applications. With a well-structured plan and effective time management, you can use this period to conduct thorough research, engage in supercurricular activities, and prepare your personal statement and application, all while keeping on top of aHow ny school work or revision you need to do. In this blog post, we will provide you with practical suggestions and ideas to make the most of your summer break, ensuring a productive and successful continuation of (or start to - we won’t judge!) your university application journey.



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Set Clear Goals

Begin by setting clear goals for your summer break. Break down your application tasks into manageable objectives, such as researching courses, exploring universities, drafting your personal statement, and completing any necessary forms. Establishing specific goals will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the summer. Check out our mid-summer application planning guide for suggested goals and aims for the first period of the summer holidays!


Research Your Chosen Subject

Use the summer holidays to delve deeper into your chosen subject. Read books, articles, and research papers related to your field of interest. Engage in online courses or webinars that offer insights into your desired course. Attend lectures or workshops organised by universities or professional organisations. This proactive approach will not only enhance your knowledge but also demonstrate your passion and dedication to admissions tutors. We recommend heading over to the Oxford and Cambridge websites (or that of whichever university you’re considering if not Oxbridge) and delving into the course content, structure, and teaching style of any and all courses you’re considering, the more in-depth the better. You should aim to have your course choice(s) nailed down ahead of preparing in earnest so you don’t end up spending too much time on a subject you don’t end up applying for!


Engage in Supercurricular Activities  

Supercurricular activities, such as attending summer schools, internships, or work experience, are highly regarded by universities. Seek opportunities that align with your chosen field of study and explore related extracurricular activities. Join relevant clubs, societies, or organisations in your community or online platforms. These experiences will help you develop practical skills, gain valuable insights, and stand out from other applicants. Getting involved in these kind of activities over the summer holidays is a perfect way not only to pack in hours that you won’t have during term-time (especially if you’re working or volunteering somewhere that runs during the school day), but it will also help structure your time so that you can plan other, more independent activities around this allotted time schedule and keep yourself on task.


Prepare Your Personal Statement:

Your personal statement plays a crucial role in the application process. Use the summer break to brainstorm ideas, outline your statement, and begin drafting. Reflect on your experiences, academic achievements, and personal growth. Highlight your motivations, aspirations, and how your chosen course aligns with your long-term goals. You should aim over the summer to have a first draft ready so that you can seek feedback from teachers, mentors, or experienced individuals who can provide valuable insights when you get back to school. Our guide on demonstrating passion for your subject could be helpful in giving you ideas on how to think and write about your subject so as to show off your dedication!


Application Preparation

Familiarise yourself with the application requirements and deadlines for your desired universities. Start gathering the necessary documents, including written work or portfolio pieces if required (be sure to check whether the course you’re applying to requires submitted work of any kind on the university website). Research the admissions tests or interviews specific to your chosen universities and allocate time for practice and preparation. Keep track of important dates and ensure you meet all the submission deadlines. By the end of the summer holidays, you should have identified any admissions test you’ll need to take and begun working through practice papers and revising any relevant academic content that you’re likely to need in the test itself (check out our Admissions Test Resource hub for a headstart on this!)


Balance with School Work

While dedicating time to your university applications, it's essential to maintain a balance with your school work. Prioritise your assignments and exams, and create a schedule that allows for both academic responsibilities and application tasks. Break down your time into manageable chunks, setting aside specific periods for studying, application work, and relaxation. Effective time management will prevent unnecessary stress and ensure a smooth transition between your academic and application commitments. Have a look at our blog on Why it Pays to Start your University Applications Early for the benefits of time management in an Oxbridge Application!


In Summary

The summer holidays are a golden opportunity to make significant progress on your university applications. By structuring your time effectively and following a well-defined plan, you can conduct thorough research, engage in supercurricular activities, prepare your personal statement and application, all while keeping on top of your school work. Embrace this period of self-discovery, growth, and preparation, as it will pave the way for a successful university application journey. With dedication, organisation, and a proactive approach, you will be well ahead in securing your desired university placement.


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