Guide to supercurriculars
Supercurriculars are activities you complete outside of your regular schoolwork which are still related to your academic interests. For example, if you want to apply for a Biology degree, you might read the New Scientist magazine in your spare time; if you want to apply for French, you might watch some French-language films after school which go beyond your A-Level syllabus.
Top universities look for candidates who show genuine subject interest, self-motivation and good critical thinking skills. By seeking out relevant supercurriculars and selecting some key examples to include in your application, you can prove to your chosen universities that you tick all of those boxes!
We've produced some new resources to help you find and utilise these academic resources for your university application. You may want to start with the video above for a general overview. You may then want to download our PDF guide (available here, or in the panel on the right) which goes into more detail about finding, analysing and using supercurriculars.
If you're in Year 12 and you attend a state school in Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, Calderdale, Kirklees and Northamptonshire, you may be interested in joining our supercurricular reading group. Students who participate in the reading group will consult subject-specific academic resources on a range of different topics, and then discuss these resources in a series of after-school Zoom meetings. Click here to sign up - applications will close at 5pm on Friday 21 May 2021.
There are millions of supercurriculars out there - they could be books, magazines, newspapers, podcasts, documentaries, websites, exhibitions, lectures, work experience, and more. You can make a case for almost any academic resource which has helped you to develop your interest in, or knowledge of, your chosen subject. If you're not sure where to start, here are some general suggestions:
- Supercurricular resource lists made by universities - you can find lists made by Oxford here and Cambridge here, and you should also check the websites of any other universities you're considering
- Worcester College's list of suggested supercurriculars by year group
- Oxford University's Digital Resource Hub
- Staircase 12, a website run by University College in Oxford which collects supercurricular suggestions by subject group
- The Oxford Very Short Introduction series, which consists of short books written on a huge variety of academic topics
- Oxford University podcasts on over 4000 topics