The 34 Best Super-Curricular Activities for Applicants to Top Universities


The primary super-curricular activity for English is, of course, reading, with writing your own work coming a close second. Here are a few other ideas.

1. Take part in a writing challenge, such as National Novel Writing Month

Image shows a stack of books on writing with a mug on top that reads "novelist fuel."

Thousands of people all around the world do Nanowrimo every year.

Writing challenges are a great way of demonstrating your love of the written word. National Novel Writing Month takes place in November, and its object is as its name suggests: you write a novel in a month. It’s a huge writing challenge, but you get lots of support from the online community of other writers who are taking part, and it’s an undertaking that will give you a better understanding of the novels you read for your A-level. If you’re applying before the 15 October Oxbridge deadline, it should be enough to mention in your personal statement that you enjoy writing, and that you’re preparing to take part in the challenge; by the time interviews come round, you’ll have written your novel and it’ll be a good talking point in interviews.

2. Visit Stratford-upon-Avon

Image shows the theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Stratford-upon-Avon is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Stratford-upon-Avon was the home of one of the most important writers of all time: William Shakespeare. It’s also the headquarters of the Royal Shakespeare Company, one of the best theatre companies in the world. As such, it’s a must-visit town for any literature enthusiast. With the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Theatre and the Courtyard Theatre all offering superb Royal Shakespeare Company productions, a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon is also the perfect place to do the next activity on our list…

3. Go to the theatre

You’ll doubtless be studying a play or two for your A-level, and you’ve probably already realised that if you’re to appreciate a play properly, you need to see it performed. A theatre trip should therefore be an essential complement to your A-level study, and it’s something you should approach with a critical mind. Be prepared to think about questions such as how well the production brought to life the words on the page, how the production differed to how audiences would have experienced it at the time, and so on.

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