What is it?
You’ve probably heard of extracurricular activities, which are the things that you do over and above the curriculum, such as sport and music. However, do you know what supra-curricular activities are and why they are important?
Supra-curricular activities are things that you do to extend and deepen your knowledge of the curriculum. They include things like reading books or magazines that extend your knowledge of the curriculum, following media stories that concern developments in a subject that you’re studying, watching a film based on a novel, play or historical event that you’re studying, or visiting a place that is connected with your subjects.
When you do a supra-curricular activity, it is a good idea to keep a record and think about the impact of the activity on your existing knowledge about the subject, how it has developed your thinking or knowledge, any skills developed and so on. Above all, super-curricular activity has to be thought of as building a case to support your university application.
WHY ARE SUPRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES IMPORTANT?
To get into a top university, it’s not enough just to do well at school. Universities want students who are passionate about their subject, who think for themselves and who are independent learners. That means that if you’re thinking about applying to Cambridge, finding out what you’re really interested in and developing that interest is a top priority.
They also enable you to develop your thinking about your subject so that you are able to write about the subject with more depth and authority in your personal statement, or talk about them with confidence in your interview.
The entire idea is to act on your interests and take them beyond the classroom, so just get into the practice of following up on classwork that particularly engages or excites you. If you leave a lesson with unanswered questions about literature, or a period of history, or the applications of a scientific theory, get Googling further resources or information and really enrich your knowledge through independent study. Quality over quantity matters always – take the time to really flesh out your own interests and what you think and can say about them when questioned, rather than racing to read every slightly relevant book or article ever published!
HOW TO DEVELOP SUPRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES?
1. IDENTIFY THE SUBJECTS YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT
You can’t go deep with every subject you study at GCSE, or even at A Level. So, first you need to identify which ones you’re sufficiently interested in to learn more about them.
2. FIND OUT WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOU?
Think about what resources are available to you for free, or at little cost, to help you learn more. There might be books on your shelves at home or in the school library. There are lots of resources online to help you – see our useful links below.
3. ASK YOUR SUBJECT TEACHER WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING
Your subject teacher should be up to date of developments in your subject, what books are worth reading and what websites or magazines it’s worth reading. They might even lend you some stuff.
4. THINK ABOUT WHAT ELSE YOU COULD DO
Is there somewhere you could visit, a personal project you could do or a volunteering opportunity that would help? Try to go beyond reading and really engage with the subject in the world around you.
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