Four fantastic ways to prepare your application | Varsity Education

Four fantastic ways to prepare your application

Summer and fun go hand in hand like weekends and lie-ins. But if you’re preparing for university, admission worries might be keeping you up at night. In addition to soaking up the summer sun (we can dream…), you’re probably looking to develop your passions and figure out how you can increase your chances of being accepted onto the course that you want.

To help you make the most of your time once exams are done, we’ve compiled a few hints on how to prepare for university applications.

Whether smart, sporty or bookish, these extracurricular suggestions should give you plenty to talk about in your university interviews and applications.

Read Above and Beyond A-Level Course Books

You can’t underestimate the benefits of being well read. It improves diction, expands your horizons and, if you get your hands on a reading list that’s relevant to your intended programme, it can give you the inside edge at interviews.

King’s College at Cambridge University offer an extensive reading list 1 and even if that isn’t your intended college, the subject matter is generally universal, putting you in good stead for other college applications.


Academic journals can give you talking points and will impress interviewers with your eagerness to learn. Journals can be quite long, but you don’t need to read every article in every issue, familiarise yourself with a few more pertinent ones. You’ll be surprised how much they can help solidify your viewpoints and keep you abreast of key industry changes.

Reading beyond A-level course books will demonstrate your passion for the subject

Keep up with Current Affairs

Understanding different perspectives and exploring other ways of thinking can benefit people whatever you’re studying.

Culture influences education, so being able to interpret current events in different ways and understanding alternate perspectives will help cement your standpoint, or broaden it to include other viewpoints.

Beyond newspapers and the BBC, email alerts can be helpful. Google Alerts can aggregate new articles about a specific subject or topics. Have them automatically sent to your inbox and save yourself time and effort.

Another great way to stay informed is to watch Oxford and Cambridge University debates.2 The formal discussions can be found on YouTube and are especially illuminating as they provide different, well-articulated takes on a variety of world issues.

Volunteering and Work Experience

If applying for vocational courses like medicine, or veterinary studies; work experience demonstrates commitment to your field of interest.

Get in touch with your local hospital or veterinary practice and ask if they can offer you a short work placement; although these tend to be organised well in advance it’s still worth enquiring.

Ask if you can help out at a nursing home or animal shelter – not only will it give you valuable experience that may be useful in your future career, but you’ll also walk away with a sense of satisfaction from helping others.


Volunteer work can go a long way in furthering your interview or application. It helps demonstrate that you’re a well rounded person and shows that there is more to you than pure academic study.3

TED talks and public seminars are a great way of expanding knowledge

Go to Public Seminars – They’re Free

There are plenty of public seminars throughout the year that you can attend for free at local universities and museums. Discussions cover a wide range of local, national and global topics such as British Culture, Sport, Medicine, Finance, Science, Nature, and Philosophy.


Search online forums 4 for lectures relating to your subject, they’ll give you an opportunity to verbalise and validate your stances and opinions as well as expanding your knowledge.

Another great way to increase your application experience and knowledge this summer is to enrol on to the Oxbridge Summer College programme.

Our programme introduces you to what life at a high prestige university is really like. We’ll also help hone your interview and application skills so that you get into the University that you’ve always dreamt of.

Contact us now and find out more ways to become perfect Oxford or Cambridge material.