Compare these two extracts from a Personal Statement:
"EC's included things like being in the cricket team, playing for local tennis club and done some karting in my junior years."
a. setting up a company whilst studying for my AS levels. The company produced manuals for use in the delivery of Economics, Sociology, Business Studies and Psychology. I was one of the Directors of the company and was solely responsible for organising a team of writers (including teachers from outside the school) to write the manuals. I also wrote two of the manuals myself...
b. Whilst studying for my AS levels I designed mock examinations and marking schemes for the subjects I was studying. These schemes were then sold to the publisher ####### who even now sells them to schools.
c. During the half term of ###I (and two other students) ran a revision course. Pupils were charged to attend and all the fees went to charity.
d. In the summer of 2009 I trained to be an EFL teacher (English as a Foreign Language). I also gained some first hand experience in teaching EFL by working for ###### for free.
e. As ####### was not offered as a subject at my school I organised a study group. I planned the work schedule, the books and the study plan. Each week one of the 'members' would 'teach' a particular topic. We also liaised with other students worldwide.
f. In January 2009 (after I had finished my AS exams, having completed the entire AS course in 3 months) I used the spare time to do voluntary work for #### This entailed.....
g. English is my second language. To improve my versatility I advertised in www.dailyinformation.co.uk as a Russian teacher swopping Russian for ######## This means I am fluent in two languages and have a working knowledge of########
h. I have achieved an IELTS score of 7.5. In part this was helped because I am an active member of Oxford Reading/Writing/Speaking club> I also regularly make podcasts on Economics topics for my blog. I know from site statistics that visitors from such countries as ############# listen.
The second candidate demonstrates initiative, organisational skills, a willingness to make decisions, resourcefulness and versatility.
An original thinker.
The first candidate is merely a member of various teams.
Plus entering competitions such as this would help. I have posted many times on here about essays - here is another example
In 2008 a student of mine at Bellerbys got into Warwick. This is after a one year FOUNDATION course. Very unusual. To help his application (on my suggestion) he wrote an extended essay on whether or not an investor should invest in Bellerbys if it was a public company. That, and outstanding references, impressed Warwick.
Read and enter this
THIS won a prize!
Now if a student wrote about using blogs for learning.....
Of course someone might say it's arrogant to inlude a whole essay in with the UCAS form. What we're looking for is something that tips the balance, makes you different but is also relevant to the course. What can be lost by including the essay IF it adds to the form? Maybe too much information - better of course to have had the essay published - if not in the UK, in Russia...
Another criticism might be:
"the aim of the PS - show interest in the subject\area, which he or she applied for. show that he did more than just AS/A2 also mentioning books on your subject area would be great, especially if you presenting and analysing some ideas from it. talking about achivements is great, but not enough. especially for Oxbridge"
The suggestions above are all about achievement not just for SELF but involving others. Not climbing a mountain but LEADING a climb; not just being in a company but ORGANISING something; not just self-study but ORGANISING self-study for others. Showing you are a team player but also a leader, a unique individual who mixes in well, has energy and organisation, empathy and altruism (voluntary work). Already, being a foreign student you have an advantage.
Plus of course you should read widely and be aware of comments:
"I have heard it said also that other universities discriminate against Oxbridge candidates – they’re less likely to give you an offer, or will make you a high one (like AAB) to force you to pick them or Oxford. Technically I don’t think they should do this, but it does seem to happen – certainly in my case although I got to Oxford I had only three offers (out of a possible six) through UCAS"
Read the rest of the reviews and comments
And, as I have said before (but unfortunately ignored) producing something like this (with Chinese and Russian versions) would a) earn money and b) show initiative.
Buying something like this would clearly help - and you get free Economics notes. Why not download the FREE Indstrial Economics chapter (43 pges) - it's A2 but I am certain you will understand it...