Though the answer to this question is not a simple yes or no, the general consensus is that work experience will enhance a degree application even if it isn’t connected to your degree. It shows you’re enthusiastic, willing to learn and gives you great transferable skills that will help you get onto your dream course.
Why is work experience so important?
Work experience provides you with an appreciation of the subject you want to study and helps you decide whether it is right for you. It also gives you plenty of soft skills such as teamwork, self-management, organisation, leadership, critical thinking and problem-solving, networking, communication and commercial awareness, which will prove useful on many degree courses. These are also skills sought after by employers and are important when seeking employment after graduation.
How work experience can increase employability?
Work experience is a fantastic idea whatever degree you choose. There are some degrees such as medicine and dentistry where it’s essential if you want to get a place. But equally, it’s a great addition to your application for subjects like business management and accounting and finance. Work experience in those areas can really enhance your application and showcase your genuine interest in the subject.
Not only that, work experience can increase your employability when you graduate. Employers are on the lookout for students who are commercially aware which means they have an up-to-date understanding of business practices and developments in the commercial world. Having a relevant work placement under your belt can really help your eventual job search by showing you’ve first-hand experience of a particular industry and that you are workplace savvy.
Putting work experience on your application
Your personal statement is a vital part of your UCAS application and work experience is the one thing you can use to set yourself apart from other applicants. You can demonstrate the specific skills you gained and how your experience has helped shape your desire to study the subject.
Educational establishments look to work experience when deciding whether to offer a place, even if it isn’t compulsory to have it. It can help admissions tutors to understand your motivations for wanting to join a course and show your enthusiasm and passion for the subject. To really make a positive impression, reflect on the skills you learned, what you took away from the experience and why it has encouraged you to pursue a particular degree.
Work experience ideas for students
There are plenty of rich work experience opportunities out there just waiting for you to grab them and there are lots of resources to make your search go smoothly. Make a list of placements you’d like to go on and what you’d like to learn. Once you have an idea of what you’re interested in you can start to look for placements.
If you have any family members, neighbours or friends with interesting jobs it’s worth asking them if there are any opportunities for you. Your next port of call should be your teachers at college or careers advisers to see if they have any links with local employers. You can also write to employers speculatively asking for placement.
Work experience fairs are another great way to meet employers or you could try searching online – Sites such as Success at School or Student Ladder have work experience jobs advertised on them. Also, check out GSM London’s careers section for any new vacancies on our website.
We would love to hear from you if you have any questions about work experience and degree entry. You can call us on 020 3797 4687 for further information.