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Whether you’re moving to secondary school, jumping into the world of work, starting a new relationship or just feeling a bit stressed, we’ve asked those who’ve been through it to share their wisdom.


Struggling to adapt to distance learning? Second-year Open University student, Tala Al-Shafee, gave us her top tips for making it work…

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced so many changes into our lives in such a short amount of time, including the way we work, study and connect with other people. To get through the work and meet those deadlines, we’ve had to try our best to adapt to this less-than-ideal situation.

As an Open University student, I became a distance learner quite a while before the pandemic started. Over the last year, I’ve learnt lots of tricks that I’d like to share with you that have helped me study online.

Check out my ten top tips for how to get the best out of online learning

Personal statements: How to get experience

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This article was last updated on 3 November 2020.

Wondering how to get experience during the pandemic so you can nail your personal statement? Well, read on and wonder no more!

Personal statements usually contain examples of work experience and other extracurricular activities, but, with all that’s going on in the world at the moment, that might prove tricky. With the 15 January deadline for UCAS university applications drawing closer, and coronavirus restrictions still in place, it’s understandable if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about getting the experience you need to write the perfect personal statement.

As ever, we’ve got you covered with some top tips to help you get personal statement ready from the comfort of your own home. We caught up with some personal statement pros to get the lowdown on what you can do to keep working towards your application goals.

The lowdown from an admissions director

David Winstanley is director of global recruitment and admissions at The University of Southampton. David leads a team who look at tens of thousands of personal statements each year, so who better to ask about the current situation?

David explains, “I think it will be more difficult to write your personal statement this year – many things in many aspects of people’s lives have been made more difficult because of the pandemic. But, with a little bit of guidance and planning you can still write an amazing personal statement.”

How can you gain experience now?

David says: “We want people to articulate what excites them about their subject in their personal statement and, luckily, nowadays, people can easily do that from their bedrooms.” David continues: “It may take some creative thinking to be able to demonstrate something we are looking for on a course, without having done the relevant work experience, but there are ways of doing it. What we want to know is how a student has done the research into what that course may be like and why it would be right for them. This is more important than how you learnt it, where you went or what experiences you had.”

Will universities take the pandemic into consideration?

“We are absolutely aware that the pandemic has impacted different people in different ways. We will not expect the same level of outward activities as before to be included on a personal statement,” David says. “If you were planning field trips or excursions that have been cancelled, we will take this into account in our admissions procedures. The ability to go out and see the world in whatever way people want to has been restricted this year. It has been difficult for students, especially those looking to study vocations who would have benefited from hands-on experience, but, the experiences of the pandemic, and the ways that your particular field of study has responded, can be used in your statement.”