Wyedean School and Sixth Form Centre

Definition of super- and extra-curricular

Information for students and parents on the definitions ...

You’ve probably heard of ‘extracurricular activities’, and probably do a few of them yourself. The ‘extra’ refers to an activity being outside of your regular curriculum, e.g. doing a sport or enrolling in a First Aid course.

Supercurricular activities are those that take your regular curriculum further. They take the subjects you study in the classroom beyond that which your teacher has taught you or what you’ve done for homework. For example, you may go into more depth on something you picked up in the classroom, or learn about a new topic altogether. These activities are normally in the form of extra reading but they can take many other forms, like watching videos online, downloading lectures, visiting museums or entering academic competitions. It could even be an independent project like the EPQ done in Sixth Form.

Why are supercurricular activities important?

To do well at a top university, it is important to have two things:

  • Passion for your subject
  • A capacity for independent study

These are two of the most important qualities that top universities look for in potential students. Doing something like extra reading or entering an essay competition in your subject are good ways for you to check if you have the passion for your subject that you think you do! If you’re enjoying exploring the subject, even when your homework is done for the week, it’s a positive sign that you’ve chosen the right thing!

It is important that you love your subject, as from this naturally comes the motivation to study for yourself and explore what’s out there.  Universities look for you having done this as it can indicate not only your capacity for self-study, which is vital for a successful time at university, but how you respond to the new ideas that you come across. This is something that you can work on, by pushing yourself to absorb new information actively, getting to grips with arguments, challenging assumptions, and uncovering weaknesses.