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Fifteen things to do this October half term

By Alison Home, on 18 October 2012

It’s tempting to see half-term as a chance to sleep late, catch up with your TV shows and spend time with friends. But half term is also a great chance to take advantage of all the fantastic opportunities available in London. You can enhance your CV, get great experiences for your UCAS statement, and develop new skills and knowledge to help you in your GCSEs, A levels and beyond.

Try out some of our suggested half term activities this October!

  1. Look for holiday skills and taster workshops for teenagers. Futureversity (where Dizzee Rascal got started!), Debate Chamber and Headliners all run young people’s workshops during  school holidays. Debate Chamber workshops aren’t free, but they do offer bursaries for students from low income families.
  2. Visit museums and galleries. London has some of the best museums in the world and almost all are free! Try the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. UCL itself has two museums – the Grant Museum of Zoology and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Check out www.timeout.com/london/museums-attractions for news about exhibitions and events.
  3. Visit UCL! As well as our museums, we also have lots of free lectures and exhibitions. Or visit the campus with a friend and take a self-guided tour.
  4. Read a different quality broadsheet newspaper every day like The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph or The Times (The Times has a £1 paywall), and write a page at the end of the week summarising what you have learnt.
  5. Order prospectuses from different universities as well as UCL (even ones that you aren’t sure you are interested in). When they arrive, read about the courses, the different types of campus and accommodation, and think about what you like best – you might be surprised!
  6. Plan some work experience, volunteering or a day shadowing someone in a career area that you find interesting.
  7. Sign up to your local library. Read a book from the Booker Prize or the Orange Prize list, ask a librarian to show you their careers and university information, or find a book that would be useful for your school coursework.
  8. Visit the IntoUniversity website and the Connexions Central London websites to see if they have a centre near you. Find out about opportunities for guidance on careers and university, or mentoring schemes.
  9. GCSE students – spend a morning brainstorming A level subjects you might want to study, thinking about why, and how they link to your university plans. Year 12 students – spend a morning brainstorming university degrees you might apply for. Year 13 students – work on your UCAS application!
  10. Watch a BBC or Channel 4 documentary on a subject that interests you and write a page explaining what you liked and didn’t like about it.
  11. Sign up for a podcast in a subject that interests you! UCL has lessons and podcasts available through iTunes. The BBC has a huge range of documentaries available as podcasts. Have a look at these as well:
    www.radiolab.org
    www.philosophybites.com
    www.guardian.co.uk/science/series/science
    www.ted.com/talks
  12. Enter a competition! If you are interested in journalism, try Amnesty International’s Young Human Rights Reporter (print journalism and photojournalism categories). For budding scientists, there’s the the National Science and Engineering Competition (deadline Oct 31).
  13. Interested in politics? Get involved with the UK Youth Parliament. See what’s happening in your area, take part in an online debate and lobby your MP on an issue that you feel strongly about.
  14. Raise money for charity – organise a sponsored swim, run, walk or silence or put on a bake sale.  Be creative and see how much money you can raise!
  15. If you’ve completed everything on this list: Have a rest – you deserve it!

Today’s post is by Charlotte Riley.