I've done lots of Jewish stuff (being a leader in my synagogue and youth movement) should I say it on my personal statement? Will it count against me?
Universities are interested in you demonstrating the ability to learn, work with others, give back to the community, motivate yourself and manage your time effectively. The trick with personal statemenets is not to list your extra-curricular activities but explain how they have helped you develop key skills that will make you a good student and a valuable part of the university commmunity. Some people worry that listing lots of Jewish things will make the university think that they aren't versatile or that they might struggle to relate to students from another background but this fear is unfounded. If you are able to demonstrate the variety of experiences and skills you have had or gained through your involvement in the community, it doesn't matter how you got those skills. Be careful not to fall into the trap that many students fall into of listing EVERYTHING you have done. A few well chosen and explained examples are just as, if not even more effective.
Is there a big difference between the 'Jew-ni's' and other universities with smaller Jewish populations?
The campuses with large Jewish populations are affectionately known as Jewniversities. The current big Jew-nis are Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. London also has a large Jewish student population but it is spread out across the many campuses in the city and lots of students live at home, meaning JSoc in London is relatively small. Larger JSocs have lots going on, but that doesn't mean that there isn't lots going on on smaller campuses as well. Larger JSocs tend to have more regular Friday Night Dinners and a more established social scene. There are universities with very small Jewish populations which can make it harder to have a Jewish life at uni, but you are still likely to find a small and friendly JSoc there. Jeneration has groups on most of the big campuses, but also on several smaller ones like Liverpool and Sussex.
I'm thinking of taking a gap year- help?
Many universities prefer students who have taken gap years because they are more mature, able to manage their time better and navigate the pressures of university life. There are many things you can do in a year off, lots of which might enhance your application and open doors to opportunities when you graduate. For more information, you can visit our gap year section