While the EE is a compulsory part of the IB Diploma Programme, students can forget that all students do not complete an EE, or equivalent, as part of their studies and so do not give the EE the credit it deserves as part of their Personal Statement. Proactive A-level students can opt in to an Extended Project Qualification, which provide a similar opportunity to research independently and create a university-length piece of writing or ‘artefact’ accompanied by an essay, and indeed many are opting to take up this option- around 30,000 students annually.
The benefits of completing an extended qualification, whether as part of the IB or as an additional qualification, include demonstratable independent research skills, time management, argumentation practise, and the satisfaction of successfully driving your very own project from idea through to completion.
Additionally, universities love the skills demonstrated in the process of finalising your EE or EPQ, so do be sure to talk in your personal statement about your research, your argument formation, and, above anything else, the independent nature of your project. Whilst undertaking such a task can seem insurmountable when beginning, the satisfaction and reward of completing should make the difficulties more than worth it! Be sure to keep a note of each stage of your project, such that you can make reference to the full journey in your personal statement, rather than just the final product.
Finally, if you have the benefit of planning your EE or EPQ while knowing what you would like to study at university, try to align your project to your future course of study- not only will this look fantastic to admissions officers, it gives you a tangible go at creating work similar to that which you will work on at university- and gives you an opportunity to work out if you really dislike your subject before you have committed to it for three years!