Application

 Cambridge

 Christ’s

 Archaeology & Anthropology

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (5 A*,5 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Cambridge STEP Maths

(predicted NA; gained NA)

(predicted NA; gained NA)

Details about the offer

 conditional

Two E’s, and to take 2 STEP papers (but not pass!)

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

The brilliant music (CUMS, etc), the prestige, the historical buildings ;), the supervisions.

Cambridge has better music and seems slightly less anciently set in its ways. Also, very few Oxford colleges did Arch and Anth – Cambridge has a very good reputation for those subjects.

I made a list down the side of a bit of paper of about 6 different colleges after visiting Cambrige, then made little columns with headings like: Theatre, Pub, % of each sex, Archaeology prof, Music, Food, Teaching, Location, then rated them all. Christ’s came out top.

Preparation

yes

I met my head of 6th Form a few times for a general chat and some advice. I probably had a bit more help with my personal statement than others. I had a mock interview, but so did everyone.

The form: Just try to get across your genuine enthusiasm for the subject you’re applying to study. Mention related interests. But remember – If *you* get bored reading it, so will they. Oh yes, and don’t worry if you have no practical archaeological experience, they don’t really expect you to have any – all you need to do is visit lots of sites of interest.

The interview: Almost all of what I read up on Archaeology and Anthropology was not touched upon at all, but had I not, I’m sure they would have asked something I couldn’t answer! I was frantically trying to learn everything about everything – all the dating techniques etc (which I COMPLETELY forgot about in the interview when asked what I would say to historians who said that Archaeology was imprecise…that was *such* a waffley answer…..). But I would reccomend wide reading. Know what you’re letting yourself in for. Be prepared for your ideas to be challenged, and be able to backtrack and take new things onboard.

Interview

no

yes

I had to send off ‘two recently marked essays’. Trouble was, I didn’t *have* two…. Due to the nature of my history course, I had done very few essays so far that year because they are meant to cover the whole period, which I hadn’t yet studied. So I wrote a six and a half side essay on two specific aspects of the Counter Reformation in one night. I then reviewed an AS essay I’d written, then pulled together the first page of my A-level Witchcraft coursework, just to show them what I really *could* do. I’ve never felt so drained in my life!

no

I arrived at the porter’s lodge about 10 minutes before my first interview and after a tense minute he finally found my name on the list of interviewees. He was really friendly and joked that it was obvious who was coming for an interview because they all looked terrified! He showed me on the map where to go, so I did.

My interview basically centred around my submitted work – make sure you know exactly what you wrote and exactly what you think about all the issues you raise in your essays. There was barely any straight Arch&Anth straight questions. Half the time I wasn’t sure really what she was asking but just ploughed on anyway. Sometimes I just had to start talking and hope that something came to me. I was asked about the similarities and differences between two archaeological sites I’d visited. I went to one of Christ’s open days and talked with the Arch and Anth professor for quite a while. She remembered me when I came for my interview, and remembered what I was like. So my advice is, GO TO THE OPEN DAY to make yourself known early.

Smart black trousers, black jacket, sparkley blue top and a pink wooly scarf which I forgot to take off. I wore nothing that creased badly as I had a 2 3/4 hour journey to get there. I wanted to look smart, but my scarf (which I wear all the time cos I get cold) I think showed some originality 😉

Impressions

It’s hard to choose between colleges, but don’t make it into a bigger thing than it is. Everywhere was nice, but I liked Christs because it had good music and drama, and I’d met the professor who would be taking my supervisions at an open day and really enjoyed talking to her.

Horrible quiche at the open day!

Very friendly and enthusiastic.

Only met one at an open day, but she seemed very nice and normal.

Final stage

My dad brought it into my bedroom at about 9am and I opened it. I couldn’t believe I’d got an offer, let alone a matriculation offer (I still can’t). It’s hard to take in the fact that I’m *actually* going. I went and told my mum, who was very pleased!

Looking back

I don’t know….probably…..For me anyway, it wasn’t as stressful as I thought it was going to be. The interviews were a bit nervewracking, but not at all a nasty experience.

If you think you have a chance and you’d like to go there, give it a try. Stay as relaxed as possible in the interview, and if you don’t know the answer to a question, just start talking – if you’ve been reading widely, something will come to you 🙂 eventually.