Application

 Cambridge

 Corpus Christi

 Archaeology & Anthropology

 2003 (deferred entry)

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (5 A*,3 A,1 B)

A-levels

(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)

Other universities

yes

N/A

Unsure at the moment. I’ve still got visits to make and offers/rejections to receive. When it’s all done and dusted, I’ll be better able to work out what I am going to do.

Decisions about the application

I felt I had just as much chance as anybody else, so I might as well apply. I had considered applying for a while beforehand, and as I had nothing to lose, I decided to give it a shot.

Cambridge has more of a reputation for this subject, and unlike Oxford, doesn’t require you to submit an essay about the subject beforehand (difficult if you haven’t studied Archeaology or Anthroplogy before).

Pretty much slap bang next to the arch and anth department building, and also has a long tradition of archaeolgoy teaching.

Preparation

yes

It was available, but I was unable to take advantage, sadly, for various reasons.

The form: Just tell the truth, read the instructions on the form before filling it out, and write IN BLOCK CAPITALS!

The interview: Read your literature carefully so you know what it is talking about. Work hard on your powers of reasoning (your school/college teachers should be able to help you). The ability to follow your arguments through coherently is probably the most important skill tested in the interview.

Interview

no

no

no

My first one was OK and had quite a relaxed atmosphere, but in the second one I got a right grilling. It didn’t help that I got a cough halfway through, as I was already having a hard time. Still, neither one was as bad as I had expected prior to the interviews.

Some general ones about “Why Corpus?”, and suchlike, and some more diifcult ones such as “Why do you think it is imporatant for archeaologists to study anthropology?”, and “What can archaeological evidence tell us that historical evidence cannot?”. They also talked a little bit about the background reading I did.

Semi-casual wear (dark trousers, shoes, woolen jumper). I considered wearing the suit and tie get up, but thought that the interviewer would see right through it, and would not be impressed.

Impressions

The outside and the chapel (which the tourists see), are suitably lavish. Inside, however, it is not nearly as impressive, all white walls and wooden doors, which I found very reassuring. I felt that I could definately live here for a few years. There seemed to be a close-knit atmosphere which I liked too. Tea was laid on for all the hopefuls which was a nice touch, as it helped alieviate the nerves by sharing your interview anecdotes with others. Overall, I was impressed.

I didn’t really see many rooms, but there appeared to be about 4 small ones with bed, wardrobe e.t.c. on each floor with one bathroom between them. Stangely, there was no shower, only a bath. Most peculiar.

Edible but not great

The usual canteen-style stuff. Best take cooking lessons, then.

Slightly more approachable than I expected, which is about all I can say – it is not easy when you are nervous to rate them, really.

I was surprised at the total lack of posh people – everybody seemed to me to be relatively normal, although there were quite a large amount of openly right-wingers there which I found daunting (what with being somewhat more left-of-centre). There seemed to be a strong community spirit amoung the current undergrads, potentially a good thing.

Final stage

Opened it, read it, put it back in the envelope, filed it with the rest of my UCAS correspondence, got on with the day. I did feel somewhat dissappopinted, particuarly when it transpired that all my mates had got offers (for different subjects at different colleges, mind). It also arrived on new years eve – just the thing to usher in the new year. I guess I’m just going to have to see what other offers I get, then make a decision.

Looking back

Definately. Although I ultimately failed, I don’t regret applying, as in all fairness I had a good day at the college talking with the other hopefuls from accross the country, got a free lunch, and to be brutally honest, didn’t really lose anything.

Start early in the year before you wish to apply. My application was a bit rushed and as a result I didn’t have as good an idea of what I was doing, not a good thing when it comes to interviews. Read your books, make visits, and decide on what and where you are going to apply for well before the deadline, otherwise it will most likely end in tears.