Application

 Cambridge

 Queens’

 Architecture

 2003

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

not known if selective

 yes (7 A*,3 A)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

yes

firm

yes

yes

UCL as insurance

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

It seemed to offer a good balance, which i was looking for, and i also like their cultural spin on it. i think it’s a good choice if you like history of art. most other courses seemed to either emphasize structural theory or conceptual design, cambridge was relatively all-rounded i thought.

then obviously there was also just the challenging of trying cambridge because it’s right up there! ;p

Only cambridge has an architecture course

mainly because my biggest extra-curricular love is dance, and queens’ is where most of the dance is at, they have studio space and stuff! also, it’s really, reeeally pretty and picturesque! plus, it’s central and not far from the architecture department

Preparation

yes

my careers advisor helped steer me through the applications, and i basically just pestered my art teachers whenever i could to discuss architecture with me!

i was told not to waste time praising cambridge or the course (saying stuff like ‘i want to go to cambridge coz it’s a best educational institution in the country!!’), they know they’re good, just focus on telling them about you. also, don’t feel that you need to repeat stuff just to fill up space.

Interview

no

yes

portfolio

no

i just had one, but with 2 interviewers. i was made to feel really welcome and comfortable right for the start.

kicked off with a nice general chat, then looked at my portfolio and discussed it. then the academic tutor showed me some architecture stuff and we talked about it. also discussed some contemporary issues (iconic architecture).

there was non-academic stuff as well, they do ask you about your extra-curricular activities, but it was mainly focused on architecture

the tutors push you, but in a nice way!..(they’re encouraging). the questions do get challenging, but i felt more like i was being guided through a difficult question, rather than being tested.

questions about my portfolio work, why queens, what new thing i’d take up at cambridge, what i’d read, got tested on some buildings, the rest was more discussion

normal trousers, trainers, top and blazer. the blazer was to be smart and the rest was to be comfortable. i think for girls, full-on suits aren’t really necessary, just smart casual is fine.

Impressions

it was really beautiful and just a lovely environment to live in. it has a theatre (the rows of seats move back making it into a dance studio!) , nice big dining hall, and my favourite bit was the tutor-styley court, it’s so lovely!

most of them are arranged up and down staircases, the rooms are a good size (quite big), they have basins, but loos and showers are shared.

Good

really lovely! the non-academic tutor at my interview was a bio-chemistry tutor from queens, she was really encouraging and motherly! queens’ architecture tutor is Dr James Campbell. he can seem abit sharp at first (i was kinda thrown back when i first spoke to him at the open day), but afterwards he’s more encouraging and actually he’s really friendly i felt more used to him at the interview after speaking to him at the open day, so maybe that’s a good idea, even if only briefly

the ones I met were all really friendly…(and understanding!..since all us interviewees were white with fear at breakfast!)

Final stage

i recieved the decision letter around the new year, i think it was the 2nd or something…i was really shocked…and then afterwards, really happy!!

you write a letter informally to tell them whether you’re taking their offer as firm or insurance or whatever,
later on of course you have to do all the accepting and declining again officially through ucas

after that, you don’t hear from them for awhile, until about late march when they send you a big pack of forms
to fill

Looking back

definitely!..why?!..silly question! lol

i think, read some books..magazines..just so you know you’re comfortable talking about architecture for quite a while.

having said that, at the interview, they don’t really probe too deep into art history or anything (you don’t have to quote pevsner or anything! lol), they just tested basic buildings, really famous ones, i think its evidence of enthusiasm that’s most important, so make sure that you know you are really passionate about architecture

i think just be really passionate, make the extra effort if you really want it, and be confident about yourself. fight back the suspicion that all the other applicants are total geniuses!!