Application

 Cambridge

 Newnham

 Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (4 A*,3 A,1 B,1 C)

A-levels

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

I’ll accept. Amazing place, amazing people.

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Excellent resources, prestige

The Cambridge course was more appealing and it seemed that I was more likely to meet people from a wider range of backgrounds there than at Oxford.

Very relaxed and supportive environment

Preparation

yes

No – very few people from my school apply to Oxbridge. I was given general advice by a friend who is a Cambridge graduate.

The form: Keep it simple. Just concentrate on your greatest strengths and make sure your enthusiasm for the subject is clear.

The interview:Read – a good background knowledge will give you confidence and help you respond well to anything. Visit just 1 or 2 sites of interest and get to know them well. Finally, be yourself – go for it!

Interview

no

yes

I was expecting to be asked to submit school essays but in fact they sent a selection of essay titles from which I had to choose. In retrospect that was a great opportunity to get straight to the heart of the subject.

no

The first (Arch) was high pressure, especially when it came to the issue of my ‘B’ grade. The second (Anth) was more relaxed, concentrating on the core issues in the subject and the content of my essays.

I had expected more general questions but both interviews were very involved from the start, looking at issues such as the role of language in our understanding of culture.

Wooly jumper and a long skirt – it was freezing! Put comfort first, interviews are stressful enough.

Impressions

Although it had been highly recommended, I wasn’t sure about applying to a women’s college untill I visited it. Compared with many others, it stood out as having an overwhelming atmosphere of social and academic enthusiasm. It was wonderful!

Kitchens, internet connections, lovely Victorian rooms with huge windows.

Edible but not great

Noticed veggie and kosher options available.

Very enthusiastic and supportive. They clearly value genuine input from everyone.

All the students I met seemed really interested in the thoughts and experiences of other people. Some of the girls threw the candidates a little party the night before interviews which was relaxing and a great opportunity to ask questions about the college.

Final stage

I was away from home at the time and my Mum called to tell me that the letter had arrived. I couldn’t wait until I got back so I asked her to open it for me. When she told me I’d got in I cried. I couldn’t believe it!

Looking back

Yes, it’s so rewarding in the end. I would leave myself more time to write my application if I did it again.

I thought the fact that I didn’t have 3 As would really count against me but they gave me every opportunity to show I had what it takes. So, apply – you’ve got nothing to lose.