Application

 Cambridge

 Clare

 Classics

 2006

 pooled, offer made (New Hall)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (8 A*,4 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (276 UMS))

(A at AS (283 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (272 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (259 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained Merit)

(predicted NA; gained Ungraded)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in English Literature, A in History, A in Latin

General Studies excluded.

yes

yes

yes

King College London has an equally good Classics course which also looks less restrictive but Cambridge is top of the league tables for Classics and I like the college system.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

World famous universites, Cambridge is the best place to study Classics, I like the idea of the college system.

Cambridge had a better Classics course as it offers more variety than the Oxford one which mostly focusses upon epic and has compulsory philosophy courses. I also didn’t want to do a four year course. At the open day the Cambridge Classics staff also seemed more approachable.

I like the variety of the Classics course and I am interested in ancient civilisations.

I chose Clare because it seemed like a friendly place with lots to offer socially and good accomadation.

Preparation

yes

I had one mock interview but it wasn’t a lot of help.

Read around your subject and do something a bit more unusual, everyone goes to Bryanston, go to a different summer camp or do some other classics related activity.

Interview

no

yes

I sent in two essays, one was a Latin essay comparing two poems of Horace and the other was an English Essay on ‘The Great Gatsby.’

yes

I had a one hour test in which I had to translate a passage of Ovid’s Amores and write an essay on the nature of love in the ancient world. I found the translation hard but you have to perservere you’ll look better if you make educated guesses than if you give up. I really enjoyed the essay because it coincided with the extra reading I’d been doing.

My interviews at Clare were not a success. My first interview was at Churchill (all classicists have an interview out of college) and I couldn’t get them off a topic I knew nothing about.
My general interview at Clare was Ok. My second one at Clare wasn’t a success, to add to my nerves, I was tired and had a cold and had been made to wait almost 5 hours between that and my first one and said some spectacularly stupid things!
My pool interviews were more successful, my firt one overran by 15 minutes!

Is Classics worth studying, doesn’t it make us a ‘jack-of-all-trades’?
Relate Classics to a modern piece of Literature?
Tell me about love in the ancient world?
Are you interested in other aspects of the course like ancient history?
Tell me about chronology in the odyssey?
What is the effect of a story within a story?
Would Oedipus still be a play if we took away the oedipus complex?
Do you agree with the Harvard school of thought about Virgil?
General questions about my hobbies and subjects.

Smart trousers and a jumper. Didn’t think I’d be comfortable in a suit and the interviewers weren’t exactly too smart themselves!

Impressions

Clare seemed like a friendly place, even the bedders were really nice! Although I did have the misfortune to meet some rahs there at the Open Day from prestigious boarding schools who liked to advertise that fact.
New Hall was lovely and relaxed and people were wandering around in their pjs!

Clare had nice bedrooms.
New Hall is suprisingly pretty for a modern college with rather nice futuristic architecture.

The tutors I met at both colleges were really friendly.

All seemed really nice and helpful!

Final stage

Was upset because I was sure I’d blown my chance of getting into Cambridge.

I got a letter telling me I’d been pooled, got a phone call from New Hall offering interviews and then got a letter giving me a place!

Looking back

Yes.

Try not to panic and freeze, remember they are interested or they wouldn’t have bothered with an interview.
Don’t mention topics in passing that you know nothing about; they pick up on everything!
Think before you speak!