Application

 Cambridge

 Queens’

 Economics

 2000

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (8 A*,1 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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I really liked the course at Cambridge, and also thought that it would be good to go to a university with such an outstanding reputation.

Oxford didn’t do the course (straight economics) that I wanted to do, and I really liked the sound of the course at Cambridge

I really liked it when I went to the open day as everyone was so friendly. Also, it is one of the largest colleges, and I knew that I wanted to go to quite a big college.

Preparation

yes

I was given a practice interview with the headteacher.

Make sure you are confident with the subject matter on the A-level syllabus, and that you know a reasonable amount about your chosen topics.

Interview

no

no

no

I had one interview with a panel of three people from the college (2 economics, 1 other). The interview lasted about 25-30 minutes. the interviewers were all very professional and friendly, and although I found some of the questions difficult to answer, they never made me feel stupid.

I was asked lots of questions about many different aspects of economics, mainly based on topics covered in the A-level economics course. Some were just testing my knowledge of the syllabus, others were more challenging and required more thinking about. They didn’t ask me any questions about why I wanted to do the subject, and only a few non-academic questions. Before the interview I was asked to specify particular areas of economics that I was interested in, which helped me when I was preparing for the interview.

I wore a skirt and jumper as I thought it best to look reasonably smart, but I thought that a suit would be a bit over-the-top.

Impressions

I found the atmosphere to be relaxed and friendly, and all the students I met seemed very enthusiastic about being there. I had visited another college previously which nearly put me off Oxbridge totally as it was far more traditional and quite intimidating.

Rooms were a reasonable size and standard, but not as luxurious as those that friends of mine had in different colleges. Bathrooms were shared rather than en suite.

Good

They put me at my ease during the interview and were much more normal than I had expected.

When I went to the open day, all of the students went out of their way to talk to those of us visiting the college. They were all very friendly, and keen to persuade us to apply to their college.

Final stage

When I received a letter telling me I had a place I was truly shocked as I thought that the interview had gone badly and I was expecting a rejection.

Looking back

Definitely. Although when I applied I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to Oxbridge, after my interview I knew that was where I definitely wanted to go.

Apply even if you are not sure it’s what you want. You don’t have to go if you don’t want to. Don’t be put off by parents or teachers telling you that other universities will reject you if you apply to Oxbridge. I was accepted by all my other universities even the ones that I was told would definitely reject me because I’d applied to Cambridge.