Application

 Cambridge

 Christ’s

 Engineering

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (10 A*)

A-levels

(NA at AS)

(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

EE offer + I have to take two Advanced Extension Awards, but the result in these doesn’t matter.

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Oxford and Cambridge are the best universities in the country, and Cambridge is top of the tables for Engineering. The collegiate and supervision systems appealed to me.

I liked the smaller city of Cambridge, and preferred the Cambridge course in my subject.

I liked the excellent academic reputation, provision of accommodation for all 4 years, with broadband internet access to all rooms, the traditional appearance of the college and its central location.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview with the headmaster, and advice with writing my personal statement and filling in my Cambridge form.

The Forms: Be enthusiastic about your subject, and about the university you’ve chosen. Don’t say anything you can’t back up at interview, or contradict your UCAS form. They say extracurricular interests are unimportant, but mention them anyway – I had several questions on mine.

The interview(s): Do some wider reading around maths and science, e.g. New Scientist, popular maths and science books, before your interviews, in case you’re asked about an area of particular interest. Try to arrange a mock interview with someone, but don’t prepare you’re answers in too much detail.

Interview

no

no

no

I had three interviews: 2 subject specific, and 1 general. Each was on a one to one basis, and they lasted 15 minutes on average. The atmosphere was relaxed, and I only had to do one written question.

I was asked mostly non subject-specific questions, e.g. why engineering, why Cambridge, why Christ’s, extracurricular interests. My subject specific questions mainly did not require me to write anything down, and were easier than those in my mock interview. I was asked about: Newton’s Laws of motion, circular motion and planetary orbits, pendulums, electromagnetic induction and transformers, finding the nth term of the Fibonacci sequence (using the trend towards a common ratio (Geometric Progression)).

Suit – can’t create the wrong impression that way, although several people were dressed more casually and I don’t think they would have been prejudiced against as a result.

Impressions

The college is traditional looking and I think very attractive, with ancient courts and extensive gardens. The modern accommodation block ‘New Court’ is ugly but has nice rooms inside. The fellows and students were friendly and approachable. Walking around other colleges I know I made the right decision for me.

I had a large room with armchairs, lots of desk, shelf and wardrobe space, and a nice view out of the window over one of the courts. It was a bit tatty, however, but nothing a coat of paint couldn’t cure. It had a washbasin; toilet and bathroom were just along the corridor.

Good

There was a good choice of meals available, and the prices were cheap based on what undergraduates were paying (my meals were free).

Very friendly and approachable.

Down to earth, friendly and not obviously clever or hard working.

Final stage

I received my letter on 28th December (just before New Year as promised at my interview), and was delighted to receive a matriculation offer. The word ‘offer’ was hidden on the 4th line, however, so I took a while to find it!

Looking back

Definitely – well I would say thay, I got a place – but even if I hadn’t received an offer I’d still apply again. It would be annoying not to know whether I could have got in.

Apply to Christ’s if you have an excellent record at GCSE and good AS module results (they’ll ask for your module results after you apply). Try to be yourself and not be too nervous at interview, and be prepared to go elsewhere if you don’t get an offer.