Application

 Cambridge

 Trinity Hall

 English

 2003

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (3 A*,7 A,1 B)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

Other universities

N/A

I don’t know yet. I’m thinking about changing my course at the moment and going through UCAS extra, but I haven’t made any final decisions yet.

Decisions about the application

I wanted to aim the highest I could, and (supposedly) you can’t get better than Oxbridge.

I only visited Cambridge and I fell in love with it, so I never considered Oxford. Also the three day interview thing at Oxford put me off a bit.

It was a nice size, pretty, has a good reputation and excellent drama facilities.

Preparation

no

The form: Practice first and don’t lie!

The interview: Hmm. Don’t think I’m the best person to ask as I was rejected : ( but I’d say read as much as you can around your set texts, ie. criticism, make sure you know your essays and can talk about them without having to ask what the title was and just make sure that you’re enthusiastic and stick up for yourself.

Interview

no

yes

3 essays. I didn’t actually have that many good essays, so I frantically rewrote a couple and then sent in an A/S essay. In hindsight, I would have taken more care over my essays as they featured prominently in my interview.

yes

No, but I would have liked to have had a test because I’m better at writing down what I think than saying it in a pressured environment. Check the back of the prospectus to see what colleges use tests – you might be better off applying to one that does.

First of all we had this welcome meeting that was supposed to calm our nerves, but was completely irrelevant for me because it was aimed at the computer science and engineering people. I had a subject and tutorial interview – subject bloke was a bitch who I think lost the ability to smile a long time ago and the tutorial bloke was nice but a bit annoying as he was overfriendly.

Evil and stupid ones. Example: Why does Jane Austen not use blank verse in her novels? Does Dr Faustus really have a moral? Blah blah blah. The interiewer wouldn’t smile and kept saying ‘I don’t know whether I’d agree with that’ so that I just wanted to slap him by the end. The second one was all about critics and translators: he butted in with so many other questions that I’d forgotten what the question was I was supposed to be answering by the time I’d finished talking. Not good.

Black jumper, smart trousers, boots. I felt comfortable – not too smart, not too casual.

Impressions

It was very twee. I didn’t see much of it, and I suppose I never will (sniff sniff), but what I saw was nice. I visited Trinity and it was grand and imposing- more of a tourist attraction than a place I could imagine myself at.

I didn’t see any at Trinity Hall, but at Trinity the rooms were huge. The bathrooms were a bit skanky though.

Pompous and irritating.

Really nice, encouraging and friendly. There were quite a few stereotypical geeks though, which put me off.

Final stage

It was really thin so I knew it was a rejection. I cried a lot, ripped the letter up and threw it in the bin and then cried some more. Im still disappointed, two weeks later, but hey, life’s a bitch and you’ve got to move on.

Looking back

Yeah, probably, because I would always have thought what if? otherwise. The interview was a good experience to have, and it’s worthwhile applying just for that.

Don’t set your heart on it. Life isn’t fair and a lot of people who deserve a chance at Oxbridge don’t get that opportunity because the admissions procedure is biased towards certain types of people. Prepare well and go for it, but if, like me, you don’t get in, don’t worry about it because going to Oxbridge isn’t the be all and end all in life. There are tons of universities that are just as good or even better – Oxbridge relies on its centuries old reputation rather than real academic prowess.