Application

 Cambridge

 Jesus

 English

 2002

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (8 A*,2 A)

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 A at A2)

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

Other universities

yes

yes

I am considering reapplying, but that seems a little bit pathetic unless my motives are really concrete and sensible. I have an offer from York, and hopefully UCL will be kind to me too, so I will be able to go to a nice University whatever happens. Well, not if I die.

Decisions about the application

Because I liked the idea of studying in an intense environment where the intellectual competition would be high. Also, the Tripos system was very attractive, as was the city itself!!!

I fell in love with Cambridge completely and didn’t really want to study elsewhere.

It was, and still is, quite out of the way of the tourists, but still close to the centre. Also, it had a very nice cat who followed me around on my visit.

Preparation

yes

I was given a couple of little “chatting” sessions, and a rather thorough run through of my Personal Statement.

The form: Not really no, I have no idea how effective mine was – a choice between ineffective and absolutely negative 🙂

The interview: Be confident in being able to decrypt poetry and text and to then talk lucidly about it. Be able to link together the English discipline fluidly and sensibly. Also, be able to justify your own specified interests. Then again, I attempted all of this and it didn’t work so… just go in and blurt nonsense! 🙂

Interview

no

yes

I was supposed to, but I didn’t read the letter accurately enough, and forgot. They said it didn’t matter, but perhaps it did!

no

I had three. The first two were critical studies of some material I was given a short while before to look at. We took the literature apart and discussed it, before moving on to some of the information on my UCAS form. Both were with just one Don. The third was with the Admissions Tutor, and we talked about my personal life, my work experience and my attitudes to work and play. I thought that they had all gone well, and really liked all three people.

How I would balance work and extra-curricular activities. How I would go about critically analysing humourous writing. What activities I would concentrate on whilst at Cambridge.

I wore a suit with a blue and white open collar shirt (this is beginning to sound too detailed!), for the first two and then on the next day (after having spoiled my suit!) I wore some smart tan trousers and a black jumper. I thought it would be fine – they told me it would!

Impressions

It was very nice, quite spacious. The Porters were helpful and the layout wasn’t too confusing. The food wasn’t brilliant, but I was very much caught up in the novelty of it all. I thought that the staff were excellent – at least the English staff.

The room that I had was a shared one, but I gather that they were in the middle of a little bit of a crisis in the respect – many students hadn’t yet gone home for Christmas! It had two rooms, the bedroom and the study room (with a sink and mirror). There was adequate heating and it was all very nice. Although the shower was out of the room and up the stairs, it wasn’t too bad and hey, it IS university after all!

Edible but not great

They were very nice. The Head of English was clearly very, very enthusiastic about his subject and was keen to point me in the most interesting directions during our discussions. Dr Green was a really nice lady who I thought would be a brilliant Tutor to have. She made the interview quite informal and seemed genuinely interested when I made points that she said she’d never thought of before. Ms Fennel was the Admissions Tutor and she had a young child, so we spent time talking about children as well as books! Altogether, they were a nice bunch and not at all aloof.

They were incredibly intimidating to me! They were all so well spoken, clearly brilliantly educated and well informed. There discussions were littered with references to pretty much everything that was super acedemic! At least, from my point of view. Having said that, they were very nice with it, generally welcoming provided they didn’t have a hangover. Any questions could be guarateed an answer.

Final stage

My friends that had applied to Oxford had all received there’s a week ago and my friends who had applied to Cambridge got theirs on Saturday (it is now Monday). I am a very dissapointed, of course, but many of my far better qualified friends were turned down. I expect the grief will hit me shortly, but I am okay right now!

Looking back

Definitely. The two days I was there for interview were two of the best days of my life. I really do adore Cambridge and wish to spend as much of my life there as possible – now excluding a guaranteed three years! 🙂 People say you should do it to see if you are good enough, but I am not sure quite how much that really affects it – there is a lot of luck involved. It is quite traumatic really, but worth it if you do well!

Don’t, whatever you do, place all your hopes and dreams on the place. I kind of have, and will really feel that later. Do it as an added extra – a little bit of a bonus lottery that could well change you life but probably won’t. And if you don’t get an offer, then it’s their bloody fault, isn’t it! Hehe.