Application

 Cambridge

 Christ’s

 Geography

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (6 A*,5 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

EE offer (matriculation offer)

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Standard of education, the added bonus of reputation, the usual… and it’s a really nice city to study in- I couldn’t study in a piece of concrete and modern art!

Cambridge was closer, and it looked so nice, whereas I’d heard stories about Oxford and thought that Cambridge was more full of my type of people.

Prestige, it’s at the top of the unofficial Cambridge League table. Sense of community. People know it, cos if you said ‘Oh I’m at Robinson’ they’d kinda look at you oddly and wonder where it was.

Preparation

yes

Yep- it shows that preparation works. I had weekly discussions with my Geography teachers about out of syllabus material (there was 2 of us hoping to study geo at Oxbridge), I also got a lot of help from my tutor about open days etc. I also read a lot- although I don’t think a lot of it got absorbed.

The form: Be yourself- they see straight through you if you lie. AND DON’T WRITE THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR SUBJECT- everyone writes that!

The interview: Read around your subject and ask your teachers to discuss things with you. Just chill- they are testing your potential and aren’t expecting people to be super-human.

Interview

no

no

no

General interview, talked with admissions tutor – hot stuff! Then had a subject specific one – v scary but I had calmed down.

General – Why Christs? What would you like to achieve at the end of it (apart from a degree)? Do I think that Cambridge is full of aristocratic snobs – which was odd to ask but I think he was trying to find my opinions and to see if I’d be honest. I said ‘just because some people have a brain on them and can speak properly it doesn’t make them aristocratic snobs.’ Geography – I was asked whether I thought that the 3rd world could ever compete on a global market (I was like – ermmmm, depends)- he was being really really mean. Then he asked whether Geography had died a death and should we just as well just go on holiday and take pictures of pretty things? (This one I really got into and critised him for thinking that Geography had nothing to give to the world – I knew he wasn’t being genuine but I was toying with him – I think he was really surprised about how in to it I had gotten). Then we talked about suburbanisation and the urban renaissance, which I gave an opinion that if the two were occuring at the same time instead of a dead heart of a city we may be approaching a dead inner city- which was becoming ever and ever more apparent in today’s Britain – I had no idea at the time where that came from!!! By this time, I felt more relaxed and confident. So I asked him some questions about whether Physical and Human geography is intertwined or opposite ends of a continuum – I explained further what I meant cos I wasn’t v clear – oops.

I wore a suit and shirt but no tie cos I felt more comfortable like that and I thought that they’d respect that decision.

Impressions

They were all so nice! I really couldn’t decide.
I also went to Trin Hall, Catz and Magdalene- I really knew Cambridge well- I live half an hour away.

They varied, we got shown three different types- all were a mess, but these were student rooms!

Good

I did get confused as to what we were allowed.

Very pleasant- even the ‘posh’ older types were really good when you got to talk to them.

Final stage

I couldn’t beleive it. I thought that maybe after critisising the interviewer that they thought I was an arrogant prick – but I think it worked. I couldn’t beleive they wanted me with 2 E’s, but I’m still working really hard to get A’s but I’m just not so pressured.

Looking back

God yeah – I can’t wait to go!

Chill
Know your stuff- well (and extra things)
Don’t lie on your forms
Have a good base of extra-curricular activites cos it’ll polish u off if u are clever (I was/am deputy head boy of school, captain of hockey and an Anti Bullying councillor)- however saying that, it doesn’t compensate for not being up to standard.
Ask plenty of questions and seem like you really want to be there
Don’t be arrogant and too confident, let it come gradually
Politeness is free and doesn’t take much effort
Stay focused and don’t fret- if your heart is in it and u have the ability they will spot it a mile off
If you don’t get a place- it isn’t the end of the world