Application

 Cambridge

 Emmanuel (open application, allocated college)

 Geography

 2001

 pooled, offer made (Churchill)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (10 A*)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

With my grades, i thought I should aim for Oxbridge.

The Cambridge geography course appealed to me more – the Oxford one has more physical geography.

There was a snowman on their prospectus, and it has ducks – what was i meant to do?! Seriously though, it has a friendly reputation, and seemed nice on the open day.

Preparation

no

Everyone at the school had a “mock interview”, as many of us would have interviews at various unis.

Concentrate on the articles you’ve been sent, and try to form your own opinions and conclusions.

Interview

no

yes

2 pieces of work – I submitted my A2 coursework draft (because it was fresh in my mind), and a piece of physical geography to contrast with this.

no

The first interview was about me and my personal statement, the second was ENTIRELY about two articles I’d been sent. No questions about my submitted work at all.

It’s hard to remember, but in the second interview the questions were not at all what I’d been expecting. I suppose it shows you can’t foresee every question!

A suit, because it shows me as mature and taking it seriously. It may not make them think better of me, but surely it wouldn’t put them off?

Impressions

Emmanuel: Nice college, but a bit old and the bedrooms weren’t great.

Churchill: It’s very far out, but seemed open and friendly – more of a community, as it is distant from the town centre.

Emmanuel: They skipped this on the open day; i’m not sure that wasn’t deliberate!

Churchill: It’s a modern college, with large airy rooms, designed for living in (as opposed to some of the older colleges, whose bedrooms have been converted from something else).

Edible but not great

Emmanuel: Awful

Churchill: Better, but not great

Emmanuel: One was friendly, one wasn’t

Churchill: Great! Actually seemed interested in what I thought of things.

Didn’t see many at either college.

Final stage

It’s odd – I’d been at a party the night before, and was going to work all day. My dad put the letter on the end of my bed when I woke up, but I thought: “if i haven’t got in, i’m going to be really depressed all day at work”. So i left opening it until the evening (to the fury of my parents!). When I opened it, i didn’t really have any emotion – i’d been pooled, so would have to wait longer.

When I found out i’d been picked out of the pool, to be honest, I felt confused. I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t going to get an offer, and that I didn’t want to go to Cambridge. Then the letter changed everything…..

Looking back

Yes – it’s only 1 place out of 6 on the UCAS form! And it’s good to get experience of interviews if nothing else.

Know your subject well – mock interviews are invaluable. Talk to everyone – parents, teachers, anyone you may know at Oxbridge. In my experience they’re always happy to help someone out!