Application

 Cambridge

 Jesus

 Geography

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (2 A*,9 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (294 UMS))

(A at AS (300 UMS))

(A at AS (265 UMS))

(A at AS (267 UMS))

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Economics, A in English Literature, A in Geography

yes

yes

yes

No to LSE.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge my intellect and I loved the idea of supervisions.

I love Cambridge as a city and the Geography course is great.

The modules are varied and I’m interested in most of the topics covered.

Jesus is the best college! It’s absolutely gorgeous. Visited it and knew it was the one – I love the incredible library and modern accomodation, and the location just out of town is great.

Preparation

yes

We had two practice interviews – one general, one subject. The general one was a waste as the questions were the sort of ones you know you won’t be asked, and in the end I ended up with two subject interviews anyway.

I’d recommend having a subject interview – you can see how well you can talk about what you know and it gives you an idea of how it might be like.

Interview

no

yes

Two essays, one physical, one human. For the physical sent in the only essay we’d really done that year so far – just a short exam one of glaciers. For the human, because that’s my main interest I wanted to make an impression and so sent in my English coursework in which I examined some texts from a geographical perspective.

no

Great! Came out of both feeling really happy.

I went into my first interview with Professor Dowdeswell and straight away the professor goes ‘Right, so let’s talk about climate change’ and I thought ‘Crap!’ It isn’t my strongest point, but don’t panic if something similar happens to you – just take on board what they tell you (they will give you enough information to answer their questions if it is academic based) and think out loud. I admitted I didn’t know a few times, and was given a different perspective on the question so that I could work it out another way. The second interview with Dr Kearns started with ‘Tell me about a book you’ve read recently with geographical content’ and so I went right in, having done a lot of reading in preperation. The rest of the interview focused on my reading and the human essay I sent in.

Physical – focused on climate change and the mechanics of it.

Human – focused on the book on global politics I had read, talking mainly about terrorism and religion. Then some questions focused around my human essay, which was about development and culture. Then a little discussion about our favourite authors! It was so funny, Dr Kearns asked me who my favourite modern author was, and I told him thinking he won’t have a clue as he’s not very well known, and turns out he loves his books too!

Smart but casual – the stuff I wear to school. A pencil skirt with a v-neck top and a jacket. Pumps.

Impressions

Jesus is gorgeous, and the people are great. I also visited Fitz, which is very friendly but not so visually impressive and the location’s a bit awkward.

Jesus has huge rooms that are the envy of the other colleges! They’re modern and furnished well. Most are en-suite with gorgeous views of the college grounds.

Great! A big choice – I had a huge jacket potato with beans and cheese, obviously.

I was told my first interviewer, Professor Dowdeswell, was a very friendly man – he was, incredibly! And helped me through all of the questions, especially when I got stuck.

I was told that my second interviewer, Dr Keans, was cold and unhelpful, that he played the ‘bad cop’, so I thought ‘Right, well if he won’t talk, I will’ and just charged right into my answer after he asked the first question. But soon we were chatting comfortably and he was recounting little anecdotes and we were laughing quite a bit!

They were very friendly, though I wasn’t with them long. My friend, who does Economics at Selwyn, said that the people from Jesus are renowned for being intelligent but down to earth, and he said they’re all really nice.

Final stage

Tried to forget about it!

My boyfriend also applied to Jesus to stuyd Engineering, so we wanted to open them together. I heard the post come through the door and rushed to see it, but when I saw my letter I panicked cause it was thin, so left all the post lying there! My mum eventually gave me the letter and so I drove to my boyfriend’s house, picked up his letter – small – mine was A4 sized – then drove to his office (Fabermaunsell) feeling sick and awful. We sat in the front and I rushed to open mine, saw the offer grades in bold and burst out crying.

Looking back

Definitely!

Read lots of subject related books so you really know what you are intersted in and could talk about it in interview, try and get some related work experience (I worked in the Geotechnical department of Fabermaunsell and did a week at the RGS), write the best personal statement you can and be honest. They will see your potential.