Application

 Cambridge

 Selwyn

 Law

 2002

 pooled, rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (10 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 NA at A2)

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

Other universities

N/A

Decisions about the application

The usual – the best, like a challenge; nothing to lose (although that’s much easier to say before your confidence is sent to sub-zero conditions); the personal touch of the collegiate system; law is so competitive that many firms only look at oxbridge graduates. Really I just applied because I could. I think that anyone who has the grades and doesn’t have anything against oxbridge should give it a go. Otherwise you may well regret it in later life.

Cambridge was the best, while Oxford was only 5th, in the Times league table for law at the time I applied. I was also put off Oxford by a documentary I watched earlier in the year called ‘College Girls.’ Everyone seemed to take themselves so seriously and none of those interviewed had anything good to say about the place.

Lots of reasons. I tried to narrow down my original list with things like applicant to places ratio, facilities, whether there was a test at interview etc. Selwyn is also right next to the law dptment and UL. I would advise against playing the numbers game because Selwyn actually had 57 applicants for 8 places despite being down as average ratio in the prospectus.

Preparation

yes

Yes. I was really lucky with all the genuine concern and advice I recieved from my form tutor(a confirmed super-teacher!), head of Sixth Form and others. One teacher gave me a practice interview. Although I would advise this for anyone who gets nervous about interviews, I don’t think that the Cambridge application procedure really benefits from preparation.

Well, I didn’t write anything in the separate box on the Cambridge form because I felt that it would be mere waffle that couldn’t really make a difference. But then I didn’t get in so make what you will of that.

Interview

no

no

no

Selwyn: Terrible experience due to rubbish train system. Despite getting 6.30 train to arrive at 9.20 I was still on the train at 12 noon, when I was supposed to have picked up a passage to read before the 12.20 interview. They seemed quite understanding but the interview was quite short. The passage was on the right of silence in criminal proceedings. They asked me how logical the argument was, whether I could think of current affair parallels etc. Then they just asked me whether I had anything to add to my personal statement.
Second interview with Tutor was more relaxed but I just left feeling as though I hadn’t given them any reason to pick me.

Churchill: This time I stayed overnight. Just one interview and a legal reasoning test. The test had 2 main questions – one based on a definition of theft which you had to apply to different scenarios; the other was all about this man’s will and what property would be included/ who the heirs would be. No legal knowledge necessary or credited in the test. The interview went along similar lines: got a definition of murder followed by several scenarios, asked whether or not it constituted murder and to prosecute/defend the client involved.

(As covered above)

I wore a suit, mainly because my mother insisted that if it was to come out of the closet for any occasion it should be this one. Makes absolutely no difference to whether or not you get in but might alter your mind-set i.e make you realise how serious and formal the interview is.

Impressions

From what I saw of the two colleges there are worse places to spend 3 or 4 years of your life. The buildings vary in age and character but the facilities are uniformly good eg TV rooms, games rooms, well-stocked library(if you’re into that sort of thing), and Churchill even had a gym and darkroom.

The room I stayed in at Churchill was really warm, larger than those I’ve seen in other unis, with a big desk, washbasin, closet, window-seat, comfy chair.

Excellent

At the end of the day it’s just food . . . why so many questions?

Friendly. Probably felt sorry for me, laughing as soon as I left the room etc.

Most are away for Christmas during the interview season but at Selwyn esp they seemed really nice. As I was eating lunch (alone) a second year came and talked to me, offered to show me around and then sat with me in this lounge area until my next interview. You’ll find that people are nice wherever you go.

Final stage

I felt really flat for a while. Being pooled was quite annoying in one sense because it held the anxiety on for even longer, esp when I got a second interview. Don’t be led on by the figures they give you at this stage – while it implies that getting a second interview gives you more than a one in two chance, there were 18 people for 1/2 places at Churchill. Perhaps it’s just law but it can be quite crushing when you allow yourself to build your hopes up for a second time.

Looking back

Yes. It has been a terrible experience from which I am finding it hard to extract any good but it had to be done or else I would always have wondered. On the other hand maybe I should have just held onto my dignity . . .

I don’t think that you should waste your time preparing for the interview. I did quite a lot of reading/ learning definitions before the first interview only to realise how pointless it all was. They seem to be looking purely at your core ability evident to them at the interview.

Try not to let it distract you from your A levels.