Application

 Cambridge

 Selwyn

 Music

 1999

 pooled, offer made (Churchill)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (5 A*,4 A)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA, 3 As excluding General Studies

yes

no

 offer met

Decisions about the application

You only get the opportunity once, and I wanted to make the most of it, since I had been predicted the grades. (Actually, even if I had been predicted _close_ to the grades, I still would have applied.)

I visited various colleges and the music faculties at both Oxford and Cambridge, and compared the courses.

Daft reasons really — it seemed to have a nice friendly atmosphere, was fairly small, which I thought I’d prefer, and was literally next door to the music faculty!

Preparation

yes

We filled in mock application forms and they were checked by our head of 6th form. [Also see “Did you have to take any exams as part of your interview(s)?” fatboy06, admin]

On Cambridge Application Form: Write a rough copy first. Certainly don’t lie — you’ll dig yourself into a big hole in the interview, and don’t go over the top listing everything you’ve ever done. Just pick the best bits!

On interviews: Do some reading outside the course, show you’re enthusiastic. Getting someone to give you a mock interview (even your parents!) helps too.

Interview

no

yes

2 music essays on contrasting subjects (one analysis, one historical) — I just chose what I thought were the best essays I had done for A level music. Harmony and Counterpoint Excercises

yes

Yes, a 55 minute Bach Chorale Harmonistaion exam. I prepared by harmonising Bach chorales and getting my music teachers to check them for me.

I had two interviews at Selwyn, one with the Director of Music and the other with the admissions tutor. The first lasted about 45 minutes, and was really digging. It involved various keyboard and aural tests as well, which were a major source of stress! What really annoyed me was the fact that I hardly got to talk about the stuff I wanted to — the things that _really_ interested me — until about 2 minutes at the end when he gave me the chance to cram all the stuff I wanted to say in. The second interview was much more pleasant and relaxed.
I didn’t get an interview at Churchill.

Mainly questions about the A level music course, keyboard and aural tests (which took up most of the time). I was also given a Bach 2 part invention beforehand (though we weren’t told that was what it was) to analyse in the interview.

Suit; I wanted to look smart.

Impressions

Small, relaxed atmosphere.

The rooms were mostly quite small and in a delightful (hmm) concrete block on the other side of the road. You get a piano if you do music (which is true of most Cambridge colleges).

Edible but not great

The admissions tutor was very pleasant and friendly. I wasn’t so keen about the Director of Music, largely because he had pulled me to shreds in my interview, but on the open day I went to he seemed very intelligent (obviously) and enthusiastic.

Didn’t see that many students, but the ones I did meet were really nice, chatty and helpful.

Final stage

I firstly received a letter telling me I hadn’t been offered a place at Selwyn, but that I had been pooled. I shortly heard from Churchill college, who offered me a place. I was completely over the moon for the rest of the week!

Looking back

Yes. It’s a great place to be, and an opportunity not worth missing out on. But next time I would definitely look at more colleges (I stupidly only visited Selwyn).

Find out as much as you can about colleges etc BEFORE you apply. Go to more than one open day.

(Old style form question): What decision did you/will you make about your university choices?
I accepted the offer from Churchill College (and am having a fab time with the music course!)