Application

 Cambridge

 St Catharine’s

 Natural Sciences (Biological)

 1998

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (5 A*,5 A,1 B)

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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAB

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I really liked the atmosphere of the university and the town when I looked around. The Cambridge Nat Sci course offers an unusual amount of flexibility and I liked the idea of the college system

I didn’t even look at the Oxford prospectus. I live so close to Oxford, I wanted to go to a different area. The course at Cambridge is much more vague and suited to my indecisiveness.

It was a bit random really. It’s middle sized, mixed, in the centre of town, did not ask for ‘Step’ papers, had an even balance of state/private school boys/girls. It also has nice old buildings! Although I still think I have made a good choice, with hindsight, I would have looked around a few more colleges, found out about accomodation and eating arrangments. Catz also has a really cool prospectus.

Preparation

yes

Guest speakers lectured us about interviews in general, and was lent some books by teachers.

Spell the name of your college right. I don’t think that I wrote much different on the Cambridge form, to what I wrote on my UCAS form. I altered it a bit so they didn’t get too bored.

Interview

no

no

no

I was one of the last people to be interviewed, and the last on that particular day. I had two interviews, the first with a History professor and the second with a Genetics professor. The first lasted about 35 minutes and the second not longer than 15 minutes. Both were quite relaxed although i was really nervous.

In my general interview I was asked about novels that I had read, and the historical back ground to the books. I was also questioned on scientific articals that I had read. A few general questions about, why Cambridge, why Catz etc. My second interview really suprised me as it was so short, but my interviewer seemed really happy with it. I was asked about evolution and various causes and results. We didn’t really get on to anything very difficult, and i felt that I wasn’t really given the opportunity to show what I could do.

I wore blue trousers, a white shirt (so it looked vaguely smart) and a pink jumper. I didn’t want to dress really smartly because i had to sit on a bus for three hours to get there and knew that i would be uncomfortable,(both on the bus and in the interview). I think that it is important to wear what you want and not dress up too much.

Impressions

I didn’t actually go into Catz before I applied, but i really liked it when I went up for the interview. I looked around Corpus Christi, which was a bit too small and antique. I thought that Kings was too big and austere. Clare looked really nice, but i was told that it’s a popular college. St.Catz has a very small site which makes the college seem really cozy, and it is very pretty from the front. The road that it is on looks lovely in the dark with all the colleges lit up.

i haven’t actually seen any accomodation yet. I’m hoping it’s nice.

Good
I ate at Corpus, which had a nice cafeteria system

The ones that I spoke to were very friendly, although my second interviewer was really tired!

Nice, friendly, normal people. They didn’t have ‘I’m a genius’ writen all over them and made me feel at home.

Final stage

I got it on New Year’s Day. I was really happy and relieved because after some serious doubts I had decided that I really wanted to go. I was also still waiting for my sister to hear from Emmanuel and some of my other friends so I was worried for them.

Looking back

At the moment yes, but I may think differently after I have started. It is a huge oppotunity to go to one of the best universities in the world and righly or, more probably wrongly, it does give you a lot of oppotunities in the future. Tthe people that i know there already really love it and I think that I would have regretted to giving it a go.

Oxbridge is a place for some people, but there are others who realise that it isn’t want they want. If it’s not for you, don’t apply ‘Just to see if you can get in’. It’s really hard to reject an offer even if you don’t think you want to go. There are many universities that are just as good , if not better than Oxbridge for some subjects, and you will have a good time there as well. Just because you might get in don’t mean that you have to try. Of course it really is worth trying if you do think that you will like it, there is a huge amount of luck involved, everyone has the potential to get a place and if you don’t I’m sure that it’s more about bad luck than ability. Also…have a gap year, my college didn’t mind at all and didn’t even seem to fussed what i was going to do, which was nothing course related at all. It makes you much less nervous about leaving home.