Application

 Cambridge

 Newnham

 Oriental Studies

 2003

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (5 A*,4 A,1 B)

A-levels

(B at AS)

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

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

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

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained Distinction)

Retook AS Mathematics having achieved a C the first time

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I applied to Oxford last year for the course (PPE), the challenge and prestige, and I liked the uniqueness. I applied to Cambridge because I didn’t want to have to explain my change of subject and after visiting absolutely loved it, where Oxford didn’t leave a massive impression

I’d already applied to Oxford, loved the feeling of Cambridge, the course had a better rep at Cambridge too.

Went to a girls school and liked it, religious reasons, better chances of getting in, but since visiting and staying overnight I would have chosen it regardless of the admissions ratio, coz it really has a difference to it because of the single sex status.

Preparation

yes

For my appn to Oxford I had a mock interview, and various seminars, where they advised us on filling in the forms, they succeeded in making me more nervous, I had no formal help when applying to Cambridge, but I was doing work experience in a place where I was surrounded by Oxbridge graduates, talking to them made me think I was good enough.

(Regarding Oxbridge Application Forms)Honesty. Clear writing that is easy to read. Honesty again, when I first applied I tried to dig up anything I had ever done related to the subject and make slightly grandiose statements about my inevitable journey towards the subject, i’m exaggerating, but my Cam form was honest, straight forward, less glamorous and high powered, I wasn’t pretending to be superhuman I was stating my interest and real enthusiasm.

(Regarding the interview)
Confidence and being RELAXED without doubt.

Honesty again.

Interview

no

yes

2 English Lit essays, one exam piece that showed writing under pressure and one long essay that i had researched myself. After the interview I was worried that I had focused too much on literature, so sent in a German essay about social issues to balance it out. (don’t know whether it had an effect)

yes

I did a pilot language aptitude test that didn’t count

Surprisingly relaxed, two interviewers, just chatting around the subject, dream questions: “What have you read?” “how do you manage your time”
Left clear openings for me to direct the conversation and took effort to tailor the conversation to my interests

See above; significantly based on personal statement

Spent a lot at French Connection, (but was obviously worthwhile), bright pink Xmas-style print V neck jumper with white shirt underneath, nice smart black trousers, black pointy Dune shoes with pink stitching, too much makeup, smile.

Impressions

Very nice, but not so amazing as to scare you.

Compared to Mansfield, Oxford, where I applied before, brilliant, nice atmosphere as well where Mansfield is a bit odd

Room a bit small, nice fire place and antique writing desk tho, generally nice corridors, doors, building, the rooms vary

Edible but not great

Good range, esp Halal (from what I remember), but not much above canteen standard, fairly cheap i think

Women, which was good, not antagonistic. very nice even when asking difficult questions.

They all made an effort, some were exceptionally nice, one went to her own room and made me toast and tea because i was too late for breakfast at the buttery, generally listened to all our worries before the interview and were organised.

Final stage

Very happy, actually more relieved than ecstatic, the happiness is on drip feed, resulting in inner glow rather than massive grin

Looking back

Yes, because i got in, the rejection from oxford had positive sides.

Be very careful who you take advice from, ‘oxbridge’ attracts all kinds of wise words that are outdated or based on myth, if you want to ‘research’ ignore Guardian articles on elitism and instead go to as many open days as possible and get to know the ppl, so you get to the point where you can see yourself going to the particular college, the colleges vary HUGELY, find one you feel happy with.