Application

 Cambridge

 Newnham

 Philosophy

 2007

 pooled, offer made (Newnham)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (5 A*,2 A,3 B)

A-levels

(A at AS (281 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (265 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

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

(A at AS (277 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(B at AS (224 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted Distinction; gained NA)

(predicted Distinction; gained NA)

My AS Government & Politics grade is listed as N/A because I was ill for the exams in the summer, but have now taken them.

Details about the offer

 conditional

I haven’t been informed of the conditions as of yet.

undecided yet

I want to revisit the university and my college specifically before I decide.

yes

yes

Decisions about the application

The course looked fantastic and when I visited the university on the Open Day I really felt I’d be happy there.

I went to an Open Day at Oxford and simply got a sense that I didn’t like the place. Also, the only options to study Philosophy there are combinations with subjects I don’t like, i.e. Maths, etc.

It looked really diverse from the prospectus, and I was reading the module choices and got excited at the prospect of studying them!

NOT because I thought it would be easier to get into! The gardens are beautiful, and it felt like it had a less intense atmosphere than other colleges like Trinity. Also, it’s literally right across the road from the Philosophy department.

Preparation

no

Just read around your subject, and don’t stress if you don’t have 10 A*s! Try to have at least one practice interview with someone you don’t know very well, ideally a teacher at school, or something like that.

Interview

no

no

yes

The test seemed a lot scarier than it actually turned out to be! The first half consisted of simple logic problems, and the second part was an essay on a philosophical problem.

I had a general interview and a subject specific interview. I thought the general interview went quite well but the subject specific one was a lot harder!

My general interview was based on questions about the extra-curricular activities I’d talked about in my personal statement and then we discussed an issue in current affairs I could choose. There were three parts to my subject specific interview – first, I was asked a question about one of the books I’d mentioned, then one of my interviewers gave me definitions of logic problems and I had to give examples, and finally we debated an ethical issue.

My general interview was with just one interviewer so I felt fairly relaxed. I’m really interested in the erosion of civil liberties through the legalisation of the 28 day detention of suspected terrorists without charge, so we talked about that. In the subject specific interview I had two interviewers and it was a lot more stressful! I felt really pushed and didn’t think I’d managed to answer their questions as well as I could have.

I wore a navy pleated skirt from Topshop, black tights, a navy blue vest top with white polka-dots (!) and a cardigan. I actually felt a lot smarter than the other Philosophy applicants, so don’t worry about wearing more casual clothes.

Impressions

Lovely environment, and a lot prettier than it seems from the college website! Beautiful gardens, and nice location, not too out of the way.

N/A

I didn’t try it.

Generally friendly.

Very friendly.

Final stage

I thought I had definitely been rejected. When I found out I’d been pooled I was over the moon, even though the odds aren’t all that good (1/4 get offers from the pool)!

My brother told me that Newnham College were on the phone, and I thought he was joking! They waited ages to get back to me, so I really didn’t expect it! The lady on the phone said she was calling from the Admissions Office, and she said they were making me an offer! I didn’t know what to say, but when I got off the phone I just started screaming!

Looking back

Yes. It’s a great experience, however stressful and tortuous, even if you don’t end up with an offer!

Don’t think of yourself as second-rate to any of the other applicants for any reason!