Application

 Cambridge

 Emmanuel

 Social & Political Sciences

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (2 A*,5 A,3 B,1 C)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

undecided yet

Not sure if Oxbridge life is for me, considering MA at Glasgow in Psychology, but leaning towards Oxbridge at the mo.

no

Decisions about the application

I had four choices and needed a fifth. Didn’t think I’d get in, just wanted to find out if I would.

Cambridge do SPS, oxford do PPE, I perfer SPS

Matches my A-Levels and I have an interest in all three aspects. Also, its a broad Tripos, and I don’t know what I want to do after graduation

Emma seemed the nicest, most friendly and least elitest. Also, was pretty, right in the centre of town.

Preparation

yes

Went on Oxbridge Aplications interview day in London. Was a good day, mock interviews and session on what tutors are looking forward were particulary useful. Staff very friendly and accommidating.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t know everything, just make sure you have a sound base of knowledge that you can apply to the questions asked. I think that is more impressive, to see you thinking of your feet, then you knowing everything. Make it obvious your using knowledge and applying it by saying things like “I havnt studied that area much, but I know this… and that might mean…”

Interview

no

yes

Two essays that I had done for my A-Levels. The ones I submitted weren’t really the best of my ability and didn’t come up in interview, so don’t worry too much.

Make sure you post them in plenty of time. I left it to the day before and had to pay for special postage.

no

First one was amazing. Had to read an article then discuss that for a bit. Had a good raport with the interviews and they were really cool. Quite informal and went really quickly.

Second one was pretty dodgy. I couldn’t answer a pretty basic question – “What does ‘Social Constuction’ mean?”, even though I knew the answer, i just couldnt express it well. They seemed disinterested and bored. I came accross as pretty average and someone you would reject, but I think my first one swung it for me.

Can’t really remember but roughly;
– Discussed article
– Answered a few questions relating to content on A-Levels
– Discussed some more complex topics that I wouldn’t have studied before and had the interviewer playing devil’s advocate.

I did NOT wear a suit. I would have felt over-dressed and out of place. Most people at my interview didn’t either.

I wear smart black trousers, black shoes, white shirt and a blue jumper over the top, from Primark. Don’t worry about spending loads of money; they’re judging you, not the outfit.

Impressions

Only went to Emma for the interview. Very pretty, massive rooms, everyone was nice.

HUGE rooms, biggest i’ve seen for halls by far. Mine had a coffee table and sofa in!

The kitchens (or Gyps) where rubbish. Bit grotty, and only had a microwave and sink. Someone had put two hobs in, but that was added by a student.

Average. Had three meals, all of which I could have eaten for three years happyily, but its not really nice. Cheap though, very affordable.

Majority very nice; few didn’t seem to love the applications process, but I think they would be cool when you were learning from them.

Only saw a few, but friendly, and interesting. Didn’t meet any one who I wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with or avoid.

Final stage

Wasn’t really that bothered. I expected rejection, and kinda hoped for it. That way I wouldn’t have had to made the hard choice between Camb and Glasgow.

Was in my lounge after my 18th party with a load of friends sitting round. Letter came. Felt fine. Opened it and told them I got in. They all clapped.

Looking back

Yes

Give it a shot, even if on paper you’re not a great candidate. 90% get interviews, and that is what really matters. Try and be interesting in them, and not just give the normal answer; if you can make them want to teach you for three years then you should do well.