Application

 Cambridge

 Gonville and Caius

 Theology & Religious Studies

 2000

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – non-selective

Not known if 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 C at A2)

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

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Very good course. Collegiate system. Supervisions

Preferred the course at Cam. Department seemed much livelier.

Didn’t have to sit an exam or submit work beforehand, it’s pretty, dad went there.

Preparation

no

Filling in CAF: nobody cares that you gained leadership skills as a prefect in year 8. say why you like your subject.
Interview: make sure you’ve got some ideas about the subject! be able to say what interests you and demonstrate some evidence of thought beyond your alevel course.

Interview

no

no

no

I cried. I had three on one morning – one with director of studies at Caius, one with a fellow from cats (in case Caius didn’t want me) and one with a tutor from Caius to check I was a normal human being. They were all nice enough, although it was all a bit strange as I saw nobody else applying for theology. They weren’t particularly formal. In fact the Caius DoS seemed quite unsure what to do with me.

first one he asked me to translate some french, questioned me on interpretations of a parable and why Abraham could be considered a good man and other stuff I’ve forgotten. Second a nice lady from cats asked me about relationship between church and state, third, a history don from caius asked me what books i’d read lately and told me that it would be tough studying all on my own as the only one in my year at caius.

hoodie, jeans, trainers. I had intended to change into proper trousers but failed to bring them with me and ended up in clothes that I had both travelled down the day before and slept in for rather complicated reasons. It really didn’t matter. I don’t think anyone noticed and if they had I don’t think they’d have cared.

Impressions

It seemed horribly unfriendly. I met nobody but engineers, got lost, was given wrong instructions by the porters and was given a bedroom without a working light, bedsheets or even heating. However, it was, and is, very beautiful and it turns out, actually very very friendly. Now there is a proper system for looking after applicants and in bigger subjects you’ll always meet lots of people also doing interviews.

Harvey Court, where first years live, big 60s accomodation block. Ugly at first but quite loveable really. Big rooms, well provided for with furniture and all with sink. Bathrooms a bit basic but it has nice inward looking communal balconies making it really sociable and fun.

Good – yes, it seemed good at interview but after two years I’m a bit sick of it. traditional meals served to you in the evening and unpredictable canteen style for lunch.

The tutor who interviewed me was kindish. I saw nobody else through the whole horrific experience.

didn’t see one. students are now organised to look after applicants and try to be helpful.

Final stage

my headmistress got in first with a phone call but it was nice, surprising after I thought I’d completely screwed up the interviews.

Looking back

of course. Cambridge has a wonderful theology course, a lovely faculty, Caius is a nice friendly college and supervisions are an immense privilege.

don’t be put off by your experience at interview. Cambridge is a nice friendly place and just because you couldn’t answer the questions doesn’t mean you haven’t done well.