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Making a Competitive Application Dr Sam Lucy, Admissions Tutor, Newnham College, University of Cambridge.

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Presentation on theme: "Making a Competitive Application Dr Sam Lucy, Admissions Tutor, Newnham College, University of Cambridge."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making a Competitive Application Dr Sam Lucy, Admissions Tutor, Newnham College, University of Cambridge

2 What information do we use to assess applications? We consider every application individually, taking all aspects into account: Academic record Personal statement Teacher’s reference Admissions test results (where required) Written work (where required) Contextual data Interview (if interviewed) No part of an application is considered in isolation – all available information is looked at together before decisions are made.

3 What are we looking for?

4 The application process

5 Personal statements Personal A starting point for interview discussion Reflect rather than list Less can be more Focus on the chosen course(s) ‘Why you should choose me for your course’ Care and attention to detail Beware Googled quotations, ‘I have always’

6 Examination results These are fundamental to any successful application Cambridge asks for AS marks (UMS) in its SAQ Both universities take GCSEs into account – less weight placed on these by Cambridge Typical A Level offers: Cambridge A*A*A (Sciences) A*AA (Arts/Humanities) Oxford A*A*A - AAA

7 The 2012 gathered field: Medicine

8 The 2012 gathered field: History

9 Wider exploration

10 Getting the most from your wider (deeper) reading Genuine interest in the subject outside the confines of the formal syllabus Extra reading and exploration are crucial to success, not just in arts subjects Critical engagement with reading: What is the argument in this book/article? What is the supporting evidence? What do I think? How can I find out more?

11 Tests Medicine and Veterinary Medicine BMAT (all Colleges) Registration deadline 1 st October 2013, test takes place 6 th November 2013 Law Cambridge Law Test (most Colleges) Taken at interview Mathematics STEP (all Colleges) Forms part of conditional offers and is taken with A2-levels Other subjects TSA – Economics, Engineering, Natural Sciences (depends on College) Some other subjects have short additional tests at interview

12 Preparing for tests

13 Written work Depends on subject (Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities) and College – list on university website Most commonly a piece of work completed as part of sixth form studies (some Colleges set a question) Encourage applicants to think about the marker’s comments The most effective submitted work tends to be that which applicants are likely to enjoy discussing and which has been completed relatively recently

14 Interviews: An overview Normally two or more interviews, each usually lasting 20−30 minutes Conducted by academics and predominantly academic and subject-focused Discussion-based and intellectually challenging Check the websites for videos and further information The last piece in the jigsaw rather than the ‘final hurdle’

15 Interviews: what to expect SUBJECT-SPECIFIC INTERVIEW Discussion based on academic interests mentioned in personal statement Assess knowledge and understanding of subject and flexibility of thought Challenging questions relating to A- level courses Sample teaching session – like a supervision Application of existing knowledge to new situations Sciences: problems to work through Arts: perhaps a text to discuss Discussion of any submitted essays Sciences: a specimen to discuss

16 Interviews: W hat are Admissions Tutors looking for? Academic ability and potential to be successful Self-motivation, commitment and serious interest in the chosen course Ability to think independently and critically Use of existing knowledge to assess new problems No trick questions!

17 Preparing to apply Programme of study Course choice is the most important decision – research thoroughly, personal interest(s)Results Work hard to do as well as you can in your current studies Engage and explore Be proactive in your learning – current studies and interests relevant to your intended degreePractise Discussing your academic interest(s) Past/example admissions test papers Time management – generally and for tests/exams

18 Cambridge Oxford If you have any remaining questions, do not hesitate to ask a College Admissions Tutor or Admissions Officer Finding out more

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