Lauren and Elizabeth's story on their invitations to Oxbridge
We are delighted to announce that Elizabeth and Lauren have received invitations from Oxford and Cambridge. We spoke with them to capture their story and their personal experience of the processes that they went through.
Elizabeth. Invitation to study Earth Sciences at Oxford
I have always been encouraged by may family and school teachers to aim high. I had no idea what I wanted to study until I was in Year 12, which is when I found Earth Sciences.
The application deadline for Cambridge much earlier than other universities. I used the summer holidays to prepare my Personal Statement and revised / redrafted it over and over. Mrs Eales-white was a great support and was able to recommend extra course materials and books to read to expand my understanding of the subject. This was based more about current affairs, and she helped me take the subject and apply it to society and the politics that are associated with it.
There is no admissions test with the subject I chose, only the interviews. I practised with online mentors and used 'unipear' to help me with my personal statement. I had two 30 minute interviews with different academics. One was field work based and the other problem based. I felt much more confident in my first interview, which focused on opinions and thoughts compared to the second, which was factual based, so I was really unsure whether I have done well or not.
The interviews took place in December and the results released one month later, in January. The results are published on the UCAS website. I was at home on the day the results were published. I was with my mum and kept refreshing the screen and reading the comments in the student rooms throughout the morning. The moment I read my acceptance was so surreal, I felt so excited and rushed into the kitchen to tell my mum.
If I could go back to the beginning and give myself advice, I would tell myself not to put so much pressure on myself with the reading materials. I found some of the extra reading quite difficult and heavy.
Lauren, Invitation to study Law LLB at Downing College, Cambridge.
The school liaison officer came into school when I was in Year 10 and spoke about Downing College and I knew from this moment that I loved the thought of going to this college. I didn't really realise at the time that I had the potential to apply. I have always aspired to aim for higher or mare than I think I can achieve, so I just went for it. I applied with a healthy mindset and researched and shortlisted a few universities that I was interested in.
I signed up for the universities mailing list, which I recommend to all students who are interested in applying to any university. Off the back of this I heard about a residential offer which I applied for and succeeded in securing a placement for. I spent overnight at the university and got to speak directly to the admission team and fellow students who were studying the subject that I was interested in. They were able to give me invaluable advise in where to direct my studies and was able to explain the application process in detail which made me feel at ease and built my confidence. I was able to 'see who I would be' at Cambridge both personally and educationally which made me comfortable and assured when going through the application process.
I received my invitation for interview during my Maths lesson! I was so distracted and Miss Roughton was the first to congratulate me. I signed up to a company called 'Zero Gravity' who were able to help me with my interview prep, which were brilliant and gave me lots of tips and pointers which I wouldn't have considered without them.
The offer letter came through the mail, and I was at home with mum and dad at the time.
I was too nervous to open it, so my mum opened it for me. When she opined it she just started crying, I wasn't sure if the were good tears or bad tears! But she clarified when she came over and gave me the biggest hug. My family were so happy and will tell anyone who will listen of how proud they are, which is the best feeling. Now it's all about getting the grades!
Looking back, it was the personal statement that I was most worried and nervous about. In the interview, you do not have much control, you can't choose the questions, so you just speak and be true to yourself, and they will either like you or they won't. The personal statement is 4000 words that you write about yourself, its 100% on me which was the scary part. It was difficult to know what bits to talk about, what bits to leave out and also in what order. My family played a large part in helping me with this and where also very invested in this process. I must have had around 11 drafts where I would fiddle about with sentence orders and wording. My family would help by having blind votes on different versions and supported in helping me portray the best version of myself.
My advice to other students thinking of applying to university is 'Do it for you, not for others and show what you want to show, not what you think others want to see'.