Choosing a College & A-Level Results

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate anyone here in the UK that got their A-Level results today. I really hope you all got what you wanted in terms of grades & unis. If you’re currently in year 12, that’ll be you in just one year & boy, does that year go fast!

As I did the IB, I’ve known my exam results for about a month and a half now, so have known that I will be going to Cambridge in September for quite some time now.

But the main reason I’m blogging today is to offer some advice about how to choose a college at Oxbridge. Oxford & Cambridge are 2 of only 3 of 4 collegiate unis left in the country. It’s a really traditional way of living at uni & is very unique. (I think those stats are right, by the way!). Durham is another one of the collegiate unis but I don’t know what the other(s) are – comments below telling me the answer to this would be much appreciated!

Basically, a college is where you live throughout uni. I suppose it’s kind of like choosing your halls at any other uni. However, at Cambridge (and Oxford, I think!) you live in your college for the entirety of your uni course most of the time. This is why it’s so vital to choose a college to suit you!

If you’re looking for a female-only college, a large or a small one, one that specialises in music, or sport, or drama, or anything else that you have an interest in for that matter, then there is probably a college out there that will sit you perfectly. Of course, being in a certain college doesn’t limit you in terms of joing any uni societies in any way at all, nor does it prevent you from mixing with people outside of your college, it just means that you’ll be surrounded by people who have similar interests to you!

I really had NO idea about what college to choose. It can be really hard to pick because there are so many to choose from! I didn’t make a decision until I had visited Cambridge on an open day – I’d really reccommend that everyone does this if they can too, as it allows you to see the college for yourself, rather than pick based on internet pictures.

In my case, the college that I thought I would like to apply to just wasn’t for me when I actually had a look round on the open day. I went up with my boyfriend who was also looking round, but we went our separate ways upon arriving in Cambridge so that we could look at the specific colleges that we each wanted to look at. It’s good going around on your own too, because you don’t get influenced by your friends or parents. Ultimately, it’ll be where you’ll be living for 3 or more years, so you have to like it! I happened to stumble upon the college that I eventually put down on my application form just in passing – Christ’s. I just loved the atmosphere & vibe that I got from it. It sounds really lame but when you find your college, you know that it’ll be the one that suits you! I just loved the fact that it was such an old college with great facilities & was a big one with lots of students.

However, I’ll later talk about the ‘pool’ process at Cambridge after the interview stage. In brief it’s basically where, after your interview, you are deemed to be good enough to attend Cambridge but your college was over-subscribed with people who were also good enough to attend too. They then put some people in a ‘pool’ whereby their applications are sent off to other colleges & they can choose to take you if they have space etc. This was what happened to me, so I never ended up going to Christ’s in the end – I was placed at Robinson which, in contarst to Christ’s is the newest college in the uni. But since gaining my place I have had & look round & love it just as much. To be honest, you’ll love wherever you end up going I think, so it’s not the be all & end all if you don’t get your college! (If you’re interested to know, my boyfriend was also pooled but did not get an offer & will now be off to Bristol in September, which he is really happy with & I’m very proud of him for it!)

After looking around, if you’re STILL undecided about what college to choose, remember that you can always do an open application! This is where the uni decides the college for you 🙂

Colleges are really important, so it’s vital that you choose wisely!

Any questions, comment below!

Emily xx


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