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The Official Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 thread (includes FAQ and daily updates)

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    Hi,

    This is the FAQ and updates thread for 2012 entry. If you've come through Google or another search engine and are looking for answers to questions about the 2013 Cambridge pool then the thread you need is here. Best of luck with your application


    So.... your decision letter has arrived, and you have been placed in the Winter Pool.... this thread is for you . Many people find being in the Pool a bit of a roller-coaster ride - but people can and do hit the jackpot, and even if you don't, being pooled tells you that your application was a good one.

    How to make the most of this thread
    First of all – do post your details and updates as they come in. Everyone is interested . From time to time I will post updates on numbers and outcomes, so giving as much information as you dare is really useful.

    Secondly, it really helps if people use the search function, rather than posting the question, to find out if people applying for their subject have been given offers/invited for interview. This avoids cluttering up the thread with repetitive posts, but even better you will get a quick answer!

    Thirdly, remember that how people heard about their offer or interview really doesn't mean anything for anyone else. The colleges all work differently, and within that each subject works differently. So, there are lots of possible variations and you cannot read anything into someone else's experience to judge what yours might be. Irrelevant information includes where your surname comes in the alphabet, whether you are an international student or not, whether you *might* have been autopooled, whether they phoned you or emailed you, and whether there's an 'r' in the month.

    Finally, don't forget that the TSR people account for less than 10% of the pooled population. It's therefore not necessarily representative, and especially likely to be unrepresentative once you get to college or subject level. For all we know all the Pool offers in your subject went to people who've never heard of TSR and wouldn't post on here if they had .

    Purpose of the Pool
    The Pool is the mechanism by which Cambridge colleges ensure that all applicants of equivalent standard have a fair chance of an offer. A significant proportion of the offers made each year by Cambridge colleges are to people who have been placed in the Pool – see here. Admissions statistics - which include numbers of offers made through the Pool – for individual colleges and subjects can be found here.

    A note about the statistics:
    Cambridge does not publish statistics by either college or subject as to how many people got pooled - what we have is the overall number of pooled applicants per year, and a college/subject breakdown showing how many pool offers were made. There is also no breakdown by fee status - so we can't tell how many of the poolees in a given year were internationals, and whether their success rate was any different from the overall rate. It appears that there is considerable variation from year to year between colleges as to the numbers pooled, which makes sense as this must be a product both of the general standard as well as numbers applying. If you want a good example of this, check out Jesus for Arch and Anth - you'll see that in 2008 they had a sharp rise in the number of applicants, of whom quite a few got offers through the Pool. There are examples some years of where colleges made most of their offers for that year to pooled applicants.

    All of which is another way of saying - you can get an overall sense of your chances of success from the statistics Cambridge publishes, but once we get down to fee status, college, or subject (or any combination of these!) it is truly impossible to give you any idea - particularly as the TSR population is not necessarily representative.

    How does it work?
    All applicants who have been pooled will have been sent a copy of 2012 winterpool.pdf, which provides a summary of the process. If you want the detail, have a look at 2012 winterpoolofficers.pdf.

    In essence, colleges place applicants in the Pool for one of two reasons: either they want to benchmark people against those applying to other colleges in order make a final decision about them, or they know they definitely can’t take the applicant but think another college might be able to. After the interviews have been completed in December, admissions tutors for each subject participate in moderation discussions, where applicants are compared across colleges so that there is consistency in terms of standards and expectations. This then informs decisions at college level about which applicants should be pooled.

    What are my chances of an offer?
    Overall, roughly one in four, though in 2011 it was nearer three out of ten. Around 75% of these offers will be ‘direct’ – ie made without further interview. Of those who are re-interviewed, about half will get an offer. The overall statistics for TSR poolees are about the same as those for all poolees.

    I’ve been placed in the Pool. What do I do now?
    First of all, take this as a tribute to quality of your application. No-one ends up in the Pool unless they are considered to meet the required standard. At this stage the issue is capacity in terms of places available, not capability of the applicants. Even if it turns out that you don’t get an offer, being pooled is an achievement in itself. As the statistics I’ve linked to above show, most applicants are rejected outright, and quite a few never even get to the interview stage.

    Secondly, get organised. Keep that mobile topped up and make sure your voicemail is working. Check your email - including the spam folders - every few hours (not minutes!). Always have something to write on and with to hand. Wait and hope, but don’t let the rest of your life slide out of control either. Especially if you have exams coming up, try not to let yourself be distracted any more than you can help.

    Thirdly, be patient. Every year we get people obsessing about whether they should contact their college. Just don't. It is pointless wasting any energy on even considering this. If you do get in touch with them, you are likely to get a short answer which will not be informative and will do your confidence no good at all.

    When will I hear anything?
    According to the guidance, no-one will be contacted before Friday 6 January with news of offers or interviews.

    Admissions tutors will contact people over the weekend – including Sunday, judging by previous years – to make offers or to invite you for re-interview. It will be the college that is now considering your application that will contact you, not the one you applied to originally (or were allocated to if you put in an open application). The exception to this is if your preference college has decided to make you an offer after all. As the timetable shows, people getting ‘direct’ offers – ie without re-interview – will be contacted some time between 6 and 15 January.

    Interview lists will have been agreed by the end of 6 January, and the interviews themselves start on 12 January, so if you are going to be invited to attend you should have heard by 8 January - 9 January at the very latest. International candidates are rarely invited back for re-interview, for obvious reasons.

    By the way, if the admissions tutor doesn't get hold of you first time, s/he will try again. The decision to make you an offer/invite you for interview has been made, and you won't lose out just because you don't happen to have been able to pick up the call!

    If I have heard nothing by 16 January, will that mean I’ve been rejected?
    If you haven't heard anything at all by 16 January it is unlikely that you have been fished, though not entirely impossible. Every year there are one or two cases where someone gets an offer weeks after everyone else, sometimes without any contact from Cambridge at all between the 'you've been pooled' letter and the offer letter. This is because sometimes colleges interview people from the Pool, and then decide they prefer a candidate they pooled themselves, who didn't get picked up by another college. I emphasise however that these numbers are very small indeed, so the reality is that no news by 16 January is likely to mean a rejection letter is on its way.

    Most colleges are pretty good about getting their final rejection letters out quickly (they will know by 6 January who hasn't been picked up by another college, and isn't on their own 'pending' list) so most people who have been unlucky will get 'closure' before 16 January. In recent years Cambridge has also updated UCAS much earlier than they used to, which did mean that for some people the first news they had of their rejection showed up on Track.

    I've been invited to attend for re-interview - can another college still make me a direct offer? Can my original college still make me a direct offer?
    No to both.

    I've been made an offer by another college, without re-interview - will any other college invite me for interview? Can my original college still make me a direct offer anyway?
    No to both.

    How will I find out if more than one college wants to interview me?
    Usually the colleges will mention that another will be in touch with you as well. They are expected to liaise to ensure that your timings are reasonable, and also to arrange accommodation for you if you need it. If you've been invited to attend for interview with one college and nothing has been said about any other, you are unlikely to get an interview elsewhere; if you haven't heard from a second college within 24 hours, you definitely won't.

    I must have been pooled just because I met the ‘auto-pooling’ criteria. Does that mean I have less chance of getting an offer?
    No. Some people expend a lot of energy speculating about which Pool category they might be in. This is totally pointless – even if you think you know, you are quite likely to be mistaken - your interview may have gone better or worse than you suppose, for example. [Note that the auto-pooling criteria have changed this year - GCSEs are no longer taken into account for this, and the average UMS requirement has increased to 93%.]

    I’ve been pooled from a less ‘popular’ college – doesn’t this really mean that I stand no chance of an offer?
    It is fair to say that the odds are probably less in your favour, but it’s not unheard of for someone to be pooled from Girton, for instance, and get an offer elsewhere.

    Does the wording of my ‘you have been Pooled’ letter give any clues about my chances of an offer?
    No. Each college writes their letters individually, and it is a waste of time and energy to speculate about the meaning of differences in their wording.

    What about these 'open offers' for Medicine?
    Some medicine applicants in the Pool will be considered for an open offer. What this means is that any offer made will not be from a named college; if you meet the conditions of such an offer you are guaranteed a place, but you only get to find out which college you'll be going to in the summer, after Results Day. These offers can come through particularly late, judging by last year's experience, so if you are in this group you are more likely to have to wait for an outcome, one way or the other.

    In case you were wondering, the idea is that by making open offers the university can accommodate good candidates even though all the college places are 'full'. Which college you land up in depends on which applicants miss their offers - candidates with open offers who have met the offer conditions are guaranteed a place, so will get those places instead. It is only when all the open offer candidates who met their offer conditions have been allocated a college that people who missed their offer can be considered for any places left over.

    If I haven't been fished by another college, can my original college still take me?
    Yes, but if they haven't told you so by 8/9 January it's very unlikely indeed. Most people who get fished by their original college don't even know they were pooled in the first place, because it's all sorted out before the decision letters are posted.

    After all that, it was a rejection anyway
    If you have not been successful, hold on to the fact that by being pooled you know you are of Cambridge standard. Wherever you land up, you have every reason to do well, and may even find that it suits you better than Cambridge would have done.

    I was re-interviewed at another college but they've said I was unsuccessful. Could the college I originally applied to still make me an offer?
    No. For another college to have picked you out of the Pool, your original college must have relinquished all claim to you. Their only responsibility now is to confirm your rejection in writing (the college that re-interviewed you is allowed to let you know the outcome, but the official rejection must come from the college you applied to).

    I was re-interviewed at another college but they've said I was unsuccessful. Will/can any other college consider my application now?
    No.
    Attached Files
  1. File Type: doc TSR Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 0830 07 Jan.doc (139.0 KB, 1389 views)
  2. File Type: doc TSR Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 0930 08 Jan.doc (220.5 KB, 898 views)
  3. File Type: doc TSR Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 0700 09 Jan.doc (145.0 KB, 1115 views)
  4. File Type: doc TSR Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 0730 10 Jan.doc (218.0 KB, 1295 views)
  5. File Type: doc TSR Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 0730 11 Jan.doc (233.0 KB, 1476 views)
  6. File Type: doc TSR Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 0800 16 Jan.doc (289.0 KB, 750 views)
  7. File Type: doc TSR Cambridge Winter Pool 2012 1600 21 Jan.doc (313.5 KB, 1250 views)
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    I was pooled from Trinity for law..
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    I was pooled by Murray Edwards for Law. I'm guessing I have a slimmer chance then considering its an unpopular college!
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    Pooled from Gonville and Caius for English.
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    I have just been pooled from trinity hall for economics, am now spending my time glued to my phone! The information above is really useful, thanks
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    I have also been pooled by Trinity Hall for English
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    pooled for law at pembroke
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    Without being too specific, the college I've applied to is very oversubscribed, especially for the subject I've applied for. I didn't make the auto pooling criteria, so I was pooled based on interview/PS. Looking at the university wide statistics, it looks like the overall chances are 1 in 3. I'm wondering are the odds better for people who have been pooled by oversubscribed colleges?
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    Glad the thread is now open.

    Pooled by wolfson for pps. Holding onto the dream for the next few days...

    Thanks for the info op.
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    Pooled by Pembroke for Natsci
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    Lets hope so :rolleyes:
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    pooled by clare for engineering
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    Pooled by Christ's for HSPS (deferred) - feeling gutted due to being a deferred applicant and don't really think they will give me an offer as they haven't seen next years applicants yet :/
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    Pooled by Magdalene for law
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    pooled for natsci from corpus
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    pooled for Chem Eng via Nat Sci from Downing
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    Gah I didn't see this thread when I made my thread..
    Do I have a better chance if I've been pooled from an oversubscribed college?
    Without being too specific, the college I've applied to is very oversubscribed, especially for the subject I've applied for. I didn't make the auto pooling criteria, so I was pooled based on interview/PS. Looking at the university wide statistics, it looks like the overall chances are 1 in 3. I'm wondering are the odds better for people who have been pooled by oversubscribed colleges?
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    Pooled by Pembroke for AMES :/

    More waiting.. yay...
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    (Original post by lm271991)
    I have also been pooled by Trinity Hall for English
    Me too
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    Sorry i'm not sure why that sent so soon, but yeah I'm not looking forward to even more waiting...what day did you interview?
Updated: September 4, 2012
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