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Can someone explain the summer pool?

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    I didnt do that great in one of my STEP exams but well in the other so i think i might miss my grade by one.

    i looked on the cambridge website but im still a bit confused, can someone explain it for me? xxx
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    (Original post by Friendofmaddo)
    I didnt do that great in one of my STEP exams but well in the other so i think i might miss my grade by one.

    i looked on the cambridge website but im still a bit confused, can someone explain it for me? xxx
    Places will be given to all the people who have met their offers. If there are any places left to fill after that, the colleges can, as far as I know, either take some of their own applicants who have not met their offers or put them into the summer pool/pick them out of the summer pool.

    You do not have any influence on any of this though, and it is likely that you won't even know whether you're in the summer pool until you get a letter from a college (either yours or the one that has picked you out), a friend of mine got his acceptance letter from Queens' before he received a letter from John's saying that they had put him into the summer pool.
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    (Original post by Y__)
    Places will be given to all the people who have met their offers. If there are any places left to fill after that, the colleges can, as far as I know, either take some of their own applicants who have not met their offers or put them into the summer pool/pick them out of the summer pool.

    You do not have any influence on any of this though, and it is likely that you won't even know whether you're in the summer pool until you get a letter from a college (either yours or the one that has picked you out), a friend of mine got his acceptance letter from Queens' before he received a letter from John's saying that they had put him into the summer pool.
    In your experience, all things remaining equal do you think that an applicant from a college which is perceived to be harder to get into eg. Trinity, Johns etc. would be more likely to get picked up from the summer pool than someone from say, Homerton?
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    Yeah, Trinity, Johns, etc. will always fill their places, Homerton will have spare. A friend of mine didnt make her step offer applying to Trinity for maths. She got pooled to Newnham to do Natural Sciences.
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    Friendofmaddo, the difficulty with asking people - even, in fact especially, current students - is that the procedures develop and information becomes out of date year on year (even if it was accurate in the first place). It is therefore always appropriate to contact the Admissions Office of the college handling your application for definite advice. Subject to this qualification, I'll tell you what I know.

    Once your results are received, the college from which you have a conditional offer will confirm the offer if you have met it. If you fail to meet the conditions (whether by missing a STEP grade or otherwise), they may confirm the offer anyway. Alternatively, in this situation, your application may be made unsuccessful - though hopefully this won't happen of course! A third possibility on a missed offer, however, is that you may be placed in the Summer Pool for consideration by other colleges who, after confirming offers for their candidates who have met offer conditions, still have places to fill.

    If this happens, then - assuming my information isn't out of date - your UCAS page would still show your offer as "Conditional" when you checked it on results day. I think if you rang the college admissions office, then they would tell you that you had been placed in the summer pool. The Pool takes place very soon after results come out, and on an extremely tight time schedule with no interviews held (so it's really not akin to the long and drawn-out Winter Pool process). Another college, if it has places to fill, may then make you an unconditional offer through the Summer Pool if it chooses to do so.
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    (Original post by coolwHip)
    In your experience, all things remaining equal do you think that an applicant from a college which is perceived to be harder to get into eg. Trinity, Johns etc. would be more likely to get picked up from the summer pool than someone from say, Homerton?
    My experience of that is quite limited since I'm not actually involved in the process :p: . I don't think college makes a big difference, it's rather that some people had higher offers and missed them and therefore will be picked up before those who had lower offers and missed those etc... in any case, the sample size is rather small, so you shouldn't really spare a thought on what might and might not happen in the summer pool.
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    Thanks tom curr, thats really helpful. So if it takes a while for them to decide, say i do get into the summer pool, should I still ring up my insurance and ask them for a place, and to hold it for me?
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    Yes you should anyway, just as a precaution.

    The summer pool is for those who missed their particular college offers, but still got the university offer of three As at A level - or the international equivalent - so might still be of interest to other colleges. The mast vajority of people in this pool are therefore mathmaticians, and if you only missed the STEP grade by a little bit, as you say, you''l be a prime candidate for being fished out.
    As far as I know though, if you don't get three As or soemthing similar, you won't be put in the pool at all.
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    (Original post by Friendofmaddo)
    Thanks tom curr, thats really helpful. So if it takes a while for them to decide, say i do get into the summer pool, should I still ring up my insurance and ask them for a place, and to hold it for me?
    This document was from last year but I guess a lot of it is still relevant: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/a...summerpool.doc (I remember reading through this thoroughly about 2-3 times last year. It's VERY detailed and informative as it's meant to be a guide for admissions tutors telling them exactly what to do, but it's available for public access nevertheless. I guess they want to make the process a bit more transparent to outsiders.)

    Last year the results day was Thursday 14th August, and according to the above the pool took place on the following Friday and was finalised there and then. They don't seem to notify candidates so I guess IF they do put you in the pool (and the document seems to suggest that if you do better than 1/3 or 2/2 then in all likelihood they would) then you'd hear from them on the following Monday whether you're in or not.

    I wasn't part of the pool myself last year but a few people got through with a 1/2. I'm not sure if the college decided to just take them on the spot or they looked through the pool first. As far as I'm concerned they're free to do either.

    Good luck on your results btw. I ended up with WAY higher marks than I expected/estimated. During the (almost) two months that I waited for the results I was dead sure I had 2/2.
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    (Original post by Galatea)
    The summer pool is for those who missed their particular college offers, but still got the university offer of three As at A level - or the international equivalent
    This is an oversimplification. If you had three A's but had been set a harder offer (which you missed), then it seems a reasonable assumption that this would count in your favour towards being put in the summer pool, as you might well meet another college's criteria. But the original college still has discretion. You might have got AAB but done exceptionally well at interview, for example. Since people occasionally are let in to their original college having missed their offers by getting AAB, it follows a fortiori that they can be put in the summer pool in such a situation.

    Sorry to nitpick, but I thought it was important.
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    (Original post by Tom Curr)
    You might have got AAB but done exceptionally well at interview, for example. Since people occasionally are let in to their original college having missed their offers by getting AAB, it follows a fortiori that they can be put in the summer pool in such a situation
    well yeah, you can still be taken by your original college if you get AAB, if they remember you from the interview, or you argue persuasively on the telephone, etc and they still want you, but the summer pool, where your application is sent out for consideration by other colleges is reserved for those with AAA or its equivalent as far as I know (Next year I guess A*AA) - simply because so many offers that stipulate four As, or include STEP papers or AEAs, or three As but in specific subjects, etc are set and narrowly missed when the candidate gets three As, but fails to meet more specific criteria.

    With maybe 400, 500+ people missing their offers every year there obviously has to be a rationing mechanism for limiting the summer pool, given that only 40 or 50 people a year get fished out of it, and as far I know that's what it is.
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    But you have no evidence to support your claim that AAA is the minimum requirement for summer pooling! The extract on the Summer Pool from the Cambridge Admissions Handbook which has been linked to in this thread (useful although it's still dated August 2008) contains this extract:

    With the exception of applicants for Mathematics (with Physics), all applicants who have achieved three A grades (excluding General Studies) at A-level, who do not meet your conditions, should be pooled ... Similarly, applicants who have slipped to a B in an A-level but performed well in STEP/AEA may meet the criteria set by Colleges that use these examinations in alternative offers.
    One implication of the first bit is that it is not only those with three As who may be pooled. And that is, in fact, made clear beyond doubt in the second bit.

    Of course, you are less likely to make it into the Pool if you slip below AAA, but in this sort of area, absolute claims are dangerous.
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    That's a really interesting read actually. I particularly enjoyed this part :

    These are normally settled by negotiation if possible, the Director of Admissions for the Colleges will adjudicate, or, as a last resort, by tossing a coin or drawing lots.
    There is nothing like ripping a quote out of context for fun :awesome:
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    Oh Lord that made me feel sick.

    There's always this one too:

    but please bring your own lunch
    I bet the summer pool is actually just an annual jolly where tutors go to watch fellow staff wrestle in a room full of papers...

    I hope mine gets stuck down somebody's shirt or something because my STEP is gonna be ghastly and once they remove any paper they're obliged to make an offer. :V
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    I can personally say absolutely that it is possible to get summer pooled and not get AAA. It may be true that those with AAA will get looked at more favourably in the summer pool than those who don't, but some admissions officers and Directors of Studies are more interested in Step/AEA in relevant subjects than a near miss in the last A level subject.

    The handy thing about the summer pool from the applicant point of view is most of the time you don't know, and even if you do there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
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    Ive got 5 As in the three sciences, maths and further maths, and distinction at AEA. BUT i only got a 1,3 in STEP and I needed 1,1 for emmanuel. do you think i still have a chance?
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    Maybe. Depends how many people missed their grades.
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    still hope. thank you, youve made me happier.

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