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icouldntthinkofone
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#41
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#41
(Original post by fluteflute)
You may have some knowledge, but when what you say clashes with the half a dozen people here who have either been through the system, or are actually going through the system, then it's time for you to reconsider. You admit you're not an expert on Cambridge - but some of us here are.

Of course tutors are humans, and humans will never make decisions 100% based on academia, but Cambridge most certainly does not include extra-curricular activities (i.e. sport, music or other elements unrelated to the course the applicant is applying for) as an even vaguely important part of the process, and they would be completely insulted by the suggestion they would use them formally in a points system.
Sure - I agree with that, I am just rather shocked by it, and it makes me think a lot less of the institutions and more reluctant to hire their output. I suppose its good if you are looking for someone to spend all day in the lab doing R+D, but it re positions how I think of their grads.
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icouldntthinkofone
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#42
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(Original post by uniqsummer)
I can say without any doubt that Oxford do not care one single bit about extra curricular activities that have nothing to do with academia. They honestly do not want to know how good you are at rugby or flute playing, they want to know how smart you are, how you think and how you come to conclusions on discussions related to the subject you are applying for.

Reading around your subject and showing true passion in an intellectual way, count for so much, once grades, tests and essays have been judged. I do not have first hand knowledge of the US system, but I can easily imagine that because of the strong sports scholarship system in place there, that they probably do consider EC's more.

To the OP, As others have suggested it is probably best to move on and focus your efforts on gaining successful entry to other universities that you applied to. For each place on that course you are competing with 3 other applicants, so your application would have to be amazing in every way to stand a good chance of interview, especially as Queens do not run any tests to support an applicants marks.
I just find it surprising anyone would come to the conclusion that the ability to lead, the ability to think strategically etc wouldn't be developed by say, being captain of a rugby team at a serious level. Furthermore, if you have knowledge outside just that one subject area, you might think in new ways/challenge conceptions in ways that perhaps others would not.

I think perhaps I’m thinking of it more from a post-grad point of view where they/you are looking to display leadership qualities, the ability to persuade, strategic thinking etc. It would seem I am wrong though.

With the US, they take the position that of the perhaps 6 measurements of intelligence, academic intelligence represents 1 form. Ultimately, US universities lead the way in international rankings and to be honest, even as a Brit (and subsequently wanting British universities to do well), I can see why if this is indeed the case.
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Good bloke
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#43
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#43
(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
it makes me think a lot less of the institutions and more reluctant to hire their output. I suppose its good if you are looking for someone to spend all day in the lab doing R+D, but it re positions how I think of their grads.
Your critical thinking skills are still in hibernation. Just because Oxford and Cambridge don't make extracurricular activities part of their selection process does not mean that their graduates don't take part in them and develop interests and skills to the same extent as those of other universities. :rolleyes:
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icouldntthinkofone
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#44
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(Original post by Good bloke)
Your critical thinking skills are still in hibernation. Just because Oxford and Cambridge don't make extracurricular activities part of their selection process does not mean that their graduates don't take part in them and develop interests and skills to the same extent as those of other universities. :rolleyes:
Re your previous post - Disappointed you see it that way. I think your post is a little off. You can’t put something there that isn’t there in the first place. If someone has shown no aptitude what-so-ever, and there is no disposition naturally, no amount of training can place it there. You can improve via training, education and practice yes, but you cannot place them there.
It is evidently true leading institutions prefer Ivy Leagues to Oxbridge, although Imperial is loved by banks.
As for critical thinking skills, I’m trying to constructively criticise what you are saying. I did study at Harvard and have a Masters from Imperial. Fully appreciate I’m not the smartest person on the planet, nor have I studied at Oxbridge (although I did successfully apply some time ago), but I do have a lot of friends there and I am surprised with what you (and to be fair, several others) are saying - it flies in the face of what I was told at school (admittedly some time ago now! - I feel old :-(. ) and also, against my own perception...
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jojo1974
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#45
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#45
I think we can only tell you what the Cambridge admissions tutors themselves have told us about their admissions procedures. This does not relate to US courses and it is also not the same for other universities in the UK, in fact quite the opposite to a number of them. Oxford and Cambridge do not wish to hear about your extra-curricular activities in your personal statement. That is a fact. However, as I say to my students, you will be hedging your bets of you leave out all your extra-curricular activities as the other universities you may be applying to may wish to hear about them. Oxbridge say 100% of PS should be subject based, why you wish to study that subject, further reading etc.

We are not here to question the rights and wrongs of what they want. We all understand how extra curricular can make us better people, leaders, team players etc and how this will make us better candidates. However, they really aren't interested.

Having said that, I would e-mail them for feedback as with the grades you have, there is clearly something wrong with your application. Maybe it's your personal statement, maybe it's your reference. Either way, it would be helpful for you to understand the problem in case you decide to take a year out and apply again next year.
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ThatPerson
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#46
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(Original post by Topaz_eyes)
Okay, well they're all good A levels. Not doing Further Maths is an issue for PhysNatSci, though. I don't know enough / anything about HKDSE, so I agree with everyone else - ask them for feedback. However, it's unlikely to make a difference. Cambridge have more information on you and your grades / passion for the subject than we do. Good luck with your other choices!
I don't think that no FM is an issue for Phys NatSci. The subject combinations that he has chosen seem fine.

I also think that HK A Level Maths is harder than the UK A Level equivalent, I don't know if that makes any difference here.

You probably know more than me, but from what I understand, that seems a bit wrong.
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LightBlueSoldier
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#47
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#47
(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
Yes - which was my point when I said "So for example, the fact you play musical instruments will make you a more interesting, better rounded individual, and Im sure that would have benefitted your application somewhat."...
Stop misleading everyone. Unless you're a grad who could potentially row for Cambridge, ECs have no bearing at all on entry.
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LightBlueSoldier
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#48
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#48
(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
I just find it surprising anyone would come to the conclusion that the ability to lead, the ability to think strategically etc wouldn't be developed by say, being captain of a rugby team at a serious level. Furthermore, if you have knowledge outside just that one subject area, you might think in new ways/challenge conceptions in ways that perhaps others would not.

I think perhaps I’m thinking of it more from a post-grad point of view where they/you are looking to display leadership qualities, the ability to persuade, strategic thinking etc. It would seem I am wrong though.

With the US, they take the position that of the perhaps 6 measurements of intelligence, academic intelligence represents 1 form. Ultimately, US universities lead the way in international rankings and to be honest, even as a Brit (and subsequently wanting British universities to do well), I can see why if this is indeed the case.
Firstly, virtually all rankings are based on postgrad not undergrad factors. Secondly, the reason that US unis lead the rankings is because they have much higher levels of funding, not because they operate better admissions systems. Cambridge has much more consistency and transparency that places like Harvard and yale. And I'm gonna be going through the Cambridge phd process pretty soon and my supervisors (who make the decisions) have told me that they only really care about your academic capabilities.
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Colmans
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#49
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#49
(Original post by jojo1974)
. However, as I say to my students, you will be hedging your bets of you leave out all your extra-curricular activities as the other universities you may be applying to may wish to hear about them. Oxbridge say 100% of PS should be subject based, why you wish to study that subject, further reading etc.

.
Actually they don't. Cambridge suggest 75%.

But you are right that other universities such as Bristol, Edinburgh & Durham among others do take note of extra-curriculars. Since most applicants don't get in to either Oxford or Cambridge it is a mistake to focus the PS on Oxbridge, especially as they take less note of PS than universities which don't interview.
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sj27
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#50
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#50
(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
Sure - I agree with that, I am just rather shocked by it, and it makes me think a lot less of the institutions and more reluctant to hire their output. I suppose its good if you are looking for someone to spend all day in the lab doing R+D, but it re positions how I think of their grads.
I'm also involved in recruiting processes for our company. It's generally very easy to see if candidates are well-rounded from their CVs, and if they haven't mentioned any extra curricular activities one can always ask about this at an interview. I'm not from the UK, but in the country I'm in universities exclusively admit on academics and we've never found it a major issue to figure out if job candidates have something more to offer than a good academic record. As it happens we also have a couple of Oxbridge grads as well as a couple of Ivy Leaguers working for us, so it's not as though we're completely ignorant of such graduates either. (We did actually reject a Cambridge alumnus earlier this year, even though she had plenty of "extra curriculars", because we felt someone else was a better fit for the job.)
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illusionz
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#51
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#51
(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
Re your previous post - Disappointed you see it that way. I think your post is a little off. You can’t put something there that isn’t there in the first place. If someone has shown no aptitude what-so-ever, and there is no disposition naturally, no amount of training can place it there. You can improve via training, education and practice yes, but you cannot place them there.
It is evidently true leading institutions prefer Ivy Leagues to Oxbridge, although Imperial is loved by banks.
As for critical thinking skills, I’m trying to constructively criticise what you are saying. I did study at Harvard and have a Masters from Imperial. Fully appreciate I’m not the smartest person on the planet, nor have I studied at Oxbridge (although I did successfully apply some time ago), but I do have a lot of friends there and I am surprised with what you (and to be fair, several others) are saying - it flies in the face of what I was told at school (admittedly some time ago now! - I feel old :-(. ) and also, against my own perception...
Just because a university does not consider a trait in their application process does not mean that a large number of students cannot have said trait. There are a large number of very interesting people at cambridge who take part in a large number of ECs. I was a university level sportsman, but there are many more activities as well.

I fail to see how you can hold cambridge graduates in lower regard just because the university doesn't take ECs into account for applications. It shouldn't change your decision making process when confronted with a cambridge grad who does/doesn't have ECs compared to the choice you would have made before today.
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icouldntthinkofone
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#52
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#52
(Original post by illusionz)
Just because a university does not consider a trait in their application process does not mean that a large number of students cannot have said trait. There are a large number of very interesting people at cambridge who take part in a large number of ECs. I was a university level sportsman, but there are many more activities as well.

I fail to see how you can hold cambridge graduates in lower regard just because the university doesn't take ECs into account for applications. It shouldn't change your decision making process when confronted with a cambridge grad who does/doesn't have ECs compared to the choice you would have made before today.

Sure - didnt say it did.
It means they havent already shown that disposition as part of their application process, and makes me question how much they value those characteristics, something I look for in people I recruit.
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icouldntthinkofone
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#53
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(Original post by sj27)
I'm also involved in recruiting processes for our company. It's generally very easy to see if candidates are well-rounded from their CVs, and if they haven't mentioned any extra curricular activities one can always ask about this at an interview. I'm not from the UK, but in the country I'm in universities exclusively admit on academics and we've never found it a major issue to figure out if job candidates have something more to offer than a good academic record. As it happens we also have a couple of Oxbridge grads as well as a couple of Ivy Leaguers working for us, so it's not as though we're completely ignorant of such graduates either. (We did actually reject a Cambridge alumnus earlier this year, even though she had plenty of "extra curriculars", because we felt someone else was a better fit for the job.)
Interesting. How much do you look at 'fit' within the company/the culture of the firm?
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illusionz
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#54
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#54
(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
Sure - didnt say it did.
It means they havent already shown that disposition as part of their application process, and makes me question how much they value those characteristics, something I look for in people I recruit.
What the university cares about shouldn't make a difference to an employer. You look at the candidate in front of you, a good applicant has everything you want, a bad one doesn't. Unless previously you were assuming that a Cambs grad has ECs even if their CV lacks them?
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LightBlueSoldier
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#55
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(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
Sure - didnt say it did.
It means they havent already shown that disposition as part of their application process, and makes me question how much they value those characteristics, something I look for in people I recruit.
How can you be involved in recruitment if you're willing to mislead people on internet forums by telling them the complete opposite of what will get them into uni? Cambridge does not care at all what your extra curriculars are. It has absolutely no bearing on the application process.
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james22
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#56
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#56
(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
Sure - didnt say it did.
It means they havent already shown that disposition as part of their application process, and makes me question how much they value those characteristics, something I look for in people I recruit.
Oxford and Cambridge are purely academic institutions. They are not designed as a training ground for people to go and get jobs.
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icouldntthinkofone
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(Original post by illusionz)
What the university cares about shouldn't make a difference to an employer. You look at the candidate in front of you, a good applicant has everything you want, a bad one doesn't. Unless previously you were assuming that a Cambs grad has ECs even if their CV lacks them?
If someone went to Cambridge, I would have (apparently wrongly) assumed they had something more to them than just being gifted academically. I spend less than 10 seconds looking at each CV - I dont have time. I interview them, within 5 mins I know whether to progress the interview further. Equally, when meeting someone at networking events etc you have to make a quick judgement. Prior to this I would have given good probability to the fact they were well rounded etc. It somewhat diminishes that probability from what I have been told on here I guess
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illusionz
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(Original post by icouldntthinkofone)
If someone went to Cambridge, I would have (apparently wrongly) assumed they had something more to them than just being gifted academically. I spend less than 10 seconds looking at each CV - I dont have time. I interview them, within 5 mins I know whether to progress the interview further. Equally, when meeting someone at networking events etc you have to make a quick judgement. Prior to this I would have given good probability to the fact they were well rounded etc. It somewhat diminishes that probability from what I have been told on here I guess
Don't get me wrong, a lot of Cambridge grads are well rounded indivuduals, but there is a significant number who wouldn't have much on their CV apart from academics.
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icouldntthinkofone
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(Original post by james22)
Oxford and Cambridge are purely academic institutions. They are not designed as a training ground for people to go and get jobs.
Yes I guess you are right. Im coming at it from a business perspective where you are looking for smart, interesting people. I guess thats the difference between the US and UK - US is more focussed on job, careea, how transferable those skills are. I guess Oxbridge is more like MIT, more focussed purely on academia.
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icouldntthinkofone
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#60
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(Original post by illusionz)
Don't get me wrong, a lot of Cambridge grads are well rounded indivuduals, but there is a significant number who wouldn't have much on their CV apart from academics.

Sure of course. Im just surprised at the latter part and based on the above discussion, I would seriously revise my numbers of those individuals.
At least I learnt something today
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