BedSocks
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Already posted this somewhere in a really busy thread, but I think it'll quickly get buried... Can anyone help me on this one?

I'm applying to Cambridge this year (with 12 A*s at GCSE and AAAA (average 95%) at AS, so I don't think my grades are an issue). However, I have extenuating circumstances, which I won't go into here but have basically left me with depression and severe anxiety/panic, especially when put under pressure. I probably wouldn't need the ECF to explain away any grades (although the depression has at times made it very difficult to maintain any motivation to work and could easily take its toll on them next year) but I'm worried that the anxiety etc would seriously affect me if I were offered an interview. Would they be likely to take this into consideration? I'm under the impression that the interview is really important in deciding whether to make an offer or not, so this is stressing me out a bit!

Also, I think I've posted this in completely the wrong place... sorry... :blushing::blushing::blushing:
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Theafricanlegend
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Sorry for my previous statement, but you have 12 A*s and 95% UMS average, I find it hard to believe that you have difficulty maintaining any motivation to work . Can you explain?
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DELETED ACCOUNT
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Regardless of what grades you got, tell them about your circumstance. They would consider it during the interview process. Despite your condition, you have shown to be a gifted individual. I wish you all the best with your application to the university of cambridge.
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Julialala
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Get your tutor to mention it in your reference, but don't stress out about it. Judging from your grades, you can cope with it which is good, and I don't think anyone has ever had a stress-free Oxbridge interview, whether they suffer from anxiety or not. While the interview is important, it's not the be-all and end-all of your application. They'll look at your grades, PS, written work as well as how you perform at interview. But if they don't have all the facts, they may be misguided in their decision. If you get really worked up about it, you might be able to arrange for one of your parents to come down with you to help calm you (obviously they couldn't be there for the actual interview but it might help all the same), but you'd have to ask Cambridge about that. Just remember, if you do get an interview, it's because they think you're potentially what they're looking for, and they know that you'll be under pressure. Good luck!
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BedSocks
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(Original post by Theafricanlegend)
Sorry for my previous statement, but you have 12 A*s and 95% UMS average, I find it hard to believe that you have difficulty maintaining any motivation to work . Can you explain?
Maintaining any motivation *at times*
I'm guessing from your response that you aren't familiar with mental health problems like depression?- I'm really not asking that to try and offend you/belittle your question, but I think it's important to try and understand. Medically diagnosed depression is not the same as feeling occasionally 'depressed' (colloquial use) or upset from a rational trigger. I worded that quite badly, sorry.
When I do work, I work very efficiently (enough to catch up on lessons I miss from not turning up). I don't really have much explanation beyond that, but to be perfectly honest I don't think I should have to explain myself: my good grades don't mean that the symptoms of my depression/anxiety don't exist.
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SebCross
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(Original post by BedSocks)
Already posted this somewhere in a really busy thread, but I think it'll quickly get buried... Can anyone help me on this one?

I'm applying to Cambridge this year (with 12 A*s at GCSE and AAAA (average 95%) at AS, so I don't think my grades are an issue). However, I have extenuating circumstances, which I won't go into here but have basically left me with depression and severe anxiety/panic, especially when put under pressure. I probably wouldn't need the ECF to explain away any grades (although the depression has at times made it very difficult to maintain any motivation to work and could easily take its toll on them next year) but I'm worried that the anxiety etc would seriously affect me if I were offered an interview. Would they be likely to take this into consideration? I'm under the impression that the interview is really important in deciding whether to make an offer or not, so this is stressing me out a bit!

Also, I think I've posted this in completely the wrong place... sorry... :blushing::blushing::blushing:
I've dealt with many of the same issues as you and am now at Oxford (having been rejected by Cambridge last year). As at Oxford, no doubt Cambridge has enviable facilities and support networks in place for people like yourself that have depression and anxiety problems which may (or may not) affect their studies. You should explain your problems in your application, and perhaps apply via the Cambridge Special Access Scheme which is specifically designed to cater for students such as yourself who have experienced problems during their lives which may have impacted upon study. (In your case, I don't necessarily see that there are any issues with your academic results.)

Admission tutors are very understanding and supportive in students in your position; do not be put off from applying because of these problems you've endured. They will understand and factor in any and all extenuating circumstances into their decisions.

Which colleges are you considering?
Best wishes,

Sebastian
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BedSocks
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(Original post by SebCross)
I've dealt with many of the same issues as you and am now at Oxford (having been rejected by Cambridge last year). As at Oxford, no doubt Cambridge has enviable facilities and support networks in place for people like yourself that have depression and anxiety problems which may (or may not) affect their studies. You should explain your problems in your application, and perhaps apply via the Cambridge Special Access Scheme which is specifically designed to cater for students such as yourself who have experienced problems during their lives which may have impacted upon study. (In your case, I don't necessarily see that there are any issues with your academic results.)

Admission tutors are very understanding and supportive in students in your position; do not be put off from applying because of these problems you've endured. They will understand and factor in any and all extenuating circumstances into their decisions.

Which colleges are you considering?
Best wishes,

Sebastian
Thanks
The CSAS has been replaced with an Extenuating Circumstances Form (I think), though I think it amounts to pretty much the same. I was concerned that maybe because the depression hasn't caused an obvious dip in my results an admissions tutor might just dismiss it altogether?
If I were offered a place, I'd feel fairly confident that Cambridge would offer me the support I need, which sadly I can't say for every university I've contacted...
I'm probably applying to Newnham (despite the strange looks I get from some people for considering a female-only college!).
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SebCross
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(Original post by BedSocks)
Thanks
The CSAS has been replaced with an Extenuating Circumstances Form (I think), though I think it amounts to pretty much the same. I was concerned that maybe because the depression hasn't caused an obvious dip in my results an admissions tutor might just dismiss it altogether?
If I were offered a place, I'd feel fairly confident that Cambridge would offer me the support I need, which sadly I can't say for every university I've contacted...
I'm probably applying to Newnham (despite the strange looks I get from some people for considering a female-only college!).
Yes, Newnham seems from the website to be a beautiful college. I kinda wished it accepted boys! (Being at Oxford now, it wouldn't have an immediate difference to me, but I'd love to do my postgraduate studies at Cambridge.) Yeah, I don't really get the whole looking down upon, or being confused at, people's decisions to be in an all-girl college. If that's the overall environment in which individuals feel they can make the most of and flourish within, then good for them. People (particularly guys, in my experience) seem to think that only lesbians would want to be in an all-girl college, but, frankly, that seems like absolute nonsense to me.

Besides, you lot have Mary Beard to teach you! That would be epic indeed.
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Melz0r
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(Original post by BedSocks)
Already posted this somewhere in a really busy thread, but I think it'll quickly get buried... Can anyone help me on this one?

I'm applying to Cambridge this year (with 12 A*s at GCSE and AAAA (average 95%) at AS, so I don't think my grades are an issue). However, I have extenuating circumstances, which I won't go into here but have basically left me with depression and severe anxiety/panic, especially when put under pressure. I probably wouldn't need the ECF to explain away any grades (although the depression has at times made it very difficult to maintain any motivation to work and could easily take its toll on them next year) but I'm worried that the anxiety etc would seriously affect me if I were offered an interview. Would they be likely to take this into consideration? I'm under the impression that the interview is really important in deciding whether to make an offer or not, so this is stressing me out a bit!

Also, I think I've posted this in completely the wrong place... sorry... :blushing::blushing::blushing:
Hi Nope, you're in the right place, and I'm sorry somebody randomly negged you!

You're right that the ECF probably isn't the place for this, since your grades are excellent. It might make sense to get it put it in your reference - make sure it's written by someone who understands your situation. There's also a section on the SAQ (supplementary application questionnaire which Cam send you after you submit your UCAS application) which is something very vague along the lines of 'is there anything else you want to tell us?' which would be another option.

If you're still unsure, get in contact with a college you might wish to apply to and ask what they'd prefer you to do Don't worry, this won't prejudice your application in any way!
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Melz0r
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(Original post by Theafricanlegend)
Sorry for my previous statement, but you have 12 A*s and 95% UMS average, I find it hard to believe that you have difficulty maintaining any motivation to work. Can you explain?
I don't think she's really got any duty to explain, to be honest.
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Theafricanlegend
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(Original post by Melz0r)
I don't think she's really got any duty to explain, to be honest.
What ever, I never said she had to. You are just picking a fight, too much time in your hands :rolleyes:
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Melz0r
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(Original post by Theafricanlegend)
What ever, I never said she had to. You are just picking a fight, too much time in your hands :rolleyes:
Yup, that must be it :rolleyes:
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PhysicsGirl
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(Original post by BedSocks)
Already posted this somewhere in a really busy thread, but I think it'll quickly get buried... Can anyone help me on this one?

I'm applying to Cambridge this year (with 12 A*s at GCSE and AAAA (average 95%) at AS, so I don't think my grades are an issue). However, I have extenuating circumstances, which I won't go into here but have basically left me with depression and severe anxiety/panic, especially when put under pressure. I probably wouldn't need the ECF to explain away any grades (although the depression has at times made it very difficult to maintain any motivation to work and could easily take its toll on them next year) but I'm worried that the anxiety etc would seriously affect me if I were offered an interview. Would they be likely to take this into consideration? I'm under the impression that the interview is really important in deciding whether to make an offer or not, so this is stressing me out a bit!

Also, I think I've posted this in completely the wrong place... sorry... :blushing::blushing::blushing:
Hi. I won't be so patronising as to say that I know how you feel but I've been through a similar experience. I've issues with mental health in the past, partly due to some family stuff, that continued throughout my GCSEs, and then throughout my A-Levels (I won't go into the gory details, but they were sufficient enough that I was on anti-depressants), and I also was somewhat of a 'high-flyer'- which isn't actually that unusual. Many academically bright people suffer with anxiety, perfectionism and poor self-esteem, factors that can influence poor mental health. I, personally, didn't feel like I was able to claim extenuating circumstances as such, because I, like you, had decent enough grades.
I did have some difficulty with my interviews, but luckily I had applied to other places that interviewed, and managed to squeeze in two actual interviews before the big Oxbridge one. My first interview was at Imperial College London, and I performed awfully (no surprise, I didn't end up receiving an offer). My second interview was a mock with my physics teacher (who's amazing!), and it went slightly better. My third interview was with York, and that was easier. My fourth interview was my first Cambridge one, and I fluffed it (nerves!), but my fifth with Oxbridge went almost perfectly. What I'm trying to say here, is that with practise, you can become a better interviewee, despite your background. You can prepare (I didn't prepare well enough for my first interview) by knowing your PS really well, by learning to calm and focus (this is so hard, but it's possible, I promise) and by doing the little things- I get stressed when I don't know where I'm going, so for Cambridge, I was lucky enough to get my mum and older brother to drive down with me and basically walk me to the gates. Wear clothes you feel comfortable in, get a good night sleep beforehand, reread your PS before you go in (PS's are usually quite inspiring and a good reminder of why you're putting yourself through this) and just try to keep as relaxed as possible. There's no doubt being able to be interviewed well is a skill, but like all skills, it's one you can learn. And of course, the interview is not the be all and end all of your application- everything else counts as well, and with grades like yours, any Cambridge college would definitely look twice at your application (and possibly put you in the pool rather than dismiss your application entirely, even if your interviews don't go as you'd hope).
I don't know if you're concerned at all about your personal circumstances should you receive an offer- I know it's a long way off yet, I know, but if you do, you can let your college know much later on in the application process about any extenuating circumstances, if find yourself coming up to your A2s and struggling. My college, Newnham, actually wrote to my head of sixth form once I'd received an offer, asking him whether he could see anything that could possibly unfairly affect my results so that they could take it into account, should I miss the grades I needed.
Luckily, I managed to fight my way through my A2 exams, and I did exceed my offer, so the majority of people would say that I had no reason to worry. But, if I may be so bold, they don't know what they're talking about. Don't let other people make you feel greedy, guilty or ungrateful for applying for extenuating circumstances if you feel like you need it.
And finally, always seek help if things get rough- doctors, teachers, family, whoever will listen
Good luck!
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SebCross
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(Original post by suffocation1992)
In life, you are going to have to attend interviews. Unfortunately, the majority of those interviewing you will probably not be interested in your 'panic disorder.' You are going to have to grow up and start confronting these situations now. They say the best cure is exposure. Get used to it now and you won't have to shy away later in life. An interview is there for a reason - interviewees want to meet the real you, and if the real you is a nervous wreck, then that's how it is. If you don't want to be a nervous wreck, get help!

Extenuating circumstances don't exist in the real world, but psychiatric help does. It's down to you to get better. A combination of medication and therapy can do wonders these days.
Perhaps you forget that the University of Cambridge is very far removed from anything resembling the vulgarity of the 'real world'. The 'real world' is a brutal, horrendous place; the University of Cambridge, by contrast, is an oasis of civility and enlightened souls doing their utmost to learn from the undisputed masters of their subjects. If only the UK had more places like Cambridge (or, for that matter, Oxford), where people could just relish expanding their minds and enjoy reading for reading's sake, and not be harassed by their overzealous managers and bosses the whole time.

If only...
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chatter289
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Interviews will always be part of life unfortunately, but what you have to remeber is: You have worked extremely extremely hard to achieve what you have and I think its fantastic how great you have done so far (I wish I had worked hard on my GCSE's and A-Levels).

You shouldn't worry so much hun, you're still so very young and being depressed at this age is rather upsetting to read. Be yourself in the interview, if they don't appreciate you and the way you are, then it's their loss. Not everyone can be pretentious . Till then, look back at your great achievements and never forget the hard work you put into them.

I studied Psychology and know how depression is/works, and believe me, no amount of anti-depressants will help unless you help yourself first. You and your health is more important than a building with 4 walls coupled with many pretentious indviduals who do think they are god's gift.

I do not know you, but you will do so great in life. Just never forget who you are and never change for no one or anything for that matter. Good luck :-)
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Stray
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It might be reassuring to hear that the King's Admissions organiser told us at an open day that in the interview the only things they are interested in are finding out what your relationship with the subject is, how you think and what it would be like to teach you.

She specifically said that there is no need to come in confidently, shake hands, give good eye contact and only give perfectly formed, fluent answers. If someone shuffles in, stares at the floor, doesn't manage to construct perfect sentences but expresses some interesting insights, they are equally likely to be given an offer.

Being nervous won't be a barrier to you getting an offer - I happen to know a couple of very nervous people who got offers last year and a very confident person who didn't. Those nervous people also thought that their interview hadn't gone well, where the confident person felt that it was excellent - it may simply be that the interviewers were pushing those who then got offers, and decided fairly quickly that they didn't want the confident candidate and didn't want to torture them. So - if it feels like they are leaning on you during the interview, that can only be a sign that they think there is more capacity to squeeze out.

Like any place full of smart people, Cambridge is also full of 'weird' people (and I say that with affection, counting myself as one of those weirdos, though not at Cam). Social conventions at interview aren't crucial - your interviewer may well not have a good grasp of them either!
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Melz0r
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(Original post by Stray)
It might be reassuring to hear that the King's Admissions organiser told us at an open day that in the interview the only things they are interested in are finding out what your relationship with the subject is, how you think and what it would be like to teach you.

She specifically said that there is no need to come in confidently, shake hands, give good eye contact and only give perfectly formed, fluent answers. If someone shuffles in, stares at the floor, doesn't manage to construct perfect sentences but expresses some interesting insights, they are equally likely to be given an offer.

Being nervous won't be a barrier to you getting an offer - I happen to know a couple of very nervous people who got offers last year and a very confident person who didn't. Those nervous people also thought that their interview hadn't gone well, where the confident person felt that it was excellent - it may simply be that the interviewers were pushing those who then got offers, and decided fairly quickly that they didn't want the confident candidate and didn't want to torture them. So - if it feels like they are leaning on you during the interview, that can only be a sign that they think there is more capacity to squeeze out.

Like any place full of smart people, Cambridge is also full of 'weird' people (and I say that with affection, counting myself as one of those weirdos, though not at Cam). Social conventions at interview aren't crucial - your interviewer may well not have a good grasp of them either!
This is really good advice, and true I think. I had a mock interview at my school where I was so nervous I burst into tears and my head of sixth ran off in a blind panic searching for tissues, and I found out later he'd been going round telling people he thought I'd never get in. And in my actual interview I was shaking so much that the piece of paper I had to read an extract of French from was visibly wobbling about in front of me in my hand. But my obvious nervousness didn't seem to bother them, they just carried on as normal treating me like a normal person (though still being nice obviously), and it seemed to work.

That said, if you want to inform them beforehand about your anxiety problems I think that's a good idea - you may find doing that reassures you.
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MrOxbridge
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Guys, I am in Year 12 (first year of A levels) and I got 7 A*, 4 A and 1 B at GCSE. I am finding AS okay. I do have an extenuating circumstance - my father had a brain tumour when i was in Year 9 and he has been in and out of hospital which had significantly affected my revision for GCSE.

He had an operation in march last year, which meant I only had April and a week in May to revise for the exams. I got the highest grades in my school for GCSE. My school is very bad - it is a foundation school. But for my A levels I am attending a grammar school. So should I bother applying to Oxbridge or not? If yes, where - Cambridge or Oxford and why there?

Your help is appreciated. BTW, what does the extenuating circumstances form actually do - does it help lower the grades you have to get or will it make you seem like a better candidate? I am confused about what it does and how Oxbridge respond to it when making their decisions.
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ratio
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(Original post by MrOxbridge)
Guys, I am in Year 12 (first year of A levels) and I got 7 A*, 4 A and 1 B at GCSE. I am finding AS okay. I do have an extenuating circumstance - my father had a brain tumour when i was in Year 9 and he has been in and out of hospital which had significantly affected my revision for GCSE.

He had an operation in march last year, which meant I only had April and a week in May to revise for the exams. I got the highest grades in my school for GCSE. My school is very bad - it is a foundation school. But for my A levels I am attending a grammar school. So should I bother applying to Oxbridge or not? If yes, where - Cambridge or Oxford and why there?

Your help is appreciated. BTW, what does the extenuating circumstances form actually do - does it help lower the grades you have to get or will it make you seem like a better candidate? I am confused about what it does and how Oxbridge respond to it when making their decisions.
No reason why you shouldn't apply. Those are very good results, especially considering the contextual information.

I have no idea what Oxford officially does but they will certainly consider your circumstances. At Cambridge, the extenuating circumstances form basically is another piece of information to consider to contextualise your results when deciding which applicants to invite for interview. Occasionally, it could lead to a lower than standard offer when the extenuating circumstances are still operating.

You should pick your course before picking between Cambridge and Oxford. That may well decide things for you. Focus on doing well this year - you need good UMS scores to aim for Cambridge. Spend the summer on Open days, looking through course differences and emailing colleges you like. Make the decision based on solid factors.
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MrOxbridge
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(Original post by ratio)
No reason why you shouldn't apply. Those are very good results, especially considering the contextual information.

I have no idea what Oxford officially does but they will certainly consider your circumstances. At Cambridge, the extenuating circumstances form basically is another piece of information to consider to contextualise your results when deciding which applicants to invite for interview. Occasionally, it could lead to a lower than standard offer when the extenuating circumstances are still operating.

You should pick your course before picking between Cambridge and Oxford. That may well decide things for you. Focus on doing well this year - you need good UMS scores to aim for Cambridge. Spend the summer on Open days, looking through course differences and emailing colleges you like. Make the decision based on solid factors.
Thanks for your help ratio, your advice is very reassuring as it has been my dream to go to oxbridge.
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