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Hi

I've posted a similar thread for my shortlist of Oxford colleges, as I'm trying to get a general opinion as to which college would be right for me. One of the main criteria I'm looking at when choosing colleges is the number of new undergraduate Mathematicians the college takes every year. This has left me with four colleges: Churchill, Queen's, St. John's and Trinity which all have reasonably large numbers of places per year. Out of those, the obvious choice based on my preference would be Trinity, which takes around 40 Mathematicians every year, compared to between 15-20 for the rest of them. However, we are all aware of Trinity's worldwide reputation for attracting the very best Maths students, and frankly I don't think I'd be good enough.

The question I pose is this: Should I take my chances at Trinity on the basis that it admits loads of new students per year, and hope to get pooled somwhere else if I don't get an offer? Or should I just apply to one of the other three which are certainly less daunting, but miss out on the very minute chance of getting into Trinity? I would be just as happy attending any of the other three, which all have very distinct advantages over Trinity. The alternative would be to apply to a small, but less popular college such as Fitzwilliam, which I would be happy to do if it enhanced my chances, but would definitely prefer one of the larger colleges.

Thanks for any advice you can offer. I have included a poll if you want to cast a vote.

P.S. Does anyone have any rough estimates as to the number of Maths undergraduates King's College admits per year. Apparantly it's quite high, but I can't seem to find any information on it...

I've posted a similar thread for my shortlist of Oxford colleges, as I'm trying to get a general opinion as to which college would be right for me. One of the main criteria I'm looking at when choosing colleges is the number of new undergraduate Mathematicians the college takes every year. This has left me with four colleges: Churchill, Queen's, St. John's and Trinity which all have reasonably large numbers of places per year. Out of those, the obvious choice based on my preference would be Trinity, which takes around 40 Mathematicians every year, compared to between 15-20 for the rest of them. However, we are all aware of Trinity's worldwide reputation for attracting the very best Maths students, and frankly I don't think I'd be good enough.

The question I pose is this: Should I take my chances at Trinity on the basis that it admits loads of new students per year, and hope to get pooled somwhere else if I don't get an offer? Or should I just apply to one of the other three which are certainly less daunting, but miss out on the very minute chance of getting into Trinity? I would be just as happy attending any of the other three, which all have very distinct advantages over Trinity. The alternative would be to apply to a small, but less popular college such as Fitzwilliam, which I would be happy to do if it enhanced my chances, but would definitely prefer one of the larger colleges.

Thanks for any advice you can offer. I have included a poll if you want to cast a vote.

P.S. Does anyone have any rough estimates as to the number of Maths undergraduates King's College admits per year. Apparantly it's quite high, but I can't seem to find any information on it...

Scroll to see replies

http://www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/statistics/docs/math.doc

Scroll down to see how many people King's admits for maths each year (9 or 10 it seems, and a fair number of people were taken out from the pool by other colleges). So not very high in comparison to the numbers you stated for other colleges.

My advice is to go with your gut feeling and ignore statistics. They change so much every year, that going for a college which has previously received fewer applications could end up being counterproductive- everyone might think in the same way as you do. Last year, when trying to decide on a college I was left with King's, Trinity and Sidney Sussex as my favourites. They all appealed to me, the statistics looked a bit scary for all of them, and I just went with my gut feeling- King's. I've never regretted it (despite the endless posts on here from people saying 'Is it true King's is full of people who are...different?'). Had I played the statistics game, I would have gone for (from what I remember) Newnham, New Hall or Fitzwilliam. But that would have been sacrificing what I wanted, and had I received an offer from one of those colleges I'd be thinking 'Hmm maybe I'd have got into King's'.

Go with your instincts- Trinity may be popular but you could always end up being pooled to another college (perhaps your chances of being pooled are even higher because Trinity has such a good reputation). Good luck.

Scroll down to see how many people King's admits for maths each year (9 or 10 it seems, and a fair number of people were taken out from the pool by other colleges). So not very high in comparison to the numbers you stated for other colleges.

My advice is to go with your gut feeling and ignore statistics. They change so much every year, that going for a college which has previously received fewer applications could end up being counterproductive- everyone might think in the same way as you do. Last year, when trying to decide on a college I was left with King's, Trinity and Sidney Sussex as my favourites. They all appealed to me, the statistics looked a bit scary for all of them, and I just went with my gut feeling- King's. I've never regretted it (despite the endless posts on here from people saying 'Is it true King's is full of people who are...different?'). Had I played the statistics game, I would have gone for (from what I remember) Newnham, New Hall or Fitzwilliam. But that would have been sacrificing what I wanted, and had I received an offer from one of those colleges I'd be thinking 'Hmm maybe I'd have got into King's'.

Go with your instincts- Trinity may be popular but you could always end up being pooled to another college (perhaps your chances of being pooled are even higher because Trinity has such a good reputation). Good luck.

it does sound like you've already kind of made up your mind about applying to trinity or not applying there, but you are just seeking some form of backup for your decision.

If you genuinely don't mind, toss a coin. If it lands on one side and you don't feel happy about it then stop kidding yourself and do whatever the other side represented.

Here, I just did it for you. You should apply to trinity.

If you genuinely don't mind, toss a coin. If it lands on one side and you don't feel happy about it then stop kidding yourself and do whatever the other side represented.

Here, I just did it for you. You should apply to trinity.

Apply to Trinity. I'm not going to be biased and say it's an amazing college but it definitely fulfills your criteria of number of mathematicians. I would say that it really is 'the' college to do Maths at. And I wouldn't be afraid of not getting in - if anything I think that the more people of a particular subject a college takes, the easier it is. Really depends on how you look at it. And as you said, if you are really good then you'll probably get pooled to a different college anyway, and I'm guessing it'd be very likely for someone who applied to Trinity for maths to be fished from the pool.

apd35

Go for Trinity. Otherwise you'll spend your whole life wondering if you would have got in. If you're up to Cambridge standard, but not Trinity standard, (there is a difference for Maths *awaits flaming*) you'll get pooled.

Alexander

Why are you so keen to choose a college which admits a large number of mathematicians?

I'd just prefer to have a lot of Mathematicians in my year to socialise and not feel isolated. Also, from what I heard at the Queen's open day, colleges with many Maths students can run extra tutorials with all of them in one class. Students run through problems for the other students and answer questions, and basically you get extra hours of teaching.....

Also, thanks a lot for all your advice. Contrary to some beliefs, I'm still really unsure about whether apply to Trinity or not, but a lot of what you've been saying about later regrets is making a lot of sense to me. I'll see how confident I feel leading up to putting in my application before deciding whether to apply there or not. But I would be just as happy going to Queen's, St. John's or Kings, so we'll see. Applying to either of those would mean I avoid doing an extra test at interview, which is always a bonus.

Shanepatel

Also, from what I heard at the Queen's open day, colleges with many Maths students can run extra tutorials with all of them in one class. Students run through problems for the other students and answer questions, and basically you get extra hours of teaching.....

Shanepatel

I'd just prefer to have a lot of Mathematicians in my year to socialise and not feel isolated. Also, from what I heard at the Queen's open day, colleges with many Maths students can run extra tutorials with all of them in one class. Students run through problems for the other students and answer questions, and basically you get extra hours of teaching.....

Also, thanks a lot for all your advice. Contrary to some beliefs, I'm still really unsure about whether apply to Trinity or not, but a lot of what you've been saying about later regrets is making a lot of sense to me. I'll see how confident I feel leading up to putting in my application before deciding whether to apply there or not. But I would be just as happy going to Queen's or St. John's, so we'll see. Applying to either of those would mean I avoid doing an extra test at interview, which is always a bonus.

Also, thanks a lot for all your advice. Contrary to some beliefs, I'm still really unsure about whether apply to Trinity or not, but a lot of what you've been saying about later regrets is making a lot of sense to me. I'll see how confident I feel leading up to putting in my application before deciding whether to apply there or not. But I would be just as happy going to Queen's or St. John's, so we'll see. Applying to either of those would mean I avoid doing an extra test at interview, which is always a bonus.

Mathmos socialising? Whatever next... flying pigs

Hehe, on a more serious note one of the big advantages of the collegiate system is how easy it is to make friends with people doing other courses. Although everyone who does my course is lovely I have plenty of friends doing a wide range of courses. Having others doing your subject is nice in that it keeps you motivated a bit but equally you will make friends with other people... compscis for instance

Cexy

Rubbish. A lot of the very, very top mathmos are at Trinity, but below that it's about the same as at the other colleges. Anyone who thinks that they're better than other Cambridge mathmos because they're "Trinity standard" needs a reality check. Many of the very best mathmos I can think of (in my year, at least) aren't at Trinity.

Chris, I'm on about the fact in first year this year, only two mathmos got a 2:2, 8 got a 2:1 and 22 got 1sts, now that is very different to the average. Trinity got 1/3 of the 1sts, yet it is only 1/7 of the 1st years, only 6% of the year were in the bottom 20-30% and 70% of the year were in the top 30%. I know that statistics can be misleading, but that seems pretty clear cut. I am only saying that the average ability in Trinity is better than the average ability at most other colleges. I don't think I'm better than other people as I'm Trinity standard, I'm just saying that it seems to be the case that the very lowest and average at Trinity seem to be of higher ability than the lowest and average at other colleges.

Cexy

As far as I am aware this has never happened in Trinity.

Oh, that's a shame. I presume there are too many Maths students at Trinity.

Also, what do people think about Maths at King's College? They get significantly more candidates per place every year (nearly 6!) but have the advantage of a high proportion of state school, ethnic minority students - I tick both those boxes. They also give you a test at interview and don't have a tendency to pass on many students in the pool, so I'm guessing it would reduce my chances fairly substantially. But that's a college that I would probably want to go to as much as Trinity.

Shanepatel

Also, what do people think about Maths at King's College? They get significantly more candidates per place every year (nearly 6!) but have the advantage of a high proportion of state school, ethnic minority students - I tick both those boxes. They also give you a test at interview and don't have a tendency to pass on many students in the pool, so I'm guessing it would reduce my chances fairly substantially. But that's a college that I would probably want to go to as much as Trinity.

Don't choose your college based on admissions figures. Choose it based on where you can best see yourself spending half a year for three years.

Shanepatel

Oh, that's a shame. I presume there are too many Maths students at Trinity.

Also, what do people think about Maths at King's College? They get significantly more candidates per place every year (nearly 6!) but have the advantage of a high proportion of state school, ethnic minority students - I tick both those boxes. They also give you a test at interview and don't have a tendency to pass on many students in the pool, so I'm guessing it would reduce my chances fairly substantially. But that's a college that I would probably want to go to as much as Trinity.

Oh, that's a shame. I presume there are too many Maths students at Trinity.

Also, what do people think about Maths at King's College? They get significantly more candidates per place every year (nearly 6!) but have the advantage of a high proportion of state school, ethnic minority students - I tick both those boxes. They also give you a test at interview and don't have a tendency to pass on many students in the pool, so I'm guessing it would reduce my chances fairly substantially. But that's a college that I would probably want to go to as much as Trinity.

Although more state school applicants get into Kings than public school applicants a greater percentage of public school applicants are successful compared to the number of state school applicants who are. Bin the statistics, they don't help at all

Shanepatel

They get significantly more candidates per place every year (nearly 6!) but have the advantage of a high proportion of state school, ethnic minority students - I tick both those boxes.

That only shows that people who tick those boxes think it's wise to apply there, which is ironic because it only means they'll be lost in a sea of similar applicants. Apply to King's if you like, but not for that reason.

chewwy

i see no logic in your reasoning that a college with more places available will be easier to get into...

I don't believe I have a greater chance of getting into a college with more places available - I would just prefer to have more Maths students in my year, that's all.....

Also, I see what everyone is saying about King's. I guess it's not a wise decision to apply on the basis of state school percentages. That wittles my shortlist down to St. John's, Queen's and Trinity (maybe). I'll go back and visit those and hopefully I'll then have a clearer idea about where to apply.

Thanks for all your help!

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