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Anyone else from the US of A? Watch

    • Thread Starter

    Because of the abysmal acceptance rates at most good American engineering schools, the various Cambridge colleges' acceptance rates of around 20% for engineering is looking pretty good to me... So I'm applying. Although in retrospect it's been a mistake to save all my science APs for senior year... Anyone else, especially from an AP-only background who wants to talk about the major differences between educational systems?

    You apply through a college, but they pool as a university, so trying to game the system by applying to a college with a 'higher' acceptance rate isn't the same as applying to a US uni with a higher acceptance rate.

    Also, not to be discouraging, but the higher acceptance rate is a bit misleading: there is a lot more self-selection in the UK, in part b/c they can only apply to 5 unis total, and you can't apply to both Cambridge and Oxford. So, the percentage is higher, but so is the standard of the competition. Note that a good share of the difference between "Offers" and "Admissions" in the numbers for US admissions on the Cambridge website ("Applications" "Offers" "Admissions") reflects people who did not meet the conditions of their Offer- not just people who chose a different university.

    I assume you have read this:

    Remember that Cambridge will want 5 scores of 5 on relevant APs, definitely including Physics B & C (note that new 1 & 2 together will count as 1 AP to them) and Calc BC. As you won't have taken them all when you apply, you will most likely get a conditional offer based on your final scores on the AP (ie, your place won't be confirmed until July 2015, when the AP results come out.

    Finally, you will find your fellow travelers here:

    Good luck!

    I'm from the US and have an offer at Cambridge! DCDude is completely right about the acceptance rates. I was lucky, but I know many people who are just as qualified as I am who did not get an offer. The difference is that most people applying to Cambridge deserve a spot (imagine if you took out all the people who applied to Ivy Leagues just for the heck of it. That's what it's like). Also, if you've already taken 5 APs in any subject, not necessarily science, it is possible to receive an unconditional offer. That's what happened to me, although I've taken APs in relevant subjects.

    Regardless, a key difference in Cambridge's edu system is supervisions. Obviously I've yet to experience one, but the students I met at interviews explained that it's essentially what you might call a tutoring session, except with one or two other people and it's actually a class, not a supplement. You also have lectures and all of course, but supervisions are what lets Cambridge create an extremely personal and focused educational environment. Another difference, not so much in the edu as in the application process, is the focus on grades. Obviously ECs exist everywhere, but they won't help you get into Cambridge (come to think of it, I don't think they request them on the application). So that means you won't get knocked out of a spot because a college is looking for a tuba player and you don't play the tuba or something like that! Woohoo!

    Best of luck and if you have any questions about applying from the states, feel free to ask
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