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    Which college do you think is the best for NatSci?
    I am hoping to do a degree which focuses on chemistry but keeping up with maths and physics if poss.
    I am planning to take Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A Level and possibly Geography too, maybe Law instead (I definitely don't want to do Biology).
    Any advice re colleges, the NatSci degree, A level choices welcome
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    I don't think that there is a particular college where it is better to do NatSci.

    Your A-Level choices are fine.
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    All the long threads which appear here stressing about which college is 'best' for which particular course are totally ridiculous. I did NatSci and got a first and no-one has ever asked which college I went to in a job interview or for any other important reason. The only people who care in the real world are other Cambridge graduates so they can reminisce with you.

    Everyone from every college is taught together so it doesn't matter, in terms of teaching, which college you are at.

    The most important thing about a college is are you going to be happy to LIVE there for 3-4 years? So check out
    1)location - opposite your department? Next door to your fav pub? can't ride a bike (like me, so Girton was out.)
    2)wealth - richer colleges have all sorts of stuff like book grants and extra scholarships.
    3)Accommodation and buildings - is ensuite essential for you? (believe me, you will survive without it just fine.) Single sex? Nice food in halls? Have to live out in second year?
    4)Social scene - sometimes hard to find out about till you get there. Try individual college web-sites or pick up a copy of 'varsity/cambridge student' when in Cambridge. (these are student newspapers. They probaby have web-sites too.)

    I was an undergrad at Cambridge and grad at Oxford. These are the things that really matter in choosing a college. I was pooled (ie it wasn't my first choice.)to my undergrad college but I was perfectly happy there. I've never known anyone who hated their college. All colleges have their good and bad points.

    My best advice would be to visit Cambridge for an open day and decide which college you like the best in the flesh so-to-speak.
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    Thanks - I am planning to visit Cambridge next week.
    24 colleges is a lot to visit in a day though so I was hoping for some help as to the "must-sees" and the "maybe not so great". This is not an elitist "My dear, I can only apply to a top Cambridge college" thread - it is a genuine attempt to find out what might best suit and to minimise the risks of making a mistake (in the full knowledge that getting in is itself a mountain to climb).
    I know that open days are useful but I'd like to hear from students not "volunteered" by their college to say nice things as well.
    Is all teaching done at the university level? I thought lectures were but turorials weren't and here the college chosen could make a difference. Is that not the case for NatSci? Are there college with inspirational science (physics/chemistry) /maths teachers? If so which ones and why?
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    All the colleges in the town centre are close together so you can see most of them. When i went for an open day i just chose to visit a couple of colleges further out (Newnham because someone from my 6th form college went there once and Churchill because it's mainly a science college.)

    NatSci is a HUGE course so it's impossible to say who you will be taught by. My college didn't have a Chemistry fellow at the time so I had some supervisions with a grad student and some with Dr Wothers, one of the course lecturers who was at St Catherine's. After first year I had most supervisions in departments rather than in college. But it is very variable. At a big college you might have all supervisions in college. I had a lot of supervisions in other colleges, and one in the Eagle!

    Can't help you with Physics because I am a biologist but you don't need an 'inspiring teacher'. It's not like being at school where you are spoon fed. Maybe if you were doing a small course with only a few supervisors, like ASNaC, this would be more important. Also, some of the best researchers, top on their field, are terrible lecturers and supervisors. Whereas I had a couple of grad students supervise me (one in first year, one in second year.) who were amazing.

    Really, choose the college that you like the best. Ignore all the information about admissions statistics, 'prestige' of colleges etc etc. I am so glad I didn't have the internet before I went to uni or I would never have applied. If you read this board you will see that two people doing the same course at the same institution can have completely different experiences. So choose what is best for YOU, not someone else. Form your own impressions.

    I attended a comprehensive school in the north-east. i'm the only student in it's history to go to Oxbridge. Then I went to a 6th form college where a few people had applied before. I had no preparation for the interviews, no real knowledge of the system or what the interviews would be like. Looking back I was very naive. But I also had no false impressions from other people. I knew I had far better GCSE and predicted A-level results than anyone else i knew so I thought i'd try. According to the people on this board I wouldn't get in. They all know a 'perfect' applicant who was rejected. But I did get in without stressing over it and I did very well.

    Good luck with your application.
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    (Original post by big mama)
    Thanks - I am planning to visit Cambridge next week.
    24 colleges is a lot to visit in a day though so I was hoping for some help as to the "must-sees" and the "maybe not so great". This is not an elitist "My dear, I can only apply to a top Cambridge college" thread - it is a genuine attempt to find out what might best suit and to minimise the risks of making a mistake (in the full knowledge that getting in is itself a mountain to climb).
    Before you go, have a look through the prospectus, and at college websites if you can, to see if there are any that catch your eye. I managed to get down to a short list of about 15 doing that (plus taking out those which wouldn't accept deferred entry for Medicine). Then I came on an open day and was fortunate enough to be able to go round with my cousin, who is a student there and so knew stuff that's not in the prospectus.

    Are there any that you are particularly interested in or do you really not have a clue? By the way, not that I'm biased or anything, but Clare is a lovely college to be at!
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    (Original post by Helenia)
    Before you go, have a look through the prospectus, and at college websites if you can, to see if there are any that catch your eye. I managed to get down to a short list of about 15 doing that (plus taking out those which wouldn't accept deferred entry for Medicine). Then I came on an open day and was fortunate enough to be able to go round with my cousin, who is a student there and so knew stuff that's not in the prospectus.

    Are there any that you are particularly interested in or do you really not have a clue? By the way, not that I'm biased or anything, but Clare is a lovely college to be at!

    I have read quite a few of the websites and I'm trying not to fall in love with Cambridge or a particular college in case I don't get in but I really did like Clare. It looked as if it had sensible, approachable people and I liked the way they recognised the contribution made by everyone not just the academic staff. Do you have any feedback on the views of NatSci students at Clare?
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    (Original post by babyballerina)
    All the colleges in the town centre are close together so you can see most of them. When i went for an open day i just chose to visit a couple of colleges further out (Newnham because someone from my 6th form college went there once and Churchill because it's mainly a science college.)

    NatSci is a HUGE course so it's impossible to say who you will be taught by. My college didn't have a Chemistry fellow at the time so I had some supervisions with a grad student and some with Dr Wothers, one of the course lecturers who was at St Catherine's. After first year I had most supervisions in departments rather than in college. But it is very variable. At a big college you might have all supervisions in college. I had a lot of supervisions in other colleges, and one in the Eagle!

    Can't help you with Physics because I am a biologist but you don't need an 'inspiring teacher'. It's not like being at school where you are spoon fed. Maybe if you were doing a small course with only a few supervisors, like ASNaC, this would be more important. Also, some of the best researchers, top on their field, are terrible lecturers and supervisors. Whereas I had a couple of grad students supervise me (one in first year, one in second year.) who were amazing.

    Really, choose the college that you like the best. Ignore all the information about admissions statistics, 'prestige' of colleges etc etc. I am so glad I didn't have the internet before I went to uni or I would never have applied. If you read this board you will see that two people doing the same course at the same institution can have completely different experiences. So choose what is best for YOU, not someone else. Form your own impressions.

    I attended a comprehensive school in the north-east. i'm the only student in it's history to go to Oxbridge. Then I went to a 6th form college where a few people had applied before. I had no preparation for the interviews, no real knowledge of the system or what the interviews would be like. Looking back I was very naive. But I also had no false impressions from other people. I knew I had far better GCSE and predicted A-level results than anyone else i knew so I thought i'd try. According to the people on this board I wouldn't get in. They all know a 'perfect' applicant who was rejected. But I did get in without stressing over it and I did very well.

    Good luck with your application.
    Thanks. I will be going to 6th Form College too. I am going to form my own views but I don't know everything and I welcome input. I used the word "inspirational" because I know that uni is not being "taught" but being given access to the tools to think it out for yourself - but as you say - some academics with great reputations can't inspire or even get their point across while somebody who won't be flagged in the prospectus may be brilliant. I want to learn not just come out with a good degree from a good uni and if somebody on UKL knows something that boosts the chance of that happening - I'll try posting. Thanks I do appreciate your help and I do understand the points you are making about going with my own views and not over-researching.
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    (Original post by big mama)
    I have read quite a few of the websites and I'm trying not to fall in love with Cambridge or a particular college in case I don't get in but I really did like Clare. It looked as if it had sensible, approachable people and I liked the way they recognised the contribution made by everyone not just the academic staff. Do you have any feedback on the views of NatSci students at Clare?
    Well I'm friends with quite a few NatScis (hard not to be, there are so damn many of them!) and they all seem to enjoy it here as much as I do. I think they get quite a lot of their supervisions from PhD students rather than fellows, but don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. They do have to work hard (I'd almost go so far as to say that they work harder than we do ) but have time to do loads of other stuff as well - the UCS (Union of Clare Students) president this year is a NatSci, as are a couple of other people on the UCS exec. Others of them row, are in the choir, do all sorts of things.

    I would recommend coming and having a look round Cambridge before you decide for definite though - if you're lucky and smile sweetly at the porters and say you're considering applying to that college, they might let you in without paying (It's tourist season now, so they are charging to get in.)
 
 
 

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