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    Dear all,

    Like many other applicants, I was recently rejected from Cambridge (Queens' College) having applied to study Philosophy starting 2017. Whilst I accept the immensely competitive nature of applying to Cambridge, I was fairly confident my application would be successful (some details of my application are included below), hence I was wondering what people's opinions would be on what let me down (I have already requested feedback on my application and am awaiting a response, but a student voice, from both successful and unsuccessful applicants would be really appreciated).

    UMS scores (AS-level):

    Philosophy (AQA): 100
    Core 1 Mathematics (Edexcel): 95
    Core 2 Mathematics: 88
    Decision 1 Mathematics: 100

    Predicted A-level grades:

    Philosophy - A*
    Mathematics - A*
    Psychology - A*
    Biology A

    Furthermore, whilst I am aware this is extremely subjective, I felt that my exam and interview went for the most part very well. I required prompting on a few of the interviewer's questions but felt I was able to engage in an interesting discussion throughout - no details strike out at me as being particularly negative on my application. I am aware that to many this may sound arrogant, but this is not the tone I intend - I merely wish to lay out my thoughts on the whole process from my own perspective and hear others' views.

    Finally, I come to the question of what to do next. I see three clear options and would greatly appreciate advice as I am currently unsure of what I want to do:

    1. Accept one of my other four Philosophy BA offers. Each are conditional, requiring AAA. These are UCL, King's College London, Bristol and Exeter.
    2. Take a gap year and try Cambridge again for 2018 entry.
    3. Look for a different Philosophy (pure or joint honours) course in the Summer, using adjustment.

    Many thanks to anyone who takes the time to read and respond to this, it is greatly appreciated.
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    (Original post by Nietzsche2)
    Dear all,

    Like many other applicants, I was recently rejected from Cambridge (Queens' College) having applied to study Philosophy starting 2017. Whilst I accept the immensely competitive nature of applying to Cambridge, I was fairly confident my application would be successful (some details of my application are included below), hence I was wondering what people's opinions would be on what let me down (I have already requested feedback on my application and am awaiting a response, but a student voice, from both successful and unsuccessful applicants would be really appreciated).

    UMS scores (AS-level):

    Philosophy (AQA): 100
    Core 1 Mathematics (Edexcel): 95
    Core 2 Mathematics: 88
    Decision 1 Mathematics: 100

    Predicted A-level grades:

    Philosophy - A*
    Mathematics - A*
    Psychology - A*
    Biology A

    Furthermore, whilst I am aware this is extremely subjective, I felt that my exam and interview went for the most part very well. I required prompting on a few of the interviewer's questions but felt I was able to engage in an interesting discussion throughout - no details strike out at me as being particularly negative on my application. I am aware that to many this may sound arrogant, but this is not the tone I intend - I merely wish to lay out my thoughts on the whole process from my own perspective and hear others' views.

    Finally, I come to the question of what to do next. I see three clear options and would greatly appreciate advice as I am currently unsure of what I want to do:

    1. Accept one of my other four Philosophy BA offers. Each are conditional, requiring AAA. These are UCL, King's College London, Bristol and Exeter.
    2. Take a gap year and try Cambridge again for 2018 entry.
    3. Look for a different Philosophy (pure or joint honours) course in the Summer, using adjustment.

    Many thanks to anyone who takes the time to read and respond to this, it is greatly appreciated.
    So, it's not just a throw away line... the fact is there are many more excellent applicants than they have places. So unfortunately good people do miss out.

    That said, your opinion of your interview and assessment performance may or may not vary significantly with that of your interviewers. This is often the case.

    Go with option 1.

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    Cambridge doesn't take part in adjustment.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    So, it's not just a throw away line... the fact is there are many more excellent applicants than they have places. So unfortunately good people do miss out.

    That said, your opinion of your interview and assessment performance may or may not vary significantly with that of your interviewers. This is often the case.

    Go with option 1.

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    Why option 1? Seems pretty direct considering there isn't that much information.
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    (Original post by jdizzle12345)
    Why option 1? Seems pretty direct considering there isn't that much information.
    Exactly.

    We aren't admission tutors or DoSs... they asked an opinion, I said Option 1.

    But ok let me expand...

    Option 2 assumes they will perform better than last time. If they think that can happen and they are willing to take the risk that even if they are "better" there may still be others who are "betterer"... that's obviously up to them.

    Option 3 isn't really an option - Cambridge/Oxford don't participate. Durham might but they are painful to deal with on results day. And I have zero knowledge of the merits or otherwise of any Philosophy courses. UCL, King's College London, Bristol and Exeter all seem to be well regarded. Adjustment is rarely a good option.

    Option 1 is the logical option - but perhaps they prefer a different one and are just hoping that someone will validate it for them.

    edit - thought you were the OP!
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    If you feel strongly about it, take a gap year and reapply. Maybe it's just me, but the success rate for post A-level applications seems to be particularly high this year - perhaps the lack of Best 3 UMS averages for most candidates is something to do with it.

    However, it's also worth seeking the feedback from your application especially as you aren't sure where you went wrong. Maybe they were put off by you having done Psychology rather than another essay subject?
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Exactly.

    We aren't admission tutors or DoSs... they asked an opinion, I said Option 1.

    But ok let me expand...

    Option 2 assumes they will perform better than last time. If they think that can happen and they are willing to take the risk that even if they are "better" there may still be others who are "betterer"... that's obviously up to them.

    Option 3 isn't really an option - Cambridge/Oxford don't participate. Durham might but they are painful to deal with on results day. And I have zero knowledge of the merits or otherwise of any Philosophy courses. UCL, King's College London, Bristol and Exeter all seem to be well regarded. Adjustment is rarely a good option.

    Option 1 is the logical option - but perhaps they prefer a different one and are just hoping that someone will validate it for them.

    edit - thought you were the OP!
    Yeah, I agree that the OP should go with option 1 for the same reasons as you. Just thought that you should have given some justification, that's all.
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    (Original post by Nietzsche2)
    Dear all,

    Like many other applicants, I was recently rejected from Cambridge (Queens' College) having applied to study Philosophy starting 2017. Whilst I accept the immensely competitive nature of applying to Cambridge, I was fairly confident my application would be successful (some details of my application are included below), hence I was wondering what people's opinions would be on what let me down (I have already requested feedback on my application and am awaiting a response, but a student voice, from both successful and unsuccessful applicants would be really appreciated).

    UMS scores (AS-level):

    Philosophy (AQA): 100
    Core 1 Mathematics (Edexcel): 95
    Core 2 Mathematics: 88
    Decision 1 Mathematics: 100

    Predicted A-level grades:

    Philosophy - A*
    Mathematics - A*
    Psychology - A*
    Biology A

    Furthermore, whilst I am aware this is extremely subjective, I felt that my exam and interview went for the most part very well. I required prompting on a few of the interviewer's questions but felt I was able to engage in an interesting discussion throughout - no details strike out at me as being particularly negative on my application. I am aware that to many this may sound arrogant, but this is not the tone I intend - I merely wish to lay out my thoughts on the whole process from my own perspective and hear others' views.

    Finally, I come to the question of what to do next. I see three clear options and would greatly appreciate advice as I am currently unsure of what I want to do:

    1. Accept one of my other four Philosophy BA offers. Each are conditional, requiring AAA. These are UCL, King's College London, Bristol and Exeter.
    2. Take a gap year and try Cambridge again for 2018 entry.
    3. Look for a different Philosophy (pure or joint honours) course in the Summer, using adjustment.

    Many thanks to anyone who takes the time to read and respond to this, it is greatly appreciated.
    I'm really sorry for your disappointment. It must be a very hard time for you now especially because that was not a result you expected.

    I tend to agree with most of what @jneill have told you, tbh, and tell you why.

    Firstly, it's better to rule out betting on the adjustment. Oxbridge do not participate it anyway, and it's very rare competitive top universities like you're aiming for use the adjustment to fill their spaces, because they rarely have a space they need to fill. (=hence, 'competitive' )

    As you said, any course at Cambridge is very competitive. Even though you have a set of very good AS results and prediction, large number of apply with top grades and strong profile on paper on other parts of application. So I assume one of the reason you didn't get offer was in the other part of application, namely interviews/pre-interview assessment.

    And, also as @jneill said, a candidate's self-assessment of their interview/pre/at-interview test is often very different from how DoS/interviewer assess you, especially interviews. It's a kind of 'assessment process' you've probably never experienced before. It's not like exams you've had at schools so far which basically check how much you have learnt up to that stage.
    What interviewers want to see most at interviews is, very simply put, what sort of student you're going to be if you are at Cambridge. They want to see 'how you think', 'how you react/deal with new/challenging materials' to assess if their unique style of teaching, supervisions, will benefit you or not. They're trying to look into 'future you', rather than your present/past state like in exams.

    And my wild guess is perhaps that's where they couldn't be so confident enough to take you. Supervision isextremely important part of their teaching. They use it to push you higher and forward, not like teachers helping you with what you're learning at school. It takes certain types of people who would get best out of the teaching like that and they want students who suit it.
    Every year, some applicants with impeccable grades get rejected, and many with not that great grades are accepted. And this is often the reason for that.

    IF that's the case, it may be more difficult to improve your application by taking a gap year because that may be how/what you are, and it's possible you end up with the same result.
    Not knowing what your PS/SAQ are like, it's very difficult to suggest, but if you think you can use a gap year to improve that part of application by, for example, exploring/reading more on the subjects, attending some public lectures, etc. etc. to improve/change the way you 'think'/'process', maybe it's worth taking the risk.
    But it's a risk, especially if you have offers from really good universities like UCL. KCL, etc.
    Whether you're prepared to take it or not is your choice.
 
 
 
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