Cambridge vs Imperial - Should I Reapply?

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elliekmorgan62
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I was recently rejected from Cambridge University after applying to study Physical Natural Sciences at Pembroke College. I was invited to interview in early December, and I thought that my first interview was decent-ish and that the second one went really well. Just after my Cambridge interviews, I had an interview at Imperial to study Chemistry and was subsequently given an offer of A*AA. I thought that my Imperial interview was of the same standard as my second Cambridge interview, and in the email from Imperial that outlined my offer, they described my interview performance as "exceptional". Essentially, my issue is this: Do I defer a year and reapply to both Cambridge and Imperial this Autumn in the hope that I do get into Cambridge second time round, OR do I simply go to Imperial in October (assuming I meet the terms of my offer)? Would I be settling for Imperial when I do have a very good shot at Cambridge, or is Imperial almost/just as good as Cambridge and therefore there is no reason to reapply when I have been accepted into another prestigious university?

For a little assistance, here are the bare bones of my application:
GCSE Grades - 11A*s plus Distinction in Additional Maths
AS Level Grades - AAAA in Chemistry, Maths, Physics and Geography (UMS Average of 94 in 3 most relevant subjects)
A Level Predictions - A*A*A*A* in Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, Physics
I also did a 5 week Nuffield Placement over the summer, as well as attending the Corpus Christi Women in STEM course and the Headstart Science course in Edinburgh.

Sorry for such a long post, would be grateful for any advice!
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liziepie
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Personally, if I had gotten rejected from Cambridge, I would have happily taken Imperial instead - it's an excellent university for sciences. Of course different from Cambridge, but not necessarily worse - they way I saw it was that Imperial is located in the heart of London, they have plenty of links to industry, so the opportunities for work placements, internships and the like would have been exceptional. London is an expensive place to live, but they have a very generous bursary scheme to help with the cost of living in London, and plenty of opportunity to earn money with the options I mentioned.

I wouldn't place to much emphasis on your own reflection of how your interviews went - the admission tutors judge interviews very differently to how the interviewees do. If you haven't already, I would request feedback from Cambridge and mention you're considering reapplying, they may give you more detailed feedback on your application.

You need to weigh up the pros/cons of reapplying again if you have your heart set on Cambridge. You'll have your A2 results, you'll be in a stronger position because you know what's to come at the interviews and the admission tests, you'll have the opportunity to do things during a gap year, and many replicants are successful. Then again, many are also unsuccessful, and there's no guarantee Imperial will give you an offer next time, so you need to consider if it's worth risking another shot at Cam. Good luck!
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username638250
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(Original post by elliekmorgan62)
I was recently rejected from Cambridge University after applying to study Physical Natural Sciences at Pembroke College. I was invited to interview in early December, and I thought that my first interview was decent-ish and that the second one went really well. Just after my Cambridge interviews, I had an interview at Imperial to study Chemistry and was subsequently given an offer of A*AA. I thought that my Imperial interview was of the same standard as my second Cambridge interview, and in the email from Imperial that outlined my offer, they described my interview performance as "exceptional". Essentially, my issue is this: Do I defer a year and reapply to both Cambridge and Imperial this Autumn in the hope that I do get into Cambridge second time round, OR do I simply go to Imperial in October (assuming I meet the terms of my offer)? Would I be settling for Imperial when I do have a very good shot at Cambridge, or is Imperial almost/just as good as Cambridge and therefore there is no reason to reapply when I have been accepted into another prestigious university?

For a little assistance, here are the bare bones of my application:
GCSE Grades - 11A*s plus Distinction in Additional Maths
AS Level Grades - AAAA in Chemistry, Maths, Physics and Geography (UMS Average of 94 in 3 most relevant subjects)
A Level Predictions - A*A*A*A* in Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths, Physics
I also did a 5 week Nuffield Placement over the summer, as well as attending the Corpus Christi Women in STEM course and the Headstart Science course in Edinburgh.

Sorry for such a long post, would be grateful for any advice!
Hey, I'm at Imperial and I don't think it's worth reapplying; going to Imperial gets you into the same jobs as Cambridge at no disadvantage (top firms etc) and there is no guarantee that you'll get offers the next time round so you might end up wasting a year. Imperial is really almost as prestigious as Cambridge and you won't have Saturday lectures, which I guess is a plus!

Neither Cambridge nor Imperial is a breeze but I know many people in Chemistry who enjoy their course. And trust me, you're not exactly 'settling'; a large proportion of Imperial students had straight A*s and have lots of experience. The area Imperial is in is lovely as well; I am going to miss the South Ken area so much when I graduate this year.
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thecsstudent
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I also don't think it's worth re applying. Imperial and Cambridge are so close in terms of the standards that the only difference will be how much you study rather than what the university offers. Wasting a year of your life with the hope that you might be accepted to Cambridge when you can go to Imperial doesn't make much sense in my opinion.
For the record, I'm currently at Imperial and got rejected from Cambridge last year and thought that I wouldn't be as successful in getting internships and jobs etc. but I passed the interviews for an internship at Google on my 6th week here.
So if you're worried about further down the line there's pretty much no significant difference. There's many ways to get to where you want to go and Cambridge is only one of them.
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elliekmorgan62
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(Original post by yl95)
Hey, I'm at Imperial and I don't think it's worth reapplying; going to Imperial gets you into the same jobs as Cambridge at no disadvantage (top firms etc) and there is no guarantee that you'll get offers the next time round so you might end up wasting a year. Imperial is really almost as prestigious as Cambridge and you won't have Saturday lectures, which I guess is a plus!

Neither Cambridge nor Imperial is a breeze but I know many people in Chemistry who enjoy their course. And trust me, you're not exactly 'settling'; a large proportion of Imperial students had straight A*s and have lots of experience. The area Imperial is in is lovely as well; I am going to miss the South Ken area so much when I graduate this year.
Thank you so much for your help!
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elliekmorgan62
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(Original post by thecsstudent)
I also don't think it's worth re applying. Imperial and Cambridge are so close in terms of the standards that the only difference will be how much you study rather than what the university offers. Wasting a year of your life with the hope that you might be accepted to Cambridge when you can go to Imperial doesn't make much sense in my opinion.
For the record, I'm currently at Imperial and got rejected from Cambridge last year and thought that I wouldn't be as successful in getting internships and jobs etc. but I passed the interviews for an internship at Google on my 6th week here.
So if you're worried about further down the line there's pretty much no significant difference. There's many ways to get to where you want to go and Cambridge is only one of them.
Thank you, this was really helpful!
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elliekmorgan62
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(Original post by liziepie)
Personally, if I had gotten rejected from Cambridge, I would have happily taken Imperial instead - it's an excellent university for sciences. Of course different from Cambridge, but not necessarily worse - they way I saw it was that Imperial is located in the heart of London, they have plenty of links to industry, so the opportunities for work placements, internships and the like would have been exceptional. London is an expensive place to live, but they have a very generous bursary scheme to help with the cost of living in London, and plenty of opportunity to earn money with the options I mentioned.

I wouldn't place to much emphasis on your own reflection of how your interviews went - the admission tutors judge interviews very differently to how the interviewees do. If you haven't already, I would request feedback from Cambridge and mention you're considering reapplying, they may give you more detailed feedback on your application.

You need to weigh up the pros/cons of reapplying again if you have your heart set on Cambridge. You'll have your A2 results, you'll be in a stronger position because you know what's to come at the interviews and the admission tests, you'll have the opportunity to do things during a gap year, and many replicants are successful. Then again, many are also unsuccessful, and there's no guarantee Imperial will give you an offer next time, so you need to consider if it's worth risking another shot at Cam. Good luck!
Thanks for the advice
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DanielT11
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What did you end up doing?
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