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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    This is such a misnomer, despite always being doled out. No two candidates are ever identical.
    Thanks for being so damn helpful!
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    (Original post by fairy princess)
    Actually they do care. Cambridge want to see that you can get top grades without having to completely devote your life to studying. Extra-curricular activites show that you have time to spare and believe me you will need it. School is a doddle.
    I believe for Medics and Vets, extra-curriculars and certainly work experience are considered useful. But for the rest of the subjects, the blanket university advice is that while nice to see, hobbies and other interests will not - SHOULD not - get you an offer.

    Also, I do have friends here who 'devote their life to studying' and do very well. I don't know of anyone who's been pulled up on it yet-- unless it's affected their mental health, which is a different matter.

    (Original post by Monpetitchou)
    Thanks for being so damn helpful!
    No need to be sarcastic - he's right. The concept that two applicants are 'the same apart from extra curriculars' is too simple when you consider all the aspects of a candidate's profile. Interviews will always be different, even if their 'score' in interviews is the same. I've spent two years working for my college in admissions (helping with interviews, Access schemes and Open days), I'm not just making that up...
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    All those people advocating a million extra curriculars, have you applied to Cambridge? Everything I've heard indicates they'd rather have someone who sits at home and lives their subject every day than someone who is equally as capable but is also captain of the sports team/backpacked around the world blindfolded/saved Africa etc etc. Also, OP, are you a native French speaker? I'd imagine they'd look at you very differently to other candidates if you are.

    phil.
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    (Original post by InVinoVeritas)
    All those people advocating a million extra curriculars, have you applied to Cambridge? Everything I've heard indicates they'd rather have someone who sits at home and lives their subject every day than someone who is equally as capable but is also captain of the sports team/backpacked around the world blindfolded/saved Africa etc etc. Also, OP, are you a native French speaker? I'd imagine they'd look at you very differently to other candidates if you are.

    phil.
    That does shock me that Cambridge would rather have someone who sits at home but who is excellent at French, rather than someone who is excellent at French and does loads of extra curricular. Something in that statement doesn't sound right. I don't doubt you, it just sounds slightly farfetched. And yes, I am a native French speaker.
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    (Original post by InVinoVeritas)
    Everything I've heard indicates they'd rather have someone who sits at home and lives their subject every day than someone who is equally as capable but is also captain of the sports team/backpacked around the world blindfolded/saved Africa etc etc.
    err, no.
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    (Original post by InVinoVeritas)
    Everything I've heard indicates they'd rather have someone who sits at home and lives their subject every day than someone who is equally as capable but is also captain of the sports team/backpacked around the world blindfolded/saved Africa etc etc.
    Well, it's pretty obvious that they want you to excel in your subject and to have a real passion for it... but I think that the main point of showing that you've done other things apart from school is to demonstrate that you can organize yourself, that you have developed non academic skills, that you actually are a PERSON and not just a series of brilliant marks etc.
    In the end, extracurriculars ARE useful, IMHO.
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    (Original post by addylad)
    AFAIK Cambridge don't give a **** about extra-curriculars such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award or volunteer work. Don't waste time on pointless activities when you can be devoting that time to getting top grades instead. I don't think you should lose sight of the fact that excellent grades + excellent personal statement + excellent interview = offer.
    whilst this may be the case concerning the specific ECs you mentioned, if the work experience or ECs are directly relevant to your subject, it can't hurt. My work experience was directly relevant to the social sciences, and i used about 1/4th of my PS on this (bear in mind i'm a mature student).



    (Original post by fairy princess)
    Actually they do care. Cambridge want to see that you can get top grades without having to completely devote your life to studying. Extra-curricular activites show that you have time to spare and believe me you will need it. School is a doddle.
    what i was told by the admissions tutor at the mature applicants support day, is that they the only reason they're interested in ECs is to show you have a life and have means of handling a high level of stress.
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    (Original post by Gaia90)
    that you actually are a PERSON and not just a series of brilliant marks etc.
    Why should they care about that?
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    ok, the best advice is, just be yourself. write an honest PS about things which genuinely interest you about your subject, and interest you as a person. don't try to magically create ECs specifically for Cambridge (all they really show is an ability to manage time, may offer some transferrable skills, may show your passion for your subject, and provide the interviewer with an ice-breaker).

    you have 4000 characters for your UCAS PS (and only 600 for ECs on the SAQ), which is *nothing*. the editing down of my PS took weeks, and a long list of ECs only takes up room which could be devoted to your subject. keep it to three ECs at most, and if possible, relate it back to your subject or use it to show you have skills useful to your subject.

    for instance, i'm a social sciences student:

    During my free time I enjoy online debates with people who hold no qualifications right up to senior academics. This has given me an interest in both Social Networking Theory and online forums as a non-geographic, but a very real society (with their own set of customs, values, norms, language and social etiquette). Hopefully this will develop into an anthropological and sociological study for me at some point.

    i didn't use that exact phrase in my PS, but something similar was said in my PS and general interview (closely followed with: "i do have a life away from social sciences" ). My ECs also included managing a nightclub and working in the professional music industry... but that was *all* i said for the non-course-related interests and work experience.

    seriously, just be yourself. there are a myriad of other tools they use to select candidates, for instance: how well the candidate can learn from their specific method of teaching (supervisions), is the candidate suited to this degree, how well does the candidate do in exams, does the candidate get on well with high work loads, etc. all of that is more important than ECs.
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    (Original post by Eye)
    Why should they care about that?
    Being a "well rounded" person is a strength. They are probabily interested in investing time and resources in someone who won't have a nervous breakdown when the game gets tough. (Obviously you can be a "well rounded" person even if you don't have a billion extracurriculars. And having them doesn't necessarily imply that you are )

    Naturally your academic work, abilities and results are much more important than that. I just said that it might help.
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    (Original post by Gaia90)
    Being a "well rounded" person is a strength. They are probabily interested in investing time and resources in someone who won't have a nervous breakdown when the game gets tough. (Obviously you can be a "well rounded" person even if you don't have a billion extracurriculars. And having them doesn't necessarily imply that you are )
    Why would a well rounded person with lot's of extracurriculars be less likely to have a nervous breakdown when the game gets tough?
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    I don't see the correlation between say being a star batsman and being good at your subject. If there are 2 identical people (I know, impossible and all that but meh) I don't see why just because one can hit a six and the other didn't know which end of the bat was the handle the one with the "EC" should get the place. I really don't see why it should or would provide any swing (pardon the pun) in the decision.

    phil.
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    (Original post by InVinoVeritas)
    I don't see the correlation between say being a star batsman and being good at your subject. If there are 2 identical people (I know, impossible and all that but meh) I don't see why just because one can hit a six and the other didn't know which end of the bat was the handle the one with the "EC" should get the place. I really don't see why it should or would provide any swing (pardon the pun) in the decision.

    phil.
    Being able to fend off a wrong'un of a question from the admissions tutors may just spin the decision towards the cricketer though...

    i'm getting my coat
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    (Original post by Eye)
    Why would a well rounded person with lot's of extracurriculars be less likely to have a nervous breakdown when the game gets tough?
    Oh, forget about it. It's just my point of view, basically they make decisions and we don't, so it's pointless being polemical.

    OP: Let me clarify, the most important thing is to concentrate on your academic record. If you do something interesting as an EC then tell them (it won't disadvantage you for sure!), but the key is to demonstrate your interest for the subject (as you're mother tongue, I guess you've already got super - marks in French). Btw, why do you want to study Italian? They would be probabily interested in knowing something about it as well.
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    Hey sorry to interject but I have question about showing interest.

    I would like to read Chemical Engineering but have not really shown any interest in it extracurricular wise. I plan to read a few books on it and will go to a university hopefully for just 1 year to learn something related to it. However I don't live in the UK and during High School my school didn't offer any ECs targeted at Engineering. I would like to ask will not doing much around my subject (EC wise, out of school wise), be detrimental to my application?

    But oh I have already got a job to work at a production line during December.
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    (Original post by ysbera)
    But oh I have already got a job to work at a production line during December.
    This is ALREADY showing interest in a "non - academic context" :yes:

    Anyway, I'm sure that just reading around the subject (and letting them know, in your PS and at interview) would be enough to demonstrate that you have a genuine interest for it.
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    (Original post by Gaia90)
    Btw, why do you want to study Italian? They would be probabily interested in knowing something about it as well.
    I want to study Italian, because I have a general love for languages. I want to study Italian in particular because it's such a beautiful dialect.
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    (Original post by bennh)
    One thing I would say is that it's brilliant that you have a goal in mind - and languages = yay!

    I would ask yourself, why is it that you want to go to Cambridge? Fair enough it's a name - but that's all it is, a NAME. Some people are arrogant and think they are better than any other university graduate simply because they went to Oxbridge, and it's simply not true. But that's just my two-pennies worth =]

    I would say that the best thing you can do to get in is to make yourself sound brilliant - all that volunteering work is great, you just need to "sell" it. Grades = brilliant. Past grades... Competitions that you have entered through school... How much of an asset you'll be compared to other people... and always always always get the best grades you can in exams. If you can do all that, then you'll be really in good stead ^^

    But again back to the whole name thing - it's just a university. I never wanted to go to Oxbridge because of how pretentious it sounds. The rate your grades and volunteering are going, I'd be surprised if all the unis you apply to don't offer you a place
    you could argue its just qualifying their brilliance hehe
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    tbh, if you're actually a native french speaker you already have a huge, even unfair, advantage over most other applicants anyway.

    The one thing I know about MML at cam is there's a big emphasis on literature, so reading some old French classics, which you've almost certainly done already, and a few more obscure bits and bobs would certainly help - then mention the favourites on your ps so you can discuss them at interview. I imagine showing some interest in Latin, as both your languages are Romanic would help, or maybe even Sanskript. If you have a bit of time/ money then a trip to either country would be helpful in improving fluency, but obviously not essential.

    Unfortunately there's nothing you can do to guarantee yourself a place; the last bit's always something of a lottery in that respect, and while your chances would seem to be better than most, there's obviously a lot to be said for looking at other unis as well, and getting yourself equally as enthusiastic about going there.
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    (Original post by Galatea)
    tbh, if you're actually a native french speaker you already have a huge, even unfair, advantage over most other applicants anyway.
    Is that the Cambridge position? I mean, I think I've heard that you do get native speakers studying their languages through MML, but do admissions tutors see it as an advantage as such?
 
 
 

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