Admitted to Cambridge, I Realized My Dream at SCIE


Hi, SCIErs~ I’m Cynthia, a 2022 graduate of SCIE, currently studying Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge!

In fact, before I joined SCIE, Oxbridge was more of a distant dream for me, and I never thought that one day I would actually succeed in my application—at first, I just thought, ‘why not give oxbridge a try’ but still expected rejection. However, when I joined SCIE in A1, I found that there is a very holistic support system for university applications, such as the UCO, which is specifically designed to offer advice to applicants; there are many experienced teachers here who can help and guide our application. It can be said that my passion for Cambridge has since turned into something that I believed I can achieve.

I’ll briefly introduce the process of applying for Cambridge, which will give you an outlook on the future. Universities in the UK recruit students through the UCAS platform. Candidates must submit their applications before the deadline, including personal information and a  personal statement / PS. The deadline for Oxbridge applicants is earlier than others (around October) so in order to have enough time to prepare, I would recommend starting from A1 to read books from the recommended reading list, or books you are interested in, and start writing your own PS. 

Oxbridge is also unique in that they are collegiate universities, where your living, studying and socialising mostly take place inside your college. Therefore, the subsequent process of application is all in charge of the college you apply for. In the first round of selection, the college will send interview invitations based on your UCAS information—the interview allows them to better understand applicants’ thinking and learning ability.  The second round of selection is the interview itself, where outstanding students are selected and given an offer.

Reflecting on the process of my application now, I feel that it was definitely hard work, but I also enjoyed it very much. I always had something to do, so each day was fulfilling. Of course, I was still very anxious most of the time, especially when I received an interview invitation and was preparing for an interview. Through continuous practice interviews with teachers, I got used to the interview process. From my initial confusion to being able to organise my thoughts clearly, it can be said that the help of the teachers is essential. When I actually got to the day of the interview, I found that I didn’t panic—instead, I calmed down.

Sure enough, as expected by my teachers and I, during the interview process, I encountered questions that I did not know the correct answer to. However, instead of giving up, I first expressed my uncertainty and then gave my own intuitive thoughts. I think what Oxbridge is looking for is the ability to give educated guesses in topics that I am not familiar with. I would like to thank myself for my efforts, so that I have the confidence and knowledge base to give such guesses. One of my favourite Chinese sayings is “do your best and obey your destiny”. Although luck is an indispensable factor in life, I believe that those who are prepared are more likely to be favoured by Luck.

Of course, good grades are crucial in applying to Oxbridge. When I was in A1, I chose to finish all the A level Maths courses in one year so that I can have more time to study other subjects that I am interested in when I am in A2 (that being said, don’t overwork yourself and make sure that you take enough rest!). 

Applying for Psychology does not require you to study further maths, and I myself have only studied A Level maths. I would advice you to choose subjects according to your interests and current grades. When choosing my subjects, I have always prioritised those that I am good at, and that I’m interested in—if I have no interest in a subject at all, it would be very painful to learn so it’d be unlikely that I can get a good grade.

Finally, thank you for taking the time to read my reflection on my application, and I hope that you all get into the university of your dreams!