This week, we caught up with former Withernsea High School student Ruth Chapman. Ruth recently found out that she was successful in her interview for The University of Cambridge, impressing all of the staff on the panel.
Ruth is a fantastic student with a real passion for English. She plans to study Linguistics at the Corpus Christi College this Autumn. Read all about her journey below.
How did you feel when you found out that you had been successful?
It felt pretty great when I found out, though it did take a while to sink in because I’d been waiting so long. I got the email while I was in a lesson, so I couldn’t really do anything right away, but celebrated as soon as I could.
What subjects do you study at Wyke?
A Level English Language, English Literature and History.
Do you take part in any enrichments at Wyke?
Yes, I take part in the Creative Writing enrichment, where I have participated in several writing competitions.
What inspired you to apply to Cambridge?
I was inspired in part by my teachers and the Flyers program, because of the case studies that we were told about. However, I was also inspired to apply to Cambridge because I didn’t see any reason not to and wanted to see if I would actually be able to secure a place – there wasn’t anything that stopped me and I wanted to prove to myself that it was possible.
How did you find the application process and what did you do to prepare for it?
The application process was a longer one than the other universities, and it required more work, but it was also incredibly rewarding when I finished my application and did the application assessment. A lot of emphasis is placed on wider reading, but I really enjoyed learning outside the course, and was a good sign that I was applying for the right course.
During the application process I had to submit written work as example of my working standard, and after consideration I submitted English Language coursework. Though it was somewhat stressful, I liked the choice of what I could submit and felt I was able to demonstrate control over what the university would be seeing about my work and the effort I put into it. Along with this, I had to do an application assessment that was like a diagnostic test. There were several parts to it and I really enjoyed it, I was able to see what the course might be like, but also because the sections were real applications of what I had been learning. For example, the section was a made-up language that I had to analyze and translate.
How did you feel your interview went on the day?
I did two interviews, and I had wildly different feelings about them both. I felt the first one went much better than the first, and I walked out of it feeling much more confident than I had felt going in. It was a fun interview, and I would’ve probably enjoyed doing it for much longer because it was like a lesson and a chance for me to prove to both to the interviewers and myself that I was confident and capable, and that I enjoyed my course as much as I had said in my personal statement.
I found the second interview a bit more stressful, because of a few factors, and in the end, I felt liked it had destroyed the impression I’d put forward in my first interview. Afterwards I just burst into tears because it felt like the end of the world, but after I’d talked it over with some teachers and my parents, I felt a bit more confident. Overall, there was a sense of relief that I’d done.
Can you remember a particularly tricky question that was asked by the University? Or any questions you feel you answered really well?
During the second interview there were a few questions about inference that I struggled to answer but managed to remain calm and figure them out. The first interview had a few questions that I felt that I’d worked out quite well and I ended up enjoying them.
It was a test of my critical thinking skills and my knowledge surrounding grammar – since I’d applied to study Linguistics – but there were a few questions about language features that I’d learnt within the classroom that were fun to discuss with leading academics.
Do you have any advice for upcoming students who are considering applying to Oxbridge?
It will be a tough process, because they want to see the best that you can be, but it’s incredibly rewarding. It’s also best to prepared in advance because the deadlines creep up on you. If you ever feel unsure of any parts of the application, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your tutors and teachers – they want to make this as easy as possible for you.
How has Wyke’s Oxbridge Programme helped you in your application?
The programme ran days that provided support on the process and explained explicitly what we should expect when applying. They also provided a lot of support in making sure my personal statement was strong enough, and mock interviews – which I felt really helped my pre-interview nerves.
My tutor and English language teacher both offered to do mock interviews with me, and these were key to my confidence going into the interview. We went through questions that I might be asked, and I was able to put into practice the knowledge that I’d been learning in my wider reading.
Congratulations Ruth. We are really proud of everything you have achieved so far and can’t wait to follow your journey.