Applying last minute leaves little room to prepare for the academic rigor of the Oxbridge interview

– Rhea*, UC Berkeley

Two weeks is very little time to put together an application for any competitive university, but Rhea*, a student at a US boarding school took on the daunting task of applying to Cambridge University 14 days before the October 15th early UCAS deadline!

Rhea’s applications to US universities were already underway. The Red Pen helped her navigate the UK admissions process. Dedicated and hard working, Rhea completed the UCAS process and submitted her application to study Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge successfully.

When she received an invitation to interview with Cambridge, Rhea was excited. But, the interview did not reach a successful conclusion as she had hoped. Disappointing as the outcome was, Rhea realized that going through the process was a valuable experience and highlighted first-hand the differences between the interview process at Oxbridge and US colleges. US college admissions officers wanted to understand her personality, interests and fit for the institution, whereas her interview with Cambridge focused on knowledge of her chosen subjects and challenged her logical thinking skills.

Coming to the application process so late had left her very little time to prepare for such an academically rigorous interview, particularly in debating key issues. While she got an offer from the University of Edinburgh, Rhea chose to pursue her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley as she felt the broad and flexible curriculum options would be a better fit.

*Name changed per applicant’s request.

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