We know that applying to one of the greatest universities in the world may seem daunting—we were in your shoes once. But fear not: the Cambridge University Malaysia Society (CUMaS) will try our best to help. Below, we’ve provided some general advice which we hope you’ll find useful. Don’t let the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of applying stop you from spending the best three or four years of your life learning to love, play, cry, travel and maybe squeeze in some studying with the most amazing people in one of the most beautiful universities. If you have any further questions, we will be glad to help! Just give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Choosing your university and course
Do remember to read up about your subject of interest and around it before choosing your university (although it is always tempting to set Cambridge as your default choice). You have nothing to lose by starting early. Take note of the course structure, modules, flexibility and style of teaching (lectures, supervisions etc.) and examinations. On top of the alternative prospectus, you can browse through subject websites to help you make your decision. If you are certain that Cambridge is right for you, then …
Be prepared to face demanding entry requirements. The requirements vary from subject to subject, but most students are required to achieve A*AA in their A levels examinations (other international qualifications are accepted). Do note that there are other written papers on top of interviews which may be considered during admission. Some of you might be worried that any apparent lack of impressive extracurricular activities will set you back, but don’t be discouraged.
Choosing your college
Cambridge is one of the few universities in the world which adopts a collegiate system. Things you might want to consider when you are choosing a college include the provision of welfare, financial aid and accommodation, opening hours of college library, proximity to the city centre and distance from departments, lecture halls and grocery stores. Compare the pros and cons. If you are still indecisive, you can always opt for an open application, but do bear in mind that you might be allocated to a college which you don’t fancy as much. On top of that, some colleges might demand higher grades or entry requirements so do take note of that!
Oxbridge requires early submission of applications. Make sure that your UCAS application goes through well before 15 October every year. Do ask questions, and seek help from your guidance counsellor or staff in your college’s placement centres.
If you have been granted an interview, well done! Make sure that you are familiar with whatever you have learnt in your A-Levels (or equivalent) syllabus and attempt to read around the subject. You can be asked anything (but it will always be related to your subject) or a question or talk about your personal statement or submitted essays. It is unlikely that you’ll be asked to ‘defend’ your choice of college, and if you are, it is normally an icebreaker. Each individual’s experience differs from one another. The university and some colleges provide mock interview videos for viewing, so do check out their websites. The interviewers are nice and will try their best to put you at ease. You might be surprised that most applicants have enjoyed their interview sessions. If you opt for an interview in Cambridge and would like someone to help you get around, do drop us an email, and we will try our best to accommodate your needs.