I wanted to share my experience of enrolling and studying at an English university for quite a while. Especially as I was fortunate enough to study at one of the best universities in the world — Cambridge, and I believe that many years from now I will remember this time as a long and exciting journey in search of knowledge and good friends. But let's not go ahead of ourselves and start with how I made my choice in favor of Cambridge.

Choosing an English university

While researching universities in different countries, I found that in England average prices for education are slightly lower than in America, but higher than in Europe. But this does not mean that education in the United States is better: the world famous Cambridge and Oxford are often regarded as the most prestigious universities in the world. Wanting to get the best education possible, I’ve set my sails there.

Oxford or Cambridge?

I had to choose between Cambridge and Oxford myself by researching numerous articles and participating in discussions on forums. And it is difficult to give any advice even to an experienced student. To make a final decision, everyone has to conduct a whole analysis independently. I will only say three things:

  1. Both universities are very good, and degrees from both are considered the key to successful careers;
  2. In various ratings and evaluation systems of universities, Cambridge takes the lead most of the time;
  3. It is much more difficult for a foreigner to get into Cambridge than into Oxford.

This is pretty much it. Although I specifically chose Cambridge, today I can no longer explain why I was so desperate to get specifically there. In my opinion, both universities are good, so if you get into any of them, I would call it a success.

The process of admission to an English university

For those who are not familiar with the English education system, you need to know that in order to enter the universities of the UK you must have an education equivalent to the British A-level or European International Baccalaureate. You will also need to provide a certificate of passing the English language test (scores not lower than IELTS 7 and TOEFL 100), which at one time was very difficult for me to pass.

It will be quite difficult to enroll in an English university for a bachelor's program, especially if you have not taken preparatory courses in the UK, which are called Sixth Form School. Education in such schools lasts 2 years, after which applicants can submit their CVs and exam results to no more than five universities. I graduated from such courses, after which I immediately received an invitation to study.

If you, like me, want to pursue Cambridge or Oxford, then I will tell you right away that the procedure for admission to these universities is slightly different from admission to ordinary colleges in the UK. For example, for admission to an average college in the country, you will need to send a resume and exam results of preparatory courses. If you qualify, the university will automatically send you a confirmation email. This is a fairly convenient system that does not require unnecessary trips and meetings.

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How did I get admitted to Cambridge?

When it comes to Cambridge, sending documents is only the first stage of admission. If you qualify for admission, you pass to the second stage — an interview. Of course, you need to prepare for the interview — collect all the documents, certificates, results of exams, tests, a separate IELTS certificate and a certificate of secondary education. You will be interviewed by 2 or 3 people. Everyone probably knows that at the beginning of the interview you will be asked about your intentions and plans, and then there will be professional questions in order to test the erudition of the candidate.

As a rule, the results of the interview come by mail, but in special cases there are calls home. This happened to my groupmate. He received a call, but at first he thought of it as a prank.

Features of studying at a British university

Cambridge and Oxford are the oldest universities in the country. Many great people studied and taught here — Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Jerimeya Bentham, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher and others. Today, if we hear the words Cambridge or Oxford, we imagine robes, hundred-pound tomes, students who study day and night, and, of course, the atmosphere of the Harry Potter saga.

I am a sophomore at the faculty of economics at Cambridge University. My college is called King's College. In fact, the University of Cambridge does not have one main building like other universities. Today the University of Cambridge includes 31 colleges, each one enjoys a great deal of autonomy. Three of them are female-only, the other 28 are mixed. Each of them has its own campus, which houses the dorms, administration offices, a canteen and a church. The colleges that are located in the city center (King's College, Peterhouse, Trinity College) are considered the most popular and prestigious, and they earned this reputation.

Supervisions at the University of Cambridge

Besides the college system, the University of Cambridge has another distinctive difference from other UK universities. In addition to lectures and practical classes, in the late afternoon supervisions are held — these are meetings of students with their personal mentor 2-3 times a week. For example, when I was studying the history of economics, my mentor was an economics professor who helped me with writing papers and selecting educational literature. He also constantly supervised me and made sure that I did my homework and did not miss any lectures. In my opinion, this is an excellent control system that prevents you from being lazy or slacking off. Unfortunately, mentoring only lasts for the first two years of studies.

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Leisure while studying

As I mentioned before, Cambridge consists of 31 colleges. Each of them has its own campus, canteen, bar, hostel. You've all probably seen the Harry Potter movies, so here in Cambridge, just like in the movies, the dining room gives the impression of a medieval hall with long tables and endless food. On holidays, the university organizes special dinners, at which students are obliged to dress in classics: guys — in tuxedos, and girls — in evening dresses.

Everyday life of a student in Cambridge goes on as usual: lectures, classes, seminars, practice, recreation, sports, homework. In dorms, a student has the right to live from 1 to 4 years, depending on the degree — bachelor's, master's or PhD. I myself live close to my campus and library. There is also a running track and a football field nearby, where my friends and I play 2-3 times a week.

My impressions of studying and living in England

Living here I became very interested in football, I constantly follow the English Premier League and support Manchester United. Meals is a different story... To be honest, I don't really like traditional English food. The local diet causes some to suffer from digestion and other GIT problems, so my friends and I constantly go to cafes serving European cuisine.

Many are wondering whether they should test their luck and try to study in England. I'll tell you right now: it's worth it! Just staying in this country gives a great charge of positive emotions, joy and happiness. What a simple walk around London is worth! Beautiful, well-groomed streets, beautiful architecture, numerous banks and shops, well-mannered people and much more await you here. So let go of your doubts and follow me here! This wonderful country will definitely not disappoint you.

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