This term is known as the busiest term for Year 13 students, I agree. I have felt mentally stressed during this time but am now relieved to have sent my UCAS application in.
It seemed that some teachers are willing to help with our personal statements, while others are not. For example, I once received my personal statement that a teacher edited without any comments. I included some questions with my draft in the same email, however, he did not answer any of them, which would have been helpful. When my biology teacher told me to send my application, he thought my personal statement was completed, I was not confident with it because he edited it too much and therefore it did not contain everything I wanted to discuss. Hence, I kept editing my personal statement and consulting teachers until two days before the deadline, although I finished drafting during the summer holiday. One thing that might be helpful to note is that we are allowed to ask our tutor to include something in the reference. Since I did not have enough space for writing about my extra-calicular activities, my tutor thankfully used the reference to provide information about these for universities.
After sending the UCAS application, I had to fill in Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) for Cambridge University. It includes a short personal statement that is for students who apply for a unique course at Cambridge University. Taking my case as an example, I chose Natural Science at Cambridge University, while other choices are biomedical science at different universities. The biology teacher, who helped me with my personal statement, told me my short one does not provide anything that improves my application.
However, I sent it without his agreement. For one thing, what he believed I needed to include was contradicted to the information on the official website. For another, Evie who is an advisor on university application (from Pippa’s Guardians), commented that my short personal statement reinforces my application. What I learned is I ought to decide things myself.
One of the biology teachers thankfully arranged a thirty-minute lesson every week to prepare for Natural Science Admission Assessment (Cambridge). Even after the assessment, she continued lessons for the interview. Since there was another student who also applied for Natural Science (Biological), we took the lessons together. The teacher asked us many questions and I practised answering well. It was strenuous but useful for the real interview. I did appreciate her help. (Kingswood school arranges these lessons for Oxbridge applicants.)
I managed to get the invitation to the interviews from St John's College (Cambridge). The interviews were online owing to the pandemic. In fact, the online interviews were better for me as I felt relaxed in my room in the boarding house.
Next term might be more challenging as we have to prepare for the A level exams. I am going to endeavour to achieve A*s. In addition, I would like to enjoy some events that were not held last year.