The Cambridge Experience
By John Louca
(UK Admissions Consultant at The Edge Learning Center)
There is often a lot of uncertainty about what life in Cambridge entails. Prospective students can find it daunting to think about the challenges that lie ahead. Cambridge is a terrific place to study and welcomes students from any background. I have certainly enjoyed my time here!
Cambridge offers a great intellectual challenge. My experience as an undergraduate student included lectures, experiments, discussion groups, and of course supervisions. Supervisions are small group lessons (1-3 students), usually led by a Professor/ Researcher. These sessions usually go over a piece of work (e.g., an essay) or develop points from the lectures further. These supervisions are a great way to be challenged and stretched academically. They offer the very unique chance to be able to discuss a given subject with someone who may be a world-leading expert in it. These are great for academic and intellectual development and certainly now, and with the power of hindsight, I see the benefit that these supervisions have had.
Cambridge offers a great chance to take part in ground-breaking research in a diverse array of fields. I, for example, have been lucky to do research on both fetal biology as well as heart transplantation! There are a huge number of labs around the university. In fact, Cambridge is the largest biomedical research campus in Europe. The long summer holidays (4 months) offer a great opportunity to do this research and colleges often have funds allocated for students to take part in research. The opportunity to fully immerse oneself in a topic of interest is terrific both for gaining valuable skills during the research placement as well as for personal and professional development.
One of the most unique aspects of Cambridge is the fact that it is a collegiate university. This means that Cambridge is one university but it is made up of many smaller colleges (31 colleges to be precise). Each college has its own traditions and is responsible for organizing supervisions for its students. Things like lectures and experiments are delivered by the university. Colleges are close-knit communities and offer places for students to study, relax and eat together. One of the great aspects of colleges is that they enable students to be friends with people from different subjects quite easily. This may sound like quite a minor point, but this is very beneficial, especially when it comes to relaxing and taking a break from work.
Life as an undergraduate in Cambridge is very fulfilling. The short, 8-week terms mean that life is always packed and there is always something to do. Cambridge offers a great variety of clubs and societies and there is almost certainly a society for you! And if there isn’t then you can always set one up. I was particularly keen on ballroom and Latin dancing and that’s something that I never imagined myself doing.
In addition to all this, Cambridge also has the great tradition of May Balls at the end of the year. These are huge parties that happen in June (in spite of the name) after exams. They offer the chance for students to relax and destress after a great year. In addition to these, Cambridge also has a diverse array of traditions and a great culture that is beneficial both for personal and academic development.
Cambridge life is unique and fast-paced. It is a terrific place to study and I cannot recommend it enough. I would strongly encourage anyone thinking of applying there to go for it.
Interested in getting into the University of Cambridge too? Schedule a complimentary 30-min consultation with John now to seek some expert advice!
About The Edge
Established in 2008, The Edge Learning Center has grown into a premier one-stop provider of educational services for Grade 7 through Grade 12, targeting students who intend to pursue overseas education. Our three departments – Academic Tutoring, Test Preparation, and Admissions Consulting – offer a broad range of educational services spanning from SAT and IB Test Prep to colleges and boarding schools application counseling. The Edge Learning Center operates in multiple regions including Hong Kong, China, and Vietnam.