Comprehensive School, Hertfordshire
I found it really difficult deciding which Cambridge College to apply to, and in the end, choosing Clare was more a matter of luck than judgement. However, looking back over the time I have spent here, I can certainly say that it was the right decision. Clare is an excellent place to both live and study; the accommodation, particularly for first years, is fantastic. And, being situated next to the College and university library means that you always have access to the resources you need. College life is extremely sociable, and there’s always lots going on besides work. We have one of the best bars in Cambridge, which serves as a venue for entertainment events that attract people from across the university. College societies also provide the opportunity to pursue literally any interest you may have, with a group of like-minded people. During my time here, I’ve been part of the student union, helped to run a College charity and captained the Clare basketball team, to name just a few of the activities on offer.
Interview procedures vary by subject, but prospective Economists can expect to face two interviews, each around half an hour in length. Most of the questions I was asked during the interviews were on topics that I was familiar with such as globalisation and public goods, but the style of questions posed was very different from the type I was used to from my A-Level studies. My advice for prospective students is to relax and allow your interest in the subject to show. The interviewers aren’t trying to catch you out and they don’t expect you to be able to regurgitate a textbook. They are simply looking for someone with enthusiasm and interest, who attempts to construct an argument and is willing to learn.
When considering which degree I wanted to study, it was important to me that I would be studying a varied discipline that would keep me engaged. The Economics degree at Cambridge certainly meets this requirement and in the first year alone, you will study five different modules (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Quantitative Methods, Politics and Economic History), giving you a broad foundation in economic analysis. The degree is relatively technical and you will find yourself using maths in most of your papers. In particular, statistics becomes an extremely important component of the course in the second year, when you are introduced to the world of Econometrics. We were also granted the right to study one optional paper in second year, and I chose Development Economics. In your final year there is even greater flexibility as you can choose two options in addition to writing a dissertation.
In the first year, there are five supervisions every fortnight and lectures can number 21 a week, though the amount of contact time reduces in the second and third years. In addition, you will find that a substantial amount of independent work is required outside of lectures in order to prepare for each supervision. Yes, this does mean plenty of work, but as a consequence, an Economics degree from Cambridge is one of the most respected degrees in the country and is held in high esteem by employers.
The college you choose will determine the environment in which you live and study. Clare, with its stunning gardens, grade 1* listed building, supportive staff, central location, great bar and varied people has a great deal to offer. Go for it; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.