Hubiba's Story

Tell us about yourself!

Hey there! I am Hubiba. I come from Kashmir and spent most of my teenage years there. I did my high school and undergrad from New Delhi. Although a lot of my interests have changed one the years but the love of reading and running have remained a constant.

I became interested in Development Studies after doing a module, Sociology of Development in my undergrad. It was very critical of development, as it should be, however, coming from a science background, I had never studied Economics  or History and Politics. So, when I found out about this subject from a professor, I went for it out of sheer academic curiosity. 

What's living in Oxford like?

Even though I've lived away from home for quite a while now, the first 2-3 days until the orientation week started were difficult. However, once I got busy with the course and socialising, Oxford felt like home, the weather had a lot to do with it, the scenic beauty reminds me of Kashmir a lot! I have the privilege of doing a course with students from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds, so the discussions in class and beyond are very interesting and critical. A lot is going on any given day here, which provides one the opportunity to engage in ideas related to her/his course or ones outside the bounds of curriculum. 

To take a break from academics, one can do some sightseeing, have food in historic cafes and of course my favourite, run through the Christ church Meadow!

- Hubiba from India, studying Development Studies at Oxford

Venla's Story

Do you have any tips for Oxford applicants?

My top tip for applicants is to get with touch with students from your country at Oxford, who can best help with the application process. Also, what I personally found very useful was doing the IB and getting used to both the analytic essay writing and studying in English, which is not that extensively possible in the national Finnish curriculum. In the very end, I would just say that trust yourself and really put effort in the application process; I know it takes a lot of time, but in the end the reward of getting in is more than worth it!

- Venla from Finland, studying economic at Oxford

Jamie's Story

How  did you decide what to study at university?

I have always been very interested in all sciences, driven by a curiosity for how things work. During school I already knew that I wanted to pursue a researcher career path. However, I could not decide which exact discipline I wanted to specialise in. Further, I knew that I was doing very well at school and wanted to study at a university that would challenge me and help fully develop my potential. Luckily Cambridge allows for you to choose between courses in your undergraduate Natural science degree, giving me the challenge (and oh boy, it challenges) and diversity I was looking for.

What's it like studying at Cambridge?

I came to Cambridge not really knowing what to expect. But just minutes after arriving I started feeling the dream that it is. Cambridge is a gathering space for so many fantastic and intellectual people, that you find friends from all over the world and different backgrounds. I also love my course, I would never believed just how much one can learn in an 8 week term. Finally, Cambridge life is not just your actual studies but a vast number of societies and sport clubs await, as does a vibrant college community. Between lectures, labs, sports and friends, there is never a dull moment and I think that's what makes this place truly special.

- Jamie from Austria, studying chemistry at Cambridge

Johanna's Story

How have you found studying at King's College London?

King's is very international, both in terms of students and staff, which was an important criteria for me, and I feel as though King's has absolutely exceeded my expectations. However, university as such is different from highschool, ranging from things such as not living at home anymore to a different type of learning and other expectations. These things took a while to get used to, but King's was a great support. There are countless social, sports and academic events providing a multitude of opportunities to take advantage of, which may seem overwhelming as such but is a great help to create a feeling of belonging. 

- Johanna from Sweden, studying PPE at King's College London


Niamh's Story

What was the application process like? Do you have any advice for prospective applicants?

The process is reasonably long but straightforward. It includes writing a personal statement, a further statement, a questionnaire, an interview and a written test. However, do not let this intimidate you! To improve your application, make sure you read lots around your subject and keep up to date with current affairs so you will have something to write and talk about. Treat the interview as a mock supervision - they just want to see what you would be like to teach.

How are you finding your experience at Cambridge so far?

Overall I am really enjoying my time here at Cambridge. The workload, whilst significantly more than other universities, is manageable and I found the level of difficulty fine. It is intense because terms are only eight weeks long, however the upshot of this is the long holidays! There are so many opportunities at your grasp and also some time for a social life.

- Niamh from London, studying anthropology at Cambridge

Wojciech's Story

How did you decide to apply to Oxford? 

Oxford seemed to be an excellent choice from many perspectives - it ran a great engineering department, seemed to have a very enjoyable atmosphere and was accessible financially.

How did you find the application process? 

The interviews were challenging, but fun. Definitely prepare for them! Know your proofs and the standard formulae. It's not imperative that you know those to succeed, but it definitely helps. Studying in the UK has been amazing, eye opening and challenging in so many different ways, including in non-academic ways.

- Wojciech from Poland, studying Engineering and Computer Science at Oxford

Weiheng's Story

Why did you decide to study at LSE and how have you found it? 

The economics course at the LSE is world-leading. A few key factors played into my decision to go there.

Firstly, the opportunity to study there would be academically challenging and the opportunities to work with high-caliber individuals from the student population and the teaching body is valuable. Next, the LSE brand name is a plus point for employers, especially in the financial sector which I am interested in. Another important reason for going to the LSE is that the international environment and experience will prepare me well for an international career, but that takes effort on the individual's part.

With regard to applying and getting in, it goes without saying that the LSE is a highly competitive school. However, preparing in advance can help significantly. Working hard for good grades are a given, but emphasis should also be placed on extracurricular activities and the ability to write and present oneself. Those are key skills to communicate your talents and competencies effectively during the application process. Speaking to teachers or seniors can also help, especially those who have studied abroad before or specifically at the school or course you are interested in.

Finally, studying abroad has been both what I expected and did not expect. The international experience and personal freedom belong to the former, while the actual lack of time to travel and enjoy the city belongs to the latter. Getting in is only the first part, working hard to achieve in the areas of academics, careers and extracurriculars such as clubs and societies is the next big challenge. Good luck!

- Weiheng from Singapore, studying Economics at LSE

Kaushik's Story

How did you decide what you were going to study at university? 

I was interested in studying Operations Research, and there are only a handful of colleges in the US that offer such a major. Cornell was one of these, with a well-known department. After doing some research, I figured out that it was one of the more popular engineering majors there, with this high demand probably meaning that the quality of instruction was of standard. So I applied to Cornell. The application includes an essay where you write about your passion for engineering. I wrote about some Operations Research related ideas I had that could be implemented to make city transport and urban life more efficient. After entering Cornell, I was required to take a few Computer Science courses as part of the engineering curriculum. Through taking these courses, I realised that I also had a passion for Computer Science, and decided to expand my interests in that direction, eventually majoring in both Operations Research and Computer Science.

- Kaushik from Singapore, studying Engineering at Cornell

Małgorzata's Story

What did you think was the most confusing part of the Oxford application process? 

Interviews. There are far too many resources that will mention something like "Tell me about a banana". I have never heard of anyone who got interview questions like this. Most of the time you will be asked questions related only to the subject you want to study. Sometimes the question will be abstract, because they want to see the way you think. This is why it is important to show them your thought process. Don't be stressed. Most tutors will do everything for you to feel relaxed, it is not in their interest to stress you, they want to see the best in you. If you don't understand something - ask questions. Is there anything you always wanted to know? Interview is the time when you can ask one of the world's best professors in this field. Use this time.

- Małgorzata from Poland, studying Biochemistry at Oxford