Oxbridge Success, 2016

c.50% of students who partnered with a mentor in 2016 received an offer to Oxford or Cambridge 

What do our successful candidates think about the programme? 


Jimmy - Natural Sciences, Cambridge

1. Could you describe your experience with the mentor?

It was a very comfortable experience as my mentor had a relaxed attitude and was flexible in terms of the timings of our sessions. Apart from academics, he was incredibly helpful in giving me an idea of the university itself and gave me advice on choosing the right college.

2. What were the most useful aspects of having a mentor?

I would say that getting advice from somebody who has already been through the process you're about to face was the most useful and reassuring aspect. You feel that they definitely know what they're talking about and can appreciate their advice.

3. Is this something you would recommend to an Oxbridge applicant?

I highly recommend this to anyone who is considering to apply to Oxbridge, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain!

4. Anything else to add?

The program was incredibly helpful for the interview and for getting me the offer, now it's up to me to work hard and achieve the grades I need. I look forward to going to the same college as my mentor and studying with him in the future.

Nicole - Law, Oxford 

I was paired up with Henry for Law and had 2 sessions with him: one for my personal statement and another for my interview preparation. I found these sessions immensely useful. He gave me constructive advice on how to improve my personal statement to make it more of an "Oxbridge Style".  The real interview style was also quite similar to the one that I did with Henry, so it definitely boosted my confidence. 

Even though Henry was obviously very busy during the year, he emailed me frequently to check on my progress and was very flexible with his time.

I would definitely recommend this service to an Oxbridge applicant because the experience that a tutor can provide first hand is invaluable. Often as applicants it can be quite difficult to start your application without much assistance; the Oxbridge buddy system definitely guides the applicant to the right direction. 

I very much look forward (hopefully if I meet the offer) to going to Lincoln College, Oxford in October 2017. 

Joseph - Linguistics, Peterhouse, Cambridge

1) Could you describe your experience with the mentor?

My experience with my mentor was extremely useful and rewarding. The one hour weekly sessions gave me the preparation I needed to go to my interview at Cambridge with far fewer nerves and much more confidence that I was going to do well. My mentor was very nice and consistently went above and beyond in order to help me learn, despite having such a busy life being at Cambridge herself. The weekly sessions themselves taught me more than I could ever have learnt through my own research and reading and my mentor got to know me to the extent that she knew my strengths and weaknesses and could challenge me and push me to reach the best of my ability.

2) What were the most useful aspects of having a mentor?

I applied to Peterhouse at Cambridge University to study linguistics. Applying for a subject that isn't directly taught in schools meant that my mentor was vital to me, as there wasn't any help available for me in school as far as any of my linguistic queries were concerned. Our weekly Skype sessions gave me the opportunity to ask any questions I had either concerning linguistics or life at Cambridge; they also were vital because we practised a lot of the types of exercises that are commonly done in interviews for Linguistics at Cambridge. These exercises were neither simple to grasp nor easy to complete so being able to acquaint myself to the style of them and practise them before the interview greatly helped me.

3) Is this something you would recommend to an Oxbridge applicant?

I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is applying to Oxbridge, especially if like me they are applying for a course for which your school will struggle to help you with. My mentor put me in a very advantageous position and, I believe, greatly contributed to my application becoming successful. And what's more, regardless of whether your application is successful or not, having a mentor would never be time or money wasted because it is an incredibly rewarding learning experience in and of itself. The weekly sessions with someone already studying your course at Oxbridge give you the chance to discuss and engage with your subject with a soon-to-be expert!

4) Anything else to add?

Thanks to my mentor's help, I am lucky enough to say that I am very much looking forward to starting at Peterhouse at Cambridge University if I meet the grades of my offer! My mentoring has made me much more interested about my chosen course linguistics and much more excited about life at Cambridge.

Dian - maths, churchill college, Cambridge

I would like to thank you so much for making such a supportive and helpful buddy system for us. My Cambridge buddy was Jack and I was applying to Churchill college for Mathematics. Jack gave me lots of practical advice and has guided me through the whole application process.

Before I sent my application off to the UCAS website, Jack helped me a lot with my personal statement in terms of polishing and meeting the criteria of a good personal statement in Oxbridge standards. As soon as I have sent my application off, Jack has trained me with lots of maths questions that are often asked in Oxbridge's interviews (2 out of 3 of my interview questions has been mentioned by him). He also gave me lots of practise interviews before I actually went for the real one.

I really appreciate all the help that he offered, not to mention he has spent around 3 to 4 hours of his precious time each week to help with my applications. Even if there was not any skype meeting arranged, he always replied to my Maths problems immediately. Throughout the whole buddy scheme, not only did I gain a better start by having a good personal statement, I also learnt the proper mathematical way to approach maths questions, which I would never be able to learn in school nor by myself.

Apart from the academic side, I have also learnt more about the degree course and the future paths of studying Maths. I am really thankful that I have such a great mentor. As I had no idea what kind of students Cambridge was looking for, I think this buddy system was really useful to get my head around it and to be well-prepared. Without such system, I probably would not have got an interview from Cambridge and as many offers from other universities. Therefore, I would like to thank you again for setting up the Oxbridge buddy system and also to my mentor, Jack, for offering so much great help. I would definitely recommend this to Oxbridge applicants.

Mollie - natural sciences, gonville & caius, Cambridge

1) Could you describe your experience with the mentor?

I had a very positive experience with my mentor. I applied for Natural Sciences at Cambridge and so I was very well matched with my mentor, as he too had applied for this course and is currently studying Biochemistry at Oxford. We had very similar interests and his detailed knowledge of his subject meant that he could provide invaluable advice on my personal statement. 

2) What were the most useful aspects of having a mentor?

He was quick to provide useful and specific feedback on my personal statement at each stage of its development. I found it really helpful to receive advice on my personal statement from someone I'd never met, i.e. not a teacher. I had regular contact with my mentor throughout the application process from September to December 2016 and communication was seamless. We later organised a practice Skype interview, which my mentor prepared for really well, despite short notice. He was able to provide a realistic interview experience that was reflective of a genuine Oxbridge interview in its content and structure.

3) Is this something you would recommend to an Oxbridge applicant?

I would certainly recommend this Buddy System. I was a fantastic opportunity to gain advice from someone who has experienced and been successful in the gruelling Oxbridge application system. The interview practice was the most useful aspect for me.

4) Anything else to add?

I'm looking forward to starting at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in October.