Sarah Wood - Philosophy
I studied the International Baccalaureate at Sixth Form instead of A Levels, which meant that I took 6 subjects in total. My Higher Level subjects were Philosophy, Spanish and French; my Standard Level subjects were Maths, English and Chemistry. Coming from this different background, I was nervous that Universities would not understand the scoring system but I found that it was not a problem for applying to Cambridge.
I applied to read Philosophy because the course seemed broad, interesting and flexible - and I have not been disappointed! The teaching varies from lectures and supervisions (often on a one-on-one basis with a leading academic in your field of interest!) to discussion groups and small classes. The pace is fast but manageable and there really is never a dull moment here. What really separates the Cambridge experience from other Universities is that you receive a lot of personal attention and guidance.
Once I had decided on my course, it was time to choose a college. St John’s appealed because it is a large, beautiful and central college, close to my faculty. Now that I have been here for almost 2 years it is clear that St John’s is so much more than that. The college environment is really friendly and there is so much going on with sports, societies and social events that there is always something to fill up your spare time. Not to mention our famous May Ball held every summer after exams! And if you ever have a problem, whether it is academic or personal, St John’s is amazing at providing relevant support. We have a tutorial system for pastoral care, Directors of Studies to oversee your academic progress, and other friendly people including the college nurse and the Chaplain who make a big effort to get to know everyone when they arrive in Fresher’s week. This fantastic support is an invaluable source of help for ensuring a smooth transition from school to University.
I would strongly recommend St John’s - it really a wonderful place to live, work and play.
Sarah Wood, June 2013