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Getting into Cambridge

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Hey guys,

Right now i'm thinking about college in the UK specifically Cambridge. Currently I am in an IB program here in the States class of 2015. My question to everyone is, do I have a realistic shot at getting an offer... not an interview an offer.

Because I have lived in the Dominican Republic for 2 years, El Salvador for 8 months, Bolivia for 6 months and soon Peru for 2 months, I am fluent in both English and Spanish. I would not consider myself naturally genius in math or science, however in politics, and international topics I can hold my own. For me I am willing to do whatever it takes. Right now before I begin IB (which is Junior and Senior year) I am taking 2 AP classes (AP Human Geo and AP Comparative Governments) and most likely have a 4.7ish GPA (due to all honor classes). Writing has been a weakness for me for a while now, but I am getting extra help 2-3 times a week for it.. After knowing all this. Do I have a shot?

Also... with the 2 AP classes I am taking this year... If I score 5s on both those exams will they count or will Cambridge people look at my IB scores?

If it helps my schedule for IB will most likely look like this:

English HL

Spanish (for Spanish speakers) HL

History HL

Math SL

Psychology SL

Science (most likely Physics or Chem.) SL

At Cambridge I would most likely study Human, Social and Political sciences.

Thanks for taking the time I really appreciate it!

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To quote the Cambridge website, "offers are regularly made on the International Baccalaureate, requiring scores between 40 and 42 points out of 45, with 776 or 777 in the Higher Level subjects."

776 or 777 in the HL subjects sounds strenuous, you'd better work hard! Regarding extracarriculars, I recommend getting some volunteer work under your belt, as well as participating in relevant extracarriculars (eg. if you want to go to law school, join debate and model UN).

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We can't tell you if you have a shot if we don't know your predicted grades (which you don't yet have). Your extracurriculars are important, yes, but only to a certain extent - in the UK, universities look at this matter differently than those in the USA. It means that even if you're playing 5 sports, 3 instruments, volunteer building houses in Uganda, they won't really care unless you can link it to your subject. So by all means do get involved in ECs, just choose ones that might possibly help you in your future degree, or at least show that you have a serious interest in it.

However, if you're predicted a 32 or something like that, no amount of ECs will help you, because that's simply too low for a university like Cambridge. Plus, your GPA doesn't matter whatsoever.

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Come back in two years with your IB predictions for your final exams and you'll have a better indicator of whether you could be offered a place. Work as hard as you can for the best grades you can. Even then it'll be difficult to determine whether you'll get an offer because of how competitive the whole application is. ECs don't play that big of a part in determining whether you'll get a place. If you do something outside of school that links to your subject then that's better than helping turtles cross the road or something.

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So far you're doing it just right, if you can keep it up with 776 at HL and 42 points then you've got as good a shot as most of the other applicants, which is the best anyone can realistically do. I was in your position a while back, and all you can do is work hard and apply and take whatever they'll give you (I'm waiting on hearing back as to what they'll give me). You've got good subjects and the living abroad sounds really interesting and will probably hold you in good stead for something to talk about at an interview or something (I don't know how it works for stateside applicants, I think there might be interviews in the states or something, but I really have no idea) so you're at no disadvantage, so it's up to you for the next few years to do your best and show that to them and if they want it they'll take it. Don't forget that there are other universities which may be better for you or your course or both so don't get too blinkered; preparing for Cambridge will prepare you for any uni, you just have to accept your 80% likelihood of not getting the offer. Sorry if it sounds defeatist, but I'm psyching myself up for a rejection in the post in a few days haha. Best of luck with it and keep going is all I can offer beyond the above waffle.

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And how about my 2 AP classes? do those matter at all if I score a 5 on both of them before even starting IB? And I put my gpa in because I saw something on one of the websites of how As translate to numbers in IB like an A = 6 and A+ = 7... but I guess it is still too early. As for the extended essay is there any limit to how early I could start working on it?

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As for the extended essay is there any limit to how early I could start working on it?

There is no point starting it before you start the IB. You will need the knowledge about the subject you're writing it in, which you'll get while doing the programme. I wrote mine in the summer between IB1 and IB2 and I think it's the best solution.

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