Applying to Jesus College, Cambridge University

Jesus College is on a single large site on a quiet side street in the centre of Cambridge. It was established between 1496 and 1516 on the site of the twelfth-century Benedictine nunnery of St Mary and St Radegund whose buildings, which included a huge church, were adapted to house it. These buildings remain at the College’s centre, and beyond them there are 24 acres of sports fields and gardens. 

Jesus College works with a range of international partners to support cutting edge research and innovation in its state-of-the-art West Court development. Initiatives include the Intellectual Forum, the Cambridge Peking University China Centre at Jesus College and many other academic conferences and events.

Why did you apply to Jesus College?

Was asked by school what i'd like, replied medium size, old and new, good facilities, off tourist route large ground so they suggested jesus because it met that and seemed strong for arch and anth (Profile 155)

The Theology faculty at Cambridge is one of the best in the world. Also, the way the course is structured means there is a lot of flexibility with room to explore pretty much whatever most interests you. Jesus is well situated and is a large, friendly college. I know some people that go there and it was recommended to me. It is also consistently one of the most applied to colleges for theology. (Profile 767)

Jesus is the best college! It's absolutely gorgeous. Visited it and knew it was the one - I love the incredible library and modern accommodation, and the location just out of town is great. (Profile 719)

Neither too big nor too small; lovely spacious site; relaxed, unpretentious feel to it :) (Profile 310)

What was your general impression of Jesus College and any other colleges you visited?

Nice, large, friendly college with beautiful, expansive grounds. Really helpful admissions staff who were always happy to answer my questions and were patient when I was late with submitting written work and other forms. (Profile 767)

Clean, tidy and larger than i expected. very pretty. (Profile 155)

Jesus is gorgeous, and the people are great. I also visited Fitz, which is very friendly but not so visually impressive and the location's a bit awkward. (Profile 719)

Thought Jesus was quite grand looking untill I met up with my friend who was applying to St John's and had a look around there- it's huge and feels like a palace. Definitely prefer Jesus. (Profile 735)

The college is beautiful and picturesque, and though it is traditional, I didn't feel like I was an imposter or that everyone was pretentious, so it's a good mix I think. (Profile 165)

Describe the day-to-day aspects of living in the college. If you stayed in college, how was the accommodation? How about the food?

- Accommodation: The room I stayed in was big and had a nice view over one of the quads. Not en-suite but had a sink and the showers and toilets were close enough. 

- Food: Coffee was good, didn't really have the food. (Profile 767)

- Accommodation: Jesus has huge rooms that are the envy of the other colleges! They're modern and furnished well. Most are en-suite with gorgeous views of the college grounds.

- Food: Great! A big choice - I had a huge jacket potato with beans and cheese, obviously. (Profile 719)

- Accommodation: My room was twice the size of my bedroom at home, had loads of storage, a huge desk, coffee table, comfy chairs, bookcases, sink, mirror with light over it, windows all along one wall and loads of floor space left over. I was very impressed, but apparently these are the cheapest rooms and the others are all far better. Shower next door, seemed to be shared with only one other person although other corridors may not have had a shower so not sure, nearest toilet on the floor above, which was a bit of a pain. Room got quite cold in the middle of the night although I realised in the morning that the radiator was switched off so presumably this is not usually a problem. 

- Food: Much like good school dinners only you get three times as much.Choice of two hot meals in the evening, and cereal/pastries for breakfast. (Profile 735)

Any thoughts on the tutors/students at Jesus College?

- Tutors: Only spoke to one (in interview) but was extremely nice and kind. (Profile 767)

- Students: Didn't really speak to the helpers there as I was always in a rush but one or two always willing to help out, all friendly. (Profile 767)

- Tutors: relaxed, easy to talk to and seemed to want me to do my best. they were very likeable and made me keen to get into the college. (Profile 155)

- Tutors: I was told my first interviewer, Professor Dowdeswell, was a very friendly man - he was, incredibly! And helped me through all of the questions, especially when I got stuck. I was told that my second interviewer, Dr Keans, was cold and unhelpful, that he played the 'bad cop', so I thought 'Right, well if he won't talk, I will' and just charged right into my answer after he asked the first question. But soon we were chatting comfortably and he was recounting little anecdotes and we were laughing quite a bit! 

- Students: They were very friendly, though I wasn't with them long. My friend, who does Economics at Selwyn, said that the people from Jesus are renowned for being intelligent but down to earth, and he said they're all really nice. (Profile 719)

- Students: Really friendly. Chatted to quite a few while hanging around for my interview (we were using their common room, so they came and went quite a lot) and they were all welcoming and took us to dinnerand sat with us even though it wasn't their job. Students from different years and subjects all seemed to get on well. (Profile 735)

Do you have any advice for future Jesus College applicants in terms of preparation?

[Music] On Cambridge Application Form: Well mine was quite succint, so I would avoid being pretentious, express yourself well and say why you want the course you've applied for.

Interview: Have a general overview, and concentrate on learning about the Classical period as most of my interview focused on this, even though I stated on my form that my main interest was in later music. Also, brush-up on what you've studied at A-level, and try to have an idea of how many symphonies etc prominent composers composed as I was asked how many Haydn wrote and didn't know! (Profile 165)

[Theology & Religious Studies] When preparing for interview make sure you practice articulating your thoughts, maybe every day if necessary. You only have half an hour to prove yourself so giving clear reasoned answers is very important. Read a few books and familiarise yourself with basic concepts such as good and evil etc but what you should get from this is the ability to think about all new ideas not just specific ones that you have read about. For me, the most important preparation was learning to answer questions clearly and intelligently without going off on random tangents that took up more time and that the interviewer does not want to hear.

Also, make sure you know your submitted work inside out, not only because you might get asked on it, but because you may be able to use some of the content in these essays to answer different questions, and if one of your interviewers haven't read them, then an extensive knowledge of something can be impressive. (Profile 767)

[Economics] Don't write down books you've supposedly read on your PS before you've read them. I had to quickly read Wealth of Nations because of this. Find a topic in Economics you enjoy or find most interesting, and read up on that. It's more pleasurable than reading a massive Economics tome and more productive. It also means that you can show a real passion for the subject in the interview, by displaying an in depth knowledge of a specific area which interests you. (Profile 242)

[Mathematics] The practice interviews really are useful, but only if you prepare for them as if they are the real thing. It doesn't matter how good your interview skills are if you can't remember the formulae for circular motion or whatever the question is on. Revise all your AS work becuse this is probably what the interview questions will be based on- they don't know how much of the A level course you will have studied. I think I made the mistake a couple of times in my interview of trying to do things the hard way when all the questions required was basic C1/C2 knowledge. Most interview questions involveapplying old knowlege in new ways so maths challenge/BMO questions are quite useful preparation for this. Trying out STEP questions can also be a good thing and Oxford admissions tests are good because they are theright standard and questions aren't too long. But the best preparation is definitely practice so badger your school/teachers/family friends/anyone you know who is already at oxbridge to give your a sort of mock interview. Even if you just try to solve a problem in front of a few friends this can be useful as it gets you over the barrier of being embarrassed to say what you're thinking (not sure if boys have this problem but most girls seem to). (Profile 735)

What questions were you asked during your Jesus College interview(s)?

[Engineering] Tutorial: Why engineering Why Cambridge Math: SHM Calculus Derivation of golden ratio other equation formation and manipultion Physics: Projectiles up a slope mechanics of a pull-string car zero gravity combustion (Profile 405)

[Geography] Physical - focused on climate change and the mechanics of it.

Human - focused on the book on global politics I had read, talking mainly about terrorism and religion. Then some questions focused around my human essay, which was about development and culture. Then a little discussion about our favourite authors! It was so funny, Dr Kearns asked me who my favourite modern author was, and I told him thinking he won't have a clue as he's not very well known, and turns out he loves his books too! (Profile 719)

[Mathematics] First Interview (with two maths fellows: one who spoke, one who wrote):

At the time, felt fine about it. Actually after waiting for 3 hours in the Marshall room (JCR), I quite enjoyed it just because it was something to do. The interview went really quickly and I was worried about how few questions I answered and also some of the stupid things I'd said/done, including twice missing a incredibly obvious answer and doing things a much harder way. However, was reassured that I could see the notes one of them was writing and although I only dared take brief glances, I saw he first word was "excellent". So all in all, went to bed feeling quite happy. 

Second interview (with Dr Siklos, director of studies or some other important title):

Was quitely confident after the first interview had gone OK, and even more so after I'd seen the problem we were left to do beforehand and found I could actually do all of it, which I hadn't been expecting. But when I got in, Dr Siklos gave me quite a hard time, questioning everything I said. I couldn't tell if this was because he was trying to push me or because I was getting everything wrong, but it did stress me out more than I would have anticipated and I spent a particularly panicked 2 minutes trying to explain why a straight line crossed the graph y=sin x only in the twice in the range 0-pi/2 when all that was in my head was "because that's what sin x looks like". The only thing I could say was "because it bulges up a bit" which he repeated back to me in a slightly sarcastic way and then let me sweat for a few minutes before saying "I think the word you were looking for is convex". He also asked me one question about Music of the Primes, which I'd put on my personal statement, because apparently everyone does. Annoyingly, I've read the book several times and still didn't answer the question very well. Overall, didn't enjoy that interview as much as the first. (Profile 735)