Hi, my name is Megan Turner, and I am a Fresher at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, reading History, and I studied at Thomas Gainsborough School between 2016 and 2023. The process of getting into Cambridge or Oxford involves an early UCAS application, an exam relevant to the subject you are applying for, and one, or two, interviews with the college. Whilst the process is lengthy, the joy of the email saying that Cambridge or Oxford has accepted you is an amazing feeling! But the formalities don’t end at the application process, as Freshers, or students entering into their first year of studies at their college, undergo “Matriculation”. Whilst each college has a slightly different tradition, it usually involves adding your name and subject to the list (matriculation is Latin for list) to the other names of students who have studied at that college past and present.
Matriculation occurs at just a few universities across the UK, including Cambridge, Oxford and Durham, and is celebrated with a very formal four course dinner provided by the college. This provides an opportunity for students to get to know others who are on their course within the college, as well as the supervisors who will be guiding them through it. It is also most importantly an opportunity to get dressed up, as formal attire is a must, including the college-unique gown, which I must say from having worn one made me feel extremely intelligent. A matriculation photo is also taken of all the students, with the Master, Praelector, and senior tutor, to mark the occasion. The work at Cambridge is of course a large step up from A levels, with huge amounts of reading and large amounts of time spent in lecture halls, but the support from staff both at the college wellbeing team and supervisors is incredible, and helps to ease the transition.
As I am sat here writing this, looking at the picturesque view of St Catharine’s main court, I am so thankful to all the staff who supported me throughout my time at TGS and for helping me through the process of applying to Cambridge.