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What do Universities look for?

  1. May 27, 2004 #1
    What do the best uni's (UK) look for in a physics student? Does work experience or anything like that really matter? Do they look at your background? (e.g. I have awful physics teachers who always have hangovers and ask ME if what they're teaching is right(which it usually isn't)
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2004 #2
    It usually depends on the university. For instance, I tried to get into Cambridge once upon a time and the interview went like this (pretty much word for word :frown:)

    "So, where are you studying your A levels?"

    [my college]

    "Oh, do they actually send people to Cambridge?"

    Surprise surprise I didn't get in.

    But this is more the exception. Of course, most of the best universities will ask for an A at physics A-level simply because that's what the people you are competing against will have, but if you can get an excellent reference from your teachers that should also carry you a long way. If the reference requires your teachers giving a predicted grade try to encourage them to be generous. I have a friend who was simply not considered at a place because he was predicted A/B. No interview or anything. But of course, when his A-level results came in he got pretty much straight A's. Annoying eh?

    I think (or maybe hope) that generally what they really look for is a bright eager person - "someone who doesn't immediately fall asleep as soon as we start talking about physics" I have heard it said.

    Work experience will only count if it really is relevant. I guess they just judge that case by case. I think the best thing to do is simply phone up the admissions tutor and ask them (there will be contact details in the university prospectus probably). Trying to contact these people in person can often be very useful and they will hopefully give you lots of good advice.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

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