Simina Dragos, University of Cambridge

Simina Dragos is a student at the University of Cambridge, where she applied with the help of UNIVERSALIO in 2016.

What are you studying at Cambridge? How did you choose the study program, and how did you decide on the University of Cambridge?

At the moment, I’m studying Educational Sciences and German. I chose this area because I volunteered in the field of special education and realised that what I’m passionate about is, in fact, the way children interact in relation to formal and informal education. I decided to apply to the University of Cambridge because Silvana supported me and because I felt I had the duty to at least try to do it.

How did you find the application process? What steps in the process did you find difficult?

I think the application process was very stressful. It’s incredible how much pressure can derive from a personal essay and a collection of details that can never really sum you up, no matter how you express them. Conveying my passion and my academic (or non-academic) past experiences in 800 words felt like the most difficult part.

Are there elements in your background or profile that gave you an edge in the process?

I consider it an advantage that the selection process at Cambridge includes an interview, which is an opportunity to develop your ideas and reveal things you might not have captured in your essay.

How did UNIVERSALIO (and Silvana, your counselor) support you during the whole application process?

First of all, it’s very, very refreshing and convenient to have someone besides you who knows what needs to be done. Silvana was great in this respect. Not only did she do her job as a counselor very well, she also encouraged me, supported me emotionally and understood me. I think that understanding is the most important thing, because people who don’t go through the application process often find it hard to emphatize with the pressure the future student feels. In this regard, Silvana “freed me” and was very helpful. And all this besides the obvious logistic advantages, such as always knowing when the deadlines were approaching.

What were you expecting from student life at Cambridge? How does the first weeks’ experience compare to your expectations?

I expected to be surprised, as anyone would. And I was. It’s a very nice, very stimulating environment. Yes, there’s a lot of work. Yes, you have to search and discover things on your own. But it’s impressive how carefully the university works to support students in their evolution, be it academic or not.

Finally, have you got any advice for someone who’s thinking of applying to Cambridge?

If you’re thinking about applying to Cambridge, do it. It’s worth applying, if only for the experience of the interview and of the application process itself. I can’t express how grateful I am to Silvana and to my parents for encouraging me to apply and to come this far. So, if prospective students are passionate and believe in what they want to do, Cambridge is the answer for them.


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