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I was lucky to be pooled to Caius

  • 27 January 2022

Natalie Johns (Psychological and Behavioural Sciences 2020) reflected on her University of Cambridge application which saw her arrive at Gonville & Caius College through the pool.

Natalie applied for another Cambridge college, but did not secure one of a limited number of PBS places and was instead picked up by Caius through the pool, the University’s moderation process.

“I came up for the open days, but didn’t come to Caius,” she says. “I applied for another college and got pooled. Now I feel like I was quite lucky.”

Natalie is from Llantrisant near Cardiff and attended Y Pant Comprehensive School for her GCSEs and A-Levels.

She was encouraged to apply to Cambridge by one of the school’s assistant heads, and she received support through the Seren Network, which encourages Welsh students to apply to leading universities.

“She said: ‘you’ve got five options, you may as well give it a go for one of them’,” Natalie recalls.

“The open day was brilliant in being able to walk around Cambridge and being able to imagine yourself living and studying here.”

Natalie Johns

Natalie, pictured above in her room at Harvey Court, our first-year undergraduate accommodation, formed a “romantic idea of coffee shops and libraries – and that’s quite accurate!”

Her favourite library is Caius’ own, while she likes Trockle and Indigo coffee shops.

The Covid-19 pandemic has restricted Natalie’s university experience, but she is determined to make up for lost time and is currently the GCSU (undergraduate students’ union) Welfare Officer. She is also an access ambassador for the College.

“I was the only person in my year who went to Cambridge or Oxford,” Natalie says.

“For so many people it’s in the distance as this almost untouchable thing. Access work shows it’s normal people here, from a massive range of backgrounds.

“Anybody can get in if they’ve got the qualities of a Cambridge student. It’s all about you as an individual academic.

“If you use up one of those five options then you’ve got a chance.”

Learn more about the pool in the below video by Tutor for Admissions and Outreach Dr Chris Scott: 

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