In a panel session with undergraduates from Leeds and Sheffield universities, one of you asked about how they chose their course. This is a very good question to ask when you meet current students! Here are some responses from Cambridge undergraduates who enjoyed History at school....though you'll notice that not all of them chose the course called History!
At school, I always enjoyed and did well at essay subjects like History and English. I was just never that excited about maths or science lessons, and I never imagined studying those subjects for longer than I had to.[...] I went to lots of Open Days at various universities around the UK when I was in Year 12. It was the talks about studying History that I found really exciting and which made me want to learn more.[...] I thought that Cambridge was a beautiful place and also small enough that I wouldn’t get lost! When I came for a Cambridge Open Day, I went to a talk about studying History here. Several lecturers spoke to us about the course and the material we could study here, and I was surprised at the different kinds of things I could choose to study. Some areas didn’t interest me at all at first, but some lecturers were so enthusiastic about their specialist areas that I couldn’t help but be interested. Apart from anything else, the talk was really useful in terms of practical information, helping me to understand how the course would be structured, what kind of options were available, and even how to go about studying History at university level. I definitely recommend going to these sorts of talks on Open Days, because even simple information like how many lectures you’d expect to be given, and how you’ll be assessed, can help you decide whether it’s the right subject or university for you.
- Fiona, History (more from Fiona)
I discovered Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic (ASNC) while flicking through the Cambridge prospectus. It’s one of the University’s lesser-known degrees, so I hadn’t seen it online before. The wonderful images of artefacts and the obscure topics in the prospectus entry had me instantly hooked, and I immediately wanted to find out more about the course. I had originally intended to study History at Cambridge, and to specialise in this period, but as soon as I saw ASNC I knew straight away that it was for me! After some further research, it was the small size of the faculty and the total freedom that the course offers from the first year that drew me to it.
- Tom, Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (more from Tom)
I chose to study History because it is a subject which I really enjoyed. I definitely think studying something at university that you enjoy is the best idea; you will be spending a lot of time on it!
- Marie, History (more from Marie)
The breadth of my degree is what first drew me to it; the opportunity to continue to explore history and literature and languages all together. Learning ancient languages has always felt a little bit magical for me, like you’re accessing some arcane wisdom, and breaking a code at the same time. Being able to study a culture in its entirety, to track its changes, to read its language, to explore its philosophy, just opens up a whole world of exploration of big ideas about human history and identity, whilst also allowing you to really get to grips with the nitty-gritty textual analysis and specific ideas.
- Qasim, Classics (more from Qasim)
In lower sixth I realised that the one thing that united my A level subjects was the theme of 'religion' and I realised that a Theology degree at Cambridge would enable me to pursue my interest in literature and History while focusing on a core interest of mine, namely religion.
- Eliot, Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion (more from Eliot)
At college I took A-levels in History, English Literature and French. I originally thought that I wanted to study English at university, but as I went through my AS year I realised that History was really where my interest lay, and as I researched university courses I saw how appealing the breadth of material to study as part of a History degree was. Not only did I like the course at Cambridge, but I also knew that I would be being taught by the leading historians in the field.
- Sarah, History (more from Sarah)