Hi there, I’m Freddie, from London and I’ve just finished my first year studying Chemistry at Corpus.

I’m sure you’re wondering as to whether you should apply to study Chemistry at Oxford, I certainly believed I wasn’t bright enough to get in but here I am. My best advice is to just go for it (you definitely won’t get in otherwise)! Before starting my application I was by no means the best Chemist at school nevertheless I thought I’d give Oxford a shot. In doing so I got so much better at Chemistry; to give myself the best chance I started doing little bits of reading here and there and trying out whatever chemistry related things I came across such as the chemistry Olympiad, school chemistry club. Just give it a go, you’ll get a better appreciation for your subject, a bunch of stuff to whack on your personal statement; you might even enjoy it!

I applied directly to Corpus; given its small size I thought it’d be easier to get to know people, and I was right. Within the first week you’ll probably know everyone in your year which makes it a whole lot easier to settle in. In my time at Oxford I’ve met some truly genuine and likeable people and fortunately given Corpus’ size it’s easy to bump these personalities. At Corpus I found that having such a tight nit community provides a lot of support for you and I certainly haven’t regretted my choice of college.

Before arriving in Oxford, I took a gap year to become a ski instructor meaning I did little to no chemistry for an entire year. Despite this when I arrived I could do the work, it was tough, and I got stuck many times, but it was still manageable. When you arrive expect a challenge but know that you’ll likely find the work far easier than I did!

Studying chemistry you’ll be doing two days of labs a week with a writeup for each lab you complete. Fortunately, labs in first year don’t count towards your degree so you can have a bit of fun with them, and you don’t need to take them too seriously. The chemistry tutors at Corpus are all excellent, they test your understanding without ruining your enjoyment and they have made me a great deal more agile when it comes to problem solving; and having spoken to chemists at other colleges about their tutors let’s just say we really do have it lucky at Corpus. Try to get along with your fellow chemists at Corpus as it really helped me to have others to rely on when the chemistry got challenging.

You’ll have plenty of time to socialise and attend various clubs and activities outside of studying whether it be within college or within the university as a whole there’s plenty to try out particularly in fresher’s week. There’s even a ski trip in December, one which I hope to be attending this year. Personally, running provided me with a good way of clearing my head as well as being a decent bit of exercise. It doesn’t matter what it is, but I found that having a hobby improved my time at Oxford    

I hope my ramblings have been helpful, if you want more or just want some advice or some tips about applying send me an email and I’ll be happy to help.


Resources for Key Stage 5, applying to Oxford, and finding out more about Corpus can be found here.