George Thomas

George Thomas

Name: George Thomas

Subject: Computer Science

Year: Second

A-Level subjects/equivalent: IB: Maths HL, Physics HL, Comp Sci HL, Economics SL, English SL, German SL

What’s your background?

I’m from a comprehensive sixth form in London. Neither of my parents went to university and my sixth form was very new and hadn’t sent anyone to Cambridge before.

Why did you apply to Cambridge?

The first Computer Science course in the world started here, and it built on a fantastic mathematical background. It seemed like the best place to go.

What made you choose Peterhouse?

I entered the Kelvin Science Prize essay competition and was surprised to do as well as I did. I got to visit the college and it seemed very nice.

What was the application process like?

Arduous! Personal statement writing was a long process.

How was your interview?

I got asked a lot of maths questions which I wasn’t really expecting. It was pretty tough! I had three interviews, the first at about 10am and the last at about 4pm, so a pretty long day.

How did you find settling in at Cambridge?

Really weird at first. One of the first evenings we were here we had to have a big fancy dinner with cutlery I didn’t know existed. I muddled through and I knew that quite a few others were doing the same, which was pretty comforting.

What happens in your normal working week?

I have lectures 10am - 1pm every day in the Computer Lab. Supervisions take up most of my afternoons. I go rock climbing twice a week, and have a whole heap of other stuff to do for our college’s Student Council also.

What are the most enjoyable and most challenging parts of your subject?

The department enjoys mathematically formalising pretty much everything that we have to learn. It’s sometimes difficult to see the value in that, which makes learning tedious. The practicals have been okay.

How do you manage the financial side of university?

I get a student loan which covers my termly college bill. I get a Newton Trust bursary from the university and I also tutor.

How do you spend your free time?

Rock climbing, tutoring, talking with people.

Have you any particular advice to potential applicants?

Specifically for Computer Scientists, Physicists or Maths applicants: do lots of maths. Get used to talking about it with someone. Preferably someone who is a lot smarter than you and who you don’t know very well. Do things that show you are interested in your subject. Do those things way before Autumn Term Year 13 – that’s leaving things a bit late.