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HomeAdmissionsUndergraduate AdmissionsViews from recent students > Maria Hawks
Maria Hawks
I first visited Trinity as part of an access initiative run by the college in order to encourage applications from students at schools with no history of applying to Trinity. I was able to stay in a student room, meet undergraduates studying my chosen subject (Social and Political Sciences) and talk to the people who decide whether or not you get a place – the Admissions Tutor and Directors of Study. The staff and students who ran this initiative were skilled at making what could have been a very daunting experience into one where I felt instantly comfortable and at home.

A year and a half later I arrived at Trinity to start my three years as an undergraduate with those feelings of comfort and confidence notably absent. Moving into accommodation that could have been lived in by Byron, Isaac Newton or Vanessa Feltz (!) was a peculiar experience, but one I eventually got used to. However, I was very aware of how lucky I was to have been given a place at Trinity (especially as I had not achieved the offer they required) and was especially aware of the fact that I would never have applied if it hadn’t been for the college’s access efforts. With this in mind I ran for TCSU Access and Admissions Officer in my second term. Two years after my first visit to Cambridge I was encouraging others to apply to Trinity.

I enjoyed my time as Access Officer so much that I ran for TCSU President in my second year and found myself representing the views of about a thousand students. This was an amazing experience and enabled me run Freshers’ Week, change the TCSU constitution, meet students across the whole college and see sides of the College that most undergraduates never know about.

As a student from a low income family I was especially lucky to be accepted by Trinity as they provide subsidised college accommodation for the duration of undergraduate degrees. I saved a fortune compared to friends at other universities who had to move into private housing. The other financial advantage to being at Trinity was the huge variety of bursaries available to students with financial difficulties. During my three years I received over £3,000 from Trinity which obviously helped enormously.

I graduated in June 2004 and living and studying at Trinity already feels like it was a lifetime ago. I now work with American university students studying in London as their ‘Student Life Coordinator’, a position that my time on TCSU prepared me very well for. I would encourage anyone even vaguely considering applying to Trinity (and I assume you must be if you’ve got far enough to be reading this!) to go for it. The absolute worst case scenario is that you might not be offered a place. Alternatively you could find yourself studying in a world class institution rich in social and cultural history.

Maria Hawks
Social and Political Sciences
Trinity, 2001-2004
May 2005
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