Hello there, so I am applying for Fall 2018 admission to both the MPhil in American History at Cambridge as well as the MSt in US History at Oxford. I come from a Top 5 US institution with a very high GPA, won a thesis prize/departmental honors in history.
I decided to apply to Oxbridge about a month ago as I have been really on the fence about pursuing a PhD in history (given the uncertainty and the insecurity of the job market for PhD candidates) but thought it would be worthwhile to do a year's worth of graduate study to confirm for myself if I want to pursue further studies. I have a couple of friends who studied history who go to Cambridge now and have been asking for their advice, but so many of them applied at different times and did different things during the application season that I have been very confused on the whole UK admissions process.
My questions are:
1. Would I be at a significant disadvantage if I am an Americanist from America trying to study American history in the UK? Would they question my motivations? (There are certain professors that I'd like to work with, and surprisingly both courses offer options courses in modern US history, which is what my research focus is.)
2. Was I supposed to have contacted a potential supervisor before submitting my application? How does this work?
3. I submitted my Cambridge app a few days ago and am planning to submit my Oxford one in a week, at least before the funding deadlines. Was I supposed to have applied way back in October to increase my chances of admission?
4. Luckily I am privileged enough where I can still attend and pay full tuition/fees if I don't get funding. Should I have indicated that instead of checking the box that says I'm interested in funding to increase my chances?
Any help would be greatly appreciated. This is all so confusing. Thank you so much.