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Thinking about Uni?

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Alongside our work with our Link Area schools, Trinity works directly with students from all over the UK to encourage and support them in applying to top universities.

Choosing the right university course might be the most important decision you’ve ever made but we hope we can provide all the information you need to make the right choice.


Find out about a typical day-in-the-life of a Cambridge University student and hear perspectives from the people who live and learn here. Plus more about the application process and all the support that’s available if you decide to join us.

University Myth Buster

Lots of people have pre-conceived ideas about what University is like, especially Cambridge and Oxford or believe it’s not for them or you have to be a genius to apply. We’re here to show you that if you really want to apply, there are so many resources available to help.

Should I take three or four A-Levels?

Our general expectation is that students apply with three A-Levels, and we usually base our offers to applicants upon them having studied three relevant A-Levels. Our admissions teams are more concerned with a student being prepared for the course than them having a larger number of A-Level qualifications.

If, though, a student is applying for a maths intensive science course (e.g. Physical Natural Sciences or Chemical Engineering) and has the opportunity to take Further Maths as a fourth A Level alongside Maths, Chemistry and Physics, this can provide a strong basis for all the potential pathways within the degree.

Our interviewers and College admissions teams look for depth and passion for the chosen course in Cambridge applicants. Regardless of how many A Levels a student takes, we recommend super-curricular engagement to demonstrate this subject interest. In many cases this can be as much as, or more of, an advantage than taking additional A Levels.

Are some A Level combinations better than others?

Have a look at Trinity’s preferred A Level subject combinations page. For advice specific to Cambridge, have a look at the Subject Matters information pack, and be aware that individual colleges may have particular requirements.

Any ideas how to start exploring my subject?

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start exploring beyond the curriculum so we have put together a dedicated webpage with all the information and resources in one place! You could also start by asking your subject teachers for advice, and speak to librarians at school or in your local public library, as they’ll be able to direct you to lots of books and resources. If there’s a university near you, it’s worth investigating whether you can get access to their library, which will have the sort of academic books and journals you need.

How do you choose a College?

Trinity’s Prospectus has lots of information on the College and details about individual subjects. The official Cambridge University Prospectus has all the basics on courses and colleges – you can find it here. You might also want to take a look at the Alternative Prospectus – written by students for students, it’s especially useful if you’re trying to decide on a college, as it has crucial information like weekly rent, price of an average lunch, and an ‘ask a student’ button. Many colleges publish their own alternative prospectuses as well – check their websites.

Do I need to have done loads of extra-curricular activities to get in?

Prospective applicants often worry about doing lots of extra-curricular activities like sports, music or volunteering. While these things are certainly worthwhile and it’s good to have a balance between academic work and activities outside the classroom, extra-curricular activities that aren’t related to your chosen course won’t affect your chances of getting a place at Cambridge. Instead, we focus on “super-curricular” activities: reading, research and taster courses relevant to your chosen university course.


“The residential gave me a greater insight into the academic advantages of going to a prestigious University such as Cambridge. I was fascinated by the fact that there were academics on the Zoom call who had written some of the Law books that I had read! The residential really encouraged me to apply due to the fact that I was exposed to the availability of teaching from academic legal fellows who are at the centre of world-wide research and teaching.”


Useful links and resources

There are a number of resources available for students interested in studying at the University of Cambridge and the teachers and advisers who support them. Hopefully a lot of your questions will be answered by exploring our College website but, if not, here are some other helpful websites.

  • Personal Statements Guide – The Cambridge Students’ Union released a useful guide to writing a Personal Statement, breaking down a lot of the misconceptions applicants (and sometimes teachers) have about writing a Personal Statement for Cambridge.
  • – This is the University’s Alternative Prospectus, written by the students, rather than by the staff. It contains a student perspective on each course and college, as well as information that you won’t find in the official prospectus (for instance, how much a drink in the bar costs, how many hours of work you get per week, and so on).
  • Super-curricular suggestions – A selection of suggested reading lists and resources compiled in one handy document. These lists are NOT ‘required reading’ for Cambridge applicants. They simply provide some suggestions for places to start exploring your own interests in your chosen subject independently.
  • Meet Our Students – This service is run by Unibuddy. You can send a message to the page and it will be passed on to a current Trinity student, who will respond to you. You can ask about anything; what the food is like at a particular college, what it’s like to learn a language from scratch, whether a particular society exists for an interest you might have, and so on.
  • InsideUni – A student-led project with application advice from Cambridge students including a database of interview experiences
  • HE+ is an access initiative run by Cambridge University to promote access to Higher Education. You’ll find online resources for a variety of subjects as well as useful additional reading and information for people interested in applying for courses at Cambridge.
  • The Russell Group Website – Guidance for students from the Russell Group (24 of the UK’s top Universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh, UCL and many more)
  • Cambridge Societies Directory – Wondering what societies and clubs you can get involved in at the University? Check out this list of over 700 societies on offer for our students!

Join our mailing list to keep in touch with all things Trinity.

Our Teachers’ Newsletter keeps teachers and HE advisers up-to-date on programmes, events, the latest admissions news, and resources for students and teachers.

Our Parents and Students newsletter is packed full of useful advice on applying to university, plus details of upcoming events and other handy resources from Trinity and the wider University.

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