Thinking about applying to Cambridge?
Not yet chosen your A-levels? Have a look at this advice from the Russell Group of leading universities in their Informed Choices leaflet. For advice specific to Cambridge, have a look at the Subject Matters information pack, and be aware that individual colleges may have particular requirements; for example, Trinity has a list of acceptable A-level combinations here.
The official 2016 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.
Choosing the right university course might be the most important decision you’ve ever made! Start by reading the basic information on courses you’re interested in here, and then click through to the faculty websites for more details.
Get an insight into Cambridge through the eyes of real students through our shadowing scheme for Year 12s. Applications for the 2016 scheme open in October.
Application information and resources
Cambridge, along with Oxford, has a slightly different application process to other universities. This includes an earlier UCAS application date (15th October), the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) and the interview process. This can all seem scary, but here are some useful resources to help you:
- Information on the application process and how it works can be found on the University website.
- If you are taking modular AS/A-levels, Cambridge asks for UMS results achieved so far on the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) as part of the assessment process. This means that it’s really crucial to do as well as possible in your AS-levels.
- General information about interviews and what to expect can be found here, and don’t forget to check out our Interview Resources section.
Affording university can be a bit of a daunting prospect. Cambridge is actually the perfect place to study if you need to look after the pennies, because of our exceptionally generous bursaries.
More information about the financial support available at Cambridge can be found here, and be sure to check out the facts on living costs and finance at Cambridge.
Check out the basics on tuition fees and student loans, as well as the government’s Student Finance page.
Cambridge also has great support available for students with disabilities. More information about the Disability Resource Centre and financial support can be found here, and have a look at the government’s information on Disabled Students’ Allowances.
Beyond the school curriculum: extracurricular and outreach
It’s not just down to exam results – you need to apply for a subject that you find genuinely interesting, and explore it in your spare time.
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, taster courses and work experience relevant to your chosen university course.
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start exploring beyond the curriculum, so we’ve put together a collection of suggestions for wider reading, organised by subject. You could 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.
Taster Courses and Summer Schools are a great way to try out a subject in a university environment – Cambridge offers all sorts of activities like this, but you could also investigate what Outreach and Widening Participation activities your local university organises.
Above all, don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask questions, if there’s anything you’re worried, curious or confused about!
If you have general questions that aren’t answered on the website, you can email the University Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, get in touch with the Admissions Office at a particular college – you can find all their contact details here.