Frequently asked questions about entry requirements

Here are a few answers to questions we are frequently asked about our entry requirements.  Please do read this in combination with the general information about entry requirements on the Applying to Trinity page.

I’ve finished one of my A-levels already.  If I’m offered a place, will this count towards my entry conditions?

If you still have relevant A-levels to take, our offers will be conditional upon achieving specified results in those A-levels.  If you have already taken an A-level, such as in Maths in Year 12, this may give us confidence in making you an offer for admission to the College.  Our conditional offers reflect our expectations that you will receive high marks in your Year 13 exams as well.  We do however look at each of these cases individually, and decide upon an offer that we feel is best suited to the specific circumstances of each student.

What is Trinity’s attitude to ‘gap’ years?

We think that the decision whether or not to take a gap year is one for you to take, not us. If you plan to take a year out after school, we should be glad to consider an application for deferred entry.

… and to post A-level candidates?

Again, no problem. But if you intend to travel abroad in your gap year you should bear in mind that our interviews are held in early December.

Would you make offers to applicants who apply from the same school?

Yes. If it is felt that a candidate is worth an offer of a place, it is irrelevant whether or not there are other applicants from the same school.

Do you make offers to students who will be under 18 when they start university?

There is no formal age requirement for admission to Cambridge, but almost all undergraduates are 18 years or older when they come into residence. All applicants will need to convince both the College and the University Faculty or Department concerned that they have the maturity and personal skills to cope with undergraduate study at Cambridge.

What is your view of vocational qualifications?

VCE A levels, GNVQs and/or BTECs do not prepare applicants sufficiently for Cambridge, so our offers do not include them. Similarly, the Advanced Engineering Diploma does not contain sufficient academic content to prepare applicants for our engineering courses and thus does not in itself provide a normal entry route. However, we may consider candidates with the Diploma provided that they are also taking A-levels in Maths and Physics and an AS level in Further Maths.

How do you assess applications from mature students?

If you are someone who left school several years ago we would not necessarily expect you to have the same qualifications as those coming straight from school. We would, however, expect you to be following – or to have recently completed – a programme of academic study, preferably one that culminates in a formal examination.

What about deferred entry?

We are happy to consider applications for deferred entry in any subject.

What about reapplying?

Again, no problem. But our standard advice is that applicants should try another college the second time around so that they (and their interviewers) do not find themselves repeating the previous year’s experience. Wait until you receive your examination results before making any decision about this.

Can I spend just one year or part of a year at Trinity?

Unfortunately not. Trinity does not take what we call ‘visiting’ students unless they come to us via an exchange scheme that has already been approved

Can I study for a combined degree?

Yes, we currently offer a combined degree in History and Modern Languages and in History and Politics. It is also possible to transfer from one Tripos to another if you have the appropriate academic background. Details can be found in the Cambridge Admissions Prospectus in the subject information section. At Trinity you will be considered for admission by the Admissions Officers in the subject that you want to study when you first come to Cambridge.

If I have already graduated elsewhere, can I apply to Trinity for another undergraduate course?

Yes, you can apply for an ‘Affiliated’ place here. An Affiliated student is eligible to graduate with a Cambridge BA in one year less than the normal length of the course. But the number of places available in this way is small – typically three or four each year – and the competition is therefore severe.