Cambridge University England Admissions Essay

In order to apply to Cambridge for 2019 entry (or deferred entry in 2020) you must submit a UCAS application by 15 October 2018, 6.00pm (UK time).

There are earlier application deadlines for applicants wishing to be considered for interview overseas, and some mature students applying to one of the mature Colleges may be able to apply after this date.

Applications to UCAS are made online using the UCAS Apply web-based application system. Click 'Apply 2019' for application for 2019 entry or 2020 deferred entry to the University of Cambridge. Your school or college will be able to advise you about the process, but we’ve included some information below about personal statements and school/college references. If you've left school or college or are a resident abroad you should contact UCAS for more information.

Once you've submitted your UCAS application, you can check on its progress online through UCAS Track. 

When your UCAS application has been received here in Cambridge:

  • it will be acknowledged by the College you applied to (open applications are allocated to Colleges shortly after the 15 October UCAS deadline).
  • you will be emailed a link and asked to complete the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ). Regularly check both the inbox and ‘spam’/’junk’ folder of the email account you give in your UCAS application, as you'll be contacted by the University and/or UCAS at various stages of your application.

You need to submit another application in addition to your UCAS application if you're:

If your education has been significantly disrupted or disadvantaged, it may be appropriate for your school/college referee (or your doctor or social worker) to complete and submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form by 15 October.

We're aware that you can now nominate an individual to act on your behalf when dealing with matters relating to your UCAS application. Please note that the University of Cambridge will not automatically liaise with this person. Should you wish to nominate someone to act on your behalf, please contact the College to which you have applied/been allocated, in order to discuss your particular circumstances.

Personal statement

As part of your UCAS application you’ll need to write a personal statement. Personal statements give you the chance to tell us about your subject interest(s), and the process of writing a personal statement can often help you to better understand your academic interests and intellectual motivations.

We advise you to follow the UCAS advice about what to include in your personal statement.

At Cambridge, all admissions decisions are based solely on academic criteria (ability and potential). Therefore, in your personal statement, we’d like you to:

  • explain your reasons for wanting to study the subject at university
  • demonstrate enthusiasm for and commitment to your chosen course
  • express any particular interests within the field
  • outline how you’ve pursued your subject interest in their own time

This information is often used as a basis for discussion at interview.

School/college reference

The reference is helpful because it tells us about your abilities and potential. Admissions Tutors look for indications that your academic strengths are well suited both to the course and to the style of study at the University.

The reference is an important part of your application, and we expect that it will normally be provided by a teacher or tutor in your school/college who can speak authoritatively about your academic profile and suitability for admission to university. If you’re having difficulty securing a referee, please see the UCAS guidance. Please note that references should be provided to applicants free of charge. If you wish to apply to Cambridge and are finding it difficult to obtain a reference or are being asked to pay for one, please contact the College to which you wish to apply (or the Cambridge Admissions Office in the case of open applications) for further advice.

Information and guidance for teachers on references can be found on our teachers and parents page.

If you want to apply to the University, you do so through UCAS. However, at Cambridge the process starts earlier to allow time for all of the application information to be gathered and considered. This section guides you through the process and explains what we’re looking for in prospective students and how we assess applications.

1. Choose a course

You’re going to be studying to a very high level for several years so make sure you choose a course you’re personally interested in and will really enjoy studying! Check, also, that you meet the entrance requirements of the course you want to study.

2. Choose a College

Where would you like to live when you’re here? In your UCAS application, indicate if you have a preference College or if you’re making an open application.

3. Apply

UCAS application

Submit your UCAS application by 15 October – our institution code is CAM C05.

Other application deadlines apply for those wishing to be interviewed in overseas countries, and for some mature applicants.

Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)

Shortly after submitting the UCAS application, you'll be asked (via email) to complete the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) – a few extra questions requesting information not included in your UCAS application, which we find helpful. To make a valid application to the University of Cambridge, you must submit your SAQ by the deadline set. In the majority of cases this deadline will be 6.00pm (UK time) on 22 October 2018.

Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA)

If you're living or attending school/college outside the EU and/or applying for an Organ Scholarship, you need to submit the Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA), and the deadline for submitting this may be earlier than 15 October (see the relevant page for information).

There's an additional application form if you're applying for the Graduate Course in Medicine.

Transcripts

You may be required to submit an academic transcript.

4. Written assessment

Most applicants are required to take a written admission assessment, either pre-interview or at interview (if interviewed).

5. Interview

Everyone with a realistic chance of being offered a place is invited to attend an interview. That’s around 75 per cent of applicants each year.

6. Decision

We’ll advise you of our decision before the end of January.

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