The Cambridge admissions process is, in many respects, very similar to those other universities run and that teachers will be familiar with; the filling in of the UCAS form is the same, the same reference is submitted, students produce the same personal statement. However, there are some key differences that we endeavour to make clear and offer support on where appropriate. The extra aspects of the process allow us to thoroughly assess all applications in their own and proper context, and ensure that the best candidates are, ultimately, successful. Below we have outlined the aspects of this process that are different to other university processes.

  1. UCAS deadline – although the same form needs to be submitted, the deadline for doing so if a candidate is applying to Cambridge (or Oxford, or to any medicine courses elsewhere) is October 15th.
  2. Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) – this is an additional form required only for applications to Cambridge. The deadline for submission is October 22nd and, like the UCAS form, is online. Once a candidate has applied to Cambridge they will receive an email giving them an SAQ log-in; if this email does not arrive then ask candidates to check their spam box before emailing saqhelp@cao.cam.ac.uk to get help. The SAQ asks for AS unit marks (where possible, though we are more than happy to receive applications from people studying under systems other than modular A Levels) and gives students the chance to further contextualise their application and, if they wish, submit an extra, short, Cambridge-specific personal statement. Full information on the SAQ can be found on the university website: http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/saq.html.
  3. Extenuating Circumstances Form (ECF) – not relevant to all candidates, but where a candidate has suffered disruption to their education schools can let the College know that this is the case by submitting an ECF. For more information, please visit http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/ecf.html or get in touch with the college to which the candidate has applied.
  4. Assessments and Submitted Written Work: at Cambridge, there can be significant variation here not only from course-to-course but also from college-to-college in the assessments and written work they request for their particular admissions process. Examples of a candidates’ written work may also be requested, and candidates will be notified of this when they submit their application, though most colleges will advertise in advance their intentions for any given subject. However, due to the introduction of university-wide assessments for all subjects, all applicants from 2016 will now take part in standardised admissions assessments. These tests used in the Cambridge admissions process are either sat before, or when a candidate comes for their interview, and this differs for each subject. These assessments are all subject specific and aptitude based, and seek not to test candidates on any given syllabus but rather to assess their suitability for the course. For applicants for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, you are required to register for and sit pre-interview at school the Bio-Medical Admissions Test (BMAT). More information can be found online at http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/admission-assessments.
  5. Interviews – these take place in December and, although they are the final part of the admissions process, they are by no means the culmination of it in terms of assessment. We are looking for students with academic potential, and the way in which a candidates engaging with questions posed to them in interviews; as such, interviews will be almost exclusively academic in focus. Interviewers are all trained and prepare thoroughly for each individual candidate. Interview practicalities may differ from college-to-college, and each college will outline processes on their website. Further information on interviews can be found online: http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/interviews/.

For information on the admissions process specific to Jesus please visit http://jcsu.jesus.cam.ac.uk/applying/prospective-students/admissions-process/. The College employs a full-time Schools Liaison Officer (Josie Tiedman) who runs events to support both students and teachers. Please see the ‘Access Initiatives – Teacher Information’ page to find out more, or contact Josie on access@jesus.cam.ac.uk.