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Undergraduate Study


We give applicants lots of opportunities to show us their strengths and potential. We consider each application individually, using all of the following information:

  • academic record
  • school/college reference
  • personal statement
  • any submitted written work
  • how well you do in your written admissions assessment
  • contextual data
  • performance at interview

All applications are assessed by the Cambridge Colleges. College Admissions Tutors consider all the information available together before making any decisions.

Each part of the application is important, but we are most interested in your academic ability, as shown in your most recent and relevant performance. Each applicant is different. The parts of an application where an applicant shows their potential can vary.

We don't consider any part of your application on its own. For example, how well you do in your admissions test is not the only factor that determines the outcome of your application.

What happens if your College is impressed by your application but doesn’t have a place for you

We want to make sure that the best applicants each year are offered a place, no matter which College they originally applied to or were allocated to.

Your application will be assessed by the College you applied to in your UCAS application, or by the College you were allocated to if you selected the open option.

Your College may be impressed by your application but not have a place for you. If this is the case, they may put your application forward to be considered by other Colleges as well. Colleges would rather admit a strong applicant that applied to another College, than a weaker applicant who applied to them directly or was allocated to them.

To do this, we follow processes (known at Cambridge as ‘pools’) where Colleges can:

  1. look at applications that were assessed by another College first
  2. consider these applicants for courses where they have places left
  3. make offers to the best applicants

This means that you may get an offer from a College that you didn’t originally apply to. Find out what happens and when below.

What happens if Cambridge makes you an offer

Once we’ve assessed your application, you may be offered a place. Find out more about what to do when you are told the outcome of your application to Cambridge.

The pools

What happens in January (Winter Pool)

If you applied in October and were interviewed in December, your application may be put forward to be considered by other Colleges in January.

A few applicants in the pool may be asked to attend another interview in early January. Please note, the interview format at our Colleges differs for 2024 entry. The interview format at the College you apply to, whether online or in-person, will not impact your chances of being made an offer via the Winter Pool.

We will let you know our decision when all applications have been reviewed. If no College can offer you a place, your original College will tell you of this decision by the end of January.

For 2022 entry, 750 pooled applicants were offered a place by a different College to the one they applied to or were allocated to.

What happens in August (Summer Pool)

In August, Colleges will consider a small number of applicants for any remaining places that they have. This happens after applicants receive their exam results and we know which offer holders have met the conditions of their offer.

Colleges will consider your application again if you:

  • are an offer holder who has narrowly missed the conditions of your original offer


What happens after the March application deadline for mature students (Spring Pool)

If you applied in the mature student March application round, your application may be put forward for consideration by the other mature Colleges.

If you are not offered a place by a different mature College, the College you originally applied to will let you know by the end of April.

UCAS College campus codes

Code College
A Christ's College
B Churchill College
C Clare College
D Downing College
E Emmanuel College
F Fitzwilliam College
G Girton College
H Homerton College
I St Edmund's College
J Jesus College
K King's College
L Lucy Cavendish College
M Magdalene College
N Newnham College
O Murray Edwards College
P Pembroke College
Q Queens' College
R Robinson College
S St Catharine's College
T Trinity College
U Peterhouse
V Selwyn College
W Wolfson College
X St John's College
Y Gonville and Caius
Z Corpus Christi College
3 Sidney Sussex College
4 Trinity Hall
7 Hughes Hall
9 Open application

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