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Undergraduate Study


How do we select students for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools?

The Summer Schools are very competitive and we receive far more applications than we have places available. Each subject strand has a limited number of spaces and you will be considered alongside all applicants in the subject you applied for. In addition to our eligibility criteria, we use a range of contextual information to select students for our Summer Schools.

These are not the same as those used by Admissions Tutors at the University, and students who do not receive a place on the Summer School should not view this as a commentary on their potential to successfully apply for a place here at Cambridge. 

As part of our continuing commitment to widening participation in higher education, first priority will be given to students who are (or have been) looked after, accommodated, or in care. We then select students and prioritise students based on the following criteria:

  • Students who have been eligible for free school meals in the last six years
  • Students who belong to an under-represented ethnic group:
    • Black African or Black Caribbean
    • Pakistani or Bangladeshi
    • Roma, Gypsy or Traveller
  • Students who have experienced disruption in their education such as (but not limited to):
    • Medical/health issues (including mental health), particularly those that have resulted in long or extended periods of absence (over eight weeks) from school in the last six years
    • Bereavement of a close family member (eg parent/carer) in the last six years
    • Being a young carer
    • Becoming a parent
    • Being an asylum seeker or refugee
    • Becoming estranged from close family members (eg parents/carers)
    • Moving schools more than once in the last six years
  • Resident in areas with relatively low participation in higher education (using POLAR4, a measure used by the Office for Students that identifies electoral wards with relatively low levels of progression to higher education among young people)
  • Attend a school with a low rate of progression to higher-tariff universities or below-average exam performance within the nation (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) that the school is based

Generally, an individual who meets more of these criteria will be prioritised however not all criteria is weighted in the same way. It is possible for an individual to meet a high number of these criteria but still not receive a place on the summer school due to the high level of competition for places.

What happens if I'm not selected?

Every year we have thousands of students who we think would make excellent candidates for highly-selective universities that we cannot offer a place to on our Summer Schools. 

It should be stressed that the selection criteria for the Summer Schools are quite different to that for entry into the University, so please do not be discouraged if you are not successful.

We would encourage anyone who wants to visit the University and get a taste of what studying here might be like, to consider booking on one of our Subject Masterclasses, or Cambridge Open Days. Our Colleges and Departments also host a variety of outreach events throughout the year, you will find further details on their webpages. 

Contact Us

Cambridge Summer School Team
07840 638822

Most of the common queries that we receive are answered on our Frequently Asked Questions page. Please take a look before contacting us.