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Cambridge Sutton Trust Summer Schools Application

Applications for the 2018 Sutton Trust Summer Schools are now closed!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find some Frequently Asked Questions relating to the Sutton Trust Summer Schools at Cambridge.

Why do you have your selection criteria?

The aim of the Summer School is to encourage students to apply to some of the UK’s top higher education institutions. Research conducted by the Sutton Trust and a number of other agencies has identified a number of different factors that can influence how likely a particular student is to progress into higher education. Our Summer Schools are designed to help these students overcome any potential barriers to achieving their full potential.  

What if I like the look of the Summer School but don’t want to apply to Cambridge?

While a number of students that come to Cambridge in the summer do go on to apply to the University, this is not something we consider as part of your application and is not the focus of the week. If you like the sound of our course and would enjoy spending a week with students who are similarly enthusiastic about your subject, then please apply.

How long will I spend in the academic departments?

Each subject will have over twenty hours of teaching time during the week. You should expect to be in the departments between 9.00am and 5.00pm. This schedule can be tiring but gives you a good idea of what life at a highly-selective university is like and will hopefully prove to be a really useful and enjoyable experience.  

What kind of things will I do?

The exact timetable on each Summer School will vary but most subjects combine lecture style activities with more hands-on and interactive sessions. In the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, you may be asked to produce presentations or be supervised in smaller groups, in our STEM courses you may spend time completing a project or working in a laboratory. The idea of the Summer Schools is to give you an insight into what studying that subject at university would be like, so be prepared to come across new concepts and to learn in new and hopefully interesting ways.

Is there a cost to attend?

The costs of the Summer School are covered by the University so that it is completely free for you to attend. In addition to your food, accommodation and activities, we also book your train tickets to and from the Summer School, so there is no upfront cost to you. You may choose to bring a small amount of money for a souvenir or some additional snacks, but all the costs of the event are covered.

What do I need to bring?

We will send out a complete checklist to participants in the summer but you won’t need to bring anything other than comfortable clothes (there may be a lot of walking) and toiletries for the week.  Students who want to take part in the evening sporting events would be advised to bring trainers and suitable clothes. There will be a more formal dinner on the last evening of the Summer School but there is no need to bring formal clothes – all of the student CAMbassadors and the Summer School team will be in their t-shirts.

Do I need to do any preparation in advance?

For most subjects, there’s nothing to do in advance. We’ll send you an idea of the timetable beforehand but the courses assume no knowledge of the area beyond things you may have already covered in your current syllabuses, where relevant. For some subjects, you might be asked to take a look at some preparatory work in advance. In these cases, some of the teaching on the week will be based on this material. You will be sent any preparatory work in mid-June, giving you plenty of time to complete it once you’ve finished any school or college exams!

I'm currently studying at a school outside of the UK, can I still apply?

All eligible applicants must be studying at a state-maintained school in the UK. Students of any nationality studying outside of the UK will not be eligible to apply.

Will I get the chance to explore other subjects or visit some of the Colleges?

It’s not possible to attend more than one subject or to drop-in on another subject for the day as the timetables are based on a full week. The weeks are staffed by some of our undergraduate students who study a range of different subjects and they will be more than happy to share their experiences of studying here. It will be possible to briefly visit some Colleges during the week but there is limited free time. If you would like to find out about a range of subject courses or explore Cambridge’s Colleges in detail, you would be best to attend an Open Day.

Can I apply for the Summer Schools if I attended an independent school previously but am now attending a state school for sixth form?

No, unfortunately, this programme is intended for students from state schools only.

Is it first-come, first-serve?

We will not look at any applications until the deadline on 8 March 2018 has passed. It makes no difference whether you apply at the beginning of January or the beginning of March, so long as your application arrives before 8 March 2018 (and your teacher verification arrives in time).

Can I apply for the Summer Schools if I attend an independent school with a bursary or scholarship?

No, unfortunately, this programme is intended for students from state schools only.

I’ve missed the deadline. Can I still apply or be put on a reserve list?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept any applications after 8 March 2018. There are, however, plenty of other opportunities to visit the University. You can book on a Subject Masterclass, Department open day, College open day, or the University’s general Open Days in the summer.

What is the teacher confirmation form? Who needs to complete it and do they need to write me a reference?

The teacher confirmation form needs to be completed to verify and approve your application for a place on the Summer School. Information for teachers is available from the Sutton Trust Summer School website. Teachers do not write a reference but they are given the opportunity to provide information on any extenuating circumstances that might be deemed important for us to be made aware. 

How likely am I to get a place?

The Summer Schools are very competitive and we receive far more applications than we have places available. When we review applications, we use a number of criteria set out by the Sutton Trust. Details on the eligibility criteria and our selection process can be found on our website.

I’m eligible to apply but I only meet one of the selection criteria. Is it still worth me putting in an application?

The average participant in the 2017 Summer Schools did meet more than two of the priority criteria. However, the application form takes no more than 10 minutes to complete so you have nothing to lose by putting in an application!  We would also encourage you to consider booking on a Subject Masterclass, Department open day, College open day, or the University’s general Open Days in the summer. You can come on any (or all) of these events while still applying for the Summer School.

Does attending a Summer School increase my chances of getting a place at Cambridge?

Applications to the University are completely separate from the Summer Schools and use different criteria for selection purposes. Admissions Tutors will not know whether an applicant has attended a Summer School unless you choose to mention it in your personal statement. Attending a Summer School at Cambridge will give you an opportunity to explore your chosen subject in detail and beyond your current curriculum, or to discover a new subject for the first time. We hope that this experience will be useful to you as you consider your options and that it will help you to feel more confident about your decisions.

Equally, being unsuccessful in a Summer School application does not correlate to the likelihood of being accepted to Cambridge as an undergraduate: we use very different criteria and it is in no way a statement about your academic record or potential.  There are many ways to find out more about the University, its courses and to read around your chosen subject: you’ll find suggestions of where to start on the ‘resources’ tabs of the course outlines.

I didn’t get a place but I’m still really keen. Can I be added to a reserve list?

We already operate a short reserve list and you will have been told if you have been selected as a reserve. Instead, we’d encourage you to make the most of one of the other ways to find out more about the University.

How do I apply?

The application form is run by the Sutton Trust. There is a link from each of the subject pages and on the Sutton Trust Summer Schools website.

I can’t make those dates, are there other ways to experience my subject at Cambridge?

There are lots of ways to explore the University. Outlines and useful links on all of our courses can be found on our website. The University runs Subject Masterclasses, which are day events for students interested in particular subjects. The Departments and Colleges also hold open days – in addition to the general Open Days in the summer – where you can get a feel for the University. All of these events are open to book on our website and we would encourage you to book on to any events that appeal to you, even if you do apply for the Summer Schools.                 

Summer Schools film

Contact Summer Schools

Cambridge Summer School Team
01223 332201

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