The 2015 Essay Competitions are now open!
The 2015 essay questions and details about how to apply for each competition can be found using the links below but please note the following general guidelines:
Essay titles, application forms and cover sheets can be found using the links below:
Winners and highly commended entrants will be notified by letter in early June 2015. Information will also be posted on this website.
For many years, Peterhouse has been proud to organise the Vellacott History essay competition and the Kelvin Science essay competition was set up in 1999 to try to duplicate its success. In 2008 we instituted the Thomas Campion English essay competition, kindly funded by the Friends of Peterhouse. All three competitions have a top prize of £500 and a second prize of £250; several further essays will be highly commended.
All three prizes have the following aims:
The standard of entries is always high and the choice of winners difficult but the judges are particularly looking for originality of thought, a clear writing style, breadth of research and source materials (including books, websites and other sources) and a critical approach to those sources. They are also looking for a clear structure to the essay.
We are aware that websites that purport to offer to write or complete essays for this and other competitions exist. Entries composed in this way are fraudulent and will not be accepted. It is also worth noting that many of the websites themselves appear to be scamming operations.
Further details are available from the Admissions Office on 01223 338223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Hong (Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls) who considered the quote ‘And if a man considers the original of this great ecclesiastical dominion, he will easily perceive that the papacy is no other than the ghost of the deceased Roman Empire, sitting crowned upon the grave thereof…’ (Thomas Hobbes).
John Cremin (King Edward VI Aston School for Boys) who commented on this passage from Mary McCarthy’s The Group (1963): ‘In an economy of plenty and leisure, which the machine had already made feasible, everybody would only have to work a few hours a day.’
Alasdair Donovan (The Institute of Education, Dublin)
Lucia Keijer-Palau (Woldingham School)
Fionn Montell-Boyd (Wimbledon High School)
Theo Serlin (City of London School)
Natasha Y Santos (Badminton School)
Eleanor Sheekey (Highcliffe Sixth Form) who considered why women live longer than men.
Kristian Stokkereit (Alton College) who wrote an essay on his experiment which proved whether force really is proportional to mass times acceleration.
Abra Ganz (Pate’s Grammar School)
Aoife Walls (St Dominic’s High School)
Nicolas Weninger (St Paul’s School)
Vittoria Forliti (Dallam School) who considered whether interpretation was more than ‘the revenge of the intellect upon art.’ (SUSAN SONTAG)
Jemma Slingo (Northampton High School for Girls) who wrote an essay on the literary treatment of gender, based on the quotation: ‘There is no such thing as a masculine mystery...Mystery belongs to the slave’ (SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR)
Kathryn Cussons (St Paul’s Girls’ School)
Rebecca Hutchings (Bedford Girls’ School)
Oonagh Madden-Wells (Burntwood School)
George Rayson (Pate’s Grammar School)
We would like to reiterate how high the standard of entries was and how hard it was to choose our winners. We would not wish those not mentioned above to lose interest in applying to Cambridge on the basis of this competition. If you have any questions about applying to Cambridge, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Admissions Office; unfortunately, we are unable to give feedback on the essays submitted to this competition.