We interview the vast majority of applicants (typically around 85%) each year. Interviews should not be thought of as any more, or any less, important than the other information we collect through the application process, but aim to gather additional information to help us assess your potential and abilities.
Interviews in Cambridge take place during the first three weeks of December and you should aim to keep those dates free. If you are called for interview, we will give you as much notice as possible, but this may only be around two weeks or so. Where possible and appropriate we will offer applicants accommodation and meals in College free of charge. Current undergraduates will be on hand to help you find your way around. Interviews allow us to meet you and assess your ability to think, learn and reflect in a manner similar to the supervision teaching provided at Cambridge. We are looking for candidates with a strong commitment to and ability for their subject, and who have the potential to thrive at the University. For some candidates who are overseas, interviews may be available nearer their home instead. Applicants to Arts and Humanities courses who are currently studying in the US may be able to access remote interviewing. We regret that we cannot offer video, Skype or phone interviews to any other candidates.
Financial support for interview travel costs
To enable applicants to come to interview in Cambridge, the Colleges are pleased to provide support for travel costs to students who are in local authority care and/or are currently in receipt of free school meals and who attend a UK maintained sector school/college. Public transport travel costs between £20 and £80 will be reimbursed, and the Colleges will contact eligible applicants directly with further information when they’re invited to interview
The number and length of interviews will vary between courses, but you are likely to have two interviews, each lasting about 30 minutes, with the Admissions Tutor, the Director/s of Studies, and other specialists in your subject. For some subjects a written assessment will be set by the University, or, in a small number of subjects, the College, either prior to or at the time of the interview. If your written assessment is prior to the interview (in November) then a portion of this may used as the springboard for further discussion during the interview (in which case we would provide you with a copy of your answers shortly before the interview, to refresh your memory of what you wrote). Additionally you may be given ‘preparatory study’ before your interview consisting of a piece of text, data or some questions to analyse and prepare answers to and which may be discussed in your interview. In addition, you may be required to send pieces of written school or college work, marked by your teachers, to the Admissions Office before the interview (in November). This will not be used for selection of candidates for interview, but may be used by your interviewers in their preparation of questions that they will ask you. For further details please check the relevant course pages and the University undergraduate admissions website or seek guidance from your school or college and/or the Admissions Team. We strongly recommend the University’s guide to the interview process which includes videos of several mock interviews.
Once we have interviewed all candidates and when the initial process of assessment is completed, there are three possible outcomes for any one application:
- A conditional offer is made;
- Further consideration through the Winter Pool;
- The application is unsuccessful.
All decisions are announced at the same time in early/mid January. If you are unsuccessful, you are welcome to request feedback on your application, which will go to your UCAS referee unless you have specifically told us otherwise. A request for feedback must come from the candidate, unless accompanied by a signed statement from the candidate authorising a parent or guardian to act on their behalf. Feedback letters are written individually using all available information and the interview reports. As such, it may take some time for feedback to reach you or your referee and we thank you for your patience. Decisions will not be reviewed unless it appears, after investigation, that a serious procedural error has occurred. If you wish to pursue a complaint about the admissions process, guidance as to the proper procedure can be found on the University website.