Information for parents, carers and supporters
There are lots of ways in which can support your child with their application to Peterhouse. Applying to University can be a stressful time and it is understandable that you, their parent, carer or supporter, are looking for advice. We are happy to hear from you if you have any questions regarding Cambridge, Peterhouse, the application process or our courses. Advice from the University Admissions Office can also be found at their website.
Cambridge is a collegiate university, meaning that it is composed of both Faculties/Departments and a number of Colleges. All students must belong to a College in addition to their subject-specific faculty or department. The University and its Departments are responsible for organising and examining the courses through lectures, practical work and seminars and it is the University which awards degrees. The Colleges act as a student's 'home' for their time at Cambridge and provide accommodation, meals, social activities, pastoral support and financial support (where appropriate) in addition to some teaching and academic support.
The College a student is part of does not have a large effect on their studies - the academic standard is uniformly high across the University and most teaching is organised centrally. All Colleges offer supervisions, with Colleges sharing supervisors where necessary to allow all students across the University the chance to pursue their interests. All of the Colleges are much more similar than they are different and offer their students similar facilities to live, work and socialise. The choice of College is a personal choice and applicants should choose somewhere they feel at home. We do not recommend choosing a College by agonising over application statistics (there are strict moderation processes which ensure all applicants have an equal chance of admission to the University, regardless of which College they applied to). The best way to find out about Colleges is by visiting us, ideally on an Open Day when you have the chance to talk to Admissions staff, teaching Fellows and current students. If you cannot make it to an Open Day, the Admissions Team would be happy to arrange an individual visit at another time.
The application process for Cambridge (along with Oxford) is a little different from that for other universities. Applications are still made through UCAS, but there is an earlier deadline of 18:00 on the 15th October (rather than the 15th January which is the deadline for most other UK universities). Applicants can only apply to one course at either Oxford or Cambridge. The University of Cambridge ask for additional information through the My Cambridge Application Form and, if applicable, the Extenuating Circumstances Form. Candidates can either apply directly to a College or submit an 'open' application where no preference of College is stated and a computer algorithm allocates students to a College. Whether or not a candidate applies to a College or submits an open application has no effect on their chance of admission.
We aim to interview all applicants who are on track to achieve our typical conditional offers of A*AA in the Arts/Humanities (except Economics which is A*A*A) and A*A*A in the Sciences (40-42 with 776 or 777 at Higher Level in the IB). This means we invite the majority of candidates to interview (about 85%). We aim to invite candidates to interview in good time to make travel arrangements although, due to the tight turnaround between applications and interview, invitations to interview may only be sent a week or two in advance (particularly in Medicine, where we may need to wait for BMAT results to be released before we can finalise any decisions). It is occasionally possible to rearrange interviews but it is in the candidate's best interest to avoid making any unbreakable commitments during the first two or three weeks in December.
Frequently asked questions concerning applications and assessments can be found on our applicants' FAQ page.
How can we find out more about Peterhouse?
Parents and carers are welcome to attend our Open Days, however please note that if sessions are oversubscribed then priority will be given to prospective applicants. Unfortunately it is not possible to offer parents accommodation on our Open Days. If you can't make it to one of our Open Days, the Admissions Team are happy to answer any questions by phone or email.
How can we help our son or daughter choose the right course?
The choice of course will have arguably the biggest impact on your son or daughter's time at university. They should consider their own interests and abilities and choose a subject because they want to study it. Peterhouse offers a range of courses and further information on each can be found on the University website and on the websites of the individual faculties and departments.
What kind of job can my son or daughter get after they graduate?
It is also important to bear in mind that their choice of course won't limit their options later and Cambridge graduates go on to an incredible range of careers from each of our courses, thanks in part to the range of transferable skills all of our courses develop. A Cambridge degree requires hard work and intelligence, and this is recognised by employers all over the world. All Cambridge students are automatically life-long members of the University Careers Service, so whether your son or daughter is looking for work placements over the University vacation, or needs help with their CV after graduation, or decides they want a career change 10 years after graduating, the UCS's doors are always open.
My son or daughter has additional needs - will they be able to find support?
We encourage all applicants to disclose any disabilities/learning difficulties they have as part of their application. If they declare this on UCAS, we will send them an adjustment form so we can make appropriate arrangements for interview (access requirements, larger print, longer time in tests, etc). If your son or daughter has been disadvantaged through circumstances outside their control which have limited their academic achievements, they can ask a teacher/doctor/lawyer/social worker or other relevant professional to submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form on their behalf. This allows us to assess their achievements in the appropriate context. The University also provides additional support for applicants and current students, for example through the Disability Resource Centre.
How should candidates prepare for interview?
Details of what to expect at interview can be found on our pages for current applicants. In general, candidates should be able to tackle the questions they are asked based on the knowledge they have through their schoolwork and no extra preparation is required. The interviewers will be looking to see how the candidates can apply their existing knowledge to new and unfamiliar problems, and if they can back up their arguments logically and with evidence, rather than looking to test their depth of their knowledge.
What financial support is available?
Information about financial support is available on our Finance at Peterhouse pages. Most support is organised centrally, through the government, Student Finance and the University, but Peterhouse does provide grants due to unexpected financial need, scholarships and book and travel grants to students. The University has made a commitment that no Home student should be deterred for financial reasons. In fact, since accommodation is provided by Colleges for the entire length of the undergraduate courses, being a student of Cambridge can often work out cheaper than being a student elsewhere.
What other support is available at Peterhouse?
We are proud of our tight-knit community and we look to provide as much support as necessary, in whatever form we can. As a small College we are able to pay a lot of attention to detail, so your son or daughter will be looked after as an individual rather than just another student. All students are assigned two members of academic staff at the beginning of their time with us who remain responsible for that student until they graduate. One of these is a Director of Studies ('DoS'), who is a Fellow in the student's subject, responsible for the student's academic progress. The other is a Tutor, who is Fellow in another subject, and is responsible for the student's pastoral care, who can represent the student should they face difficulties. Your son or daughter's Tutor is there to act as the first port of call for any problems relating to finance, health or personal issues or indeed academic issues which cannot be discussed with the Director of Studies. Finally, the Cambridge SU and the Peterhouse JCR (i.e. College Students' Union) both elect members of the student body to act as Welfare Officers, who represent the best interests of students to the University or College.
What is the accommodation like?
Information about the accommodation can be found in our 'Life at Peterhouse' section. At Peterhouse we guarantee our students accommodation onsite for the length of their undergraduate course. All of our undergraduate accommodation is within 3 minutes walk of the dining hall, bar and common room and less than 10 minutes walk from the centre of the city. Most rooms are singles with bathrooms and kitchen facilities shared with around 4 other students, other rooms are en-suite or have shared living areas (with separate bedrooms) so students can choose to live with a friend after their first year. We will never make students share, and there is no shared first year accommodation.
We work on the assumption that all students will live in so students don't have to apply for accommodation as at other universities. We will email offer-holders in June/July to ask about their preferences so we can find a room which will suit.
Being on the College site means that our accommodation is very secure. The Porters' Lodge is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and our Porters carry out regular patrols of the site, as well as acting as friendly figures about College who can give advice on where to go in town, how to fix a broken bike, deliver post, or administer first aid if necessary.
What is the food like?
Information about meals can be found in our 'Life at Peterhouse' section.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no 'typical Cambridge student' and the same is true of Peterhouse students.