...this is a tried and tested model that works very well. We know that this makes a big difference to aspiration...Since we began to visit regularly our Oxbridge applications have increased markedly and I think that this visit [to Peterhouse] is significant.
Teacher
Students on a school visit eat lunch in Hall

Information for schools

The College welcomes inquiries from schools. We would particularly encourage Heads of Sixth Forms, teachers and HE advisors to get in touch to discuss how best to encourage and support their student(s) in applying to Peterhouse, especially if you are from a school with little or no previous interaction with Cambridge and its colleges. We are also happy to advise on individual applicants, particularly in less straightforward cases.

Martin Thompson and Kathy Purdy are the College’s Schools Liaison Officers. Via the events and opportunities described in the menus below, we develop relationships with schools and individuals, helping teachers to encourage and aid young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to apply to Peterhouse. If you have any queries about Peterhouse, or would like to take advantage of any of the College’s liaison events, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The Admissions Office, Peterhouse, Cambridge, CB2 1RD, United Kingdom.

Email: slo@pet.cam.ac.uk
Tel: 01223 768877/338223

Additional information for teachers, tutors and HE advisors guiding Cambridge applications can be found on the University Undergraduate Admissions website.

Events for Area Link Schools (Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hillingdon)

The majority of undergraduate colleges at Cambridge are linked to at least one Local Education Authority with which they work to improve access to higher education and to Cambridge. Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the London Borough of Hillingdon are linked with Peterhouse. As part of our continued efforts to improve relationships and communication with schools and colleges in these areas, every year Peterhouse holds the below events for state schools. For more information about these events, please contact our Schools Liaison Officer. Note that these links are in no way intended to be prohibitive or restrictive, but rather provide a 'first port of call' for schools and students wishing to find out more about Cambridge and what it can offer.

Visits to Schools

In order to encourage students to consider pursuing Higher Education, and applying to Cambridge in particular, our Schools Liaison Officers go on the road during the spring term to tour our link areas, visiting schools of all types to provide an introduction to Cambridge/University. These visits can be tailored to the needs of your school and made suitable for audiences drawn from Years 10-13. The dates for our 2017 schools tours can be found below:

Hillingdon: 28 Feb-1 March, 3 May - email martin.thompson@pet.cam.uk to book

Oxfordshire: 22-24 February, 13-15 March - email kathy.purdy@pet.cam.ac.uk to book

Nottinghamshire: 22–24 March - email kathy.purdy@pet.cam.ac.uk to book

To request a visit on one of these tours, or if you are already planning an event – perhaps careers or HE related – and would like to request a presence from Cambridge, please feel free to contact us to enquire about our availability.

Residential Event

Every Easter Peterhouse hosts a number of high achieving Year 12 state-schooled students for a two-day visit, including an overnight stay. Students have the opportunity to spend the night in a Cambridge college, meet current undergraduates and teaching staff, experience lectures and other university-style teaching and tour some of the University’s facilities as well as the city itself, all with the aim of demystifying the University of Cambridge and raising aspirations. This year the Residential will take place on 4th-5th April 2017, and applications are open until 16th January 2017.

Taster Days

In the Spring Peterhouse hosts a number of high-aspiring year 12 state-schooled students for three Taster Days. Students will have the opportunity to meet current undergraduates and teaching staff, experience lectures and other university-style teaching and tour some of the University’s facilities, all with the aim of demystifying the University of Cambridge and raising aspirations. This year the Taster Days will take place on 7th March, 8th March, or 26th April 2017. Contact us before 30th January to reserve up to 10 places.

Aspiration Days

In Spring, Peterhouse hosts a number of Year 10 state-schooled students for three Aspiration Days. These activity-packed days are intended to inform students about what university can offer. This is an opportunity for students to find out what a university is, what university life might be like, and why they might enjoy it. It provides a chance to experience subjects and teaching-styles that students may not have come across before, meet undergraduates and explore some of the University and College facilities, all with the aim of demystifying the University of Cambridge and raising aspirations. This year the Aspiration Days will take place on 26th, 27th, 31st Jan or 1st Feb 2017. Contact us before 12th December 2016 to reserve up to 15 places.

Visits to Cambridge

If the above dates don't fit in your timetable, you could consider bringing a school group to one of our Open Days. Alternatively, we are happy to arrange bespoke visits wherever possible, which can include tours of the College and city, perhaps incorporating visits to the University's museums, departments or libraries; presentations about applying to Cambridge or university in general, possibly including a short sample lecture; and activities that aim to inform younger students about university life. Current students and Admissions Tutors may also be available for informal meetings. Please feel free to contact us to enquire about our availability.

Events for all schools

Just because your school isn't in one of our link areas doesn't mean we don't want to hear from you too! All of the opportunities below are available to teachers and students anywhere in the UK.

Teachers' Roadshow

The Colleges of the University of Cambridge are running a series of regional information seminars for teachers and advisers later this term. Hosted by Admissions Tutors and Schools Liaison Officers, these events are designed for teachers and advisers who are new to the Cambridge application process as well as for those who are more experienced. In July 2015, we collaborated with St Peter's College, Oxford to run an Oxford and Cambridge teacher event in Liverpool. In 2014 Peterhouse hosted an event in Nottingham, and one in Oxford the year before that. For information about events taking place across the country, and booking forms, please visit the University website.

Cambridge Admissions Office Teachers' Workshop

This Cambridge-based event is also aimed at teachers, tutors, HE advisers and other staff who are involved in supporting students applying to Higher Education.

The event will enable you to:

  • experience the Cambridge college system first-hand
  • discuss the application and interview procedures
  • share best practice on supporting applicants through interactive workshops
  • explore the undergraduate courses at Cambridge
  • meet Admissions Tutors and other staff involved in admissions and widening participation
  • discuss the University’s position on assessing applicants following reforms to AS and A Level qualifications
  • learn more about how to support highly-able students to take advantage of subject enrichment opportunities beyond their curriculum.

Essay Prizes for year 12s

A great way to stretch intelligent young minds, Peterhouse organises three essay competitions for Year 12 students. These are the Vellacott History Prize, Kelvin Science Prize and Thomas Campion English Prize. The prizes provide opportunities for sixth-form students to attempt the type of independent study they would experience at university and to have it assessed by members of the teaching staff at Peterhouse. Prizes of up to £500 are awarded for the best essays, and 5-7 entrants from each competition are invited to a Prize-giving Lunch in June. The 2017 competitions will launch in November 2016.

Open Days

Peterhouse runs a number of Open Days throughout the year for students wishing to spend a day experiencing the College and University. If you cannot attend these Open Days but would like to visit the College then please contact the Admissions Team to make an appointment.

Visits to Schools

In order to encourage students to consider pursuing Higher Education, and applying to Cambridge in particular, our Schools Liaison Officers can visit schools of all types across the UK to provide an introduction to Cambridge/University. If we at Peterhouse can't make it, we can put you in touch with somebody from Cambridge who can. These visits can be tailored to the needs of your school and made suitable for audiences drawn from Years 10-13. Likewise, if you are already planning an event – perhaps careers or HE related – please feel free to contact us to enquire about our availability. Alternatively, CUSU's Target Teachers initiative allows teachers to request a visit from a local current student of the University.

Visits to Cambridge

The best way for prospective students to find out about Peterhouse and Cambridge is to come and see it for themselves! If the Open Day dates don't fit with your timetable, we are happy to arrange bespoke visits wherever possible, which can include tours of the College and city, perhaps incorporating visits to the University's museums, departments or libraries; presentations about applying to Cambridge or university in general, possibly including a short sample lecture; and activities that aim to inform younger students about university life. Current students and Admissions Tutors may also be available for informal meetings. Please feel free to contact us to enquire about our availability.

Year 12 Shadowing Scheme

Peterhouse participates enthusiastically in the Shadowing Scheme, run by the Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU). The Shadowing Scheme is specifically for students with little family experience of university, students who have great reservations about applying to Cambridge or students whose school rarely sends students to University. Successful applicants are matched up with a current University student who they 'shadow' for three days in January/February, giving them a real insight into the Cambridge experience.

Mailing list

If you are a teacher or advisor and are interested in receiving emails about events and opportunities for you and your students, please contact the Admissions Team to ask to join our mailing list.

FAQs for Teachers
FAQs for applicants and offer-holders can be found on our applicant FAQ page.

What age groups does Peterhouse work with?

Most of our work is done with years 10-13, since our experience suggests that these are the years when students tend to start thinking about subject/university choice. However, you know your students better than we do, and we are happy to work with younger students if you feel they would benefit from it.

My school/college is in your link area - what opportunities are available to us?

Peterhouse's link areas are Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire and the London Borough of Hillingdon. Some of the events and opportunities available at Peterhouse are only available to state schools in those areas, and we've dedicated a section of this website (above) to this. You can, of course, participate in any of the other opportunities available at Peterhouse as well (also above). All schools in our link areas are welcome to request a visit as part of our schools tours.

My school/college is not in your link area - what opportunities are available to us?

You can get involved in anything in the above section for 'all schools' - we are delighted to make links with as many schools as possible, so please do contact us and get involved with our events, regardless of where you are in the country. Alternatively, you can contact your link college to see if they offer anything specific for your part of the UK. Do get in touch if you would like to subscribe to our twice-termly newsletter promoting events and opportunities relating to the University of Cambridge.

I am new to advising Oxbridge applications - how do I find out more?

The University of Cambridge offers a number of events aimed specifically at advising teachers. If you have any questions about Cambridge, Peterhouse, our courses or the application process, our Admissions Team are here to help.

I advise year 11s on A level choices - how do I help them make the right decisions for them?

Every student is different, and it's important that they take their time to make the right decision for them. The most important decision they will make in their University career is which subject they will study at University, and in some cases the decisions they make at the end of GCSE can affect which opportunities are left open to them when they reach the end of sixth-form. The Subject Matters events and resources provide guidance on advising prospective Cambridge students, and the Russell Group have created a website which provides more general advice on A level choices for competitive university applications. We at Peterhouse are happy to help in any way we can - please do get in touch if you have any questions.

What type of students should I be encouraging to apply to Cambridge?

At Cambridge we are looking for academically able students who are passionate about their subject with the potential to excel in the teaching environment we offer. Our typical offers (depending on the course applied for) are A*AA-A*A*A, so if you have a student who looks like they might achieve this, we want to hear from them! We are looking for students with the potential to flourish at Cambridge and who have a strong interest in their subject. There is no particular 'type' of student we are looking for and we are not looking for 'well-rounded' applicants (irrelevant extracurricular activities are not considered in our application process).

Be careful not to exclude from your cohort of Cambridge candidates those who have not performed that well in their GCSEs. Here at Cambridge we don't have any GCSE requirements (except in Medicine, where we require C grades in sciences GCSEs) and some of our best students are those who didn't 'up their game' until they reached A level/IB age. Students on an upward trajectory should be encouraged to think about Cambridge as much as the high-fliers who have been excelling at school from a young age - remember, it is potential that we are looking for as much as academic achievement.

If you have an applicant whose paper application does not match their potential for reasons beyond their control, we also want to hear about that through our Extenuating Circumstances Form, so we can put their application in the proper context.

What can I do to stretch my academically able students?

In terms of extra-curricular activities, we are only interested in those that are relevant to the subject your student is applying to study with us. However, super-curricular activities are really helpful for prospective students - largely so they can confirm their own interest in their subject, and find out what really fascinates and excites them. Super-curricular exploration should therefore be led by your students' own interests, but there are a number of ways you can help them with this. Cambridge University runs a number of Summer Schools, Challenge Days and HE events, and Peterhouse offers a number of essay competitions, all of which are great ways of encouraging supra-curricular explorations with a bit of structure. A number of Cambridge colleges tweet super-curricular resources under the #ExploreYourSubject hashtag.

Which is better - A levels or the IB?

The answer to this really depends on the student in question. Some students prefer the breadth of the IB, and others prefer the depth offered by A levels - here at Cambridge, we don't have a preference, and consider applicants from both qualification systems equally, on their own merits. The typical conditional offers for students taking A levels (A*AA-A*A*A) and the IB (40-42 overall and 776/777 at Higher Level) are set following research by the University which indicates that students who achieve these typical offers go on to perform similarly at Cambridge. Most people who are set an offer go on to meet, and indeed exceed it. It is also worth pointing out that these are only typical offers and all offers are set on a case-by-case basis, in light of the candidate's circumstances, performance and academic profile. Some people may receive less strict offer and others may receive stiffer offers.

Should my students take the EPQ?

The EPQ is not currently typically used as part of a conditional offer at Cambridge, but this isn't to say it's not useful and we don't notice it. The EPQ is a great opportunity for students to explore something about their favourite subject in depth, to foster their own passion for that subject and to practise the kind of independent study they would be expected to undertake at university. It can also be a topic for discussion during interviews, giving us the chance to have an academic discussion with your student about a topic they are familiar with and excited about.

What is STEP? How can I help my students prepare?

The Sixth Term Examination Paper in mathematics is used as part of conditional offers in Mathematics, Maths with Physics and Computer Science with Mathematics. It may also be used for conditional offers in Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Computer Science with Natural Sciences. The papers are designed to be substantially more challenging than A levels. Candidates are advised to obtain past papers for practice, and it is hoped they will be able to obtain assistance from their teachers. We do not expect candidates to receive extensive additional teaching for STEP, and ask applicants to indicate how much additional support their school is able to give on the SAQ, so we can allocate support appropriately. The Faculty offers a range of resources to help students prepare for STEP.

...this is a tried and tested model that works very well. We know that this makes a big difference to aspiration...Since we began to visit regularly our Oxbridge applications have increased markedly and I think that this visit [to Peterhouse] is significant.
Teacher