Clare College Cambridge


You may have questions about aspects of our admissions process which are not answered elsewhere on these pages. Here are some commonly asked questions, and answers to them...

What if I am not yet 18 years of age?

Our normal policy at Clare is that students should be 18 by the beginning of the academic year in which they are admitted. But we are prepared to consider each case on its individual merits. We could therefore consider you for a place, but we would need to assure ourselves - after interviewing you and studying your application in its entirety - that we thought you mature enough to cope with the demands of the course. Deferred entry is also a possibility. we recommend that you contact us before making an application if you will not be 18 by the start of the academic year.

I'd like to apply for deferred entry - will this place me at a disadvantage?

Applications for deferred entry are considered in the same way as all other applications. It makes no difference to candidates’ chances of receiving an offer. You can read more about the College's views on deferred entry here.

I have a clash with my pre-interview admissions test. What should I do?

The admissions test is a crucial part of the application process, therefore it is very unlikely that you will be shortlisted without it. If for any reason there is an issue with the timings of the test, you should contact the Cambridge Admissions Admissions Testing (CAAT) for advice.

What if I can't find a test centre?

If you are unabel to locate a test centre for the pre-interview assessment, you should contact CAAT here for further advice.

What is your policy on 'non-traditional' A-level subjects, such as Art, History of Art, Media Studies or Theatre Studies? Could they form part of an offer?

We do take these subjects seriously, and they could certainly form part of an offer. A-level Art and History of Art courses vary, and those with a strong academic component are acceptable in an Arts application. We feel that Media Studies and Theatre Studies have a very useful interdisciplinary character, but they are only considered when continued with more academic subjects.

Please note that we do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking in our offer.

If I miss my offer, but am willing to resit some modules in order to obtain my required grades, would you then be likely to confirm my offer for the following year?

Offers are made for the exams taken at the time specified on the UCAS form. You would be welcome to apply again, but it would be as a post-A-Level candidate, in competition with all others applying in that year.

Is it a disadvantage if several people from one school apply to the same College?

Absolutely not. We treat all applicants as individuals. Indeed, we are often unaware that applicants are from the same school until we compile our records after offers have been made.

How important is my record at GCSE?

Your GCSE record is one of the factors that we take into account in assessing an application. Almost all of our applicants have 5 or more As, or A*s at GCSE, and many have done considerably better than that. However, we do also understand that individuals develop academically at very different rates, and that some who have performed indifferently at GCSE will go on to do much better in their final school/college exams. Good school/college references and A-level predictions together with your own enthusiasm for the subject and high grades at AS level (where appropriate) can therefore offset a less good performance at GCSE.

Clare does not have a teaching fellow in my subject. Does that matter?

No. In some small subjects, a teaching fellow can be shared by a number of Colleges as Director of Studies. 

Does Clare favour candidates from particular types of school?

Clare draws its lively and diverse student body from every type of school and college and the proportion of students from state and independent schools reflects the proportion of applicants. At Clare, candidates matter to us above all as individuals, and in assessing them we look carefully at every aspect of their academic and educational experience. We want simply to attract candidates with the best potential in their subject, as measured by their academic record, their school/college references, their performance at interview and the written work that we look at as part of the interview process.

I'm worried about the cost implications of attending interview. Is there any support available?

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.

Is there any financial support for current undergraduates at Clare?

Our aim at Clare is that no-one should be deterred from applying because of the costs involved, and that, once admitted, no-one should be prevented by money difficulties from getting the most out of their time here. You can read more about the support available to our students here.