The Application Process
Choosing a Course
If you choose to apply to Clare you will need to apply to study a subject that we offer, and check that you meet both our entry requirements and those of the University. Our subject pages list the subjects that we offer, along with our entry requirements and recommendations for A-level and IB-level study. If you are an international student please consult the entry requirements for your country on the University admissions website.
Submit Your Application
You will need to submit your application via UCAS by the 15th of October. The deadline is the same every year, however if you are applying for an Organ Scholarship you will need to submit your application at the beginning of September. If you’re an international applicant, you should also check the University International Applications pages, as earlier deadlines may apply in some circumstances.
Once you have submitted your application, be sure to check both the inbox and spam/junk folders of the email address you have given in your UCAS application regularly, as this is the email address our admissions office and the University will use to contact you.
What Happens Next
Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email from the University with instructions to complete an additional application form. It is very important that you complete this by the specified deadline.
Most subjects will require you to take either a ‘pre-registered’ assessment or a ‘Cambridge College registered’ assessment as part of the application process.
Pre-registered assessments are taken at an authorised assessment centre and are used as part of the shortlisting process for interviews. These assessments are administered by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing. Please note that you will need to register in advance in order to take these assessments. The deadlines to register are often well before the 15 October UCAS application deadline. Check the University pages on pre-registered assessments for the relevant registration deadlines.
Cambridge College registered assessments are taken by applicants after they have been shortlisted and prior to interviews.
In addition to assessments, some subjects will require you to submit examples of written work or a portfolio. Further information from the University about the requirements for written work can be found on their admissions pages.
Every application is considered carefully by the Admissions Tutors before decisions are made about who to interview. For subjects requiring a pre-registered assessment, your performance in the pre-registered assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.
For those invited to interview, these take place during the first three weeks of December every year, so please keep this timeframe clear if you apply to Cambridge. If you have an unavoidable commitment in this timeframe, please let us know at least one month in advance. We will do our best to accommodate particular scheduling needs, but cannot make any guarantees.
The timing and format of interviews varies by subject, but most applicants will have 2-3 interviews lasting 20-30 minutes.
Preparing for interviews:
If you are already studying the subject you wish to study at university then we encourage you to read critically about your subject, exploring it beyond the limitations of your school syllabus. What is going on in your chosen subject? Why you do you want to study it, and why you want to study it at Cambridge? If you are applying for a subject that is new to you, you will need to have researched enough to know why you want to study it.
Interviewers know you may be nervous. They are not trying to catch you out; they are trying to challenge you to think for yourself. Often there are no right or wrong answers to the questions, and the way you arrive at an answer may be of greater interest than the answer itself.
A typical example of how an interview might be structured can be viewed on the Clare Schools YouTube Channel.
There is no blueprint for the ideal student. We look for academic potential, self-motivation and enthusiasm for the subject. Interviews are the final piece of the jigsaw that shows us which candidates to select for places at Cambridge.
Decisions & Feedback
Final decisions are sent out at the end of January. When deciding whether to offer an applicant a place at Clare, the Admissions Tutors carefully evaluate each applicant in light of the gathered field. They consider each applicant’s written application, any admissions assessments, any written work submitted, and the overall interview performance.
The College will provide feedback, upon request, to applicants who were invited to interview at Clare but were ultimately not offered a place at Cambridge. Details of the feedback process will be communicated along with decision letters. Please note that the College cannot provide feedback to applicants who were not shortlisted for interviews. Further information about the University's complaints and appeals process for admissions is available on their admissions website.