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Corpus Christi College University of Cambridge

How to Apply

At Corpus we take a holistic approach to making decisions about which students to admit – looking at the individual as a whole. Like other colleges, we consider public exam results, admissions tests, personal statements, school references, submitted work, contextual data and interview performance.

As with most other UK universities, you can apply to study at Corpus via the online UCAS system. Read a clear overview of How to Apply on the University website.

And here are a few tips from our admissions office to help you prepare an application and know what to expect at the interview.

The Personal Statement

Time to blow your own trumpet. The UCAS personal statement is your chance to tell us (and other universities): why you? What makes you a good candidate for a place in your chosen subject? Why do you want to study it?

At Cambridge we’re keen to hear how you pursue your interest in the subject – not just in class but outside school too. This could involve:

  • extra reading
  • attending or downloading lectures
  • academic competitions, such as the UKMT for mathematics  
  • relevant work experience (for Medicine and Architecture)

Tell us about these kinds of ‘supra-curricular’ activities throughout your personal statement. Any good university is more interested in these than in extra-curricular pursuits such as sports, music or drama.

If you’re applying for different courses at different universities, you might find it hard to tailor your UCAS personal statement accordingly. Don’t worry – after you submit your UCAS application, you can also complete a Cambridge-specific form called the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ). This includes space for an additional personal statement if you’d like to write specifically about the Cambridge course.

The Interviews

Nerve-wracking though some people find them, the interviews are a great opportunity for you to show us your ability, aptitude and interest for your chosen subject.

At Corpus we interview around 80% of candidates, mostly in the first half of December. We try to give you as much notice as possible beforehand.

You have two interviews, conducted by subject specialists, and there are usually two academics in each interview. Everything is held on the same day. Some overseas applicants may be interviewed in their own or a neighbouring country – read more about International Student applications.

All applicants receive free meals while at Corpus and, depending on your circumstances, you may be offered free overnight accommodation here. Helpful Corpus undergraduates will be on hand to show you around, take you into meals and try to put you at ease. They’ve been through it!

Financial support for interview travel costs

To enable applicants to come to interview in Cambridge, we 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 we will contact eligible applicants directly with further information when they're invited to interview.

What do the interviews involve?

The interviews often take the form of mini-supervisions (College-based teaching sessions) where we look to see how you’re likely to respond to this style of teaching.

The type of interview varies depending on the subject. For example, in a maths or science interview, you should expect to do some writing such as solving equations or sketching curves. For a humanities subject, you’re likely to be given a text for discussion during the interview.

Please remember the process is less about ‘getting the right answer’ (there may not even be one) and much more about showing how you can work towards a solution to an unfamiliar concept or problem.

This video from the Cambridge Admissions office gives you a great sense of how we usually conduct admissions interviews.

 

Getting ready for interview (deep breath)

  • Carefully re-read your personal statement and any written work you have submitted.
  • Think in detail about the course at Cambridge. What about it attracts you and matches your aptitudes and interests?
  • Revise what you have already studied and try to read and further develop your interest in the subject.
  • Expect to be asked focused and challenging questions, which reflect the style of teaching and learning at Cambridge. Be prepared to talk about academic work you’ve completed in the last year or two.
  • Wear something warm – it’s cold in December! Beyond that, it’s your choice. We simply want you to feel calm and comfortable so you can focus on what you’re going to say.

Tests and Written Work

The University asks most applicants to write admissions assessments. Some are held in schools in early November, while others take place in Cambridge at the time of the December interviews.

On the University website you can find a good description of admissions tests along with example papers in each subject, to help you prepare for the kinds of questions that might come up. These tests are designed to supplement the information in your application and help us gauge your abilities. We want to assess your skills (such as comprehension and thinking) and, where appropriate, levels of current knowledge and understanding relevant to your chosen course.

Depending on the course, we may also ask for:

  • Written Work 

For some courses, particularly arts and humanities subjects, you may need to submit written work during the application process. After (not before) you apply, we will write and let you know exactly what to send. We usually ask for one or  two marked essays, written as part of your schoolwork, by 3rd November, ideally written recently.

We ask for written work so we can see how you write and formulate an argument, and also how well you’ve been taught – which is why we ask for it to be marked. Often an interviewer will ask questions about this work, so it’s a good idea to keep copies and re-read them before the interview to refresh your memory.

Not sure what to submit? We appreciate this may be difficult, especially if you haven’t studied your chosen University subject at A Level. Please feel free to contact our Admissions Office for advice at admissions@corpus.cam.ac.uk.

  • Preparatory Study for Interview

Some applicants are asked to study a piece of writing or a set of problems in advance, to then be discussed at interview. This could be an article or essay for History, a translation for Modern & Medieval Languages or a set of mechanics questions for Engineering. These readings aren't part of a test or exam – they simply act as a starting point for discussions in the interviews.

Here's a summary of the requirements for each subject we offer at Corpus.

SUBJECT Submitted Written Work Test at Interview Pre-interview test Prepartory Study at Interview
Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic Yes No Yes No
Archaeology Yes Yes No No
Architecture No No Yes No
Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Yes No Yes Yes
Classics No Yes No No
Computer Science No Yes No No
Economics No No Yes No
Engineering No No Yes Yes
English Yes No ELAT Yes
Geography No No Yes Yes
History Yes No Yes Yes
History and Politics Yes No Yes Yes
History and Modern Languages Yes Yes Yes Yes
History of Art Yes Yes No No
         
Human, Social and Political Sciences Yes No Yes No
Law No Cambridge Law Test No Yes
Linguistics Yes Yes No No
Mathematics No Yes No No
Medicine No No BMAT No
Modern and Medieval Languages Yes Yes No Yes
Music Yes No No Yes
Natural Sciences Biological No No Yes No
Natural Sciences Physical (Chemistry) No No Yes No
Natural Sciences Physical (Physics) No No Yes Yes
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Yes No Yes Yes
Philosophy No Philosophy test No No
Theology and Religious Studies Yes No Yes Yes

Got a question?

Whatever you need to know, just contact our Admissions Office at admissions@corpus.cam.ac.uk and they’ll be glad to help.