For more info contact:
Telephone: 01223 333313
Fax: 01223 333179
Cambridge University Students' Union
Old Examination Hall
Free School Lane
Cambridge CB2 3RF
The Cambridge University Alternative Prospectus website is run by Cambridge University Students' Union (CUSU), and particularly our full-time Access and Funding Officer. The Access and Funding Officer is a student or recent graduate of Cambridge University who works for CUSU, promoting Cambridge University to students from backgrounds that are underrepresented here (e.g. state-educated students, ethnic minority students, disabled students, mature students etc).
As a teacher who has the interest to find this page on the Alternative Prospectus website, we want to provide you with all the information that you need to feel confident talking to, encouraging and advising your students on applying to Cambridge and other top universities.
The CUSU Access Officer does free bespoke visits to schools up and down the country to talk to students about university and Cambridge in particular. These visits can include current students at Cambridge University too, helping out and answer your students' questions about the experience here. Drop an email to the CUSU Access Officer (email address at the top) to organise a visit.
We also want you to talk to us. What outreach stuff should we be doing, and how should we be doing it? We really want ideas from teachers and HE advisers.
- Informational resources by Cambridge University
- Finding out more from us
- Help us to help you!
The University produces loads of information for teachers and HE advisers. This is designed to help you feel comfortable and informed enough to advise and support your own students when they're thinking about University. For instance, did you know that the deadline to apply to Cambridge (and Oxford) is earlier than for the other UK universities, 15 October? Some more essential (and, hopefully, interesting) facts follow.
Did you know...?
- The deadline for students to apply for undergraduate degrees at Cambridge (and Oxford) is 15 October, every year, no matter what day of the week that is. That's the same deadline as students applying to study Medicine or Dentistry at any university. The reason for our early undergraduate deadline is that admissions tutors, uniquely, spend six hours assessing every single applicant - so Cambridge needs a lot more time than most other universities to make their decisions.
- Cambridge admissions tutors interview most applicants, but only as part of a bigger application process. However, don't equate a UCAS form with a CV and a Cambridge interview with a job interview. Admissions tutors will consider all parts of a student's application when they're thinking about giving students an offer; it's not like your UCAS form gets you an interview, and then admissions tutors judge you solely on your interview.
What is Cambridge like?
We understand you can't be confident supporting your students if you don't know anything about Cambridge yourself. There's a lot of fog surrounding Cambridge, and it's part of the CUSU Access Officer's job to clear that fog for you. Here's what we can do to clear the fog:
- Show you the colleges and courses that Cambridge does online. Have a look around the University's Undergraduate Admissions website, which is basically an online official prospectus. You can also look at this website, the Cambridge University Alternative Prospectus, which tells you what it's like studying all the undergraduate courses and being a member of all the colleges, from students' points of view.
- The Undergraduate Admissions website has a section specifically for teachers and HE advisers. This includes a leaflet for teachers (PDF), including all essential information about Cambridge that you can pass on to students, the admissions process, the selection procedure and all the outreach events that the University organises for teachers and students.
- CUSU organises an annual residential event for year 12/ S5/ year 13 (NI) students called the Shadowing Scheme. If any students at your school/college have been to it this year, talk to them about the University. We also created an audio-slideshow based on one student's experience of the Shadowing Scheme this year, which you can view below.
It is the CUSU Access Officer's role to help get across the facts and experiences of Cambridge student life to prospective students who do not naturally know very much about top universities including Cambridge. The invitation to get in touch extends to teachers, too. If you need answers to the basics of Cambridge University, student finance etc, then you can get in touch with the CUSU Access Officer.
The CUSU Officers are all students (who are doing one-year sabbatical posts in CUSU) and so have experienced life as a Cambridge student first-hand. The CUSU Access Officer has specific knowledge in the admissions process and student finance at Cambridge. If your query extends beyond the Access Officer's knowledge, they'll happily refer you onto somebody else who knows, whether that's students or staff.
|@CUSUTeachers is the CUSU Access Officer's Twitter account, where we'll gladly answer questions about Cambridge, particularly from a students' perspective (like student life here and the application process). Add us and start chatting to us!|
We periodically put on events for teachers (although teachers are not our main focus - students are). Sometimes they may be about addressing your concerns and questions, and other times they may be about wanting your input into our access work.
Have a look at our events page for information about upcoming events, and to suggest more events to us!
CUSU (the Students' Union that runs this alternative prospectus website) is committed to improving access to top universities for students from under-represented backgrounds. We do this primarily through students themselves (with initiatives like the Shadowing Scheme) but we owe a lot of what we do to the enthusiasm of teachers and HE advisers who are as preoccupied with myth-busting and aspiration-raising as we are.
We realise that HE Access is not only about making sure students aware that they could fit in here - it's also about creating change in Cambridge that proves that students could fit in and do well here. So we really need your help to inform us:
- How we can better publicise Cambridge (and top universities) and improve our outreach work to students, teachers and parents.
- How we can campaign within our university context to make Cambridge University (and top universities) even more accessible than they are.
The job of the CUSU Access Officer is to run outreach initiatives, and to call the University out with feasible ways that it could be fairer, friendlier, clearer and more accessible. CUSU runs on a very small budget but we have time, energy and student volunteers. So what could we change?