Academic resources, world-leading research, the supervision system, extra-curricular activities, college communities, career opportunities, financial support; there’s many reasons why Cambridge consistently tops ranking and rates highly for student satisfaction. Don’t let rankings lead your decision, however - here are students putting into their own words exactly why they think Cambridge is worth a UCAS application...
One of the reasons I chose Cambridge was because of the city itself. It has everything a big city can offer, but it’s all very close, and feels much more friendly than overwhelming. I also love my course -- Cambridge courses tend to be very broad, so you can pick the modules you are most interested in and see which direction they take you. Academically, it’s really exciting to be in a department where famous discoveries were made just around the corner, and your lecturers are carrying out world-class research a few floors up. It can be intimidating to be among such bright, driven people, but it’s a great feeling to be so intellectually stretched. Finally, I think the college system’s ideal, you feel part of a strong community made up of such different people, but who all really love whatever it is they do!
What makes Cambridge special is how quickly it becomes ‘home’ for so many people. This quality is what has surprised me most about my first year here. The city is picturesque in terms of the buildings, the river and all the bicycles (very different to my hometown of Birmingham) – but it is also friendly and homely (hopefully you’ll discover the joys of the Chelsea Buns sold by Fitzbillies and the Hot Chocolate at Indigo Café). Studying here has definitely exceeded my expectations as I had no idea how much I would enjoy my course, living in a college where 200 friends are only ever five minutes away from me, and getting the opportunity to try loads of new activities (only lasted one term of rowing…). There is also the fun of things like ‘Bridgemas’, the Cambridge Christmas that happens on the 25th November (since our term finishes before actual Christmas) – unofficial traditions like this really add to the charm of studying here and are part of what makes Cambridge distinctive. If you’re unsure about whether Cambridge is for you, I’d tell you that there are 20,000 students here who are all very different people but who all make Cambridge their own, and this University could also be home for you.
It's impossible to capture Cambridge's special atmosphere in a paragraph, but it revolves around college life. You will get to know people in different years, from many different subjects. Plus, all of the things you love about your own college are multiplied 31 times! All of the societies in sports, music, drama and so on means 31 times as many people who share your interests, as well as many chances to meet them. Each college is a ready made community, filled with college 'families' that last throughout your time at Cambridge. However you choose to spend your time here, you're sure to find lifelong friends and enjoy this unique experience.
Why not Cambridge?
While we definitely want to break down negative and simply untrue myths and misconceptions about Cambridge, the aim of this website isn’t to sell the university to you. We promise that everyone can make friends here and fit in socially, but there might be other factors that mean you’re better suited elsewhere and we want you to be informed as you choose where to apply. Here’s a brief ‘Why not Cambridge?’ brainstorm.
- Most importantly, the course you’re considering might not be the right one for you – be confident that you have a genuine and passionate interest in the subject, and that you’ve read up in detail on how Cambridge teaches it. It might be that courses elsewhere are more suited to your interests.
- Is someone else pressuring you to apply? Your future is your choice, and you need to be the most enthusiastic person about your application. Don’t follow the path someone else is pushing you down if you don’t want it too.
- There’s a large workload to deal with and it can feel pretty intense at times. Plenty of time for a social life too, but you’ve got to love your subject enough to commit to studying it essentially as a full time job.
- The entrance requirements are some of the highest you’ll get in the UK, and if you haven’t sat your school/college exams yet then it’s nerve-wracking predicting how you’ll do. However, we promise that lots of students at Cambridge were nervous about achieving the top grades, and it’s important to remember that your application is looked at in context, taking the quality of the school you’ve sat exams in and the area you come from into account. If you’re performing really well relative to people around you or given certain extenuating circumstances, that’ll be recognised.
There will always be someone around who shares similar interests to you too. That means you don't have to worry about not being able to relate to people. Once you get here you realise just how normal people are, despite what the media says. If you apply you have a chance at getting in. If you don't apply then you'll never know! - Imani, Modern & Medieval Languages, Clare College
Just being here, you feel like you're part of something massive and important. - Dani, English, Emmanuel College