College choice for mature students

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This page is to help you to make an informed decision.

All students at the University of Cambridge belong to one of the Colleges. When you apply for an undergraduate course, you can choose a College or you can submit an open application if you don't mind which College you live and study at.

This page is for those of you who will be 21 or over at the start of your course, and are considering an application to King's College. Thank you for your interest in King's - we welcome applications from 'mature' students. This page is a run though of some things we'd like you to take into account before you finalise your College choice. We hope that you will find it useful.

There are three sections below:

Are you applying for a course that we offer?

The King's subjects page lists the Cambridge courses that you can study at King's.

Sorry to students interested in Education, Land Economy or Veterinary Medicine. As you cannot apply for these courses at King's, you will need to choose another College. If you click on the relevant link in this paragraph, information about which colleges offer the course is provided in the fact file on the right of the screen (you have both standard-age and mature college options).

What are you looking for in a College?

The Cambridge Undergraduate Study website provides general information about Colleges and advice for choosing one.

students in the bar

Freshers' Week in King's bar

At King's, we try to provide as much information as possible on our website so that you can get a sense of the community here. You should find Why King's?, the relevant subject page and the student perspectives particularly useful, and if you've not seen the College, do look at the 360 degree virtual tours and map.

Lucy Cavendish

Lucy Cavendish is one of the newest Colleges and admits female students who are 21 or over. Credit:  kaet44

As a mature applicant, one choice you need to make is whether you would prefer to live and study in a standard-age College like King's, or whether one of the four mature colleges would work better for you. We advise you to research the environment at examples of both mature and standard-age Colleges before forming an opinion, however, there is no 'right' answer to this - it comes down to a combination of personal preference and practical considerations (see below).

What is practical for your circumstances?

This is where it will get a bit trickier for some of you! Although all Cambridge Colleges are looking for the same thing when they assess you (your academic potential), there are a few practical differences (details of how the application process works) between applying to a 'standard-age' College like King's and applying to one of the four mature Colleges. As the mature Colleges only consider mature applications, they are able to operate with a little more flexibility in some areas which may be difficult for applicants who are not at school.

The application deadline

The application deadline is 18:00 UK time on 15 October for all courses at King's and the other 'standard-age' colleges. We only have one application deadline a year, and we do not read late applications under any circumstances.

Deadline too early?

If you are unable to apply by 15 October, it would be worth checking whether your course is one of the ones that you can also apply for later in the year (by 1 March) at the four mature colleges. Please see the application deadlines page to see which courses are eligible for this second application deadline for mature colleges.

If you are taking a one-year course in preparation for your university studies, the 15 October deadline at King's may fall too close to the beginning of the academic year for you to settle into your course, get to know your tutors (who will support your application and write your UCAS reference) and produce written work (where relevant). For some students, the later timing of the 1 March deadline at mature Colleges may enable you to settle into your course and make a more competitive application.

Further details: When should I apply?

Arrangements for written assessments

As you know, when you apply to Cambridge University, we try to find out as much as possible about your academic potential for the course you are applying for. Did you know that subject-specific written assessments form part of the application process? You can read about these on the written assessments page.

At King's and other standard-age colleges, when you take a written assessment will depend on your course.

  • For some subjects (listed here), written assessments are organised by the College as part of your timetable if you are invited for interview. These take place in Cambridge in early December (unless you are applying for an overseas interview, which may have different interview dates).
  • For other subjects (listed here), applicants must be registered before applying for the written assessment, which they then sit in their school, college, or another assessment centre on the specified date in late October/early November. The registration deadline is 5pm on 1 October for Medicine and 6pm on 15 October for the other subjects listed.

If you are not a full-time student, it will be important to look at the information especially carefully and to ensure that you have checked whether your course has a pre-interview written assessment, and if so, who will register you (you can't register yourself) and where you will sit it.

Finding a pre-interview written assessment difficult to organise?

At the four mature colleges, written assessments in all subjects except Medicine and Veterinary Medicine are organised by the College and take place for selected students as part of the interview process in Cambridge in early December. Some mature students applying for courses that require a pre-interview written assessment at standard-age Colleges will need to apply to a mature College instead in order to have the written assessment organised at interview stage.

NB. The opportunity to sit pre-interview assessments at interview stage in mature Colleges does not apply to a) mature students applying for Medicine and b) mature students applying for overseas interviews. If you apply to be interviewed outside the UK, you will need to register for any pre-interview assessment before you apply and take any pre-interview assessments in late October/early November even if you apply to a mature College.

Where next?

  • I still want to apply to King's.
    Great! Do continue to read our page for mature students and our online prospectus, and feel free to email us.
  • I want to explore the mature Colleges.
    OK! Their websites and contact details are below.
    • Hughes Hall (mature)
      , telephone 01223 761805
    • Lucy Cavendish (mature, women only)
      , telephone 01223 330280
    • St Edmunds (mature)
      , telephone 01223 336086
    • Wolfson (mature)
      , telephone 01223 335918
  • I want to read information about applying when you already have a degree (or will have a degree by the time you start your course).
    Sure - please see our page for affiliated students.

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