Applying with limited support or advice

Student listening

It is your academic potential that is important, not how much you already know about Cambridge.

Perhaps one or more of the following apply to you:

  • you are the first in your family to apply to university.
  • you attend a school or college which does not provide much information or support for Cambridge applications.
  • you feel for any reason that you don't have access to good/accurate advice.

1. Take the initiative!

If people around you don't know much about university applications or Cambridge University, don't worry because we provide the information you need directly. If you're doing well at school and you want an exciting and challenging university education, then you are exactly the kind of student who should find out more about the opportunities that are available to you. Don't wait for other people to tell you things, because the person in the best position to make this work is you.

Screenshot of the linguistics page

The website helps you to understand King's and make a competitive application in your subject.

We encourage all candidates to take an active approach to researching courses, developing academic skills and interests during sixth form, and taking responsibility for their applications. We help you to do this by providing detailed, accurate and up-to-date information on this website, and by answering further questions by email or in person, if you are able to visit.

You will develop important skills in the process of researching courses, liaising with university staff, preparing to achieve the high grades needed for entry, and working independently to develop subject skills and interests on your own initiative. This work is all part of making the transition from sixth form to university-level study. As well as making sure that your university choices are well informed and that your application is as competitive as you can make it, you should notice a difference in what you get out of your studies - all this will help when you start studying at university!

2. Do some initial research

We encourage you to research the opportunities at King's if:

  • you or your teachers think that you can achieve the standard offer grades at the end of sixth form.
  • you are studying a suitable combination of subjects and taking an appropriate qualification (more about this in section three).
Students meeting visitors

'College parents' in the years above help new students to settle in.

Do take time to read our online prospectus. There is a lot to take in, both about studying and about living and socialising in College. We encourage you to jot down any questions as you go along, then email us to ask about anything that you've not found out from the information on the website. If you are feeling overwhelmed please say so - we understand and will be able to help!

  • Once you've chosen a course, do pay particular attention to the relevant subject page, as these give information about what will happen when you apply, and subject-specific advice about how to develop your interests and make a strong application.
  • As well as reading the information written by the College, it is worth reading a few of the detailed student perspectives (we suggest that you choose at least five to read) as these describe individual experiences of being a King's student, and will help you to get a sense of what the place is really like.
  • We have various dedicated pages or sections which may be relevant so do check whether any of these 'further information' links apply to you!

3. Get the basics right: what are you studying in sixth form?

  • All our courses have an academic rather than a vocational emphasis. It is therefore important to check that the qualifications you are taking in sixth form give you the preparation you need to make a competitive application. If you are not taking A levels, the International Baccalaureate, or another of the qualifications listed on the entrance requirements page, please email us for more information.
  • You should also check that you are taking a suitable combination of subjects. There is general advice on the choosing school subjects page, and more specific advice on the subject pages. You might like to check the school qualifications section in the FAQs and, as ever, email us if you need further information.

4. Would a visit to Cambridge help? Is this possible for you?

A visit to Cambridge is not essential for factual application research, as the online prospectus is detailed and you can email us with further questions.

However, visiting Cambridge gives you a chance to get a feel for the College and the University, and a better sense of both the social and intellectual aspects of student life here. Many of our current students tell us that their visit to the College was when King's became real for them, when they decided that this is an environment they would thrive in, and when studying here became an achievable goal in their eyes. People generally feel a lot more comfortable about making their application after spending some time in College / at Cambridge.

Event Description Eligibility When to apply
Shadowing Scheme Stay in a college and "shadow" a student Criteria apply Applications open October of Yr 12
Subject-specific summer residential courses Criteria apply Applications open early Jan of Yr 12
Cambridge University / King's Open Days Talks / opportunities to visit faculties & colleges (including King's) Open to all Year 12 Booking opens in mid-April of Yr 12
Informal meetings An opportunity to meet us, ask questions and see the College. Open to all Year 11 and 12 Advertised mainly in May to September.
King's College September Open Day Opportunity to visit King's in early Year 13, just before you apply Open to all Year 13 Booking opens one month before the event
Other Events The NNCO website lists further events It varies  

Further events are advertised through the year on the Cambridge page in the subject resources section. If the dates of specific events don't work for you, you are welcome to visit at any time.

Virtual tour screenshot

You can explore the grounds, the Library and the Chapel online.

Students who cannot visit King's should not worry. We advise you to use the 360 degree tours and the facilities pages to have a look at the College, read more of the student perspectives as these will help if you've not had a chance to chat with current students, and please do not hesitate to email us with any questions - it's what we're here for. Many students make a successful application without ever having set foot in Cambridge.

5. Make a well informed, competitive application!

Our assessment process is about the future: we are interested in what you look able to achieve in your chosen subject if we admit you to study at King's. Things to be clear about:

  • The application deadline for Cambridge is 15 October (earlier than most UK universities) As your school will need you to submit the UCAS form earlier so that they can write your reference before this date, you will have very little time between returning to school in September of Year 13 and applying.
  • You cannot apply to both Cambridge and Oxford.
  • It is essential to learn about the application process and timetable by reading our how to apply page right to the end and well in advance of the application deadline. The Frequently Asked Questions are also useful, and do make sure that you know whether the course you are applying for has a pre-interview written assessment, as your school will need to register you by 15 October (or 1 October for Medicine) if so.
  • As well as reading about what we are looking for, the relevant subject page has the most useful information about what you can do to make a competitive application in your subject. It is also worth browsing the subject resources.

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