Cambridge to accept hundreds with missed offers, according to official statement

This year’s intake will be ‘the most socially diverse ever’

Following this year’s A-level results day which saw 40 per cent of grades being marked down across the nation, the University of Cambridge has published a statement, claiming that “hundreds” of students who missed their offers have still been admitted on a discretionary basis.

The statement, released yesterday (16th August) says that those who missed offers make up for 20 per cent of the overall intake of incoming freshers and that colleges have looked at each case carefully and individually in order to make this decision.

Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope explains that the COVID-19 pandemic, and the University’s dedication to small-group teaching and guaranteed college accommodation, all had a role to play in decisions about the number of students the University could accept: “The college experience is crucial to our educational offer. This puts a cap on our first-year numbers. Like all selective universities, we typically make offers to more students than we will ultimately admit, knowing that some may not achieve the offer level, or may make other university choices.

“This year, we made approximately 4,500 offers for 3,450 places. We will accommodate a larger number of students than usual, but stretching our available resources to accept a big increase would undermine the experience of all students. We must also bear in mind the imperative this year of ensuring the safety of our students and staff, at a time when we are also having to plan in the shadow of a pandemic, with required social distancing.”

The University has also stipulated that it will admit any student who successfully appeals their A-level results and comes to meet the requirements of their offer, but has decided that it will not accept all offer-holders for deferred entry, as future generations of applicants must also be considered, and spaces should not be taken away from them.

As well as this, the statement makes claims about the widening participation of incoming students, saying that: “We will welcome the highest proportion of students from state schools in our history, with more students from traditionally low-participation neighbourhoods. Our incoming cohort will be the most socially diverse ever.”

Individual colleges have followed suit with their own statements on their state school intake. King’s College tweeted that they have been able to admit 28 of their 50 missed offers, and that 27 of these individuals were studying at state schools.

Christ’s have also published a statement on their website which says that: “As it stands, over 90 per cent of our A-level and SQA offer-holders from state schools have had their places at Cambridge confirmed, and this figure is likely to increase over the coming weeks.”

Despite reports that students from low-income households have been the biggest sufferers of lowered grades, the University claims that it has surpassed annual targets in access and participation, and asserts that:

“We are doing all that we can to address the concerns expressed – concerns not only about the well-being of individuals, but about the risk of jeopardising the great progress that has been made in recent years towards a more inclusive University.”

The University has been contacted for comment.

Cover image credit: sps1955, Flickr