‘Outstanding’ students are receiving Cambridge offers without having to interview

Imagine being that clever

Pembroke has given a small number of offers out to students without interviewing them this year, according to a statement on their college website.

One such offer-holder from a state school in Northamptonshire had applied to Pembroke to study Chemical Engineering. He originally received an invite to interview, but later received another email from Pembroke College saying “my colleagues and I decided that it was inconceivable that we would not offer you a place after interview, and therefore we have resolved to proceed to an offer without calling you to interview.”

The applicant thought the email was a prank, saying “Initially I thought it might be a hoax or that there may have made a mistake.”

The College explained that due to abnormal circumstances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, they would not be requiring every applicant to come in for an interview, a traditional aspect of the Cambridge admissions process.  Pembroke’s statement reads: “In this exceptional year, where everybody is under unprecedented pressure, the College has decided that in a small number of cases it was unnecessary for us to call candidates to interview in order to give them an offer.

“The strength of their applications was such that we were certain we should be making them an offer without needing the additional information that interviews can provide.”

The press release, published on 3rd December also states that these “[c]andidates have only received an offer where their paper applications, previous exam results and, where applicable, test results, were quite outstanding.”

The pandemic has meant that several adjustments have had to be made to accommodate students in these uncertain times. In the summer of 2020, the University announced it would be accepting hundreds of students who missed their initial offers. They also claimed that the Michaelmas 2020 fresher intake would be the “most socially diverse ever” with a state school population of 70 per cent.

Pembroke has made their own claims about the social diversity of these applicants who have been given interview-free offers: “These candidates have been chosen entirely on merit and come from a diverse range of backgrounds and school types, though they are primarily from state schools.”

Pembroke College has been contacted for additional comment. 

Cover image credit: geograph via Creative Commons License