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These are some of the questions we are often asked but, if you have a different question or if you would like to discuss anything further, please contact us at


Lucy Cavendish College's admissions change and future expansion

We have previously been a College for mature-age (21+) women, but this is changing. From October 2020 we started accepting standard-age women and the first cohort of students from all genders and ages begun studying at Lucy Cavendish College in October 2021. We therefore began to accept applications from students of all genders and ages in the autumn 2020 UCAS round.

Uniquely among Cambridge Colleges, we aim to admit the majority of our new students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds. Our long-term goal is to build a community of students that is broadly representative of wider UK society. 

We are uniquely committed to widening participation, and we pride ourselves in having the most diverse student body in Cambridge. 86% of our current UK first year students (2021 entry) are from state schools, a figure that has risen to over 90% this year (2022 entry). We aim to admit a majority of our students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds, and to have a student population that is representative of UK society by 2025.

Our definition is based on the latest research into Widening Participation and influenced by national demographic databases and Cambridge's own admissions statistics. There are many social, economic and educational factors which can impact students' access to Higher Education and we have sought take into account as many of these as possible. Our definition includes criteria taken from the University's Access and Participation Plan, such as students who live in areas that have low progression to higher education, or students who live socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. It also includes students who are or have been eligible for Free School Meals or the Post-16 Bursary. However, it also includes more holistic factors, such as whether students would be part of the first generation of their family to go to University, whether they live in an area of the country that is currently underrepresented at Cambridge, or whether they attend a school that has little or no history of sending students to Oxbridge.

Overall, we hope our criteria are as comprehensive as possible and we are keen to emphasise that each application will be assessed individually, so we are able to be flexible where students present with circumstances that we have not yet considered. If you would like to discuss this with us in more detail prior to applying, please contact us at

We will aim for a roughly equal balance across the genders in our new cohort of students, although this is of course not an exact science and the precise numbers will vary from year to year. One of our missions is to increase the representation of students identifying as female in STEM subjects and to increase the representation of students identifying as male in subjects such as English or Veterinary Medicine, where they are currently underrepresented, so we will aim to ensure that subject cohorts are roughly gender balanced, too.

Yes, we are the only Cambridge College that is looking to expand its undergraduate and postgraduate intake. From 2021 onward, we aim to admit roughly 130 undergraduate students annually, which is approximately three times the number we currently admit each year.

Our College will be expanding over the next few years so we can accommodate a much larger student body. We intend our brand new building to offer students modern study bedrooms, large shared kitchens and a generous sized café with plenty of social space. This new building sits alongside the buildings that currently make up the main College site. 

Please consult the relevant course page to find out more about how many students we intend to admit each year.



Lucy Cavendish admits undergraduates in all subjects offered by the University of Cambridge, including the Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine (A101) and Affiliated Medicine (A100). The only subject we do not admit applications for is Music. 

The typical conditional A-Level offer will be A*AA or A*A*A, depending on the course. In countries where an A* grade at A-Level is not available, three A grades would be acceptable. Other conditions may form part of your offer, such as STEP. Details of subject requirements can be found on our individual course pages. If you have a particular query, please contact a member of the admissions team on

No, it is not possible to apply to both Oxford and Cambridge in the same year.

You will find that our courses are quite different. Oxford tends to have more, slightly narrower or more specific courses, whereas Cambridge prefers fewer, broader courses (e.g. Natural Sciences or Human, Social and Political Sciences). Work out which course is right for you and that will tell you which University is right.

Yes! However, applicants should be aware that Medicine students must be 18 by the start of their second term in order to be eligible to begin their professional training. 

If you are likely to be younger than 17 at the time of entry, please contact before applying to discuss your situation.

Yes, you can. For some subjects with a vocational dimension, such as Engineering, Modern & Medieval Languages, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine, it can even be an advantage if you are doing something relevant to the subject during your Gap Year. However, for Mathematics, many Colleges prefer students not to have taken a Gap Year. See here for more information (Section 7).

You are no more, and no less, likely to be admitted if you apply as an open applicant. Open applications are allocated to a College by a computer algorithm. They are then treated exactly the same as all the College's other applicants.

Information about A-Level equivalents for international applicants can be read on the Cambridge website here. We except students from a wide variety of qualifications. If you have any questions not answered on the Cambridge website, do not hesitate to get in touch. 

The University caps the number of places that are offered in Architecture, History of Art, Music, and Philosophy, and there are quotas for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

GCSE results are looked at as an indicator of academic achievement, but within the context of the performance of the school/college where they were achieved. 

No, Cambridge does not allow transfers onto any degree course. Lucy Cavendish does not usually consider applications from students enrolled on degree courses at other UK universities either, unless there are exceptional circumstances or there is a change of subject (in which case a letter of support from the student's current institution is required)

Please note that applications from students who have failed at or have been excluded from another medical school will not normally be considered for entry to Medicine at Cambridge.

Contact our Admissions Office at early in your preparation to discuss the support available from the University and College. The University's Disability Resource Centre website offers guidance about support and how to access it.

Achievement in the Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP) normally forms part of a conditional offer to read Mathematics at Cambridge. The examinations are administered by the Admissions Testing Service and are taken in late June. 

You can find out more information about STEP here.

No particular weight is attached to any one piece of information; rather, all candidates are assessed individually and holistically using all available information. Contrary to what you may have heard, interviews are not 'the most important part' of the application.

We are committed to ensuring that we offer admission to students of the highest intellectual potential, irrespective of social, racial, religious or financial considerations. To achieve this, every applicant is considered individually in an holistic assessment using all the information available to us. Please see here for a full breakdown of our use of contextual data.

If anything has happened which caused you significant educational or home life disruption, it may be appropriate for the school/college referee or the applicant’s doctor or social worker to complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form. Further information about this form can be found here.

We aim to interview all applicants with a realistic chance of an offer - generally, those who are on track to meet the typical conditional offers in the required subjects. Around 75% of UK Cambridge applicants are interviewed each year.

You can find out more information about what to expect from interviews in our "How to Apply" section.

Entry requirements and academic standards

The typical conditional A Level offer is A*AA (arts, humanities, social sciences, PBS and Veterinary Medicine) or A*A*A (Sciences, Mathematics and Economics), depending on the course. For IB students, typically offers range from 40-42 points overall, with 7,7,6 at Higher Level. Other conditions may form part of your offer, such as the STEP mathematics examinations, which are used in offers for Mathematics. Students taking other qualifications can find more information here, and international students can look up the University's entry requirements for their own national qualification systems here.

Details of subject requirements can be found on our individual course pages. If you have a particular query, please contact a member of our Admissions Office at As a former mature College, Lucy Cavendish is very used to supporting applicants with less traditional educational backgrounds, so please do get in touch. We welcome applications for arts, humanities and social science courses from students studying the Access to Higher Education diploma. Students interested in studying a Foundation Year at another institution before applying should get in touch to discuss their proposed course.

Usually, three A-Levels is sufficient for a competitive application to us, and you may find it a better option for managing workload and allowing yourself to go into sufficient depth in all your subjects. This is certainly true for all arts, humanities and social science subjects.

Competitive applicants for physical science subjects, however, often have Further Mathematics as their fourth A-Level. In particular, applicants for Physical Natural Sciences would have the broadest choice of options available to them in the first year if they have taken MathsPhysicsChemistry and Further Mathematics. We also find that MathsFurther Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry is particularly good preparation for Chemical Engineering.

Other subjects that benefit from the inclusion of Further Mathematics A-Level are Computer ScienceEngineering and Economics. Further Mathematics A-Level is also compulsory for Mathematics itself. However, for these subjects, Further Mathematics can be one of three A Levels.

Please note that four A-Levels is not necessary for applications for Medicine or Veterinary Medicine, but we would recommend doing three science or maths subjects at A-Level (not including Psychology).

We consider post-16 qualifications to be the most helpful way of assessing a student’s academic potential, so we do not have a minimum GCSE requirement. We view GCSEs as a performance indicator, but always within the overall context of the school/college they were taken in. On average, successful applicants will have achieved mainly 7s, 8s and 9s at GCSE. The more 8s or 9s, the better, but it is certainly not the case that students need to get straight 9s in order to make a competitive application! We view applications holistically, and we recognise that academic potential evolves over time.

We do need to know that you would stand a good chance of meeting the terms of your offer, if you were made one, so competitive applicants will usually be predicted to meet or exceed the standard requirements. However, there may be circumstances that explain why you are not currently predicted to meet these requirements that we need to take into account, so don't write yourself off. Remember that we assess each application individually and holistically, taking all factors into account.

If you feel there are significant factors preventing you from being predicted our standard entry requirements, you may wish to flag this up in your UCAS application within the teacher reference, or even through an Extenuating Circumstances Form.

We will look at all qualifications you have done when reviewing you application, so please note that you must enter AS grades on your UCAS form if you have sat AS exams (as opposed to internal school mock exams at the end of Year 12). Generally, if you have done well in them, they will be a strength to your application, and they will be less of a strength if you have not done so well. However, since so few applicants now have AS grades, we can no longer use them to compare applicants more generally.

Remember that our offers are typically made on the basis of your A Levels (or equivalent), not AS-Levels or other subsidiary exams.

We are committed to ensuring that we offer admission to students of the highest intellectual potential, irrespective of social, racial, religious or financial considerations. To achieve this, every applicant is considered individually in a holistic assessment using all the information available to us.

We use contextual data such as postcode information, school/college data and certain individual circumstances (for example care experience and Free Schools Meals eligibility) as part of the overall information used to help us decide who to make offers to. This data is not, however, usually used to make lower offers to certain candidates.

Applying to Cambridge in 2022

In 2022-23, we’ll be interviewing all shortlisted applicants virtually, with interviews usually taking place in December. Though your interview will be online, the aims and content will still be the same as in person interviews. For more information on how our online interviews will work, please visit the University's online interviews page.

Firstly, please consult the undergraduate study page in order to check whether your course has a pre-interview or at-interview assessment. Further specific information on pre-interview assessments can be found here.

Cambridge Assessment, who coordinate our pre-registration required assessments, are currently monitoring the global health situation closely. Currently they do not expect November pre-interview assessments to be disrupted, meaning you would likely sit your assessment at an authorised test centre (usually your school or college). Please continue to check their website for updates. This means you must still be registered for your assessment as usual by the deadline listed on the 'application process' section of this website.

The College will take care of arrangements for the Cambridge college registered assessments, and we will release further details as soon as we are able to.



The Winter Pool is the mechanism through which applicants are redistributed between Colleges. It is designed to ensure that high-performing applicants who cannot be offered a place due to the competition at their original choice of College have the chance of being offered places at other Colleges. Colleges would rather admit a strong applicant from the pool than a weaker applicant who applied directly to them. Roughly one in four Cambridge students ends up at a different College to the one that they applied as a result of being 'pooled' and selected by another College. This is no bad thing! It ensures that your chance of getting a place at the University is the same, regardless of which College you apply to.

Being placed in the Winter Pool depends on the quality of an application, including performance at interview and in any admissions assessment. More information about the Winter Pool can be found on the University’s website here.


Applicants are contacted in November to be told whether they will be continued to interview or not. After this, final decisions are usually communicated to applicants in mid-January.

Note that for the 2022-23 admissions round the arrangements may be slightly different as a result of the University's decision to move most interviews online.

Admissions decisions taken by Cambridge Colleges are not normally reviewed unless it appears after investigation that a serious procedural error has occurred, as detailed on the University website.

Your place is only guaranteed if you meet all the conditions of your offer by 31st August. Missed offers are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Yes, the University of Cambridge currently takes part in Adjustment for some applicants who have been interviewed at Cambridge but not offered a place initially. Applicants need to meet various Widening Participation criteria to be eligible. Full information is available here.

Lucy Cavendish College strongly encourages all eligible applicants who have been unsuccessful in their initial application to consider Adjustment if they meet or exceed the University's minimum entry requirements for their subject.



Cambridge is a residential university and undergraduates are required to live within three miles of the centre of Cambridge during term.

Undergraduates at Cambridge are not allowed to take paid employment during each eight week Full Term, but they can work during University vacations.


Explore our undergraduate pages