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FE Tutors get the facts on applications


The two-day residential included a sample lecture, an introduction to Cambridge’s small-group teaching and Collegiate structure, and sessions led by three of the University’s admissions tutors, enabling the advisers and tutors present to find out more about Cambridge’s admissions process and how best to support potential applicants.

Dr Andy Bell, Admissions Tutor for Gonville and Caius College, explained what admissions tutors look for in an application.

“We’re trying to match the applicant to the course, looking at their skills and abilities and the course content,” Dr Bell explained.

“Because we have relatively small numbers of applicants, we don’t have a box-ticking approach, but we do look carefully for evidence of academic skills.”

Dr Emily Tomlinson, Admissions Tutor at Lucy Cavendish College, emphasised the importance of the academic reference in giving a sense of trajectory and of the student’s progress through their A Levels or Access Course.

Alison Gilbert,  Academic & Pastoral Mentor, Middlesbrough College Sixth Form, said that the most valuable message she would take back to her students was that you could win a place at Cambridge with no A*s at GCSE. 

“To see that one person with no A* grades at GCSE got an offer gives hope to a huge swathe of our students,” she commented.

She found the opportunity to have her questions answered was the most useful part of the event. “I work with students on a one-to-one basis so I wanted to get as much information as possible,” Alison said, “and to keep myself up to date with admissions information.

Bernadette Morgan, Senior Tutor at Middlesbrough College Sixth Form, was encouraged by the level of detail with which applications are considered.

“What’s come across is how much individual attention is given,” she said. “There’s a real effort to see the whole person. It feels like Cambridge is committed to looking at our students as individuals.

“I encourage our students to aim for Cambridge, Oxford and Russell Group unis, and there’s a lot of myths that get in the way. We can go back now and say ‘it is realistic for you.’ It’s been really important to get that information, to be able to say ‘Cambridge is accessible if you put the effort in.”

Cambridge is committed to seeing every applicant as an individual. That was the message taken home by FE Tutors from colleges across the country, who took part in an event hosted by St Catharine’s College this month.

What’s come across is how much individual attention is given. There’s a real effort to see the whole person.
Bernadette Morgan, Senior Tutor, Middlesbrough College Sixth Form
FE Tutors, Dr Emily Tomlinson, Cambridge Admissions Office staff and students.

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