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Cambridge? You can make it

Everything you need to know if you are planning to apply to the University of Cambridge for the (Undergraduate) academic year 2012

education Updated: Apr 20, 2011 09:15 IST
Pooja Biraia

I it’s a given that the University of Cambridge promises students an impressive education, it also offers a whole range of entertainment and events (all organised by students) throughout term-time such as film and club nights, twilight at the museum — a hugely popular annual evening event that encourages exploring events by torchlight, regular film nights and the legendary college May ball. There are numerous sports events such as judo, trampolining, rowing and about 600 different clubs and societies for students to choose from. Most colleges have a choir and orchestra and hold one, or more, concerts each year. The University ensures that students strike a balance between studies and

The types of teaching for undergraduates

As per the university, of the 184 Indian students admitted for the academic year 2010-11, 39 are undergraduates. As a student of Cambridge, along with regular lectures, you will be a part of ‘supervisions’, which are teaching sessions conducted by a tutor for one or two students. You will need to submit dissertations and if your research is impressive and convincing, your work may even get published while you’re still an undergraduate. At Cambridge, degree courses are also sometimes referred to as Triposes. Specialisation in a subject happens after you have broadly explored its scope in the initial years. Courses at Cambridge are divided into ‘parts’ lasting one or two years. Most students take Parts of the same degree course as they go to higher classes. However, it’s possible to change subject after Part I or Part IA. Most changes occur within the sciences or the arts, but switching between broad areas is also possible. Popular combinations are noted under the course descriptions that follow: “not everything is possible but there’s a surprising degree of flexibility.”

Undergraduate students are admitted to 29, of the 31 colleges that form a part of the university. The college is where you live, study and socialise. You can either choose a college by stating your preferences when you apply, or you can make an open application wherein you are assigned a college by the university, based on random allocation. A student is guaranteed college accommodation for three years. Also, applying directly to a college does not mean enhance your chances of being accepted, unless you have very good scores.

The University of Cambridge: Limited financial support and scholarships to international undergraduate students through the Cambridge Commonwealth and Overseas Trusts.

Manmohan Singh Undergraduate Scholarship for Indian applicants: Indian students can apply for this scholarship. However, those students planning to study medicine and veterinary medicine are not eligible. This scholarship will cover the cost of your tuition fees and college fees together with a grant towards maintenance and travel costs for each year of your course.

Application dates for 2012 entry:
By April: Start with preparing your documents and do thorough research for your course and college
June-August: Send the completed COPA (Cambridge Online Preliminary Application) together with the application fee. Open applications - wherein you leave it to the university to decide the college to be assigned to you - are processed soon after 15 October, after which you will be informed if you have been accepted or not.
Sep – Dec: Interviews to be conducted in India (Delhi). Submit the UCAS application. ( (UCAS is the organisation that process applications for full-time undergraduate courses every year). Submission of work samples, admissions tests etc.

January 2012: Application notifications (successful or unsuccessful and conditional or unconditional).
Oct 2012: Beginning of the academic year.

You will not be allowed to work during the academic session.

The total annual cost of studying at Cambridge as an undergraduate is between £21,000 to £28,000 (depending on subject, and excluding summer vacation living costs).

If, you have identified the college where you wish to study, write to the admissions officer of that college, giving details about your academics and the programme you wish to study there, so as to get feedback about your academic potential.

India’s Famous cambridge scholars

Jawaharlal Nehru, former Prime Minister,
Trinity College
Harivanshrai Bachchan, the poet, St Catharine’s College
Homi Jehangir Bhabha, Gonville and Caius College
Subramaniam Chandrasekhar, Nobel Prize winner, Trinity College
Dr Vikram Sarabhai, St. John’s College
Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister, Trinity College
Rahul Gandhi, Trinity College
Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner, Trinity College

Student speak
Payoosha Shah, 17, Utpal Sanghvi School, recently received an admit letter to Cambridge, Newnham College, for B.A. in politics, psychology and sociology (PPS)

“As you need to apply at least a year before the programme starts, I applied in July 2010 for Oct 2011 intake. I had to give an interview, a ‘thinking skills assessment’ test, and I also had to submit essays that I had written in my school. After a few months, I got a conditional offer letter in January, which meant that the offer was conditional, upon my submission of my Class 12 scores. I submitted an open application, as I did not prefer any particular college and left it to the university to decide which college I could join. Also, as all colleges are equally good in all subjects, it hardly matters which college you end up in. I earned the Manmohan Singh Undergraduate Scholarship, which has helped me in covering my tuition and college fees along with other reimbursements. I’m very excited to go to Cambridge and I’m eagerly waiting to study there.”