University of Cambridge Acceptance Rate: How Many Actually Made It?

Many people dream of entering the world’s top universities to study, be it Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, or MIT. However, the acceptance rate to enter these universities can be brutal, and not many may have the rigour to make it. 

In this post, we explore the University of Cambridge’s acceptance rate, for undergraduate, postgraduate, and also international students. We also explore why it is so far to get into Cambridge, and what you can do to increase your odds to gain admission. 

Whether you are a budding high school graduate looking to enter Cambridge for undergraduate program, or an excellent researcher looking for a change to work with the world’s best, this post will have something for you to pick up. 

University of Cambridge’s Acceptance Rate

Cambridge may sound like an incredibly hard university to get into, but you may be surprised by the acceptance rate.

University of Cambridge Acceptance Rate

Overall acceptance rate is around 26%, with undergraduate programs a little harder to get into than postgraduates.

This figure changes for international students, where the rate dips to about 9.9% as of the 2021 admissions cycle. The numbers may be lower or higher for 2022 and 2023 cycle. Such exclusivity underscores the university’s commitment to fostering a community of high achievers.

Cambridge’s holistic admission process scrutinizes every facet of an application. From a standout UCAS personal statement to impressive interview performances, every step is crucial.

The university’s collegiate system adds another layer to this process. Applicants can either choose a specific college or opt for an open application, adding to the strategic considerations of applying.

Subject choice significantly impacts your chances. Courses like Medicine and Law see even lower acceptance rates, making them some of the most sought-after programs.

Subjects such as:

  • Anglo-Saxon,
  • Norse, and
  • Celtic

May offer more breathing room, with acceptance rates soaring above 50%.

Behind these numbers lies a world of opportunity and rigorous academic pursuit. Cambridge doesn’t just evaluate grades; it looks for well-rounded individuals ready to contribute to its storied halls.

Whether you dream of walking the same paths as the many notable Cambridge alumni or contributing to its rich academic tapestry, understanding these nuances is key to your application.

With each application cycle, students worldwide vie for a chance to be part of this prestigious institution, making every acceptance a testament to exceptional merit and potential.

University of Cambridge Acceptance Rate For Undergraduate Students

Getting into Cambridge as an undergraduate is notably tougher than as a postgraduate. The acceptance rate for undergraduates stands at a tight 18-19%.

That means only about 1 out of 5 applicants are accepted. This difference speaks volumes about the competitive nature of undergraduate admissions.

Why the steeper climb for undergrads? For starters, the sheer volume of applicants. Thousands of students apply fresh out of school, eager to earn their place at one of the world’s top universities.

Each year, the pile of applications grows, making the undergraduate admission process even more selective.

Cambridge’s rigorous admission process for undergraduates includes a detailed UCAS personal statement, admissions tests tailored to specific courses, and, often, a challenging interview. These steps ensure that only the most prepared and well-rounded applicants make it through. 

The university’s renowned reputation, combined with its high rankings in the QS World University Rankings, means that the competition is fierce.

Every applicant dreams of joining the ranks of Cambridge alumni, adding to the pressure of securing a coveted undergraduate spot.

This competitive atmosphere makes every acceptance a significant achievement, reflecting the dedication and potential of the incoming students.

University of Cambridge Postgraduate Acceptance Rate

At Cambridge, the journey for postgraduate applicants is somewhat smoother, with an acceptance rate of 34%. This is higher than for undergraduates, making it relatively easier to secure a spot for further studies.

University of Cambridge Acceptance Rate

The reason? Postgraduate programs often target a more specialized field, attracting applicants with clear academic and research objectives.

However, not all postgraduate courses are created equal in terms of acceptance rates. Some programs remain highly competitive, drawing in a plethora of international talent.

For example, courses in STEM fields, due to their high demand and the university’s strong reputation in research, might have lower acceptance rates compared to others.

Conversely, some humanities and social sciences programs might offer better odds due to the specific nature of research interests and the availability of supervisors.

This doesn’t mean the admission process is a walk in the park. Applicants need to present a robust:

  • Personal statement,
  • Detailed research proposals, and 
  • Sometimes, secure the support of potential supervisors.

University of Cambridge Admission Requirements

To apply to Cambridge, you’ll need to meet some specific requirements. First off, your grades. Cambridge looks for top marks. Most courses ask for A*AA at A-Level or equivalent. This shows you can handle the challenge.

Next is the UCAS application, including a personal statement. Here, you share your passion for the subject. It’s your chance to stand out. Some courses also require you to take an admissions test. These assess your skills in your chosen field.

Then, there’s the interview. It can be daunting but it’s key. They’re not just testing knowledge. They want to see how you think.

International students have an extra step here. They might need to prove their English skills with tests like IELTS. Low scores will severely jeopardize your chances.

Each course and college has its own criteria too. So, check the specifics for where you’re applying. The process is competitive, but it’s about finding students who’ll thrive at Cambridge. If you’re ready for the challenge, go for it.

What Factors Determine Acceptance Into Cambridge?

When you apply to study at Cambridge, your chances hinge on more than just grades. There are many factors that finally determine whether you are accepted in Cambridge University, and here are a few you can work on to increase your chances:

  1. Academic Excellence: Cambridge looks for strong academic records. You need top grades in subjects relevant to your chosen course. This shows you can handle their rigorous programs.
  2. Admissions Tests: For many courses, you’ll take a test. It assesses your aptitude and potential in your field. Doing well can set you apart.
  3. Personal Statement: This is your chance to shine on your UCAS application. Share your passion for the subject and any related achievements. Make it clear why you’re a perfect fit for Cambridge.
  4. Interview Performance: Interviews can be daunting but are crucial. They’re not just about knowledge. Cambridge wants to see how you think and engage with new ideas.
  5. Subject Choice: Some courses are more competitive. For example, Medicine and Law often have lower acceptance rates. Choose wisely based on your strengths and interests.
  6. College Preference: Cambridge’s unique college system means your choice can affect your chances. Some colleges receive more applications for certain subjects. An open application might increase your odds.
  7. Extracurricular Activities: While academic prowess is key, Cambridge also values well-rounded individuals. Activities related to your field of study can bolster your application.

Remember, each part of your application adds to your story. Cambridge seeks students who not only excel academically but also show potential to contribute to university life and beyond. So, give every step your best shot.

Cambridge Acceptance Rate For International Students

For international students, the path to Cambridge can seem daunting. The acceptance rate for international students was about 9.9% in a recent admissions cycle, noticeably lower than the overall rates. 

This means only 1 out of 10 international aspirants in the application process eventually gain admission into Cambridge. Tough luck really.

University of Cambridge Acceptance Rate

Why the steeper challenge? Firstly, there’s the sheer volume of applicants from across the globe, all competing for a limited number of spots.

Then, there are the additional hurdles: language tests like IELTS or TOEFL, and adapting to a different educational system. You may be excellent in your field of study, but if your English is not good enough, you cannot become a Cambridge student.

Certain areas of study at Cambridge are particularly popular among international students. STEM fields, for instance, attract a large number due to Cambridge’s cutting-edge research and facilities.

Some subjects do see a larger body of international students studying at University of Cambridge. These include:

  • Engineering,
  • Computer Science, and
  • Medicine.

These courses not only offer world-class education but also promise exciting research opportunities and global career prospects.

Cambridge’s commitment to diversity means that despite the hurdles, international students remain a vital part of the university. They bring fresh perspectives and contribute to the rich tapestry of campus life.

If you’re an international applicant dreaming of Cambridge, focus on showcasing your academic strengths, language proficiency, and passion for your chosen field.

Which Cambridge College Is The Hardest To Get Into?

Cambridge has many colleges within it, focusing on different areas of knowledge. Some of these colleges can be a tough challenge to get into. Here’s some of the hardest ones to apply for:

  • Trinity College: Trinity College often tops the list, renowned not just for academic rigor but also for its illustrious history and alumni. It’s the allure of joining such a prestigious community that draws a flood of applications.
  • St John’s College: St John’s College follows closely, with its beautiful grounds and strong academic reputation making it a popular choice. The competition here is fierce, with applicants from all over vying for a place in its hallowed halls.
  • King’s College: Known for its iconic chapel and progressive traditions, also presents a challenge for hopefuls. Its unique blend of history, culture, and academic excellence makes it highly sought-after.
  • Queens’ College: With its picturesque setting by the River Cam, and a reputation for excellence in sciences and humanities, sees a high volume of applicants, making admissions a tough process.
  • Churchill College: With a focus on STEM subjects, attracts a large number of aspiring scientists and engineers. Its modern approach to education and research opportunities make it a competitive choice.

Each of these colleges has its own character and appeal, contributing to their high demand. While academic achievement is crucial, these colleges also look for individuals who will contribute to and thrive within their unique communities.

Tips When Applying To University Of Cambridge For Postgraduates

Applying for a postgraduate position at the University of Cambridge is a journey that demands careful preparation and a keen understanding of what the university seeks in its candidates.

Here are five essential tips to guide you through the application process:

  1. Research Your Course Thoroughly: Cambridge offers a myriad of specialized postgraduate courses. Dive deep into understanding the specifics of the course you’re interested in, including the curriculum, faculty expertise, and research opportunities. 
  2. Craft a Compelling Personal Statement: Discuss your academic interests, any relevant research or work experience, and how they have prepared you for the rigors of a Cambridge postgraduate program. Be genuine and articulate your passion.
  3. Secure Strong References: Choose referees who know you well and can vouch for your academic capabilities and potential for postgraduate study. Ideally, these should be academics who have supervised your previous research.
  4. Prepare for Interviews: Not all courses require interviews, but if yours does, preparation is key. Be ready to discuss your academic interests, previous research, and how you plan to contribute to Cambridge’s academic community. 
  5. Pay Attention to Deadlines: Cambridge has specific deadlines for different courses and funding opportunities. Missing these can jeopardize your application, so make sure you’re well-organized and submit all required documents on time.

Remember, Cambridge is looking for motivated individuals who are ready to contribute to their academic community. Show them why you’re a perfect fit, and how your work can advance not just your own career, but also the field you’re passionate about.

It Is Worth It To Try To Get Into Cambridge University

Understanding Cambridge’s acceptance rates shows us how tough and special it is to get in. These rates aren’t just numbers; they tell us about the hard work and dreams of students from all over.

If you’re thinking of applying, use these rates as a guide. They show you what you’re up against and what you need to aim for. But don’t be scared off. With the right prep and a strong application, getting into Cambridge is possible. Good luck!

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.