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Prospective students who exceed expectations given a second opportunity

Students from widening participation backgrounds, who narrowly miss out on receiving an offer to study for an undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge, are to be given another opportunity to gain a place on a course, once their A-level results are known.

From this summer, the University is to participate in the UCAS system of ‘adjustment’ which provides students with a second chance of getting on to their first-choice course. Adjustment is an optional process that allows students who have met and exceeded the terms of the conditional offer that they are holding to refer themselves for consideration by another institution.

Cambridge will be part of the system from August 2019. Students from under-represented backgrounds will be able to refer themselves for consideration on A-level results day (15 August). It’s estimated up to 100 places will be offered under the scheme.

Dr Sam Lucy, Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, says: “Each year more than 14,000 students who apply to Cambridge are not made an offer. Students have to apply almost a year before they start their course, and some may be on an upward academic trajectory and not demonstrating their full academic potential at the point of interview.

"Adjustment provides those students who go on to achieve highly with an opportunity to be reconsidered as soon as they have their final results, rather than having to make a reapplication the following year. We hope this will have a positive impact, in enabling us to admit talented students from underrepresented groups who narrowly miss out in the first round.”

Access officer for the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), Shadab Ahmed, welcomed the announcement, saying: "This is a fantastic opportunity for students who exceed expectations and gives them a chance to gain a place at Cambridge. This will mean students will not be forced to take a gap year, which is often unfeasible for many students, especially for those from a widening participation background.

"This is vital in the current educational climate where there is increasing uncertainty and the admissions process is becoming more competitive. It also has the added benefit of allowing students increased flexibility, and I hope the pool that this is open to widens in the future."

Schools around the country welcomed the news.

Matthew Joyce is a Student Progression Manager at Harton Academy in South Shields, which is in one of Jesus College's link areas. He commented: “This is a really positive development and one that could make a huge difference to the lives of individual students from Harton 6th Form or other schools and colleges in the north-east, enabling them to access the world class education that the University of Cambridge offers.”

Adjustment applications will only be considered for the subject a student originally applied for and are available to those who are resident in the UK and currently studying at a UK school. Applicants who may become eligible when A-level results are published have been contacted by the Director of Admissions detailing the arrangements for the scheme. Further information can be found at:

This piece is based on an article first published on the University of Cambridge's website.


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