Now even Cambridge offers places through clearing

Now even Cambridge offers places through clearing as university ‘tries to boost the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds’

  • Cambridge has given places to 67 high-fliers who were originally rejected
  • In the past it has only ever admitted students via its initial applications cycle 
  • But the university has been heavily criticised for letting in disproportionate numbers of well-off students, often because they have been to the best schools

Cambridge has for the first time let in extra students on A-level results day to boost the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The world-class university has given places to 67 high-fliers who were originally rejected but ended up getting better results than expected.

While other universities usually go through the ‘clearing’ process to fill up places every summer, Cambridge in the past has only ever admitted students via its initial applications cycle. 

However, Cambridge has been heavily criticised for letting in disproportionate numbers of well-off students, often because they have been to the best schools and interview well.

While other universities usually go through the ‘clearing’ process to fill up places every summer, Cambridge in the past has only ever admitted students via its initial applications cycle (pictured: The Great Court, Trinity College, Cambridge)

In March, it invited anyone from a poor background who had been rejected to re-apply, saying they would get a ‘second chance’ on results day so long as they met grade requirements.

Dr Sam Lucy, director of admissions, said yesterday: ‘It is wonderful to see that so many who may not have managed to show their full academic potential during the main admissions round have gone on to excel at A-level due to their hard work and determination.’ After this pilot year, Cambridge hopes to make the same route available in future. This year, 71 students who referred themselves for consideration on A-level results day were offered places on courses from English to computer science, and 67 accepted.

Each student had to meet at least three deprivation criteria, such as living in a neighbourhood where not many people go to university, or growing up in care.

Experts have previously warned that many disadvantaged students are underestimated by their teachers when it comes to predicted grades. Yesterday, admissions body UCAS said a record 17,420 students were accepted through clearing on results day, up from 15,160 in 2018.

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