Selection - School/college reference
Grades are not everything and the school/college reference is useful because it tells us about an applicant's abilities and potential.
Comments from subject specialists that show evidence of intellectual flexibility and curiosity, analytic ability, logical reasoning and the ability to learn quickly are most useful. The majority of our applicants are predicted to achieve top grades in the qualifications they are studying and words such as 'outstanding' appear in very many references. Instead, it is helpful if remarks about academic performance and potential are made as specific as possible. The following can be particularly useful:
- comments from subject teachers indicating a rank order in class (such as 'top of 20' or 'in the top four out of 23') or a comparison with current or previous applicants (for instance 'one of our top 10 university applicants this year')
- updated information about an applicant's progress or personal circumstances, as long as it is received before the December interview period
- where an applicant has underachieved at GCSE/IGCSE or AS Level, the reasons why this might have happened
- any health or personal circumstances that might affect performance at interview
- evidence of a willingness to explore and discuss ideas outside the confines of the subject specification, if applying for a subject studied at school/college
- evidence of steps taken to find out about the subject, for a non-school/college subject
For applicants with a particularly difficult educational or personal background an additional reference for the Extenuating Circumstances Form should be completed.
Please note that there is no need to write a special reference for Cambridge as we receive a copy of the UCAS reference you supply. However, if you wish to make any Cambridge-specific comments you are most welcome to send these direct to the Admissions Tutor at the College to which the student applied or to the Cambridge Admissions Office in the case of open applicants. Please ensure that the applicant's name, course and UCAS Personal ID are clearly stated.