**Update Saturday 10th January**
Thanks to jneill for compiliing a spreadsheet of the information provided by colleges about their plans for emailing applicants, which can be found here
Understanding the letter/email your college sent you
Please see my post here
________________________________ ________________________________ _________________________
Some of you may have realised that the Cambridge decisions are being posted out a week later than they were last year. This is largely because part of the Winter Pool process has been updated so that there will be much less uncertainty and stress for pooled applicants - everyone will know where they are much sooner than they used to.
Decision letters will be posted out
to all applicants, UK-based and abroad, on Friday 9th January
. Some colleges may send emails to those who have requested them over the following weekend of 10th/11th January, while others will wait until Monday 12th January before sending these out.
may have to request that their decision letter be emailed to them. Check any advice your college may have sent you on this point, as practice does vary, and make sure you have opted in if you needed to.
It is worth checking now
that your preference college has your up-to-date contact details
, including mobile and landline numbers. If these have changed since you were interviewed and you haven't told them, do so now, by email
, putting "Applicant Contact Details Update" in the subject line so that the admin team will know what it is.
What happens next week
The Pool meetings will still take place as usual, with the files of applicants pooled by each college available for review by other colleges on 4th, 5th and 6th January, with Pool decision meetings happening on 6th January. The big change from previous years is that this process will be completed before any decision letters at all are sent out. Most people should receive a letter or email by Monday 12th January from their preference college (ie the one you applied to), and this will tell you one of the following:
The Winter Pool – what is it?
- you have been made an offer (any conditions attached to that offer will also be in the letter)
- your application was unsuccessful
- you were placed in the Winter Pool but unfortunately no other college expressed interest in your application, so your application was unsuccessful
- you were placed in the Winter Pool, and another college did express interest in your application: in this case, you will either receive a direct offer from another college, or will already have been called for re-interview
The Winter Pool is the mechanism by which Cambridge colleges ensure that all applicants of equivalent standard have a fair chance of an offer. About a fifth of all offers made every year go to applicants who have been pooled: 887 out of 4220 offers in 2013-14 and 876 out of 4138 in 2012-13. However, there is significant variation by course, college, and year; you can look up the statistics for individual colleges and subjects here
. Applicants who achieve offers through the Pool are as strong as those who achieve direct offers, and do just as well in their undergraduate studies.
What happens next?
Those being called for Pool interviews will be contacted by email or telephone on Wednesday 7th
and Thursday 8th
January by the college/s concerned, and the interviews will take place between Saturday 10th
and Wednesday 14th
so UK-based applicants are advised to ensure that they are contactable on those days - there is a very tight turn around. Some colleges may start calling on afternoon/evening of 6th January. However, this does not mean freaking out every time you see a missed call on your phone - remember that we are talking about a few hundred people overall being called back, and of those only some will be reading this
I would expect that perhaps 40 or so TSR people will be contacted in this way, and it may well be fewer than that.
The posting date for colleges making direct offers through the Pool is is also 9th January, so pooled applicants should receive letters or emails (and possibly phone calls) from 10th January. Re-interviewed applicants should hear the outcome no later than Monday 19th
January. If you have been successful, you will hear only from the college that is making you an offer. If unsuccessful, your preference college is responsible for letting you know, although it is to be hoped that the college/s that interviewed you would also tell you.
International applicants who were interviewed abroad, and those living outside Europe, will certainly not be called for re-interview. Someone living in Europe may be recalled, but this is very rare.
I haven’t received my decision letter yet – what should I do?
If you are a UK applicant
, and have not heard anything at all by Tuesday 13th January,
contact your preference college.
should be emailed by their college, probably on Monday 12th or Tuesday 13th January, but you may have to have requested this (see above). If you did opt in, and have heard nothing by Wednesday 14th January, email your preference college. If you didn't opt in, or were not asked to, emailing your preference college on 15th January would be a reasonable thing to do.
I have received a letter from my preference college saying I’ve been taken out of the Pool, but I’ve not heard anything from another college yet. What should I do?
Check your email spam folder and your voicemail in case an interview invitation is sitting there waiting for you. If there isn’t, and you are sure that your application file had correct contact details for you, sit tight and wait until Friday 16th
January. If you still haven’t heard anything by then, contact your preference college for advice.
Is there any possibility of changing the college that has made me a Pool offer or called me for re-interview?
No. If you are worried about it being an all-women/out of town/modern/mature student college, check out the individual college threads in the Cambridge forum. Many others have been there before you!
What are my chances of an offer following re-interview?
It is noticeable that over the years the number of applicants being called for re-interview has declined significantly. Back in the 2007-08 round, 548 people were re-interviewed, of whom 285 were successful. Last year, only 370 applicants were re-interviewed and 170 were made offers. The success rate is around 1 in 2, with some fluctuations from year to year.
How should I prepare for my interview?
Get to know something about the college – use their website, and the TSR resources. Otherwise, make sure you read carefully any instructions you are sent, especially if there may be some kind of test, and review your personal statement. The most useful thing you can do, though, is to draw on the experience of being interviewed in December. The admissions tutors are as interested in how you think something through as they are in you getting to the ‘right’ answer – if indeed there is one
Do post in this thread and let us know how it's all working for you. If you have been successful, congratulations. If not, commiserations, but remember that there is life after a Cambridge rejection, as I have good reason to know