Trinitymaths
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I will be applying to Cambridge from the U.S for maths with physics.

I don't mind what college I live in and the math courses are the same no matter what college you live in, so I don't see what the big deal is with going to one college or another...

However my friend tells me that Trinity is the best college for maths since all the best math students go there. It would be nice to be in the company of all the best mathematicians at Cambridge, but I also hear that getting into Trinity is harder than the other colleges. I don't know exactly why people say this, but it seems to be true because Trinity is one of the few colleges that has a test at the interview, and I can see how the Trinity test is probably more difficult than the standard interview questions like draw the graph of sin(x)/x or something like that.

I feel that my credentials are strong - if you would care to see them please see this thread: . However I am apprehensive about applying to Trinity because I think I might have better chances at other colleges where the competition is less intense. I also am wondering if Trinity has a quota for international applicants which will make it even harder for me to get in there.

I am confident I can do well on the Trinity maths entrance exam but IMO medalists from countries all around the world apply to Trinity, and my credentials can't really compete with theirs'.

tl;dr:

Thus my question is will I have an easier time getting into Cambridge if I apply to a less well known college like Girton where there is less competition, or should I just apply to Trinity.

Also what is the deal with quotas for international students at Cambridge? Do they vary from college to college and will it make it harder for me to get into Trinity?

Thanks for your advice.
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username1865079
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(Original post by Trinitymaths)
I will be applying to Cambridge from the U.S for maths with physics.

I don't mind what college I live in and the math courses are the same no matter what college you live in, so I don't see what the big deal is with going to one college or another...

However my friend tells me that Trinity is the best college for maths since all the best math students go there. It would be nice to be in the company of all the best mathematicians at Cambridge, but I also hear that getting into Trinity is harder than the other colleges. I don't know exactly why people say this, but it seems to be true because Trinity is one of the few colleges that has a test at the interview, and I can see how the Trinity test is probably more difficult than the standard interview questions like draw the graph of sin(x)/x or something like that.

I feel that my credentials are strong - if you would care to see them please see this thread: . However I am apprehensive about applying to Trinity because I think I might have better chances at other colleges where the competition is less intense. I also am wondering if Trinity has a quota for international applicants which will make it even harder for me to get in there.

I am confident I can do well on the Trinity maths entrance exam but IMO medalists from countries all around the world apply to Trinity, and my credentials can't really compete with theirs'.

tl;dr:

Thus my question is will I have an easier time getting into Cambridge if I apply to a less well known college like Girton where there is less competition, or should I just apply to Trinity.

Also what is the deal with quotas for international students at Cambridge? Do they vary from college to college and will it make it harder for me to get into Trinity?

Thanks for your advice.
If you're good enough, you'll get into Cambridge because even if the college you applied is oversubscribed and can't take you, you'll be put into pool and will probably picked up by other college.
Their selection system is constructed so that the university as a whole can get the strongest applicants no matter which college they applied to, and the pooling system is there to make sure that happens.(Note: all the colleges can see the details of all applicants to the university before the selection process starts, so they can compare the direct applicants to their college to the cohort of all other applicants.)
Please read this.
http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...sing-a-college

And if you want to know more about the pooling system, you can find it in their website ( or even wiki) too.

As for quota for internationals, afaik medicine is the only course they have to limit the number of international students because of quota set by the government. If there's any self-regulated quota within Cambridge for international applicants, I've never heard of it.
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username1865079
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Btw, I'm turning the table to ask you a question now.
How many more times are you planning to ask very similar questions? This is the fifth one.......

As @jneill said on other threads, if you're so keen on trinity, just apply there. If you really don't mind which college you go to (as you claimed), apply any college and you will get into Cambridge if they think you're good enough to grant a place. End of story.
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Peterhouse Admissions
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(Original post by Trinitymaths)

Thus my question is will I have an easier time getting into Cambridge if I apply to a less well known college like Girton where there is less competition, or should I just apply to Trinity.

Also what is the deal with quotas for international students at Cambridge? Do they vary from college to college and will it make it harder for me to get into Trinity?

Thanks for your advice.
No, this isn't how it works. The moderation and pooling process ensure everyone has an equal chance of admission to the Univeristy, regardless of which College you apply to. If you genuinely can't decide and don't have a strong preference, you might consider an Open application. You are no more, and no less, likely to get in doing this. College choice doesn't make that big an impact on your time at Cambridge and it isn't worth a lot of the anguish that it often generates. There are no bad Colleges and the vast, vast majority of students love whichever College they end up at.
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ian.slater
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(Original post by Trinitymaths)

Thanks for your advice.
This is a tricky one. As others have said the pooling system is designed to ensure that your chance of acceptance is not influenced by your choice of college.

If you are an average applicant, you are unlikely to get an offer from Trinity .. they just have lots of top-flight applicants to choose from and will pick the best. If you are close to the threshold for acceptance you are likely to be pooled. Which means if you do get an offer it will be from one of the less fashionable and under-subscribed colleges.

If you want some control over your eventual college I suggest you pick a different one that you like. If you look into the statistics you will find that some colleges are more generous with their offers and rely more on STEP to pick the winners.

I fear there may be a secondary effect as well. If you narrowly miss your offer, which often happens in Maths, your first-choice college has the first opportunity to give you a place before (summer) pooling you. Given that they know you a bit you may be treated slightly more favourably.
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Doones
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(Original post by ian.slater)
This is a tricky one. As others have said the pooling system is designed to ensure that your chance of acceptance is not influenced by your choice of college.

If you are an average applicant, you are unlikely to get an offer from Trinity .. they just have lots of top-flight applicants to choose from and will pick the best. If you are close to the threshold for acceptance you are likely to be pooled. Which means if you do get an offer it will be from one of the less fashionable and under-subscribed colleges.

If you want some control over your eventual college I suggest you pick a different one that you like. If you look into the statistics you will find that some colleges are more generous with their offers and rely more on STEP to pick the winners.
The STEP offers from Trinity are on a par with other colleges. OP, from their other posts, appears to be a good candidate and really really wants to go to Trinity, so should apply there. As they have already been advised many times by many others...

(OP's credentials: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=3432473
Do I have a chance of getting into Trinity for maths?)


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Doones
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Just to add...

Yes applying to Trinity is risky.

Applying to any college at Cambridge is risky.

Life is risky.

Carpe diem!

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username1865079
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Hmmmm......
I'm very interested to see how OP will do after all this........

To OP,
'Don't play the statistic game', that's the name of the game for Cambridge application.
And virtually everyone thinks their college is the best, whether it's his/her first choice or pooled, which means you'll be probably happy wherever you end up. ( so, in another word, if someone strongly recommend one college over others and if he/she is from the college, don't trust their words too much as they're bound to be biased. )
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ian.slater
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(Original post by jneill)
The STEP offers from Trinity are on a par with other colleges. OP, from their other posts, appears to be a good candidate and really really wants to go to Trinity, so should apply there.
Point taken about OP in particular ... but I want to stick by my general point ... this is from the University's published statistics for Maths (not just with Physics) 2014:

http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...ply/statistics

Name:  Cam college maths stats.png
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Size:  10.9 KB

Notice: (1) the ratio of offers to applicants varies greatly by college (2) the number of original Trinity applicants given offers via the Winter Pool
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vd9
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One more pointh though, if he is applying from abroad, STEP offer from Trinity may be easily SS/S1 though.

Source: SS offer holder + I know about others not from UK with same offer.
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Doones
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(Original post by vd9)
One more pointh though, if he is applying from abroad, STEP offer from Trinity may be easily SS/S1 though.

Source: SS offer holder + I know about others not from UK with same offer.
As it may be with other colleges

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username1865079
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(Original post by vd9)
One more pointh though, if he is applying from abroad, STEP offer from Trinity may be easily SS/S1 though.

Source: SS offer holder + I know about others not from UK with same offer.
In general sometimes they set slightly higher condition if they have some doubt in a part of your application. It's possible that may happen more for international applicants than UK applicants but that may be because more of internationals have other qualifications than more standard qualification for home students like a-levels/IB.

Edited to add: 'they' = Cambridge in general, not just trinity
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Doones
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(Original post by ian.slater)
Point taken about OP in particular ... but I want to stick by my general point ... this is from the University's published statistics for Maths (not just with Physics) 2014:

http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...ply/statistics

Name:  Cam college maths stats.png
Views: 1165
Size:  10.9 KB

Notice: (1) the ratio of offers to applicants varies greatly by college (2) the number of original Trinity applicants given offers via the Winter Pool
Trinity offer rate is better than some other colleges. And also rates vary year by year. I did an analysis of this a little while ago, I'll try to find it again later.

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Peterhouse Admissions
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(Original post by ian.slater)
Point taken about OP in particular ... but I want to stick by my general point ... this is from the University's published statistics for Maths (not just with Physics) 2014:

http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...ply/statistics

Name:  Cam college maths stats.png
Views: 1165
Size:  10.9 KB

Notice: (1) the ratio of offers to applicants varies greatly by college (2) the number of original Trinity applicants given offers via the Winter Pool
Ratio of offers:applicants varies as the quality and competitiveness of candidates varies and is corrected by the Winter Pool. Being assessed by a particular College doesn't make you any more or any less competitive. Maths is also tricky as there is lots of movement in the Summer Pool as the STEP condition is used as an extra assessment of ability in a way not possible in interview. There are cases where candidates apply to one College, are Winter Pooled to another and are Summer Pooled to a third.
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Doones
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(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
Ratio of offers:applicants varies as the quality and competitiveness of candidates varies and is corrected by the Winter Pool. Being assessed by a particular College doesn't make you any more or any less competitive. Maths is also tricky as there is lots of movement in the Summer Pool as the STEP condition is used as an extra assessment of ability in a way not possible in interview. There are cases where candidates apply to one College, are Winter Pooled to another and are Summer Pooled to a third.
Would it be possible to request a button on those charts to download the raw data points in a CSV? It would make life so much easier......

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username1865079
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(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
There are cases where candidates apply to one College, are Winter Pooled to another and are Summer Pooled to a third.
:eek:
gosh, lucky him/her..... Must have a heart of steel to go through 2 pools. Bless him or her). Hope he(she) is doing well.
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Doones
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(Original post by ian.slater)
Point taken about OP in particular ... but I want to stick by my general point ... this is from the University's published statistics for Maths (not just with Physics) 2014:

http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...ply/statistics

Name:  Cam college maths stats.png
Views: 1165
Size:  10.9 KB

Notice: (1) the ratio of offers to applicants varies greatly by college (2) the number of original Trinity applicants given offers via the Winter Pool
2013 admissions data for Maths
Trinity offer rate was 33.5% - Cambridge as a whole was 35.3%
= Trinity was slightly "worse" than uni average
Trinity achieve offer rate was 67.6% - Cambridge as a whole was 48.8%
= much higher ability to achieve offers than uni as a whole
Trinity success rate (acceptances/applicants) was 22.7% - Cambridge was 17.2% = Trinity applicants had a higher success rate overall

2014 data
Trinity offer rate fell to 30.6% - Cambridge as a whole was 39.8%
= Trinity was significantly "worse" than uni average
Trinity achieve offer rate was 57.8% - Cambridge as a whole was 44.4%
= much higher than uni again
Trinity success rate was 17.7% - Cambridge was also 17.7%
= Trinity on a par with overall success rate

2015 data
Trinity offer rate increased to 36.6% - Cambridge as a whole was 40.3%
= Trinity was slightly "worse" than uni average
No Acceptances data yet for 2015

Overall Trinity applicants receive slightly fewer offers (from Trinity), are better able to meet the offers and have an overall success rate on a par with (or better than) the uni as a whole.

Edit to add: Using 2013 data, Trinity had the 5th highest applicant success rate of all the Colleges. St Ed's, Murray Edwards, Peterhouse and Girton are higher, everything else was lower.

NB. this ignores pooling effects which, again, would help to smooth things out for applicants. Year-to-year fluctuations are very significant so caution must be taken with all this...
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ian.slater
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(Original post by vincrows)
:eek:
gosh, lucky him/her..... Must have a heart of steel to go through 2 pools. Bless him or her). Hope he(she) is doing well.
I taught one in the 2012 intake. Originally applied to Trinity. Fished by College X from winter pool. Got 1/2 in STEP ... fished by College Y from Summer Pool. I happened also to know a direct applicant to College X who had his place confirmed with a worse 1/2.

S/he did fine
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Chief Wiggum
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I'm always surprised at how much faith people put in the pooling system tbh. I'd say it's unlikely to be completely fair (although I guess you could say the same about applications to Cambridge in the first place, or indeed applications to universities at all).
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username1865079
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(Original post by Chief Wiggum)
I'm always surprised at how much faith people put in the pooling system tbh. I'd say it's unlikely to be completely fair (although I guess you could say the same about applications to Cambridge in the first place, or indeed applications to universities at all).
Nobody is saying the pooling system is 100% waterproof.

They receive over 16,000 applications and every single one of them has its own unique profile, and also it's a human process at the end of the day, Admission Tutor A may have a different view from Admission Tutor B on Candidate X.
And it's probably virtually impossible to be 100% certain some of the border-line candidates (a sort of candidates who're likely to be put into pool) are definitely better than other border-line candidates, it's possible some of them fall through the net even though they may be slightly better than some others. But who can tell whether they were really better??? No system in the world can be completely perfect every single time.

But give that all the colleges can see all of them throughout the selection process and they look at all aspects of the application plus reports on interviews/internal tests on top of that throughout the process, I still believe their system has been working fairly well. It may not be 100% and it's possible there's still a room for improvement (= one of the reason they're constantly collecting the admission data and analysing it, I assume), but probably very small margin of 'error', I think.

I know rankings are not everything and they'can be a misleading measurement to assess the quality of universities, but if Cambridge starts slipping down the rankings, perhaps that's the time when they have to re-think their selection process. ; (.........though it's possible they start excelling on the Thames at the same time......)
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