The Student Room Group

Why did i get rejected from Cambridge

Hi so i got rejected from Cambridge yesterday from girton college, i applied to Architecture and i felt like **** and still do even tho i knew i had a higher chance of rejection cuz im an international student. whats even more frustrating is that they vaguely said that my academic profile is basically not good enough and i dont get what they're referring to when they say "academic profile" and they said they dont give individual feedback.

Let me fill you in abt my academics, I did 8 IGCSES and got 99999998 (chem, math, physics, computer science, ict, environmental management, english, arabic) n i did 3 IAS levels (Math, chem and arabic) and got As in all. But my parents decided year 13 would be a waste of money since i could get into uni in Qatar (where i live) whilst having done only year 12 also there are barely any schools that offer year 13 here and being a private candidate was gonna cause me depression because all my friends left off to other countries n i wouldnt socialize as a private candidate. So i am currently studying at a uni in qatar but my plan is to study one year in that uni then start from year 1 at a uni in the UK and i got obsessed with Cambridge so i emailed so many colleges to ask if they would consider me and girton was one of the ones that said they would. So if they meant that my "academic profile" wasn't good enough because i didn't do a levels that's just not right.

but i do think that they were referring to my overall application. I think that my personal statement is good tbh i think i didn't include that i did soo much but it was written nicely yk, i wanna attach it on here but idk if thats sensible. my portfolio tho i think wasnt good enough cuz in Qatar As or A level art isn't even taught. i also will attach it here. for my reference i had my IGCSEs ict tutor write it for me and im sure she wrote positive things but she never wrote one before so it might not have fit the structure or content they were looking for.
i also didnt tell them abt my extenuating circumstances because i had never been to a counsellor about them.
i really wanna know why i got rejected, cuz i know ill be redoing my portfolio anw for other unis but am scared its the absence of a levels. because other unis will likely think the same w/o directly informing me.
let me know if u think a certain part of my application was weak
i am gonna send them an email to ask them to reconsider or at least tell me the reason but idk if i should include the reason why i never did year 13 cuz i never mentioned the reason and that i wasnt able to send them my extenuating circumstances and obv tell them that if determined my acceptance based on a levels then its a mistake on their side.
also this is a throw away account for my privacy

Scroll to see replies

dont worry bro. today is my last day of h&s internally assessed gcse and they just gave our booklets back to see how we are doing. turns out i am currently at a grade 3 because the board mucked up the grade boundaries. turns out i'm failing this subject!
They might not provide individual feedback but you can make a subject access request for a copy of your application and any scoring or notes attached to it that lead to the decision.

While they said they would consider your application it may be that when they looked into the content and level of your current studies and university that they decided it isn’t sufficiently advanced for their degrees. You might have been better off going to a UK sixth form to complete your A levels.
(edited 3 months ago)
Reply 3
As mentioned by PQ, your academic profile may well have been sufficient for consideration (as they informed you), but whether or not you’ll be accepted is another issue.
Not having full A-levels (or IB) when applying to university for architecture can be damaging to an application - there are other ways (such as taking a foundational art course) to boost your skills before applying again in the future.
I would hazard a guess and say that the lack of A-levels or equivalent qualification was probably most detrimental to your application. The personal statement and portfolio are also very important parts of the application process, and meticulous care should be taken when creating these: if you feel these were not particularly strong, this probably had an impact too.
Many thousands of applicants across the country face rejection each year, and it’s not unusual for some to apply multiple times before being accepted. Good luck with your future study of architecture 🙂
Reply 4
Original post by PQ
They might not provide individual feedback but you can make a subject access request for a copy of your application and any scoring or notes attached to it that lead to the decision.

While they said they would consider your application it may be that when they looked into the content and level of your current studies and university that they decided it isn’t sufficiently advanced for their degrees. You might have been better off going to a UK sixth form to complete your A levels.

How can I make a subject access request for a copy of my application? is it done thru UCAS?
and I don't think my university was an issue because I asked about it specifically in my enquiry but I do think that my uni courses could've been the problem
Reply 5
Original post by jjjjjjosep
As mentioned by PQ, your academic profile may well have been sufficient for consideration (as they informed you), but whether or not you’ll be accepted is another issue.
Not having full A-levels (or IB) when applying to university for architecture can be damaging to an application - there are other ways (such as taking a foundational art course) to boost your skills before applying again in the future.
I would hazard a guess and say that the lack of A-levels or equivalent qualification was probably most detrimental to your application. The personal statement and portfolio are also very important parts of the application process, and meticulous care should be taken when creating these: if you feel these were not particularly strong, this probably had an impact too.
Many thousands of applicants across the country face rejection each year, and it’s not unusual for some to apply multiple times before being accepted. Good luck with your future study of architecture 🙂

but the thing is the fact that they mentioned it would be considered should mean that they are equivalent to A levels because that's how they assess whether they will consider it or not, I emailed other colleges and some said they wouldn't consider me at all because it wasn't equivalent to A levels. but I do understand that my chances could've been slimmer compared to others with A levels, it would've just been way more honest of them to say that, for example, Homerton said so when I emailed them. Thank you so muchhh !!!
Original post by Fa3982834
Hi so i got rejected from Cambridge yesterday from girton college, i applied to Architecture and i felt like **** and still do even tho i knew i had a higher chance of rejection cuz im an international student. whats even more frustrating is that they vaguely said that my academic profile is basically not good enough and i dont get what they're referring to when they say "academic profile" and they said they dont give individual feedback.

Let me fill you in abt my academics, I did 8 IGCSES and got 99999998 (chem, math, physics, computer science, ict, environmental management, english, arabic) n i did 3 IAS levels (Math, chem and arabic) and got As in all. But my parents decided year 13 would be a waste of money since i could get into uni in Qatar (where i live) whilst having done only year 12 also there are barely any schools that offer year 13 here and being a private candidate was gonna cause me depression because all my friends left off to other countries n i wouldnt socialize as a private candidate. So i am currently studying at a uni in qatar but my plan is to study one year in that uni then start from year 1 at a uni in the UK and i got obsessed with Cambridge so i emailed so many colleges to ask if they would consider me and girton was one of the ones that said they would. So if they meant that my "academic profile" wasn't good enough because i didn't do a levels that's just not right.

but i do think that they were referring to my overall application. I think that my personal statement is good tbh i think i didn't include that i did soo much but it was written nicely yk, i wanna attach it on here but idk if thats sensible. my portfolio tho i think wasnt good enough cuz in Qatar As or A level art isn't even taught. i also will attach it here. for my reference i had my IGCSEs ict tutor write it for me and im sure she wrote positive things but she never wrote one before so it might not have fit the structure or content they were looking for.
i also didnt tell them abt my extenuating circumstances because i had never been to a counsellor about them.
i really wanna know why i got rejected, cuz i know ill be redoing my portfolio anw for other unis but am scared its the absence of a levels. because other unis will likely think the same w/o directly informing me.
let me know if u think a certain part of my application was weak
i am gonna send them an email to ask them to reconsider or at least tell me the reason but idk if i should include the reason why i never did year 13 cuz i never mentioned the reason and that i wasnt able to send them my extenuating circumstances and obv tell them that if determined my acceptance based on a levels then its a mistake on their side.
also this is a throw away account for my privacy

I mean it's normally expected students will complete the full A-level for any UK uni. I'd be very surprised if they accepted students with just AS levels.

A number of unis have international foundation years specifically designed for students whose school education normally finishes in the equivalent of UK year 12.

I believe they will consider international students who have done a year at university where they live if their education system does not go beyond year 12.
Reply 7
Original post by artful_lounger
I mean it's normally expected students will complete the full A-level for any UK uni. I'd be very surprised if they accepted students with just AS levels.

A number of unis have international foundation years specifically designed for students whose school education normally finishes in the equivalent of UK year 12.

I believe they will consider international students who have done a year at university where they live if their education system does not go beyond year 12.

But its way more common here to finish till year 12 when ur doing the British curriculum, and I know AS levels aren't enough I just thought that my year at uni would cover up for A2, the uni i go to is also a top-ranked uni idek tbh I'm just scared all other universities i want to apply to would do the same: tell me they'll consider and then reject me cuz of a levels
Original post by Fa3982834
But its way more common here to finish till year 12 when ur doing the British curriculum, and I know AS levels aren't enough I just thought that my year at uni would cover up for A2, the uni i go to is also a top-ranked uni idek tbh I'm just scared all other universities i want to apply to would do the same: tell me they'll consider and then reject me cuz of a levels

AAh sorry I missed that you were doing a year at uni. That is I think usually considered but it might just be they felt that for whatever reason your performance in that course so far or maybe the nature of the course itself wasn't suitable preparation?

If its any consolation architecture is usually the most competitive course for undergraduate study for standard entry at Cambridge, most years :redface:

Did you apply anywhere else and get any offers elsewhere?
Original post by Fa3982834
How can I make a subject access request for a copy of my application? is it done thru UCAS?
and I don't think my university was an issue because I asked about it specifically in my enquiry but I do think that my uni courses could've been the problem


https://www.information-compliance.admin.cam.ac.uk/data-protection/subject-access-request
Reply 10
Original post by artful_lounger
AAh sorry I missed that you were doing a year at uni. That is I think usually considered but it might just be they felt that for whatever reason your performance in that course so far or maybe the nature of the course itself wasn't suitable preparation?

If its any consolation architecture is usually the most competitive course for undergraduate study for standard entry at Cambridge, most years :redface:

Did you apply anywhere else and get any offers elsewhere?

that's okayy. yeah, I think it might've been my courses, i know they are not on the same level as A levels, but i would be expected to do architecture courses next semester so that should somewhat put me at an advantage. And noo I didn't apply anywhere else because I wanna improve my portfolio and email all unis I'm thinking of about my situation and whether they'd consider me.

I did hear that it was competitive but I didn't know it was the most, it is making me feel better though really, thanks.
Original post by Fa3982834
that's okayy. yeah, I think it might've been my courses, i know they are not on the same level as A levels, but i would be expected to do architecture courses next semester so that should somewhat put me at an advantage. And noo I didn't apply anywhere else because I wanna improve my portfolio and email all unis I'm thinking of about my situation and whether they'd consider me.

I did hear that it was competitive but I didn't know it was the most, it is making me feel better though really, thanks.

That seems sensible, hopefully you can reapply and have better luck in future :smile:

And yes, don't feel bad about it because it really is very competitive! Cambridge publish a lot of admissions data here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/apply/statistics

Where you can see that last year it had a success rate of 11.3% - which put it in the top 5 most competitive courses for undergraduate entry that year at Cambridge (not counting graduate entry medicine which is only open to those with a degree already), just behind economics, CS, and psychological and behavioural sciences. And more competitive than standard entry medicine, vet med, engineering, and law!
(edited 3 months ago)
Reply 13
Original post by artful_lounger
That seems sensible, hopefully you can reapply and have better luck in future :smile:

And yes, don't feel bad about it because it really is very competitive! Cambridge publish a lot of admissions data here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/apply/statistics

Where you can see that last year it had a success rate of 11.3% - which put it in the top 5 most competitive courses for undergraduate entry that year at Cambridge (not counting graduate entry medicine which is only open to those with a degree already), just behind economics, CS, and psychological and behavioural sciences. And more competitive than standard entry medicine, vet med, engineering, and law!

I kept trying to submit this but fore some reason it didn't so I had to resubmit but anyway I really hope so too!
That's interesting, I always expected medicine to be more competitive
I just checked UCL's success rate for Architecture and it's 11% but I've heard far more people get into UCL than Cambridge I really don't know if I have a chance and I don't want to waste a choice and end up being rejected. I've emailed them about my situation and I am still waiting for their reply though.
Original post by Fa3982834
I kept trying to submit this but fore some reason it didn't so I had to resubmit but anyway I really hope so too!
That's interesting, I always expected medicine to be more competitive
I just checked UCL's success rate for Architecture and it's 11% but I've heard far more people get into UCL than Cambridge I really don't know if I have a chance and I don't want to waste a choice and end up being rejected. I've emailed them about my situation and I am still waiting for their reply though.

UCL is a bigger course overall than Cambridge I think - Cambridge architecture is a quite small department whereas the Bartlett is pretty big I believe.
Reply 15
Original post by artful_lounger
UCL is a bigger course overall than Cambridge I think - Cambridge architecture is a quite small department whereas the Bartlett is pretty big I believe.

oh so that leaves me with a higher chance. Thank you so much for your help.
Reply 16
Update: I contacted Girton College and they said that they thought I had already completed the year at a Qatari University. Therefore their acceptance was going to be based on me providing a transcript for that year, but since I am currently completing that year, I obviously don't have a transcript. They told me I could reapply with "that year in hand". I've heard that reapplying makes my chances slimmer but considering my situation would this apply to me as well? Thank you for your help!!
Original post by Fa3982834
Update: I contacted Girton College and they said that they thought I had already completed the year at a Qatari University. Therefore their acceptance was going to be based on me providing a transcript for that year, but since I am currently completing that year, I obviously don't have a transcript. They told me I could reapply with "that year in hand". I've heard that reapplying makes my chances slimmer but considering my situation would this apply to me as well? Thank you for your help!!

Are you sure you want to go to Girton College, Cambridge University?

Because it is a 15-20 minutes walk from the rest of the Colleges and most departments for lectures and libraries too.
Original post by thegeek888
Are you sure you want to go to Girton College, Cambridge University?

Because it is a 15-20 minutes walk from the rest of the Colleges and most departments for lectures and libraries too.

Not everyone wants to be in the city centre. Living in a college that's a little further away has its own advantages, so I'd definitely understand why people would pick Girton. Also, distance isn't exactly the only/most important factor in picking a college...
Reply 19
Original post by Fa3982834
Hi so i got rejected from Cambridge yesterday from girton college, i applied to Architecture and i felt like **** and still do even tho i knew i had a higher chance of rejection cuz im an international student. whats even more frustrating is that they vaguely said that my academic profile is basically not good enough and i dont get what they're referring to when they say "academic profile" and they said they dont give individual feedback.

Let me fill you in abt my academics, I did 8 IGCSES and got 99999998 (chem, math, physics, computer science, ict, environmental management, english, arabic) n i did 3 IAS levels (Math, chem and arabic) and got As in all. But my parents decided year 13 would be a waste of money since i could get into uni in Qatar (where i live) whilst having done only year 12 also there are barely any schools that offer year 13 here and being a private candidate was gonna cause me depression because all my friends left off to other countries n i wouldnt socialize as a private candidate. So i am currently studying at a uni in qatar but my plan is to study one year in that uni then start from year 1 at a uni in the UK and i got obsessed with Cambridge so i emailed so many colleges to ask if they would consider me and girton was one of the ones that said they would. So if they meant that my "academic profile" wasn't good enough because i didn't do a levels that's just not right.

but i do think that they were referring to my overall application. I think that my personal statement is good tbh i think i didn't include that i did soo much but it was written nicely yk, i wanna attach it on here but idk if thats sensible. my portfolio tho i think wasnt good enough cuz in Qatar As or A level art isn't even taught. i also will attach it here. for my reference i had my IGCSEs ict tutor write it for me and im sure she wrote positive things but she never wrote one before so it might not have fit the structure or content they were looking for.
i also didnt tell them abt my extenuating circumstances because i had never been to a counsellor about them.
i really wanna know why i got rejected, cuz i know ill be redoing my portfolio anw for other unis but am scared its the absence of a levels. because other unis will likely think the same w/o directly informing me.
let me know if u think a certain part of my application was weak
i am gonna send them an email to ask them to reconsider or at least tell me the reason but idk if i should include the reason why i never did year 13 cuz i never mentioned the reason and that i wasnt able to send them my extenuating circumstances and obv tell them that if determined my acceptance based on a levels then its a mistake on their side.
also this is a throw away account for my privacy

Hi there, I was also rejected from Cambridge for architecture back in 2021. My A Level grades were A*A*A and my GCSE grades were 9999999988A; I was still rejected and not pooled. I also received no feedback despite requesting it, which I can admit is really frustrating and can leave you second guessing your capability.
I would say that not doing a humanities subject at A Level disadvantaged you as most architecture degrees focus on hand drawing and design in their first year, so look for subjects like Fine art, Art & design, or graphic design.
Cambridge also have a tiny cohort and some of the admissions process is just luck. Your success can depend on how many people deferred, grade boundaries etc. it's pretty out of your control. There are degrees as good as Cambridge's, if not better. This isn't the end of the world.

Quick Reply

Latest