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Foundation Year

 

Do you have a question about your eligibility, the course or the admissions process for the Foundation Year? If so, please see our Frequently Asked Questions section with additional details and information about everything Foundation Year!

If your question is not covered on the website or in the FAQs, please feel free to email us at foundation.year@admin.cam.ac.uk

 

Q. How should I prepare for the Foundation Year?

For this course, we particularly advise that you check your eligibility in good time. You may have queries about your eligibility and if we receive these sooner rather than later we have the best chance of helping address those queries. We advise checking the criteria and emailing with queries: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/foundation-year#eligibility 

Students applying for the Foundation Year can express a college preference or make an open application and be assigned to a college. Anyone who isn’t familiar with the role of colleges in life at Cambridge should explore that to be able to choose whether to express a preference or not. You can find out more here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/colleges/what-is-a-college  If you do want to express a preference, you can explore all the colleges participating (full list here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/foundation-year)

As with any course at Cambridge, in the admissions process, we are looking for students with the potential to succeed. Doing anything that inspires you to be a better student and do as well as possible in your examinations is a good idea. This could be things like delving deeper into subjects you like or reading broadly. It could also include listening to podcasts, watching lectures or talks on YouTube, talking about subject interests with friends or teachers and much more. HE+ is a great place to look for ideas and to learn about some of the subjects that the Cambridge Foundation Year can lead to: https://myheplus.com/

Q. Is this just for UK students or international students too?

Students will ordinarily be resident in the UK. Refugees are eligible for the Foundation Year, just as they are for other courses at Cambridge.

Q. What is the eligibility for the Foundation Year?

Our eligibility criteria are wide-ranging and are intended to capture different circumstances you might have experienced. This could include anyone who is currently in care or care experienced; students who are or have been young carers, or who may have experienced homelessness or bereavements; students from low-income households; and students whose schools or colleges have low rates of progression to higher education. The full list of our eligibility criteria is available here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/foundation-year#eligibility 

Q. Is this course open to Mature Students?

Yes! The Foundation Year is open to Mature Students (applicants aged 21 and above) who meet the eligibility criteria. Some of our criteria were explicitly designed with older applicants in mind, for example completing qualifications part-time while working or experiencing gaps in education.

Further, older applicants should be reassured that two Cambridge Colleges that specifically cater to mature student needs are participating in the programme pilot; these Colleges are Wolfson and St Edmunds. Mature applicants do not necessarily have to apply to these Colleges, but may appreciate the community and facilities they offer.

Q. What are the academic requirements for the Foundation Year?

The academic entry requirements are 120 UCAS Tariff Points. For ease, many people understand this as equivalent to BBB at A-Level. However, it also means ABC or A*CC at A-Level. You can check what 120 UCAS Points would mean for your qualification type or combination of qualifications here: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator 

There are no specific subject requirements, although some very vocationally oriented courses aren’t suitable. Find out more here: https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/foundation-year#entry-requirements

Q. Will you also be looking at my GCSE profile?

As our admissions process aims to be as holistic as possible, we will be reviewing all the information we receive. This includes your GCSE profile, which will be contextualised to the school in which the grades were achieved. However, it is worth noting that we are conscious that you will potentially have experienced disadvantage which has impacted on your GCSE attainment too.

For some applicants, their GCSE profile may help to provide evidence of previous excellence (for example before circumstances that had impacted their current attainment such as estrangement or bereavement). Alternatively, it could indicate an upward trajectory in recent years.

Q. Would students be able to apply for both the foundation and the undergraduate course at Cambridge?

No, applicants who wish to make an application to the Foundation Year will not be able to simultaneously make an application through the standard Cambridge admissions round for 2022 entry. This decision was made because one of the specific project aims is to broaden the pool of applicants, and therefore simply redirecting applicants won't help us to achieve that aim. We also reviewed data from the past few cycles and believe that there are currently a relatively small number of applicants applying through the usual route for whom the Foundation Year would be an ideal option (around 10-15 per year).

We will be keeping this particular aspect under review so this may change for 2023 entry or beyond.

Q. Would applicants write their personal statement about the course at Cambridge that they would hope to progress to from the foundation course?

We encourage applicants to the Foundation Year to use the opportunity in their UCAS personal statement to state their subject interest and reflect upon their learning ambitions and motivation for study. For most, we very much appreciate that you may be simultaneously applying for degree courses at other institutions and as such would not expect you to reflect on the Foundation Year itself in your personal statement (unless it was the only course you were applying for). 

As such, you could reflect on the subject that most interests you at this point in time. 

Q. What are the fees for the Foundation Year?

There are no tuition fees charged for the Foundation Year. Students admitted to the Foundation Year will receive a Scholarship to cover rent and other living costs. This will be equivalent to what they would receive as a maintenance loan from student finance (currently £9,250) and will be ‘topped up’ with an amount in line with the existing levels offered through the Cambridge Bursary Scheme (up to £3,500 depending on household income). In receiving this Scholarship, students will not need to take out student finance for the Foundation Year, but may need to apply for relevant student finance on continuation to a degree course and will receive guidance on options available to them, including government student finance and any Cambridge-specific bursaries for which they may be eligible.   

Q. Will I have accommodation costs? If so, what will they be?

Students admitted to the Foundation Year will receive a Scholarship to cover rent and other living costs. This will be equivalent to what you would receive as a maintenance loan from student finance and will be ‘topped up’ with an amount in line with the existing levels offered through the Cambridge Bursary Scheme. In receiving this Scholarship, students will not need to take out student finance for the Foundation Year, but they may need to apply for relevant student finance on continuation to a degree course and will receive guidance on options available to them, including government student finance and any Cambridge-specific bursaries for which they may be eligible.

Accommodation costs slightly vary between Colleges, however the entirety of the cost will be covered by the Scholarship.

Q. How will I choose my progression degree/Tripos subject?

We expect many students will come to the Foundation Year with a progression subject in mind from their past study and their interests. However, students will not have to commit to any one subject until a few months into the programme. This allows you the chance to explore a range of subject options, including the subjects you may not have had access to at school. You will be supported by your teachers and Director of Studies in exploring the subjects on offer. In living in the College community, you will be able to speak with your peers about their studies as well as with academic staff. You will also have the opportunity to attend lectures to get a taster of the subjects in question should you wish. In your second term, you will indicate your preferences based on your understanding of what studying each subject would involve. 

Q. What happens if I don't meet the requirement for progression?

You will recieve pastoral and academic support throughout the year to assess your best options for progression both at Cambridge and at other Universities in the UK based on your academic performance on the course. You will also be encouraged in making applications to other HEIs through UCAS to ensure you have other offers and a variety of progression options to choose from once the Foundation Year concludes.