Graduation ceremony

Figures released by the University of Cambridge show another rise in the number of state-educated Home students being accepted on to a course of study. The number, for the 2017 admissions cycle, has increased to 64.1% (up from 62.5% in the 2016 cycle). This is the highest level since comparable records began more than 30 years ago.  

While welcoming these figures we cannot be complacent

Dr Sam Lucy

The latest figures also show an increase in the number of students coming from areas of the UK which have a low participation rate in higher education. Admissions from students in Polar3 Quintile 1 (a geographical area of low participation rates in Higher Education) have risen from 3.3% to 4.6%. Admissions of students identified using other measures of socio-economic disadvantage are also up.

The proportion of Home applicants accepted who declared themselves to be from an ethnic minority background increased from 21.8% to 22.1%, another record high.

Dr Sam Lucy, Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, says:

“It’s encouraging to see the University continuing to make progress in attracting more students from low-participation neighbourhoods and other under-represented groups. This is testament to the hard work of Colleges and the University in the range of outreach activity being conducted. While welcoming these figures we cannot be complacent. There is still much work to do to reinforce the message that the University of Cambridge is open to talented young people, regardless of background. We welcome applications from all academically able students and encourage them to explore our free online extension material available at to see if our courses might suit their academic interests.”

The total number of students applying to Cambridge stood at just over 17,000, a rise of 2.6% on the 2016 cycle, and another all-time high. The total number of acceptances was 3,497, an increase of 1.2%. 

The University spends around £5m a year on outreach activities. These include residential stays at Colleges, open days and visits to schools across the UK.

Professor Graham Virgo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, says:

“We take diversity extremely seriously and our outreach teams have been working hard to challenge misconceptions about what Cambridge is like. It’s a tribute to their hard work that more young people from different backgrounds have been given the chance of a world-class education here at Cambridge. I’m delighted that the message is getting through that people can find their place here, no matter where they’re from or whatever their background.”

Details of the 2017 admissions statistics can be found here.


Creative Commons License
The text in this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For image use please see separate credits above.