Common myths and misconceptions

It is easy to get the wrong impression about life at Cambridge. From listening to certain people?s views, searching the web, or reading certain newspaper articles, there are many outdated myths which can dissuade prospective students from putting in an application or accepting an offer. We have tried to address some of these below in order to show you that Cambridge is in no sense an ?exclusive club?. If you have any doubts or worries which aren?t addressed here, please don?t hesitate to contact our JCR Academic and Access Officer here.

Cambridge is only for upper-class, public school pupils.

Absolutely not. For example, in 2014 according to statistics released by the university, the proportion of state-school students studying at Cambridge was 62.2%. It is a misconception that a higher household income, or going to a private school, will increase your chances of getting an offer from Cambridge ? the admissions process is focused on academic excellence in the individual.

It is less likely I will get an offer if I?m from a poor area, an ethic minority or if I?m a girl.

The university prides itself on choosing candidates based on suitability for the course as seen from the many stages of the admissions process, i.e. grades, personal statement, admissions tests, submitted written work and interviews. The university looks for academic excellence ? not background, race or gender, so this conception is false.

Cambridge students are either boring and geeky, or loud-mouthed members of laddish drinking societies.

As with all universities, Cambridge is home to a diverse range of students, so there is a tiny minority of people at the far ends of the spectrum. The massive majority, however, are surprisingly 'normal' (if there is such a thing!) interesting, friendly people. If you're not convinced read some of our student profiles.

It's more expensive to study at Oxbridge.

Fees to study at Oxbridge are exactly the same as the current standard - ?9,000 per year.

In fact, Cambridge has many advantages with regards to finances. For example, due to the short terms at Cambridge of 8 to 10 weeks, you only have to pay accommodation for 30 weeks per year, whereas at other universities you may have to pay a whole year?s rent. There is also the fact that students have barely any transport costs as almost everywhere can be easily reached on foot or by bike.

In addition, Cambridge has well established bursary schemes, hardship funds, book grant funds and travel grant funds. The idea is that no student to whom it gives an offer should be hindered by finances. More information can be found on the official college fees and costs page.

Everyone else is doing 5 or 6 A-levels.

Most people do 3 or 4 A-levels, some do 5. Very few do more than that.

If you only do the minimum number of A levels, this doesn't matter as you would still be able to meet the offer which is typically A*A*A for science subjects (Maths, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Engineering etc.) and A*AA for arts subjects (English, History, Law, HSPS etc.). Sometimes more focus and in depth knowledge on fewer subjects is best.

You always have to wear 'posh' clothes.

Not at all. In day to day situations such as lectures or supervisions, lots of students wear jeans and a hoody (and sometimes, for earlier starts, even pyjamas!) There is never any need to dress up, unless of course you want to, other than for special occasions. The only time when students are required to wear their gown is for Matriculation Dinner and photos, formal dinners, ?Halfway Hall? (a free fancy meal from College when you?re halfway through your degree) and in some chapel services. Students often enjoy the opportunities to dress up ? it may be more frequent than most universities, but ?posh clothes? appear in every university at some point!