Cambridge Colleges to Return to In-Person Interviews | This Week in Admissions News

23/06/20234 minute read
Cambridge Colleges to Return to In-Person Interviews | This Week in Admissions News

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week, six colleges in the Cambridge university system announced they will return to in-person interviews following the change in policies post Covid. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!


Cambridge Colleges to Return to In-Person Interviews

Six of the 31 Cambridge colleges have announced that they will return to in-person admissions interviews this year, Varsity has reported. Interviews have been held online since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the 2022/23 admissions cycle, Trinity was the first and only Oxbridge college to return to in-person interviews.

Some candidates are questioning the fairness across colleges of these differing interview policies. Others prefer the personal rapport students can develop with an interviewer when meeting in person. “Interview[s] will be in-person by default because we think that’s what most applicants want,” said Dr Chris Scott, the tutor for admissions and outreach at Caius. “We are entirely confident in both modes of assessment. It makes no difference to us.” 

Here are the interview options each college is offering:

  • Pembroke and Peterhouse will offer in-person interviews to UK applicants only. 
  • At Trinity and King’s overseas candidates will have the option of being interviewed either remotely or in-person.
  • Selwyn will encourage overseas students to accept an online interview offer, but in-person interviews will be available on request.
  • Gonville & Caius are returning to in-person interviews as the default for UK applicants, but also offering all candidates the option of online interviews.

King’s, Trinity and Selwyn are offering free overnight accommodation and meals to candidates invited to interview, as well as reimbursement for travel costs for some students.

The Admissions Committee at Oxford has voted to keep all undergraduate interviews online for the next five years.

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. The Trudeau administration is preparing an overhaul of visa policies that aims, among other objectives, to more strategically distribute international students around Canada, Times Higher Education has reported. Canada has long been one of the world’s top destinations for overseas students. In a country of about 38 million people, the IRCC has seen study permit applications from abroad more than double since 2017, from 313,000 requests to record levels of nearly 550,000 applicants in 2021 and 715,000 last year. 
  2. As tuition continues to rise and enrollment continues to drop, the debate over the value of a college degree continues. A college degree still has value for about 93 percent of students, Inside Higher Ed reports. The analysis shows that for the majority of students, especially those attending a public institution, having a college degree leaves them better off financially in comparison to peers who did not pursue postsecondary education. About 2,400 institutions, enrolling about 18 million undergraduates nationwide, reach a minimum level of value return that makes the cost of college worth the investment, the report says.
  3. More disadvantaged students could miss out on university offers by the end of the decade as demand grows, Oxford Mail has reported. If offer-making behaviour remains the same, nearly one in 11 (8.6%) of the most disadvantaged students could receive no offers in 2030 due to increased competition for places, a Ucas analysis suggests. In 2022, only 2.3% of the most disadvantaged students received no offers. Overall, Ucas has predicted there could be 30% more applicants to higher education by the end of the decade.
  4. Tsinghua University in China has topped the Times Higher Education’s Asia University Rankings 2023. Peking University in China, National University of Singapore, University of Hong Kong and Nanyang Technological University Singapore round out the top five. A total of four mainland Chinese universities featured in the top 10, compared with three last year. With three universities, Hong Kong follows with the next highest representation in the top 10. Its leading universities also rose in rank: Chinese University of Hong Kong moved up by one place to sixth, while The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology climbed two places to seventh. The 2023 ranking includes 669 universities from 31 territories. Japan again remained the most-represented nation this year, with 117 institutions. A total of 79 universities have joined the ranking since last year. This increase is led by eight universities in Pakistan, followed by seven each from Iran and Turkey.
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