Eligibility for Cambridge’s Adjustment places was based on meeting three out of five ‘contextual flags’Louis Ashworth

67 students from disadvantaged backgrounds who marginally missed out on an offer in January have been accepted to Cambridge during UCAS Adjustment this year, in the first time that Cambridge has participated in the scheme.

71 students who opted into the Adjustment process were offered places and 67 accepted, including 17 medics. All are from disadvantaged backgrounds and had previously been interviewed at Cambridge. They all met the conditions of their conditional-firm offer and exceeded their offer in at least one A level grade.

Eligibility for Cambridge’s Adjustment places was based on meeting three out of five ‘contextual flags’ including: having a home postcode falling under government measures of deprivation, attending a school with low progression to higher education and to Cambridge, attending a state comprehensive, and being in local authority care.

UCAS Adjustment allows students who exceed the conditions of their conditional-firm offer to inquire about studying at another university without immediately foregoing their original offer. In Cambridge’s initial announcement of their participation in Adjustment in March, the University said they expected that up to 100 students could be offered a place.

Cambridge’s historic participation in Adjustment forms part of its efforts, along with its planned foundational year and bridging programmes, to widen participation amid long-standing criticism. Varsity analysis revealed that between 2006 and 2017, more than 1,140 UK schools saw no offers from Oxbridge despite their students having applied, and nearly half of acceptances to Oxbridge were to students from the top 3.5% of schools.


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Eligible students registered their interest on A level results day, then received a call-back from the Cambridge Admissions Office to explain the process. Directors of Studies released application outcomes on Thursday evening.

There was no further interview required for the Adjustment offer, and subject changes were not allowed. Applications were considered by all colleges instead of only the one they had applied to.

Director of Admissions Dr Sam Lucy remarked: “We are delighted to have been able to offer so many [students] a place at Cambridge in the pilot year of Adjustment and hope that more disadvantaged students will make an application to Cambridge in future years with the knowledge that this route will also be available to them.”

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