The students were “chosen [...] on merit” and “are primarily from state schools”TIMWI/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Pembroke College has made offers to students without interviewing them “in a small number of cases” during their admissions process for the 2021/22 cohort.

According to a statement on the College’s website, the students were “chosen entirely on merit and come from a diverse range of backgrounds and school types,” with most coming from state schools, although it is not clear how many such offers were made.

The statement cites an “exceptional year, where everybody is under unprecedented pressure” as the reason for not requiring some applicants to come for an interview.

In an email from an admissions tutor, one A-level student from Kettering, who applied to study Chemical Engineering at Pembroke, was told: “given the exceptional strength of your paper application, on reflection, my colleagues and I decided that it was inconceivable that we would not offer you a place after interview.”

The move comes following a turbulent A-level results day with the government eventually U-turning on their controversial system which graded A-level students using an algorithm. Over the summer, the University announced that it would be accepting hundreds of students who missed their offers, comprising roughly 20% of the Michaelmas 2020 intake.


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Meanwhile, in November, the University welcomed news that the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, is considering proposals for universities to start making offers only after students have received their final exam grades.

Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, said at the time: “The University will work with the government towards the shared goal of establishing a system that will better enable our brightest young people, regardless of their background, to access University places that match their ability.”