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Mature study and retraining

Applying to Cambridge for undergraduate degree at 31

14 replies

ladylalatub · 29/03/2023 04:37

I am thinking about applying to study an undergraduate English degree at Cambridge University. They have colleges specifically for mature students. I have 2 A*s and 2 As from A-Levels I took in 2010. They say on their website that they'd consider Open University modules at Level 2 and above for entry requirements. I was thinking of doing a Level 2 Open University module in English Literature aiming for a distinction and then applying to Cambridge. However, I dropped out of university 9 years ago (I was studying Classics) and I lost a lot of confidence in myself. Has anyone who has applied to Cambridge as a mature student got any advice?

OP posts:

Tryphenia · 29/03/2023 05:34

Why Cambridge specifically?


Twizbe · 29/03/2023 06:20

Not an applicant, but I used to work in the admissions office many moons ago.

Give them a ring and they will be able to talk you through the admissions criteria and potentially even have some talks etc you can attend.

I seem to remember that recent studies were more important that previous a level grades for mature students. So you OU course would be a good idea.


MetaDaughter · 01/04/2023 08:18

Very best advice, as @Twizbe has said, is to get in touch with Cambridge and find out what the best route would be.

The question ‘why Cambridge particularly’ is … sensible! Is it a particular area of literature, or a particular supervisor, or particularly pretty buildings that attract you? Or is it simply the most convenient location for you?

I should say I went at 21 and felt ‘old’ compared to my peers! I had had a very disrupted end to my school life, limped through a couple of A’ Levels - and only wanted Cambridge. Fortunately I did well in the entrance exam. If I were applying now I would definitely consider one of the colleges for mature students as you are doing.

Where did you begin your Classics degree? And have you used up all of your Student Loan entitlement, or do you have some left? Sorry, so many questions …

Mature students | Undergraduate Study

If you're aged 21 or over, you'll be applying as a mature student and might want to consider one of our three ‘mature’ Colleges.


SOWK · 01/04/2023 08:27

I work at Cambridge. Just to make you aware that residency requirements (ie living within 2 miles of Great St Mary Church during term time) apply to mature students as well, so be certain that you are willing to uproot from wherever you live now.


mdh2020 · 01/04/2023 09:04

Why Cambridge? Why not stick with the OU? As pointed out above, you will have to move to live in the city. The OU is well respected now and you can carry on with the rest of your life.


MetaDaughter · 01/04/2023 09:30

On the other hand - why not Cambridge?

We haven’t heard more from the OP. Perhaps she lives in the city? Perhaps she has a burning desire and an intellect screaming out for like minded companions? Who knows?


MetaDaughter · 01/04/2023 09:39

I completely salute every single person who studies with the OU or within any other distance learning structure. But I couldn’t do it. I need the face to face presence of competitive peers to shame me into lifting a finger - otherwise my tuition fees would be completely squandered.


ladylalatub · 02/04/2023 22:47

I dropped out of Oxford University where I was reading Classics all those years ago. One thing that attracts me to Cambridge is the supervision system every week (in Oxford it's tutorials). I still am eligible for student loans due to my first go at university being paid for privately and dropping out due to illness.

OP posts:

ladylalatub · 02/04/2023 22:51

I would be willing to move to Cambridge of course. What would be the right answer for, "why Cambridge?"- I feel like nothing I say will seem like a good enough answer.

OP posts:

MetaDaughter · 03/04/2023 07:47

Ah … I get it - you want back what you lost?

Are you able to say (even vaguely) what you’ve been doing since you left Oxford? Presumably something that demonstrates suitability for three years of English?

I would say the two things you need to do are, firstly, to identify the person at Oxford who might provide you with an academic reference, and, as above, get in touch with Cambridge. They may well not require any intervening qualification, if you can make a good case without.

One thing - you don’t have to persuade anyone via this thread, but I feel like nothing I say will seem like a good enough answer is a bit truculent and defeatist. You may need to answer that question several times both before and during any application, so it would be as well to come up with an elegant and persuasive answer. You’ve said you’re attracted by weekly supervision - that’s a start. What is it in the Cambridge English syllabus that you particularly want to study, and why?


Stepuptowardsinfinity · 05/04/2023 12:48

Go for it. Pick your college carefully though. There are several that are very welcoming for mature students. Lucy Cavendish is a great choice for example, as it started off being specifically for students over 21, although it isn't any more.


MetaDaughter · 24/04/2023 07:48

Hmm … Grin @ladylalatub did say in her OP that she’s specifically looking at mature student colleges!

I imagine there must be countless people wondering about doing this themselves - so I hope the OP will let us know how things work out.


ladylalatub · 14/05/2023 15:05

SOWK · 05/04/2023 12:41

Thank you so much for this. I found it very helpful.

OP posts:
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