Personal Statements are one of a number of elements that we review in our assessment: we are equally interested in your academic record, reference, written work, and contextual data. If you are called to interview, the Personal Statement will be weighed against your performance in discussion, and test results.

When putting together your application, however, you may wish to consider the characteristics that the University of Cambridge, collectively, values in its applicants. All colleges look for students who:

  • are well suited to the course applied for and will benefit from what we have to offer;
  • enjoy a challenge and are academically able;
  • have a sound knowledge base and range of skills, with the potential to go beyond the syllabus and use this knowledge in unfamiliar situations;
  • show genuine interest in their subject(s) through wider engagement, expressed through an interest in new ideas and an enthusiasm for reading round the subject;
  • have self-discipline, self-motivation and commitment.

The Personal Statement and Supplementary Application Questionnaire offer an opportunity to highlight any of these characteristics that might not stand out elsewhere in the application.

Lucy Cavendish also cares about resilience and time-management. If you have a history in paid or voluntary employment, or as a parent or carer, some indication as to how your activities have helped you develop these qualities can be useful. Evidence of vocational (as well as academic) commitment is important in subjects such as Architecture, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine.