Oxbridge Preparation Programme in a Cambridge College

Older students (16-18 years old) have a unique opportunity to attend an immersive course in a world-class university at a key stage in their education, when they are thinking ahead to their applications and considering the potential universities and courses they could apply for. They complete an exciting programme, comprising three main elements:

  1. Specialist academic subject tuition, including hands-on projects, case studies and interactive workshops, led by highly qualified university tutors and industry experts, as well as subject-specific supervisions (Oxbridge-style, small-group discussions)
  2. Leadership workshops to develop transferable skills, such as public speaking, critical thinking, creativity, leadership, teamwork and global awareness
  3. University preparation, with a focus on practical activities to help students develop higher-level academic competencies required for their university applications and subsequent degree studies, such as independent study, project research, essay writing, personal statements, one-to-one interview practice, admissions tests, personal development planning

In addition, the older students’ timetables will include:

  • seminars in university selection and degree subject choices
  • one-to-one career planning by a professional careers advisor in a Cambridge academy
  • study visits and professional talks related to their chosen specialist subject
  • an admissions seminar to understand what admissions tutors in top universities are looking for
  • interactive lectures by university guest speakers in degree subjects not taught in schools, such as astronomy, archaeology, virtual reality, and marine conservation
  • personal mentoring by Cambridge Undergraduates and Graduates in their selected subject area, who reside in the college alongside the students

See a sample 2-week timetable for 16-18 year olds.

As part of the application process, all applicants aged 16-18 years old will be asked to write a short personal essay (approximately 250 words about their academic studies, extra-curricular activities, university aspirations and why they would like to attend the course in Cambridge).  The older students will have scheduled times to work on improving this draft during the course. Younger students (12-15 years old) will do other exciting leadership activities instead. 

Students who are not already taught in English will complete a short English placement test when they arrive to ensure they are assigned to the right level of class with other students of a similar age and English ability. The level and pace of teaching will be adapted to suit the students’ needs and one-to-one support will be given to students who are experiencing difficulties.

The Cambridge Dream programme provides vital mentoring and practical support to boost students’ skills and confidence at this crucial time in their academic lives.

Laura Davies, Managing Director Cambridge Dream