Cambridge Dream Students

Cambridge Dream is a leading provider of international STEAM*-focused short study courses based in a Cambridge college, helping high school students (13-18 years old) fulfil their ambition of being accepted by a top university anywhere in the world.

In addition to choosing a specialist subject (from 13 options) which they can explore in more depth, our cross-disciplinary curriculum gives students a chance to experience many different potential degree subjects as they prepare for their university applications.

Students work in mixed-nationality teams on exciting STEAM-based projects and workshops, including robotics, raspberry pi coding, 3D design and print, problem solving, visual thinking and personal development planning, as well as an entrepreneurial Dragons’ Den business challenge and a Model United Nations debate on global sustainability. They also attend lectures in university-level subjects, such as astronomy, archaeology, virtual reality, bio-medical research and marine biology.

We are an adaptive and dynamic summer school, continuously evolving and innovating to ensure our programmes are meeting the needs of our students in this fast-changing 21st Century. Our learning approach is interactive, engaging, motivational and fun!

*Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths

Why attend a Cambridge Dream Summer Programme?

Applying to university is one of the biggest decisions of any young person’s life. It is also increasingly a major financial investment. In order to maximise the chance of success, it is essential to make the right choice of subject and institution, and to prepare thoroughly for the application.

With global competition growing for sought-after places at high-ranking universities, excellent academic results are essential. However, in addition to achieving high grades, young people must perform well in all aspects of the application process, including showing what they have gained from extra-curricular reading and subject-related activities.

This is typically more difficult for students who are applying for a top university place overseas. For example, the success rate for non-UK applicants to Cambridge is on average about 14%, and for many countries considerably lower, compared to around 24% for UK applicants. Non-UK applicants have fewer opportunities to come to Open Days or familiarise themselves with the process and prepare thoroughly before applying. Furthermore, the teaching methods in some countries may not encourage the confident communication, curiosity and critical thinking expected of top-performing students in the UK.

Increasingly, getting good A-level results is not enough for young people to get the places they want. Going beyond the core requirements of exam results to seek out the wider enrichment of a host of activities gives students an undeniable advantage in their applications, as well as being valuable in and for themselves. Higher education was built on a foundation of curiosity and commitment and this is something we excitedly look for in each influx of students.

Professor Nigel Thrift, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick

What are World-Class Universities looking for?

World-class universities are committed to selecting students with the highest academic potential, regardless of their nationality or background, by taking into account their academic results, personal statements, admissions tests required for certain courses, and interview. When assessing potential applicants,  universities are looking for students’ motivation and ability to apply their minds and deal with new concepts, rather than their ability to recall facts.

We want a sense of your ability to think analytically and critically in an academic setting.

Cambridge Admissions Tutor

Beyond test scores and grades…(we look for) character and leadership.

Harvard Dean of Admissions

By attending a Cambridge Dream programme, participants can:

  • Receive guidance about degree subjects and universities, led by a professional careers advisor, to make sure they have all the information needed to investigate their options and make the right choices.
  • Learn from a current undergraduate about the specialist subject they are thinking of studying at degree level.
  • Understand every aspect of the application process and how to perform to the best of their abilities.
  • Have practical advice and help with personal statements, admissions tests and interviews (15-18 year olds only).
  • Develop the key leadership skills that are vital for academic and career success in the 21st Century, such as making presentations, solving problems, thinking critically, studying independently, and working collaboratively and creatively.
  • Increase their confidence, commitment, self-knowledge, global awareness and resilience.
  • Nurture their talents and interests in a wide range of academic areas and see the connections between different disciplines and concepts.
  • Create an ongoing ‘personal development plan’ (15-18 years only) which helps them to set clear personal objectives and identify the means to achieve them.


What is the Cambridge Dream?

Many people who study at Cambridge describe the experience as a dream come true.

For over 800 years the University has been a world-leading centre of academic excellence, renowned for its ground-breaking scientific research, its rich literary history and its extraordinary architectural beauty.

With over 100 Nobel Prize winners, Cambridge has more than any other institution and continues to be home to the most innovative thinkers of the twenty-first century.

Kings College and Bikes

Follow in famous footsteps

Follow in the footsteps of Cambridge’s famous alumni:

  • Francis Crick and James Watson, who discovered the structure of DNA.
  • Isaac Newton, who developed the laws of universal gravitation.
  • Charles Darwin, who formulated the theory of evolution by natural selection.
  • Charles Babbage, who invented the first programmable computer.
  • Economist, John Maynard Keynes.
  • Poets, William Wordsworth and Lord Byron.
  • Future King of England, Prince Charles, to name but a few.