1. Improve your university application

I was very impressed by the programme. It’s a very stimulating enrichment experience. I particularly liked the early focus on students paying attention to their interests and how these tie in to writing personal statements – not as a tick box exercise, but as a genuinely insightful reflection on their personal development and direction in life. Our Principal very much wants ‘more of the same next year!’.

UK teacher (Lead Practitioner: Most Able Students)

By attending a Cambridge Dream programme, you will be able to:

  • Understand every aspect of the UK Universities’ application process (UCAS) and how to stand out
  • Receive personal advice and hands-on support to perform to the best of your abilities
  • Practise writing your personal statement and answering mock interview questions
  • Extend your subject knowledge and discover what inspires you to study at degree level
  • Develop the key leadership skills that are vital for academic and career success
  • Increase your confidence, commitment, self-knowledge, global understanding and resilience
  • Nurture your passion for learning and see the connections between different disciplines and concepts.

You will be using a number of specially designed tools with your mentors to help you prepare for your university applications, including:

  • Guidelines for writing a personal statement, preparing for an interview, reading more widely and looking for volunteering and work experience
  • A personal development plan which enables you to identify your individual values, strengths and areas to work on; and develop SMART objectives and action plans, which you can continue to work on after returning home
  • A Profile-Building worksheet to record the various activities you are undertaking , such as entering competitions, gaining awards, watching lectures and podcasts, taking leadership roles, reading, research, work experience and volunteering, all of which provide a useful focus for writing their personal statements.

Cambridge Dream provides interactive and enjoyable sessions very relevant to participants’ needs and aspirations, which enable the development of critical thinking, problem-solving and presentation skills. There is obvious commitment and passion from all staff for the care of participants, and clear understanding of how to foster skills development. Consequently, young people are supported very effectively, develop necessary skills and prepare for university

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

2. Increase your subject knowledge

All trainers, tutors and student-mentors are Cambridge undergraduates, or graduates, with relevant subject specialisms and experience of the university. Participants are matched with student-mentors with experience of their desired subject area.

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

Cambridge Dream offers students an exceptional opportunity to gain university-level insights that go beyond the school syllabus and to discover particular areas of interest they can explore in depth in their personal statement and interview. During the programme, participants work on hands-on projects and real-life case studies relevant to their chosen specialist subjects, both individually and in teams. In the final session they present the results of their work and receive feedback from their tutor. For 2020 the choice of subjects is Business and Economics; Medicine; Philosophy and Psychology; Law; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Students are taught at an appropriate level for their age group (13-14 years or 15-18 years).

3. Make the right choices

Courses meet stakeholders’ requirements very well and match the needs and aspirations of participants… As a result, they have the opportunity to ask questions, and explore ideas and options, which enables them to make informed decisions and prepares them for applying to university.

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

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. By attending a Cambridge Dream programme, participants will be able to:

  • Experience what life would be like at a top world university
  • Receive professional guidance about degree subjects and universities, led by the head of a careers department in a Cambridge academy
  • Make sure they have all the information needed to assess their options and make the right choices
  • Learn at first hand from a current Cambridge undergraduate or graduate about the specialist subject they are thinking of studying at degree level (and investigate other degree subjects and institutions if they are still not sure)
  • Meet professionals working in their chosen career and enjoy study trips and activities related to their subject interests

Individual support for every student is very effective in enabling them to develop and make informed choices about how to progress in the future.

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

4. Receive individual care and attention

Course delivery is very well matched to the academic and personal needs of the participants. Staff know the participants very well and are able to support them on an individual basis.

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

We make a real impact by restricting the number of students on our courses and providing lots of one-to-one support and small-class teaching by highly expert and knowledgeable staff. Teachers and parents have commented on the high-quality outcomes we deliver and the difference they have noticed in students at the end of two weeks. This is because we offer such an outstanding and unique educational experience and a truly personalised service!

All participants receive constructive individual feedback, orally and in writing. An evaluation form is filled in every day for every participant which feeds into a final report which gives numerical scores as well as evaluative comments. As a result, the participants know what they do well and what they need to do to improve.

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

5. Benefit from excellent teaching

Trainers have very good pedagogic and communication skills and are able to deliver course content very effectively.

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

Cambridge Dream’s staff are professionally qualified teachers and trainers, experienced in delivering stimulating lessons that engage our learners.

We have several scholars from Oxbridge (Cambridge and Oxford) on our team, including:

  • Dr Helen Scales, the world-famous Cambridge marine conservationist, broadcaster, explorer and writer
  • Melissa Lee, a head careers advisor in a Cambridge Academy who completed a Masters in Education at Cambridge
  • Dr. Hsin-Ling Liang, a nano-technology expert currently developing smart materials for the Internet of Things
  • Dr. Bang Ming Yong, a researcher in Virtual Reality at the University’s Institute for Manufacturing
  • Gerald Mako, a Cambridge PhD candidate in Development Studies
  • Dr. Akshyeta Suryanarayan, an Cambridge-educated archaeologist from New Delhi, India

Cambridge Undergraduates and Graduates support our summer school students throughout their stay, giving them valuable knowledge about the subjects they are currently studying at Cambridge. Not only are the student mentors academically accomplished, they are also enormously talented in music, art, sport, drama and debate.

I am astounded and eternally grateful for the difference you and your colleagues have made to my daughter’s life and inspired her to achieve.

UK parent

6. Study with other aspirational students, British and international

The mix of international and British participants is particularly valuable in promoting inter-cultural understanding

Inspector (BAC report 2019)

A truly distinctive aspect of the Cambridge Dream programme is our integration of students from many different countries with British students. Local school students attend all the daytime workshops and lectures, working in mixed teams with our international participants, as well as joining in some evening activities and excursions. Integrated classes and activities are of significant benefit to all the participants, as both the local Cambridge students and overseas students gain from shared learning and increased cultural understanding. Of course, they also have lots of fun interacting in a variety of settings, from robotics and 3D printing to performing Shakespeare and Scottish dancing.

It was very illuminating to see at first hand how the local students and the students from abroad had gelled together and to sit in on their sessions. I am sure that many of them are going to return home with greater confidence, self belief and maturity than when they first came to you.

UK lecturer