Smaller countries more successful in Cambridge applications

TCS News 31 May 2012

Details of undergraduate admissions of students into the University of Cambridge in 2011 have been released, and the figures for international students show some surprising trends. Around 1,200 of undergraduates studying at the University of Cambridge are international students from around 120 different countries. Competition was high this academic year, as ever with 684 places given to international students out of 5,591 applications. Taking into account the number of acceptances in relation to the number of applications from students of each country, the Swiss had the highest success rate with a 21.5 per cent chance of attaining a place. British students were not far behind with a 21.3 per cent success rate.

Perhaps surprisingly, Ireland and America fared much worse, of the hopefuls, only 5.4 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively were awarded places. Statistically, applicants from Hong Kong (16.1 per cent), Romania (13.7 per cent) and South Korea (10.5 per cent) were much more likely to receive places than their American or Irish counterparts. Julian Tan, the vice-president of International Cambridge University Students Union explained why the success rates of these countries might relate to the misconception that getting into Oxbridge is a near-impossible feat: “This misconception is even more deeply entrenched in the minds of overseas/international students, resulting in only the very, very best applying; the creme de la creme…This might explain why the success rates for some of these countries are so high.”

Among the other countries to make it into the top 25 were Austria (19.7 per cent), Lithuania (17.4 per cent) and Germany (16.1 per cent). Tan explained how ICUSU are committed to improving access even further for students from countries where Oxbridge is not often considered: “We have formed a great Access Team from within the committee who have been focussing their efforts on trying to improve access from different countries, especially those in Africa.”

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