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This is what university admissions departments say about Cambridge learners

Will a Cambridge qualification strengthen your child’s university application? We investigate what global admissions officers have to say.
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Cambridge International programmes are commonly referred to as a passport to success. That’s because they’re trusted to consistently produce learners who have in-depth subject knowledge, strong critical thinking skills, and can manage their own learning. 

So will your child have a better chance of getting into university with a Cambridge qualification? And will they do better once they’re admitted? Cambridge has a strong reputation for excellence, and it’s borne out by surveys with university admissions officers. 

In its most recent study of higher education admissions officers, Cambridge International found that admissions officers had a high opinion of Cambridge candidates: with over 92% agreeing they excel across the board.  

We take a closer look at the university admissions process for Cambridge learners, as well as the attributes universities value in these candidates.

They’re prepared for university 

Of the surveyed university officers, 100% agreed that Cambridge learners were excellently prepared for university. “The rigor of the program helps to prepare them for the rigor of college,” says an officer from Creighton University in the United States. 

And sentiment remained positive when measuring how well Cambridge candidates measure against their peers, with 87% of officers feeling they performed better than other candidates. 

They’re skilled and knowledgeable

Admissions officers sing the praises of the many skills Cambridge applicants possess. “Cambridge A-Level courses require mastery of the skills we seek in applicants,” says an officer from Bennington College in the United States. 

Some of the top skills admissions officers value in Cambridge candidates are their ability to make good judgements, present strong arguments, communicate logically and clearly, and write compelling essays. 

They also praised their subject matter expertise, with 98% agreeing that Cambridge candidates have strong subject knowledge. 

They’re disciplined

The transition from high school to university isn’t easy. But Cambridge candidates are better prepared. Thanks to the rigour, research focus and independent study that’s synonymous with Cambridge Advanced qualifications, Cambridge learners are equipped to make the jump from high school to university. 

“Cambridge A-Level courses require a level of organization and discipline that's necessary to be

Successful,” says an officer from Bennington College, in the United States.

And these praises are echoed by top global institutions. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill has this to say: 

“Cambridge students are very well-prepared for our curriculum and we find that they have a lot of confidence, but also that they have good deep subject knowledge, and the ability to think critically.” 

This sentiment carries over to top South African institutions as well. Former Director of Admissions at UCT, Carl Herman noted that Cambridge learners are well-prepared for university curricula. 

“The students who thrive at university are those who come to us with not only a strong academic background, but also strong personal attributes and a desire to get the most out of the institution. In our experience, Cambridge schools in southern Africa prepare their students well for further study,” he says.

How to prepare a Cambridge application

While there are key differences in the educational journey of a Cambridge International learner, there are a few differences. To begin, your child will need to align their subject selection with the requirements for matric exemption, as well as any other requirements for their targeted university programme. 

Following that, they must apply for their matric exemption certificate. Follow our step-by-step guide, here

They then continue along the process much like other applicants. “There’s an application window for graduates between April and September each year,” continues Herman. “And the application record in its entirety needs to be submitted, and needs to be supported by predicted scores from Cambridge schools.” 

With these insights into the strength behind the Cambridge curriculum, you’re ready to make a choice for your child. 

If you feel your child would benefit from the Cambridge advantage, take a look at our guide to the curriculum for local families, or reach out to a member of our Admissions Team to discuss your options.

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