We're delighted that you're considering applying to Sidney! Here you'll find guidance about how our application process works.

Before you apply

Choose one of Cambridge's 30 undergraduate courses and check it's right for you by exploring the Department/Faculty website. You can apply to study any of these at Sidney, except Education.

Once you know the course you're applying for, start delving into the subject more by stretching yourself beyond the school syllabus. Check out the 'Beyond the syllabus' resource hub to see a whole range of resources ready to be explored.

Applying to Cambridge

Applications for undergraduate courses at the University of Cambridge take place between 1 September and 15 October each year for places beginning the following Autumn. It's possible to apply for deferred entry too. To apply you must follow and complete the application process outlined on the University of Cambridge website.

Choosing a College

At Cambridge, all prospective undergraduate students must apply to a College rather than to the department or to a central admissions office. You can choose to apply to a College directly (see the University website for guidance about choosing a College), or you can choose to make an open application.

'But how do I choose one College when there's so many of them?'

Do you dream of eating your lunch in a 'Great Hall' environment?

Do you want to go punting on a free afternoon?

Do you want to join the gym as soon as you arrive?

The truth is that you can experience all of these things once you're here, no matter where you live. That's the great thing about becoming a student at a world-leading Collegiate University and living in a city as great as Cambridge.

Sidney is one of 29 undergraduate Cambridge Colleges, all brilliant institutions for different and sometimes similar reasons. Some may appear very grand when you walk in, some have a gothic feel (like Sidney!) with courtyards and old staircases, and some keep hold of traditional Cambridge quirks like wearing gowns at certain dinners. But all of us want you to have the most enriching experience and to be happy whilst you're here. Your College is your home, and the connection you feel to it will be powerful and will likely last forever. You'll feel that way wherever you go, and leave with a degree from one of the world's best universities.

So, try and think about what you'd like from your new home when choosing a College. Do you want to eat in a 'Great Hall' environment most days? Do you want your College gardens to have plenty of places to sit and study outside? And think about those practical questions you'd like the answers to. How is accommodation allocated? How close are the main facilities to the accommodation blocks? Is it a catered College?

A great way to get a feel for the Colleges is to come along, explore the grounds and enjoy a chat with those holding the answers! Find out about visiting Sidney on our Come and visit webpage.


Cambridge welcomes students from every background and from all school types. We particularly encourage those students whose families and schools have little experience of applying to Cambridge to talk to us for more advice and support during the application process. We're firmly opposed to discrimination of any kind, and admit students on academic merit alone.

All Cambridge Colleges are united in looking for students with ability, enthusiasm, and commitment to the academic study of their chosen subject and we work together to achieve this. Find out more about what we're looking for

Students with additional needs or extenuating circumstances

We welcome applications from students with additional needs and encourage early disclosure on the UCAS application form. This ensures we can put in place any necessary adjustments should you be shortlisted for interview.

If your education has been significantly disrupted or disadvantaged for health or personal reasons, you may wish to submit an Extenuating Circumstances Form.

Taking a gap year

Taking a gap year means you'll be taking a year out of education between school and university and there can be a whole host of reasons for wanting to do this. Sidney is neutral about applicants taking gap years, and we're very happy to receive applications from students who are, or who will be, taking a gap year.

The UCAS gap years page features lots of useful information to help you to think about the pros and cons, the different options, and what you want to get out of your year.

Preparing for study during a gap year

To ensure that you're as prepared as possible to start a Cambridge course in October, you should try to maintain your academic skills and knowledge as much as you can during a year out.

Applying for Modern and Medieval Languages? Read some easy material in your target language to get used to reading in a foreign language.

Applying for Mathematics? Plan how you'll maintain and develop your maths skills during the year. Some students find it useful to take a course or an additional qualification in mathematics or work through a textbook in order to structure their progress and gain further skills.

Applying for English? Stay writing by keeping an online journal or blog.

A gap year provides a great opportunity to read around the subject you're interested in, so check out the Cambridge Departments page to see if there's a reading list available. Check your local library!

Our Beyond the syllabus hub offers a whole host of useful resources to help you stay focused on your chosen subject.

Useful to note

Here's some additional information that you may find useful. We hope that you'll find everything you need to know about Sidney by exploring our website, but if anything is missing, please contact us.

Admissions assessments

Learn more about admissions assessments and check if you need to register in advance.

If you're required to sit a Cambridge College registered assessment then the College interviewing you will coordinate all arrangements. 

Written work

Many applicants will be required to supply copies of written work. Please note that this work should not be written specially for the occasion and should have been marked by a member of your school/college staff. Please check our subject pages to see if you might be required to submit written work. We'll provide further guidance on the requirements for written work, and a coversheet, on receipt of your application.

UCAS Apply

All applications to the University of Cambridge are made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Your UCAS application must be submitted online using UCAS Apply. The UCAS institution code for Cambridge is CAM 05, and the campus code for Sidney Sussex is 3.


Access our The Cambridge Interview page to learn more about the interview process at Sidney, and you can watch a series of mock interviews too!


Cambridge Colleges work together throughout the admissions process with one key objective to ensure that the Univesity of Cambridge is offering its places to the strongest candidates across the entire cohort every year.

Entry is competitive and unfortunately there are never enough places for the number of qualified candidates who apply. On average around 1 in every 5 or 6 applicants is offered a place. Applicants receiving an offer may find it's from the College they applied to (or were allocated to if they made an open application), or they may be offered an interview or place at a different Cambridge College. Find out more on the University website.

If you feel uncertain at any stage of the application process, then our friendly Admissions Team would be very happy to have a chat and answer any questions you have.



Preparing for your Sidney interviews (candidates)