Newnham offers five places for the first ever Foundation Year programme

Newnham are delighted to be part of the University of Cambridge’s first-ever pre-degree foundation year and are looking forward to welcoming five students from backgrounds of educational disadvantage to join our vibrant community in October 2022.

The landmark new programme will provide a new route to undergraduate education at Cambridge for around 50 talented individuals every year who have experienced educational and social disadvantage, and demonstrate the potential to succeed in a degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.

The one-year, full-time residential course will welcome its first intake of students to Cambridge for the start of the new academic year, in October 2022. Following a rigorous admissions process, offers have been made to 52 students, 5 of which are from Newnham College.

Free and fully funded, the Cambridge Foundation Year is aimed at engaging an entirely new stream of applicants who have been prevented from reaching their full potential by their circumstances. This includes students with experience of the care system, estrangement from parents, low levels of household income, and schools with little history of sending students to highly selective universities. Their selection has taken into account their educational background and contextualised their achievements, recognising that circumstances and opportunity should not be a barrier to future academic success.

The programme’s engaging and challenging curriculum will prepare students for further study at Cambridge, or another top university.

In total, there were 267 applications to the pilot Foundation Year programme, around 5 applications for every place, which is comparable to the number of applications the University normally receives for undergraduate study (6 applications for every place). Foundation Year applicants, including mature students, came from diverse backgrounds and from across the UK. They have received guidance during the process through a University online applicant support programme to help them make the strongest possible application.

Dr Alex Pryce, Foundation Year Course Director, said: “This is a big day for those who are receiving their Cambridge Foundation Year offer, and a big day for the University. This is the first time in its history that Cambridge has run a foundation year programme, aimed at talented applicants who might not otherwise consider applying to study here, and the number of applications we received shows that it is competitive and that there is a clear appetite for it.

“I’d like to congratulate everyone who has received an offer; we look forward to welcoming our first-ever Cambridge Foundation Year students to Cambridge very soon.”

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “The Cambridge Foundation Year offers a fresh approach to widening participation at Cambridge. It is an innovative programme that aims to reach an entirely new field of Cambridge candidates, and to transform lives. After all the planning that has gone into creating the Cambridge Foundation Year, and the hard work of many people across the University and Colleges, I’m delighted that we have reached this important moment.”

A cornerstone gift from philanthropists Christina and Peter Dawson is funding the launch of the programme and full one-year scholarships for all students who are accepted. Students will study at one of the 13 Cambridge colleges participating in the pilot scheme, including Newnham, and will benefit from the community, support and academic stimulation this offers, which is intrinsic to the Cambridge experience.

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