Selwyn College is pleased to announce the return of in-person interviews for UK applicants from December 2023.
Most applicants for a place at Selwyn are invited to have an interview. Our applicants are usually very able students with excellent academic records, high exam predictions and strong support from their schools. Our approach is to assess our applicants' academic potential, particularly their ability to thrive in the teaching setting that Selwyn and the University of Cambridge offers. To choose between them we need more information than the application form usually provides. An interview gives us the opportunity to see candidates individually and talk to them about the subject they want to study.
In subjects which are heavily oversubscribed we may decide not to call for interview those whose academic profile (e.g. assessment results, exam marks) makes it very unlikely that they would be successful in gaining an offer, no matter what the outcome of the interviews.
Interview format in 2023
The interview process is slightly different for those applicants who are at school or college in the UK (or, if you have left school, are ordinarily resident in the UK) and those who are at school or college outside the UK. In devising this approach, we believe we have struck a balance between giving most of our applicants the opportunity to come and see Cambridge and Selwyn and to meet both their interviewers and current students of the College, while also taking into account the environmental and cost implications of overseas travel.
For applicants invited to interview, applicants who are in the UK will receive an invitation to an in-person interview in Cambridge. As a College, we would like to create the opportunity for you to come and see Cambridge and Selwyn and to meet your interviewers face-to-face. If you are eligible for Free School Meals (funded by your local authority), Selwyn will reimburse your travel costs.
As international travel is costly and often difficult to arrange at short notice, those applicants who are outside the UK will be offered an online interview to be conducted via the platform Zoom. We strongly encourage our overseas applicants to accept this invitation to be interviewed online, but if you would like to request an in-person interview you should contact the College's Admissions Office after submitting your application, and no later than 2 November so that we can make the necessary arrangements.
The distinction between in-person and online only affects the format of the interview. The type of questions you will be asked and the level of assessment will be the same whether you are interviewed in person or online.
The College takes vigorous steps to protect the integrity of all interviews and all aspects of the admissions process. These include verifying candidate's identities, asking that the content of interviews is not recorded by participants nor shared in any other way, invigilating the reading of stimulus materials, and prohibiting the use of any external sources of information. If we suspect that the integrity of the interview has been undermined, we will take further measures as appropriate.
For applicants who have in-person interviews
If you are invited to an in-person interview, we look forward to welcoming you to Selwyn. When you arrive at the Porters' Lodge on Grange Road you will be directed to our team of student ambassadors who will confirm with you the time and place of your interviews. They will then show you where you need to go. For some subjects, there is some material to look at and consider before the interview begins, and you will be shown the relevant place where you can review it. The student ambassadors will also direct you towards the relevant interview room.
For students who need overnight accommodation; if you are unable to make a round trip to Cambridge in a single day, we are pleased to offer you free overnight accommodation and meals in College. We are only able to offer accommodation to the applicant themselves, and not to any accompanying parents, guardians or friends. When you are invited to interview, if you would like overnight accommodation, please let us know on the response form you will be sent with your interview invitation.
For those who need help with travel costs; we are happy to support eligible UK students with travel costs for public transport. You are eligible for reimbursement if you are a UK student and are eligible for free school meals funded by your local authority. If you are invited for interview, you will then be asked to send us the travel details (such as online receipt or photo of a paper receipt), and we will reimburse you as soon as possible. Alternatively, let us know if this is a problem and we can buy the tickets for you. We do not reimburse international travel.
If travelling to Cambridge becomes difficult or impossible; We recognise that some applicants may find it difficult to travel to Cambridge, particularly if they become unwell during the winter. If this happens to you, please let us know as soon as possible. We are willing to consider remote interviews for UK students in these circumstances, but it is up to you to tell us and to explain why. If you do have a remote interview, please see the information below about online interviews.
For applicants who have online interviews
Students based outside the UK will be offered an online interview. While we strongly encourage you to accept this invitation, we will consider requests to be interviewed in person if they are made after submitting your application and no later than 2 November. Please note that from 2 November onwards, we will not be able to switch you between online and in-person interview formats if you change your mind.
If you are outside the UK, - please do consider the practicalities of what it would mean to come to Cambridge for your interview - the travel time and expense, the environmental impact, and for many applicants the difficulties of arranging a visa at short notice. Please be confident that we do not judge you based on your choice for the format of the interview - we do not give any preference to one group over another in decisions about admissions.
If you are having a remote interview, it will run on the platform Zoom. It would be helpful to familiarise yourself with this platform if you have not done so already. It is free to sign up to an account (via https;//zoom.us/). You will need to be confident that you have access to a reliable internet connection, on a computer with a video camera, in a place where you can be confident you will not be disturbed during the interview. It is for you to decide where that will be. It can be in your school, your home or somewhere else - wherever you feel most comfortable and have most confidence that you will not be interrupted. If you anticipate any problems with this, please be in touch with us to explain your situation.
For the subjects that have pre-interview reading or questions, you will be given this at a specified time in advance of your interview. We will add further information here nearer to the time.
For the interview itself, you do not need anything except for a computer with a video camera and a stable internet connection.
If you are invited to a remote interview, you will be sent a single link for each interview. We strongly encourage you to log in for your interview(s) 5-10 minutes in advance. You will be placed in a waiting room, and then will be let into the interview by your interviewers at the appropriate time.
There is a great deal of useful information about interviews on the University website (including some video footage), which will help you to understand the process. We strongly recommend that you study this material before you come for interview.
The interviews are generally carried out in the first two weeks of December, except in some small subjects where they may take place in the previous week. In 2023 the interviews are likely to be held from Monday 4 December - Friday 15 December.