+44 (0)1223 330484

Cambridge 21+

Supporting UK mature students applying for undergraduate study at Cambridge

Cambridge 21+ is a hybrid residential programme for mature students who have never been to university before. Run by the three ‘mature’ colleges at Cambridge – Hughes Hall, Wolfson, and St. Edmund’s – the programme is designed to help Home fee status students who will be 21 or over when they start their course, make a competitive application to study an undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge.

Registration for the 2023 programme has now closed, but will open again in early 2024. Please email outreach@hughes.cam.ac.uk for enquiries.

The Virtual Programme

The Virtual Programme in 2023 took place on 2nd, 4th, 9th and 11th May via Zoom. Each session was held from 6-7pm (UK time) and is an hour long.

Tuesday 2 May – Cambridge University explained

  • Breaking down myths about the University of Cambridge
  • What is a Cambridge College?
  • Why choose Cambridge as a mature student?
  • What will you gain from an undergraduate degree?

Thursday 4 May – What makes a successful Cambridge applicant?

  • Find out from Admissions Tutors what makes a successful applicant
  • What does Cambridge mean by extra-curriculars?
  • How do we teach at Cambridge and what do we mean by the supervision system?
  • Does the assessment process differ for mature applicants?

Tuesday 9 May – Getting started on your application

  • Identify what skills are needed to write a compelling application
  • Reflect on your previous experience and how it can enhance your personal statement
  • Discover resources and tips to help you get started on your application
  • Understand academic support at Cambridge

Thursday 11 May – Funding your degree

  • Explaining Student Finance: loans and course fees
  • The Cambridge Bursary
  • Hear from current students on how they manage their finances
  • Work and study balance at Cambridge

The Residential Programme

The Residential Programme 2023 took place in-person from 5-7th July. Participants were invited to stay for two nights at Hughes Hall and took part in academic and social events including:

  • Q&A panel session with current students
  • Study skills sessions
  • Tours of all three mature colleges
  • Formal Hall dinner (a fun Cambridge tradition)
  • Punting on the river Cam
  • The chance to attend departmental visits as part of the University’s Undergraduate Open Day

Accommodation and food were provided by the colleges and free for participants.

The residential programme is an opportunity to see if Cambridge is the right place for you and offers a bespoke way for you to engage with the University as a mature student applicant.

Our undergraduates join Hughes from across the UK and all around the world; with around 200 mature undergraduates forming part of a vibrant academic community including more than 700 postgraduates, and nearly 300 postdocs, senior members and fellows.

Who is eligible for Cambridge 21+?

Both programmes are open to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Will be applying for their first undergraduate degree, or are considering applying for Cambridge’s Foundation Year in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Qualify for ‘Home fee status
  • Will be aged 21 or over on 1 October 2024

Please note that places for the residential element are limited and those undertaking the first stage of the programme are not guaranteed a place. Selection for the residential programme will be undertaken separately in May/June.

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please contact our Outreach Officer at outreach@hughes.cam.ac.uk.

You can see how the programme ran successfully in 2022.