Cambridge University is opening up extra places for disadvantaged students who perform better than expected in their A-levels, in a bid to improve diversity.
This summer the university will give out up to 100 additional places which will be earmarked for pupils who have either spent time in local authority care, or those with a combination of characteristics including attending a state school and living in a deprived household or area.
It is the first time that Cambridge will take part in the Ucas “adjustment” system, where students who do better than expected in their A-levels are able to “trade up” for a better university place.
While many Russell Group universities offer places through this system, Oxford and Cambridge have traditionally abstained from doing so on the basis that they fill all their places in advance.
Dr Sam Lucy, director of admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, said that move is aimed at admitting more talented students from disadvantaged background who have already applied and had an interview, but “narrowly missed out” on an offer.
“Students have to apply almost a year before they start their course, and some may be on an upward academic trajectory and not demonstrating their full academic potential at the point of interview,” she said.
“Adjustment provides those students who go on to achieve highly with an opportunity to be reconsidered as soon as they have their final results, rather than having to make a reapplication the following year.
Universities are under increasing pressure to increase the number of students they admit from poor backgrounds.