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Prospective applicants can now ‘Chat to our students’

  • 29 September 2020

The College has just launched, in collaboration with The Access Platform, a new facility by which prospective applicants, in particular those from backgrounds with less historical representation at Caius and Cambridge, are able to chat online with current undergraduates.

“One of the most crucial and beneficial elements of school visits to Caius is the chance for school pupils to interact with undergraduates, who may be from a similar background and have themselves embarked on a similar journey to get to Cambridge,” explained Dr Chris Scott, Tutor for Admissions and Outreach at Caius.

“In the current circumstances, it is important to keep this interaction going as far as possible, and the Access Platform seemed a perfect way to do it: convenient and fully safeguarded, but with enough flexibility to enable genuine and honest interactions between students and prospective applicants.”

12 ‘Ambassadors’ – Caius students who are equally dedicated to widening participation and access, and have volunteered their time to the initiative – are now available to chat via our website, with hopefully more to follow.

Visit our ‘Chat to our Students’ page to start a conversation and watch the latest vlogs.

An important impetus for many of the volunteers to get involved was a desire to offer advice to prospective applicants whose experience might be similar to their own. On his profile, Ambassador Tarun said, ‘As a state comp student I know how much applying to Cambridge can feel like a shot in the dark’; Grace said, ‘I come from a small town in the north of England so can help answer any questions on northern access as well as any more general questions’. Izaak is motivated by previous outreach work: “I really wanted to get involved with TAP as I'd already really enjoyed being involved in other outreach projects, such as the #CambTweet scheme and the SU's Shadow Scheme. TAP seemed like a new and interesting approach to this work, and is a great opportunity to directly help and support prospective applicants, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Dan Townsend, another Ambassador said, “Especially this year when Caius hasn't been able to hold Open Days, I thought there would be lots of students with questions or concerns about Caius that seemed to them maybe too minor to email the College about. But these are exactly the sorts of questions that would have made me more confident in applying, and as current students, we can now easily give answers to these kinds of queries in an approachable way, which will hopefully put minds at rest or give a bit more of an unfiltered insight into College life than is available from other parts of the College's website.”

The new ‘Chat to our students’ service also allows advice to reach applicants beyond the UK, which can be hugely beneficial when applying to University as an International student. Alexander said, “As an international student from Australia, I am infinitely grateful for all the conversations which I had with students at Cambridge when I was applying to Caius, especially since I did not have the chance to come and visit the College before my interview. I want to help make the application process equally as clear and understandable in case there is anyone in a similar situation to mine when I applied, whether it be to Caius or to read MML. The Access Platform offers this very opportunity to connect current and prospective students by a fast and practical means, and the chance to be in dialogue with someone who can offer a personal, 'insider's' perspective of the university and college life is invaluable.”

Are you a prospective applicant? Say hello to our students and ask them questions about their time at Caius, applying to Cambridge, their subjects and their application journeys. Simply click on the ‘Chat to our Students’ pop-up windows on our website or visit our ‘Chat to our Students’ page to start a conversation and watch the latest vlogs.

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