There’s no such thing as a normal year in Cambridge admissions. However, Churchill’s 2023 entrants are remarkable, even by our standards. For the first time in the College’s history, we’re going to admit a new undergraduate cohort in which the narrow majority identified as female in UCAS. Having had essentially gender-balanced intakes for the last three years, this is a significant moment for a College that’s statute-bound to comprise 70% science, technology, engineering, and maths students; fields in which women remain under-represented in schools and universities.

Of course, this being Churchill, diversity has remained a wider priority too. This year, 77% of our home fee entrants applied from state schools and colleges, up a touch on last year and comfortably exceeding the University’s 67.6% target with the regulator. Amongst this state intake, just under 75% went to comprehensives or colleges (further education, sixth form, or tertiary), with the remainder having attended grammars. 10 of our Freshers come from the August Reconsideration Pool, the University’s means by which widening participation UK-domiciled candidates who didn’t get a conditional offer in January can put themselves forward for review in August, if they achieve results commensurate with entry. 22% of our home fee entrants live in areas ranked in quintiles 1 and 2 of the Index of Multiple Deprivation, compared with the University’s target of 20.5%.

These data are perhaps even more noteworthy given that this year’s students faced historic disruption from COVID and reversion in large part to 2019 (pre-COVID) patterns of grading. Against this backdrop, Churchill’s incoming undergraduates haven’t skipped a beat. In 2019, 76% of Cambridge’s A Level STEM entrants achieved A*A*A* or better. This year, 89% of Churchill’s A Level STEM entrants have this profile. Similarly, in 2019, 64% of Cambridge’s A Level entrants in arts, humanities, and social sciences entrants achieved A*A*A or better. This year, 73% of Churchill’s A Level AHSS entrants have this profile. Overall, the average A Level profile of Churchill’s 2023 entrants is 3.1 A*s, identical with the College’s 2019 intake.

Talking about Churchill’s 2023 Freshers, Dr Jonathan Padley, our Lead Admissions Tutor, said, “Just over 50 years ago, Churchill was the first formerly all-male College in Cambridge to vote to admit women. It’s amazing to work here now, as we’re joined by our first majority female intake – also a cohort that’s varied in so many ways. Irrespective of everything else, Churchill undergraduates are defined by the fact that they’re academically exceptional. We’re privileged to be their destination of choice.”

And our Senior Tutor, Dr Rita Monson, added, “All Churchill’s new students should be proud of what they’ve achieved. We are, and we’re hope they’re going to love it and thrive here.”