Postgraduate College Preferences and Acceptances By Degree

Finn Karius made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to University of Cambridge

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Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear University of Cambridge,

Could you kindly provide a breakdown of all postgraduate college success rates for applicants who specified a college choice during their applications? I am interested in those applicants who got accepted to their respective degrees but did not necessarily take up their offer. If possible, for the number of applicants at preference 2, please only include those who did not get accepted by their first college preference. Please include the last 2 years.
For example,

Clare College - Preference 1: 150 applicants, 40 successful; Preference 2: 100 applicants (only those who were not successful at preference 1), 39 successful

Homerton College - Preference 1: 120 applicants, 55 successful; Preference 2: 193 applicants (only those who were not successful at preference 1), 112 successful

....etc

Additionally, could you also provide the same information, broken out by
degree?

For example,

MPhil in Politics and International Studies:

Clare College - Preference 1: 50 applicants, 30 successful; Preference 2: 10 applicants (only those who were not successful at preference 1), 3 successful

Homerton College - Preference 1: 50 applicants, 30 successful; Preference 2: 12 applicants (only those who were not successful at preference 1), 3 successful

....etc

PhD in Engineering:

Clare College - Preference 1: 50 applicants, 30 successful; Preference 2: 10 applicants (only those who were not successful at preference 1), 3 successful

Homerton College - Preference 1: 50 applicants, 30 successful; Preference 2: 12 applicants (only those who were not successful at preference 1), 3 successful

....etc

Could you kindly provide the data in excel?

Yours faithfully,

Finn Karius

Dear University of Cambridge,

I am not sure if this was clear above but it would be great to have this information for all postgraduate degrees, not only the ones mentioned.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Karius

FOI, University of Cambridge

This is to acknowledge receipt of your request for information. Your reference number is given in the subject line of this email. We will respond on or before 15 November 2021.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI, University of Cambridge

Further to our acknowledgement email sent just now, thank you for this which is noted and understood.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

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FOI, University of Cambridge

Dear Finn Karius,

Further to the University’s acknowledgement email below, we write to seek clarification on the following aspects of your request having consulted with colleagues.

We are not clear about the dataset you are asking for, in light of your qualifying statement "I am interested in those applicants who got accepted to their respective degrees but did not necessarily take up their offer". In light of this, what do you mean by "successful" in your examples below? Does that represent applicants who were accepted both by the University and their preference College but then chose actively to decline the offer? Or is it, more simply, all applicants who were accepted both by the University and their preference College, regardless of whether they actually arrived to start their course?

We look forward to hearing from you (until when, in accordance with sections 1(3) and 10(6)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the 20-working-day deadline for us to reply to your request is suspended).

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI,

Thank you for your request for clarification.
It is indeed the latter, I am interested in all applicants who were accepted both by the University and their preference College, regardless of whether they actually arrived to start their course

Yours sincerely,

Finn Karius

FOI, University of Cambridge

Dear Finn Karius,

Thank you for the prompt confirmation.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

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FOI, University of Cambridge

3 Atodiad

Further to your request for information, please find attached the University’s response.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI,

Thanks a lot for sending the data!
Unfortunately, the numbers seem to not exactly be what I am looking for. If I understand the data correctly, the preferences of applicants are not included. For example, the first tab, the second column shows that Christ's college accepted 119 applicants who put it as their first choice preference but I am missing the number of applicants (who got accepted by the university) who put that Christ's as their first choice. Essentially, I am interested in the success rates of college applicants; so the chance one gets accepted to a respective college of choice (when one is accepted by the university already).
For example,

If 300 applicants who got accepted by the University put Christ's College as their first-choice college, and Christ's college accepted (and hereby I don't mean 'admitted' in the end) 150 applicants who put it as their first choice, the number I am looking for would be 300/150= 50%.

Could you kindly provide me with these success rates per college, per preference (for the second preference again, please include only those applicants who did not get accepted by their first choice) and also broken out by degree? For the latter, you could also show the cumulative data for the two years.

Yours sincerely,

Finn Karius

FOI, University of Cambridge

This is to acknowledge receipt of your new request for information. Your reference number is given in the subject line of this email. We will respond on or before 10 December 2021.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI, University of Cambridge

1 Atodiad

Further to your request for information, please find attached the University’s response.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI,

Thank you very much for the further reply.

Analysing the data and comparing it with information advertised on the university website and information provided to previous requests on this website, I highly doubt that this is correct.

Three reasons:
1. The highly uneven differential per college: If you take the sum of all students accepted per college (Open application + Admitted as 1st choice + Admitted as 2nd choice) and deduct the total admitted, you end up with vastly different numbers per college. For example, Hughes Hall has a differential of 196 and Trinity College of 0. If these numbers are correct, this would mean that for some colleges the number of students who do not meet the conditions is higher than for others. This would mean that either: 1) Some colleges, on average, take in better students (i.e. more likely to meet the conditions) or 2) Some students don't meet their conditions when they are accepted by certain colleges. Is this possible?
2. Using these numbers, the colleges with the lowest success rates (for the first choice) are Murrey Edwards (28.6%) and Churchill (38.4%). This is completely at odds with hearsay and the facts and figures provided on the University website where these colleges are in categories where applications are not significantly higher than acceptances.
3. Trinity College (arguable the most popular college based on hearsay, previous FOI-requests and the college website), would only have 2 (by far the lowest number) people who put it as their second choice (and did not get accepted at their first). I highly doubt that this is true.

I rather would believe the columns B, C and D just show the offers sent out (to students who put the respective college as first or second preference or got there via open application) and columns F and G are students who actually took up their offer per preference and college (missing those who took it up and got into the college via open application). What I am interested in, however, is the chance of getting into a certain college when one puts it as preference, so the number of people who got offers from those colleges divided by the number of people who put that as preferences. I am not interested in the number of students who took up their offer. Could you provide me with these numbers?
I am very sorry this is such a lengthy request, but I thought my request was clear from the start as I used the same wording of a similar request where the University of Oxford provided the correct numbers readily.

Yours sincerely,

Finn Karius

FOI, University of Cambridge

Dear Mr Karius,

Thanks for your email. Instead of acknowledging it as another new request (or a request for an internal review), we suggest that we pass it to our Postgraduate Admissions Office for their comment first. The FOI Office itself does not generate statistical data for FOI responses and so we cannot engage with the detailed points you mare making below, and we feel it would be more productive to be clear from the start about what the University holds and can generate, and whether it would meet your needs. In this regard it would be helpful if you could let us know the URL at which the Oxford data you mention is published. Is that possible?

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

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Dear FOI,

Please find the link for the Oxford data below:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours sincerely,

Finn Karius

FOI, University of Cambridge

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Karius,

Our Postgraduate Admissions Office has prepared the attached revised dataset which we consider replicates the data types used in the Oxford response. Does this meet your requirements?

Preparing this data on a per-course basis will take further time; please could you confirm whether you would like this additional data (particularly in light of the suppression of small numbers that will be applied).

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI,

Thank you very much for sending the data, which is indeed what I was looking for.

I am indeed still interested in more detailed break down of the numbers, but to make things easier, could you kindly provide me with the same numers as above, just broken down by PhD students and Masters students?

Yours sincerely,

Finn Karius

FOI, University of Cambridge

Dear Mr Karius,

Thank you for your reply. We will prepare this file. We will handle this as a follow-up to your recent request and accordingly we will not allocate a new reference number. We should be able to reply next week.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

James Knapton, University of Cambridge

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Karius,

Further to the below, the dataset broken down by Masters and PhD applicants is attached. Please note there may be some minor discrepancies from the data totals previously disclosed: this is because visiting students are excluded from this breakdown as they are neither Masters nor PhD applicants.

Regards,

Information Compliance Office
University of Cambridge
Governance and Compliance Division, The Old Schools
Trinity Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1TN
E: [University of Cambridge request email]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI,

Thanks a lot for this data, which is what I was looking for. Very helpful!

Yours sincerely,

Finn Karius