Economics 2020 Admission Statistics

The request was refused by King's College, Cambridge.

Jonathan Jacobson

Dear King's College, Cambridge,

I would like to request the following information from the 2020 Admissions cycle for BA Economics in Microsoft Excel format:
1. The ECAA (Section 1a, 1b and 2) scores of all applicants, indicating whether the applicant was interviewed and/or received an offer.
2. The interview scores of all interviewed applicants, indicating whether the applicant received an offer.
3. The predicted grades of of all applicants, indicating whether the applicant was interviewed and/or received an offer.
4. The number of applicants who applied for BA Economics at St Johns, the percent of total applicants who were interviewed for BA Economics, and the percent of total applicants who received offers for BA Economics.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Jacobson

King's College, Cambridge

1 Attachment

Dear Jonathan Jacobson,
This is in reply to your enquiry received by the College on 2 February and
made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). I can confirm that
the College does hold some information related to your request. We do not
hold any information (your question 4) about St John's applicants.
The information you have requested, insofar as it is currently held
(noting that the 2020 undergraduate applications cycle will not be over
until August 2021), is exempt under sections 40 and 36(2)(c) of FOIA.
The section 40 exemption relates to personal data. Disclosure would
require the processing of personal data for reasons other than those for
which it was collected, which makes it unfair, and it is not possible to
anonymise all the third party data subjects’ identities if the information
which you requested is disclosed. Therefore, the information is exempt
under section 40 of the FOI Act.
The exemption in section 36(2)(c) of FOIA applies because disclosure of
the information requested would be likely to prejudice the effective
conduct of public affairs, in this case the integrity of the College’s
applications and admissions process which form a fundamental part of its
mission as an educational institution. (As the information requested is
statistical in nature, the opinion of the qualified person did not need to
be sought for this application of section 36.) The current undergraduate
applications cycle is ongoing and applications are still being submitted
and assessed. The College considers that the disclosure of detailed
statistics about applications made within the current cycle would be
likely to prejudice the notion of a fair and confidential admissions
process whereby each applicant has the same information at their disposal
and partial granular data is not disclosed to specific members of the
public while the process is ongoing. As this is a qualified exemption, the
College has considered whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the
public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest
in disclosing the information. The College considers that, while some
people might have an understandable private interest in these statistics,
there is no genuine public interest in them when set against the extensive
statistical information available about previous admissions cycles
published at
[1], coupled
with the prevailing public interest in maintaining a level playing field
in terms of the information available to all applicants.
We hope the following information will be helpful to you:
At King's, we are looking for promise and potential. So although existing
and predicted grades form a central criterion for admission, as do
interview scores, we are careful to interpret grades and interview results
in light of your personal and educational background. We assess each
application individually. We are interested to learn about your existing
knowledge and skills, but we endeavour also to find out how you would deal
with the new materials and ideas you would encounter at Cambridge. All
candidates are considered strictly on the basis of their academic promise.
During the application process, we look at:
• your academic record, including GCSE and AS (or equivalent) grades and
marks and A level (or equivalent, e.g. IB) grades or predictions, this
record being considered in the context of the quality (but not type) of
schools/colleges at which it was achieved;
• your school/college reference;
• your personal statement;
• your admissions assessment (taken at interview)
• your performance at interview(s)
With this holistic view you can understand that it is not possible to
predict your chances of success based on predicted grades and/or interview
scores. Our advice is to apply if you look like you can achieve the
typical offer of A*A*A for Economics at the end of sixth form. There may
be subject-specific requirements as well, see your subject page at
[2] for any such
We read the whole of each application and take all parts of it into
account before deciding which students to invite for interview. As we only
invite students for interview who could potentially be made an offer, it
would be unusual to invite a student predicted less than our typical offer
for Economics that year. The typical offer has changed over the past four
years. For further information you might find the aforementioned resource
useful: [3]
Please use the interactive graph generator at the bottom of the page to
generate any reports of interest to you.
We have no set quota for the number of applicants we invite for interview
– we invite all candidates who we could potentially make an offer to after
reading the paper application. In an average year, this is 70-80% of
If you have further questions please ask me in the first instance. I
attach a leaflet outlining the College's FOI Act policies and procedures.
If, after following those procedures you are still not satisfied with the
way in which your request has been dealt with you may apply directly to
the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the Commissioner
will not entertain your complaint unless you have exhausted any relevant
internal review procedures.
Yours sincerely
Peter Jones
FOI officer, King's College, Cambridge
[King's College, Cambridge request email]

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