How we select

The process

Gates Cambridge uses a three-stage selection process to ensure Scholars meet all of our criteria to the highest degree.

1. Departmental ranking

In order to ensure only the most academically outstanding candidates are considered, the Trust asks academic departments in Cambridge to rank eligible applicants on academic ability only. Those who are put forward by their departments are considered the most academically outstanding applicants they have received that year.

2. Shortlisting​

Once the Trust has a list of all nominated candidates, these are divided into broad subject areas and passed to our Shortlisting Committees. These Committees look at the candidates’ entire application pack (including the Gates Cambridge Statement and Reference) and apply all four Gates Cambridge criteria in order to identify those who will be invited for interview. Everyone who is shortlisted for interview will have gone through an exceptionally competitive process and will show evidence of meeting the four Gates Cambridge criteria.

3. Interview

All shortlisted candidates have a short interview to assess how they meet all four Gates Cambridge criteria and Scholars are selected after interview. Interview candidates will be sent full details of the format and arrangements. If you are shortlisted for interview you will have already gone through an incredibly competitive process

You will be invited for a 20-25 minute interview and, depending on where you are, you can interview either in person or by Skype. Where you are able to attend the interview in person we encourage this.

There are four broadly subject-based interview panels:

  • Arts

  • Biological Sciences

  • Physical Sciences

  • Social Sciences

Each three to four person panel usually consists academics, a representative of the Trust and Gates Cambridge alummi.

Each interview has four main sections:

1. Welcome and introduction

  • The Chair will introduce the panel, set out the format of the interview, and provide any other essential information to allow for a productive session.

2. Gates Cambridge

  • What you know about the Gates Cambridge Scholarships

  • Your motivation for applying

  • Why you think you could be a Gates Cambridge Scholar

  • Your thoughts on the opportunities and responsibilities that a prestigious, full-cost scholarship at one of the world’s leading universities brings

3. Academic and career plans

  • Your academic work to date – can you convincingly communicate your passion for, and the importance of, your chosen subject?

  • Your proposed degree at Cambridge – can you provide a convincing justification for your choice of course?

  • Your career plans – can you convincingly link your application for both a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and your proposed course at Cambridge to your future career plans?

  • You may also be asked probing intellectual or ethical questions, to which there are no ‘right’ answers.

4. Final thoughts and questions

  • A chance to add anything further you would like the interview panel to consider, and to ask any questions you may have (having no questions to ask is also fine).

Feedback

Please note that we are not able to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.