Discover Downing Scholars Programme

Applications now open.

Sunday 26 June to Thursday 30 June 2022

with online activities during the evenings of Tuesday 26 April to Thursday 28 April

Downing College is offering a fantastic two year programme for students wanting to find out more about University and learn about different subjects. This opportunity is open to Year 11 (S4 Scotland/Yr12 Northern Ireland) students. Successful students will receive support over two years through online activities, overnight stays in Cambridge and mentoring from current students.

This year we are offering two subject streams:

  • Maths and Technology – covering Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science and Maths
  • Historical Studies – covering History, History of Art, Classics, Archeology and Theology

There is no costs to taking part in the Discover Downing Scholars Programme. All travel, accommodation, meals and activities and paid for by the College.

First Year

During the first year of the programme there will be evening sessions covering topics such as introduction to Cambridge, student life and super-curricular activities. This will be followed by students spending five days living in the College taking part in:

  • Subject workshops
  • Department tours
  • Critical thinking workshops
  • Subject debates and discussions
  • Museum visits
  • Cambridge city tours
  • Punting
  • Formal dinner
  • And more  

Sessions will be led by Cambridge academics, current students and Downing’s outreach staff.

After the in person event you will be assigned a current undergraduate student mentor. Conversations happen online over our mentoring platform.

Second year

Mentoring continues throughout the second year of the programme. Students are also invited to other events and opportunities both online and in person spread throughout the year.

The in person event is three days in the College focusing on:

  • The application process
  • Personal statements
  • Interviews
  • Department visits
  • And more


If you are successful in obtaining a place at this event you will also be allocated a current undergraduate student as a mentor who will guide you throughout your A levels. You can ask your mentor about any concerns you have about Cambridge, ask for tips & advice for studying and useful tips & help in preparing your UCAS application. 

How to apply

There are only 40 spaces on each stream of the programme and students must meet the following criteria to apply :

  • Be a current Year 11 (England & Wales) / S4 (Scotland) / Year 12 (Northern Ireland) student in the UK
  • Attend a UK state school (non-fee paying)
  • Be an academic high achiever and on track to meet the University of Cambridge entrance requirements

Students must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Currently or previously living under local authority care
  • Young carer
  • Eligible for Free School Meals (currently, or in the previous six years)
  • Disability/extenuating circumstances which has affected study
  • Students from underrepresented ethnic groups
  • No parental history of higher education
  • Low School/College progression rates to higher education
  • IMD deciles 1-3
  • POLAR 4 classification 1 or 2

Please apply here by midnight on Sunday 3 April.