Caius Explore experience for 65 Year 12 students

  • 20 September 2022

Gonville & Caius College last week hosted 65 students who had participated in Caius Explore, an outreach programme aimed at helping Year 12 state school students develop their super-curricular interests. The chosen 65 were all the authors of entries which particularly impressed Directors of Studies.

Students could select from tasks and questions across 15 different subjects, aimed at helping them to develop their academic interests beyond the school curriculum.

The students from across the country, some from as far as Belfast, Pembroke and Dorset, visited Caius, had the opportunity to meet the Director of Studies who set their task and other winning entrants to Caius Explore. They enjoyed lunch in Hall and a tour of the College from current students.

They are now beginning Year 13 and finalising their UCAS applications and their visit coincided with the University of Cambridge undergraduate open days.

Dr Chris Scott, Tutor for Admissions and Outreach, said: “Caius Explore continues to prove popular as a way for prospective students to immerse themselves in their chosen subjects to support their applications to top-level universities, the University of Cambridge and, we hope, Caius!

“This was the second year of the programme, and we are delighted by the feedback from participants and Directors of Studies. We look forward to many more participating in 2023!”

This is what some of the students thought of Caius Explore 2022 (A video of the 2021 event is below):


Elliot, Bexley, Trinity School in Belvedere

A student with glasses and long blond hairI was looking at different colleges around Oxford and Cambridge and I came across Caius. One of the first things I saw about Caius was they were doing different things for undergraduate students looking to go to competitive universities. No-one in my school has ever been to Oxbridge before, and no-one from my family has been to a Russell Group university. I thought it would be a really good opportunity for me to get a leg up.

I haven’t decided if I’m applying to Oxbridge – I’m leaning towards yes, but I’m considering a lot of different universities.

I’ve seen a number of colleges and I’ve done Caius Explore and I attended the first open day at Caius in July. Caius is the front runner.

I did History and want to study History and Politics. Politics is a bit of a vocation for me, because I haven’t been able to study it at A-Level. I’d love the opportunity to be able to study politics at Cambridge. Meeting academics and other potential students has been amazing.

If you come from a place where this is not the norm, Caius Explore is invaluable. It can be very alien if you throw yourself into Cambridge, but this is a great introduction to a place like this.


Hamza, Lewisham, Forest Hill School

A student with a beardI was looking on the internet for essay competitions and I came across Caius Explore. I really liked the idea of it, the fact we were invited to a lunch to meet and speak to the Directors of Studies, the people who would read our essays.

The essay I answered was in Theology: ‘Can we be objective when arguing about the existence of God?’ I really enjoyed that. I found that question to be quite a general question and a question that a lot of people think about. It was quite easy for me to come up with reasons why I believe there was an objective argument.

I do STEM subjects, so I don’t get to write essays. To have feedback from the Director of Studies helped me gain insight on what I can improve.

I sat with the Natural Scientists at lunch by mistake! But it was really cool anyway. I did my EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) on super conductors and the PhD student I sat with is doing his research on super conductors. We had loads of stuff to talk about.

Before coming here I wasn’t really keen on applying to Oxford or Cambridge, mainly because I come from a low-income family and not many people from my comprehensive school go to university, let alone Oxford or Cambridge. It’s not really something I’d thought about.

But seeing the University, the opportunities it offers, and the conversations I was having, not only did it encourage me to apply to university, but it encouraged me to definitely apply to Cambridge, and possibly Caius. This is a place I want to be and to have conversations like these all the time.


Likitha, Hatfield, Dame Alice Owen’s School in Potters Bar

A student with long hair pictured in front of pink flowersI love Biology, it’s my favourite subject. I was looking into ways to expand subject knowledge. Caius Explore was posted on to my school’s Google Classroom and I looked at the task and found it quite engaging. The task was looking at multicellularity and how it evolved and how we maintain it in organisms.

Caius overall has been so much better than I expected. I found the experience really good. The academic taught me more about my subject – specifically his research into bacterial biofilms – and it was really engaging. The food was lovely and I was able to talk to a few more likeminded students who might be applying to Cambridge. I found it really good overall and I was really happy that I entered.

I love the atmosphere of Caius in the courts and the setting. I’m applying to Cambridge and trying to strengthen my application.





Jake, Dartford, Beths Grammar School, Bexley

I am a first generation immigrant from Mexico and my first language is Spanish. I found out about Caius Explore by searching for Year 12 essay competitions online. I had entered a few previously, but I wanted to solidify my application by making this my final and best attempt.

A student with dark hairI did the Law assignment which was a problem question. I’ve never encountered a problem question before, but I’d read a book called Letters to a Law Student and applied knowledge from that to the question and luckily on the question they had attached statutes, which I read, and extra reading. I did all of that, and it really gave me an understanding of the basic components of the law which I was able to apply to a complex situation to do with criminal damage.

Caius Explore was excellent in two senses. Firstly, we got to see the College in person, to see potentially where our hard work could take us. Secondly, we got to meet the people that make it great: the potential applicants and likeminded individuals, networking with them; and to be able to meet the PhD student who assigned the task was great. We could discuss and share our interests.

I’m applying to Cambridge. I’d previously entered another essay prize and I’m considering another college as well as Caius.




Caius Explore 2021


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