Applying to Homerton College, Cambridge

Founded in London in 1768, Homerton moved to Cambridge just before 1900. Once an academy for the Nonconformist Church, then a renowned teacher-training college, Homerton has been, since 2010, a full College of the University of Cambridge, offering a full range of academic subjects.

Homerton is one of the most attractive Colleges in Cambridge, with a mixture of old and new buildings set in spacious wooded grounds away from the noisy centre of town. It is also the largest College in terms of student numbers, with a thriving and diverse community.

Education Studies is one of the more popular courses at Homerton College. The historical connection between Homerton and Education remains strong – as is the geographical connection: the College is next door to the Faculty!  Homerton has the largest number of students for the Education Tripos, and it has considerable depth of support for the course. Homerton offers teaching across three tracks, including practical drama, and have Fellows with both local and international links in the Education sector.  It also co-sponsors the Cambridge/Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature – where some of the world’s leading experts in the field are based. 

Why did you choose Homerton College?

I chose Homerton because it seemed the most friendly, it has the best facilities in terms of accommodation, and it is a pretty building. (Profile 568)

It is where the main body of Education applicants are. (Profile 524)

Homerton is right next to the Education Faculty, which would make it easy to move back and forth between my place of living and place of study. It's also further out from the city center and quieter, which suits my work habits just fine. (Profile 911)

Nice en-suite bedrooms :) for all 1st yrs (and perhaps 3rd yrs) , friendly, non super-religious. (Profile 145)

Most Education studies students are at Homerton; they specialise in Education studies and Homerton was really friendly and beautiful when I went to look around on the open day. (Profile 569)

Homerton just seemed real nice. It’s difficult to decide when you are applying for a subject you're not sure you want to study (Profile 291)

What was your general impression of Homerton and any other colleges you visited?

The education building is a bit naff (and is on the grounds of the college) but the college itself is pretty. It is very far from the rest of the university. (Profile 524)

I visited Homerton in the summer before I applied. I loved it - the people were friendly and the grounds were spacious. The architecture is lovely, too. (Profile 911)

Homerton was extremely friendly, new and so nice! The buildings are huge, modern and the library was impressive. I also visited peterhouse and pembroke, they gave me a pressurised and old-fashioned impression. (Profile 145)

I stayed in Homerton overnight; some students were very friendly, but when I was trying to find my way around people weren't too helpful. Overall it was really nice; it definitely made me want to go there for uni. (Profile 568)

Homerton was very friendly and had beautiful architecture and grounds. (Profile 569)

Very friendly and modern. Didn’t seem as stuffy as the older colleges. (Profile 291)

Describe the day-to-day aspects of living in the college. If you stayed in college, how was the accommodation? How about the food?

- Accommodation: Good. rooms had just been built within the last ten years. The dining hall was fantastically old and classrooms were well equipped and the library was real big...if slightly empty looking. 

- Food: Dinner was pretty bad as there wasn't much choice and the students were not interested in serving at all which was incredibly annoying. However the breakfast was great and the staff really nice (Profile 291)

- Accommodation: Good size and ensuite bathrooms! (Profile 524)

- Accommodation: En-suite with internet connections. kettle. nice long practical tables lamps etc, rooms are well heated. New. (Profile 145)

- Accommodation: The accommodation was very nice; seemed very new and I had an ensuite. (Profile 568)

- Accommodation: Size of rooms about average, many appeared to have en suite facilities though :) (Profile 569)

Any  thoughts on the tutors/students at Homerton?

- Tutors: I didn't meet many. The first guy I didn't like but the second was really friendly and passionate about his subject.

- Students: Apart from the lazy sods in the canteen, everyone was happy to help friendly and surprisingly normal. No one had been driven mad by overwork and all of them seemed to have a good work-life balance (Profile 291)

- Tutors: Very friendly, not at all stuffy, very interesting to talk to

- Students: Friendly, they appeared to really love Homerton! (Profile 569)

- Tutors:  Very helpful and friendly. Supportive.

- Students: Friendly, down to earth. (Profile 145)

- Students: Friendly and not the typical Cambridge type. (Profile 524)

- Tutors: I really liked them; they made me feel at ease and were nothing like what I imagined. (Profile 568)

What questions were you asked during your interview(s)?

[Economics] I was asked some typical questions, like : why economics, lots of current affairs and my views, some stuff on the research i was doing in my gap year, and i was given a math/iq question. (Profile 145)

[Education Studies] why education studies? why biology? Lots of questions about my personal statement (Profile 569)

[Education Studies] Education interview went really well, they were just interested in your opinion on and awareness of Educational issues. English and Drama interview was slightly more iffy but they really helped to make me at ease. Had a drama workshop which was really fun and helped you to relax with the interviewers. (Profile 524)

[Law] Umm...human rights mainly; some stuff about jury systems; questions about the LNAT essay; some questions about my A level subjects. (Profile 568)

[English] In the first interview he asked about the extracts I'd just written about and why the poem I’d written had influenced me so much. The second was more on general interests, what Id written in my personal statement plus some questions on wide issues around novels I'd mentioned (themes, ideas, writing styles, the effect of context etc) (Profile 291)

Do you have any advice for future applicants in terms of preparation?

[Education Studies] Read in depth about the course and know why you're applying. Understand and explore various aspects of education that interest you - this will help for both the personal statement and the interview. 

Try to get the balance right between unique and conservative writing (on the personal statement and Cambridge Overseas Application Form). You need to be interesting and avoid offering standard answers, but at the same time, retain some conservativeness in your answers because there is some expectation/criteria for what goes on these forms. (Profile 911)

[Education Studies] The form: Be honest, and interesting. Don't make any spelling or grammatical mistakes. (There are more important things in life, but most Oxbridge tutors will notice these mistakes, and many will consider them an indication of lack of thoroughness.) Have attractive handwriting or choose a good font. Mention things which you have done which are to some degree relevant to the subject for which you are applying, rather than saying that you have always been interested in it.

The interview: It's not really the same as all the others. You'll obviously have done some work experience in a school and will hopefully want to talk enthusiastically about that. Be sure to have talked to the teachers there about the things that concern them. No harm in reading the T.E.S. (Profile 299)

[Law] There isn't really much you can do...just make sure to read newspapers/watch the news and be ready to answer questions on current affairs. (Profile 568)

[Education Studies] Don't panic at any stage of the applications phase! Read up as much as you can about interviews and the characteristics they're looking for in a potential student. Go to the Faculty of Education website. Lastly, go for it if you have decent grades. It's definitely worth a try. (Profile 911)

[English] Don’t kill yaself...if you haven’t read 'that classic' or seen 'that play' don't worry. What they want is breadth, depth and variety. So what if everyone else has read war and peace and you just watched the film? get over it. Apart from getting some tuition in literary criticism and interview technique the best thing you can do is just be yourself. If you can bore your friends silly about one paragraph in a book. If all you ever do is read or watch plays and if you break into a cold sweat when the library shuts and you liked writing your coursework then you'll ace any interview you get. preparation is individual too so don't worry if you get the impression others are doing more then you and also be familiar with the specialties of the person interviewing you. If you share the same interest, it'll make the interview more comfortable and if not showing your aware of it is sure to get you brownie points (Profile 291)


International students applying to Homerton can check out (Profile 911) for a unique perspective from an overseas applicant. While the process is different for every applicant, it’s always nice to get a first-hand perspective:

How was/were in general your interview(s)?

[Education Studies] Easier than expected. Then again, perhaps my interviewer expected me to give a more elaborate answer, and I was merely skimming the surface! For an international applicant, interviews tend to be short, so mine was fairly short and sweet. Most of the questions I anticipated came up. (Profile 911)

What questions were you asked during your Education Studies interview(s)?

- Why Education? 

- What do you understand about the Education degree? (What do you understand by the philosophy of education?...psychology, sociology...etc)

- Lots of questions on the books mentioned on my personal statement 

Nothing on recent education issues in the news, but this seems to be a fairly common question in other interviews. (Profile 911)