Candidates should be notified of decisions by the end of January of the year following application. If you are made an offer this will be from a College, not the University. It may come from the College to which you applied (if you chose one) or you may be offered a place by a different College through allocation or “the winter pool”.
The “winter pool” is designed to ensure that the best applicants who have been squeezed out by competition at their original choice of College are offered places; i.e. Colleges would rather admit a strong applicant from the pool than a weaker applicant who applied directly. More information can be found here.
August Reconsideration Pool
Applicants who have not been awarded a place but meet certain criteria related to widening access will have been notified within the decision letter or email sent in January.
Any applicant who is so notified and who goes on to achieve at least the typical Cambridge offer for the course to which they applied can choose to enquire about the potential for a place at Cambridge through the August Reconsideration Pool once the scheme opens in August. See here for further details.
Any offer is a win! Don’t be at all put off if you don’t get your first choice College or if you succeed via a “pool”. Everyone starts at the University on an equal footing.