The University of Oxford is one of the oldest and most prestigious academic institutions in the world, and possesses some of the most extensive histories and traditions of any university. Home to the famous undergraduate tutorial system, it provides for its students unrivalled access to elite academics and also an alumni network that has included nearly 60 domestic and international heads of state. Successful admission is a result of hard work and months of preparation. Learn more about the admissions process and how to optimise your chance of getting into Oxford below:
All undergraduate applications for Oxford are completed through a centralised portal called UCAS. Anyone can create a profile there. Once you have created your profile at www.ucas.com, select a university (Oxford in your case) and then select a degree – you have a lot of choice here. Oxford offers degrees on anything from Archaeology & Anthropology to Physics! This is also where you select which College within the University you are applying to, or whether you are submitting an open application. Which of these options is best for you will depend on your subject choice, and your academic and personal interests.
Candidates are then asked to submit a 4,000-character essay called a Personal Statement. This needs to be tailored to the subject choice and demonstrate a high level of interest in and commitment to that academic subject. Candidates must also name a referee to support the application (this is normally a school teacher). The same referee must also input predicted grades on the UCAS portal but that takes place behind the scenes and the candidate cannot see what grades have been predicted.
Oxford undergraduate courses have an admissions deadline of the 15th of October of the year before you want to start studying. So, if you are applying to start studying in September 2021, you need to submit the application by the 15th of October 2020.
Most (though not all) degrees at Oxford require an additional test such as the PAT (Physics Aptitude Test) for Physics or the TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) for PPE. These tests have been designed to give Oxford an extra metric to compare the applicants with. Oxford University Admissions maintain that these tests are designed in such a way as to make it impossible for the candidates to prepare for. This is incorrect. It is indeed possible to prepare for these tests and many admitted candidates will spend hundreds of hours working on preparation. If you want to give yourself the best chance, you should do the same
After the initial application review, some prospective students are invited for an interview with academic and admissions staff. Not every applicant makes it to this stage. The interviews normally take place over 2 weeks in December after the end of Oxford’s Michaelmas Term. If you are invited, you will be provided accommodation at Oxford for the duration of the interviews. Strong interview performance is crucial to the overall success of the application. This really is the “make it or break it” moment. Every candidate who is invited for interviews will have a minimum of 2 interviews but some candidates have as many as 5 or 6 which may be at multiple colleges.
Oxford will give you a decision in early January following the interviews in December. Decisions arrive by post. Assuming your letter says: ” I am delighted to inform you that the Admissions Committee…” you will have to meet certain academic conditions which are normally attached to the offer. The minimum conditional Oxford offer is AAA at A-Level or equivalent. That said, most admitted candidates will perform significantly above this offer.
1) Admission deadline is always on the 15th October of the year before you are hoping to study. Having said that, many successful candidates start preparation way before the deadline. We always recommend starting when a candidate is 15 years old.
2) To apply, each candidate has to create a profile on www.ucas.com. The initial part of the form requires basic information such as your name, date of birth, school name, and home address. Candidates are then asked to submit a 4,000-character essay called a Personal Statement. Candidates must also name a referee to support the application (this is normally a school teacher). The same referee must also input predicted grades on the UCAS portal but that takes place behind the scenes and the candidate cannot see what grades have been predicted.
3) Once you have applied, you might have to complete an extra test (most subjects at Oxford require one). For example, for Physics, you will have to complete the PAT or Physics Aptitude Test. These tests are designed to be difficult and are a cut above the A-Level or IB curriculum most applicants are used to. If you do well in this test and have a competitive UCAS profile, you will be invited for an interview. Interviews take place in December. Most Oxford alumni will recall the interview process as one of the most terrifying times in their lives.
4) Preparation for the interviews is a complex process but it need not be mysterious – there is no luck to it. Instead, each candidate can improve their interview performance with substantial preparation.
Jack, a current student at the university, says: “Oxford has been a dream for a long time and I could not believe it when I opened my letter on results day. You will definitely not regret it if you give it a go. The work is tough but that’s what makes it interesting”.
If you want A&J Education to increase your chances at Oxford admissions, then get in touch with us via our contact page. Our clients have enjoyed success rates of 76% (vs 19% average) over the last three years. Get in touch to see how we can help you.