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A Brief Overview of the Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) University Admissions Process

As Oxford and Cambridge universities (collectively called ‘Oxbridge’) are the most renowned and high-achieving universities in the UK, their admissions process is longer and more complicated than the process for most UK universities. Here’s a brief overview of their admissions processes.

First, the UCAS application deadline for Oxbridge is on or around the 15th of October. This is earlier than the standard UCAS deadline for other UK universities which is on the 15th of January. Therefore, to apply to Oxbridge, you must start the application process early.

Second, you must consider which course and college you would like. Oxford and Cambridge are what we call ‘collegiate’. This means the university is split up into multiple colleges. A student at the university attends the college and that is the basis of their academic and social life. Colleges differ on what courses, clubs, and accommodation they provide, so thorough research and visits to the colleges are advised. The alternative to applying to a college is an ‘open application’ where the applicant merely applies to the university and is assigned a college after the university receives the application.

Note: you can only apply to one of Oxford or Cambridge each year and only one college (or open application), so choose wisely!

Third, along with your personal details and qualifications, you must submit a UCAS personal statement just like for every other UK university application.

The next stage is the interview and tests.

Although it is not guaranteed, most Oxbridge courses will want you to sit university-set tests to gauge your aptitude for the course and studying at Oxford/Cambridge. The tests rarely have anything to do with specific syllabus material and would cover more about your aptitude and overall knowledge of the subject in question. Some sample papers are released by the universities, so it is a good idea to practice them and research what type of questions are likely to come up for your course. For example, if you are studying IB, you may get help from IB online tutors to deepen your understanding of the subject matter.

Then, there are the interviews. Points to note:

●     Applicants to Oxbridge will almost always be interviewed by one or more of the academics from their prospective college.

●     Rather than a serious job-style interview, this should be treated more as an academic discussion.

●     Reading widely (potentially some of the books written by academics in your college!) is a good idea for this.

●     Interview practice is often helpful.

●     Depending on the course and college, it is possible for you to sit both the admissions tests and the interview on the same day at the university for convenience. You may consider enlisting the help of a private tutor in Hong Kong for this.

●     These are likely to be done around December.

●     For international students, interviews can take place online or in person within your home country. Check this carefully when applying and arranging your interview/tests.

Having completed the tests and interviews, you should be informed on whether you have received an offer from the university by the end of January. You should also receive your required entry grades.

While preparing for the Oxbridge admissions process, it is important that you do not fall behind with your grades, as well. If you would like academic support, you can consider hiring a private tutor to guide you through coursework and assessments, so that you can balance your academic achievements with your university applications.

We also understand that it might be difficult to prepare and follow through the admissions process on your own, and our team of experienced advisors are here to support you and guide you on your journey, maximising your chances of success. If you have any more questions or concerns about Oxbridge Admissions, contact us here.

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