The Application Process
The University of Oxford aims to attract applications from the most academically able individuals, irrespective of their socio-economic, ethnic, or national origin, on the basis that they are well-qualified and have the most potential to excel in their chosen course of study. Selection is based entirely on academic criteria, and not on your background or what kind of school you went to. We look for those who have a genuine academic interest, who are prepared to work hard and aim high.
Applications to Oxford are assessed holistically by our tutors, who are specialists in the subject to which you have applied. Applications will include:
o UCAS Application
o Your academic profile, including prior and predicted grades
o Your personal statement
o Your academic reference
o Contextual data
o Admissions test results (if required)
o Submitted written work (if required)
o Your interview
The Admissions Process
*If you are applying to study Law, you are required to take the LNAT between 1 September and 20 October 2016. If you are applying for the BMAT the deadline for registering is October 1st.
STEP 1. Picking a course & checking the requirements
Choosing a course is the most important choice you will make when applying for university, followed closely of course, by where you choose to study it. The best place to start is the University course pages, making sure you are aware of the specific requirements, including grades and subjects previously studied. We provide standard offer requirements for all our courses to give applicants an idea of the minimum standard we expect in order for them to do well at degree level. Other considerations are practical, courses vary in length, teaching structures and assessment formats, for example all our modern languages courses include a compulsory year abroad.
STEP 2. Choosing a college
An integral part of the University, colleges are small interdisciplinary academic communities, made up of students, staff, and academics. While most applicants do choose a college, it is not necessary to do so; it is possible to make an open application, which means that your application will be allocated to a college at random. It is important to note that Oxford operates a reallocation process, which aims to ensure that the most gifted candidates are not hampered by applying to an oversubscribed college; when this happens, applications will be assigned to a college for which this is not the case.
STEP 3. Written work & admissions tests
Many of our courses require you to take an admissions test; Oxford’s admissions tests are organised by the Admissions Testing Service. You will need to register separately for any tests, by a set date (usually in October), and can normally sit them in your school or college, or at a centre near your home. Click here to find out whether the course you’re applying to requires you to take a test; most applicants will need to take a test and registration is the responsibility of the candidate.
Similarly, many courses ask for some form of written work, work which should demonstrate your analytical, reasoning, language and writing skills. It must be original school or college work, marked by a teacher, and not re-written or corrected in any way and no longer than 2000 words in length. If your application is being considered by St Hugh’s College, we will contact you with instructions on how to submit any necessary written work towards the end of October. For further information about whether your course requires additional written work, please click here.
STEP 4. UCAS application
All applications must be submitted through UCAS by 6pm GMT on the 15th October, received applications will be confirmed after this date.
STEP 5. Interviews
If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to come to a particular college in December. You will be interviewed by tutors at St Hugh’s and possibly by tutors at other colleges as well. If you live outside the EU, and are unable to travel to Oxford for interview, then you may be offered an interview by Skype. (Medicine is an exception – all shortlisted candidates must come to Oxford.) Please see below for the University’s guide to interviews at Oxford.
STEP 6. Decisions
We aim to have all decisions sent to candidates in January, while overseas applicants will receive an email as well as a letter so will not have to wait to hear, UK based applicants will receive a letter in the post.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Should I make an open application?
In general, colleges are more similar than they are different and choosing a course is far more important. However, we do know that choosing a college at Oxford is often part of the excitement of applying. There are a number of things to consider when choosing a college, like their location or facilities, but these are a matter of personal preference.
If you feel that you cannot easily choose between colleges, an open application may be best for you. If you make an open application, you will be allocated a college (usually one that, for that year, has a slightly lower than average number of applicants per place). Once an open application has been allocated a college, it is treated in the same way as that of a candidate who has applied directly.
It is worth bearing in mind that many successful applicants who receive an offer do so from a college other than the one to which they applied. College choice should therefore not be a major priority.
- What is an interview like?
The interview is an essential part of the Oxford application process, allowing students to have a detailed and in-depth discussion about their chosen subject with Oxford tutors. We interview all shortlisted candidates who are allocated to St Hugh’s and would encourage all candidates to arrange practice discussing their academic interests before coming up to Oxford for the real thing.
Interviews at St Hugh’s are normally 20-30 minutes long and are usually conducted by two or more tutors at a time, each an expert in some aspect of the degree course to which you are applying. Interviews tend to begin with straightforward questions, prompted by your personal statement, designed to put you at your ease. They often conclude with an opportunity for you to ask questions of the interviewer(s).
St Hugh’s will provide free accommodation and food while you are here and arrange for a group of current Undergraduate students to stay on as helpers. The helpers organise social events to help you relax and meet other candidates.
For further information about the interview process, please see the University’s guide below.
- Can I apply post A-level or gap year (deferred entry)?
We welcome applications from candidates who are both working towards and have already achieved their qualifications, and, as general rule, we also support gap year plans which would not have an adverse effect on the standard of the applicant’s academic work.
Applicants who are applying for deferred entry are assessed against exactly the same assessment criteria as those applying for direct entry. Generally speaking however, deferred entry is seen as more competitive because it involves the tutors having to reserve a place against as yet unseen candidates.
Tutors may want to see a proposed plan for your gap year which includes some form of maintaining academic engagement with your chosen subject. Examples could include an internship, work placement or simply a structured reading plan.
- Can I apply if I have Scottish, European or international qualifications?
We welcome applications from those with Scottish, European or other international qualifications, and are proud that those who apply to us come from all over the world. The University provides guidance on international qualifications on its website, and applicants with specific queries should contact the Admissions & Outreach Officer.
- What happens if I am an applicant with special needs?
We welcome applications from all eligible candidates regardless of their physical requirements and/or special educational needs. We are accustomed to making special arrangements for them at interview and after they have been admitted. Any queries or concerns are best directed towards the Admissions and Outreach Officer, in the College Office.
- What if I have further questions?