The University of Oxford is one of the most prestigious schools in the world, making the admissions process highly selective for aspiring applicants. Students from all around the globe prepare from a young age with hopes of getting admitted into the university.
With so many applicants to compete against, there is little room for error in your application. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about the University of Oxford and its admission process.
Before we dive into that process, let’s take a look at Oxford’s history. We’ll tell you about the accolades associated with the school and why it’s in such high demand for students.
About the University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is one of the leading universities in the world. Oxford is known as a premier research institution that produces top-tier graduates and scholars from around the world.
The university is located in Oxford, England, and it was founded in 1096. This makes it one of the oldest universities still operating today.
The university’s rich history makes it a legendary and iconic destination for some of the most skilled students and faculty in academia. In addition, the university’s alumni base is vast due to its established history as a renowned institution.
Oxford is made up of 39 different colleges and six permanent private halls that function as independent components of the school, controlling their own admission processes, guidelines, and programs.
Instruction styles include a mixture of lectures, hands-on learning experiences, labs, and more.
To understand more about the University of Oxford, take a look at some of the core data points related to the institution:
By understanding the university’s acceptance rates and how many people apply each year, you can begin to formulate your application strategy.
The University of Oxford is very competitive, and you’ll need to have a plan to make sure your application is complete and memorable so that you stand out from the pack.
Let’s walk through key elements of the application process from start to finish.
Oxford’s undergraduate application requirements
If you’re wrapping up high school and want to apply to Oxford, you’ve come to the right place.
You need to understand all the different application requirements and deadlines before you begin compiling the necessary documents.
Oxford has an extremely competitive application process due to the caliber of education that the university provides. All applicants must submit their highest quality work by the designated deadline on the school’s website.
Oxford, like most universities, requires a variety of supporting documents with the application. The required application components include:
Applicants should have an “A” average in their International Baccalaureate, A-level, International Course Equivalents, or Scottish Higher classes.
This is a formal essay that introduces you to the review board that is evaluating your application. This is your opportunity to share some information about yourself, your aspirations, and your past successes.
It is great to focus on what motivates you. Depending on the college you’re applying to, you might have a specific prompt or sample questions to answer in your personal statement.
Admissions test results
You will need to take an admissions test as a part of the application process. The score you get on the admissions test will inform your standing as an applicant. All applicants must register for the admissions test by 6 p.m. on October 15.
This includes supporting documents related to the specific course and college that you’re submitting your application for.
The exact requirements for what is expected in your written work will vary by college. In fact, only certain courses require written work, so check to see what you should include when you begin the application process.
Now that you know what you need, let’s take a look at some of the preliminary steps you should take when thinking about applying.
Starting your undergraduate application process
Let’s face it: the application process can be overwhelming. There are so many steps that you need to take, and it can be stressful trying to perfect everything prior to the various deadlines.
It’s critical to view your application as a step-by-step process. This will prevent you from getting too stressed about it and ultimately make the entire experience more manageable.
The University of Oxford recommends breaking down your application process into three broad steps:
Choose a course
Think about what you’re hoping to do in life after you graduate and select the most applicable course. Each course has a different application process.
You can also apply to more than one course, but it will require more time to fill out an entirely different application.
Think about funding
Many alternative funding sources are available to you if you think you might have trouble paying for an Oxford education.
If you’re a student in the UK, you can even apply for government funding. This can be in the form of a loan or a subsidy of your living costs.
Prepare to apply
With your undergraduate course selected and your funding plan solidified, you can begin the application process.
As a reminder, each course has a different process that may require specific documents. While most will require the standard components listed above, you should consult the course’s page and prepare your application accordingly.
The admissions process doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are plenty of people and resources available to help you along the way.
Plus, there are plenty of chances for you to review your work, edit documents, and line up references before you hit the submit button.
Have you already earned an undergraduate degree? Let’s take a look at Oxford’s graduate program and what you need to be accepted.
Oxford’s graduate application requirements
Much like the undergraduate application process, the graduate program process is extensive. Whether you’re going to graduate school to get an Oxford MBA or a different degree, you need to take the proper steps to get accepted.
In order to successfully apply to Oxford’s graduate program, prospective students need to make sure that they meet all the requirements and submit the necessary documents.
Incomplete applications will automatically be rejected. It is crucial that you review all the necessary components and submit a comprehensive application to increase your chances of being accepted.
But how are you supposed to know what you need to apply? Requirements for your application vary by course, but most Oxford applications require the following components:
Your official transcripts can be sent directly from your previous institution. These transcripts will provide context for your academic prowess and highlight your successes in your previous undergraduate courses.
CV or resume
Your CV or resume should showcase your professional endeavors to provide a glimpse at your work history, awards, and accolades.
This is your opportunity to not only show your skills but also how you used them to achieve successes and drive value for businesses or organizations.
As stated above, your personal statement is a chance to share your story, motivations, and career objectives. Your graduate program application personal statement should be no longer than 1,000 words.
Letters of recommendation
Each applicant should provide three letters of recommendation from an academic. This could include a former professor, dean, or faculty member.
You will likely be required to pay a fee when you submit your application.
This fee will be phased out by the 2024-2025 school year to make the application process more equitable for all students. In previous years, the application fee was £75.
Each one of these components is vital to ensure that your application is complete. Failure to stop and cross-reference the requirements will immediately eliminate you from consideration.
However, you might be wondering what course is the right Oxford graduate course for you.
This is a crucial decision that you need to make at the start of your process. Let’s take a look to see what Oxford’s graduate program has to offer.
Selecting your graduate course
At Oxford, there are courses for all interests and disciplines. Oxford offers more than 365 graduate courses that you can choose from.
The courses fall under five distinct departments:
Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences Division
Medical Sciences Division
Social Sciences Division
Department for Continuing Education
The application process differs on a course-by-course basis. Review the application process on the individual course pages to understand what is required of you. That way, you will be prepared when the deadline approaches.
Oxford graduate students will be assigned an academic supervisor who will oversee their journey through the graduate program. This supervisor will help ensure that the student stays on track to get their degree.
Understanding Oxford’s colleges
The university has 39 colleges and six permanent private halls that each have assigned faculty, specialized courses, and like-minded students.
These colleges help make a large university feel smaller, providing tight-knit communities of learners and doers. This creates a culture and community for students to grow and develop together.
Oxford highlights its colleges as a way to provide students with three critical value points: community, facilities, and support. With a tight-knit community, the colleges foster valuable interactions between students and gather new perspectives.
The top-notch and varying facilities set Oxford colleges apart from one another. Support is given to students in the form of tutors, engaged faculty, financial aid, and other resources available at their disposal.
Let’s take a look at four of Oxford’s most noteworthy colleges: Kellogg, St. Catherine’s, St. Anne’s, and St. Hugh’s.
Kellogg College was founded in 1990 in an attempt “to make graduate study more open and accessible.” Graduate students completed the first program through the new college during the graduation ceremonies in 1992.
Kellogg College was unique because it offered part-time study options. This meant that students could pursue professional opportunities while taking a part-time course load — a novel concept in the college’s early years.
Kellogg College is the largest graduate college at Oxford, with the most international students and areas of study.
Students at Kellogg College come from more than 90 countries, creating a memorable learning community with a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and unique individual experiences.
The college boasts numerous amenities that distinguish it from other colleges at Oxford.
The library at Kellogg College is one of the newest libraries at the University of Oxford.
The college offers sports and extracurriculars like croquet, squash, rugby, rowing, and hockey.
It has a Middle Common Room (MCR). The MCR brings together full-time and part-time students for relevant programming and social initiatives.
Students wishing to apply to Kellogg College must have already been accepted by a department or faculty before consideration may take place.
St. Catherine’s College is one of the newest colleges at Oxford for both undergraduate and graduate students at the university. The college’s mission is “the pursuit of academic excellence and the enhancement of creative thinking.”
Despite being a “new” college, its history dates back to 1868, when it was originally founded as the “Delegacy for Unattached Students.” The goal of this delegacy was to create a place that didn’t exclude people based on the high costs of college admissions.
The college was then officially founded in 1962, and it is now nicknamed “St. Catz.”
St. Catherine’s College boasts the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theater, a fellowship designed to promote the study of theater at the college.
This fellowship has been around for over 28 years and is awarded to a new person every year.
The college also offers the College Library, a meeting place for students with over 60,000 books, and the Junior Common Room, a place for students to relax and enjoy a bar, pool tables, games, and more.
Relevant staff in designated subject areas review student applications for St. Catherine’s College.
Make sure you write your personal statement to match the college’s programs and mission. In addition, highlight any scholarships and funding you’ve earned.
Competitively-won funding is viewed “as an indicator of the applicant’s academic merit and potential.”
Total # of applicants
St. Anne’s College
St. Anne’s College has over 800 students, making it one of the largest colleges at Oxford. This college encapsulates many disciplines, including the arts, humanities, social sciences, and mathematics, as well as physical, life, and medical sciences.
The college was founded in 1879 and has been distinguished as a comprehensive college at the University of Oxford since 1952.
St. Anne’s emphasizes “forward-looking and outward-facing” research, encouraging students to take a collaborative approach to making new discoveries.
Applicants focused on an area of study that is aligned with St. Anne’s College will be given preference for admission. The Tutor for Graduates makes the final decision on which applicants are offered admittance into the college.
Total # of applicants
St. Hugh’s College
St. Hugh’s College, another one of the university’s largest colleges, spans 14 acres of Oxford’s campus located in North Oxford. The college was originally founded in 1886 by Elizabeth Wordsworth. More than 800 students attend the college every year.
The college offers all of Oxford’s graduate programs, graduating prominent alumni with backgrounds in the arts, law, and politics.
Applicants will need to submit their CV, transcript, and personal statement, as well as an additional detailed statement about the subject they are looking to study.
When applying, you should research and connect your prospective area of study to your interests and previous work.
In addition, you’ll need to submit three names of academics who will serve as references for you. Find professors or advisors you have worked with or studied under and ask them if you can add them to your application.
Total # of applicants
Getting into the University of Oxford can be a challenge, but it isn’t impossible if you follow the right steps. Since Oxford is such a prestigious university, you don’t have much room for error on your application.
Take your time when applying and ensure you are accurately filling out all the required information. By making sure you meet the requirements and submit the necessary documents, you’ll increase your chances of being admitted into the school.
Check out TheGradCafe for more college admissions advice.