As the global leader in Oxbridge admissions consulting, Oxbridge Applications is frequently profiled in national publications regarding the ever-changing face of the Oxbridge admissions process.
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22nd September 2016
Will my GCSE grades affect my application to Oxford University?
The deadline to apply to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge is less than a month away. That’s right, you heard correctly. In less than a month, you will have to have your Ucas application finished and submitted – that or apply next year.
The Oxbridge Ucas application deadline is three months before the deadline for all other universities – on October 15. By this point candidates should have completed all parts of the application, chosen their course and college and obtained an academic reference.
28th August 2016
Oxbridge applicants try to ‘out-Left’ each other
Sixth formers applying to university may be limiting their chances by vying to show off radical credentials, in a move described by admissions tutors as “out-Lefting” each other.
Candidates are increasingly writing or expressing statements such as “Boris is a monster”, “All Tories are vile” and “Jeremy Corbyn speaks for me” to appear as radical as possible.
But Rebecca Williams, former head of the admissions consultancy Oxbridge Applications, said while there was nothing wrong in having strong views, candidates had to be able to back them up.
14th June 2016
How early should you start preparing for Oxbridge?
It’s never too soon to begin your application for an Oxbridge university place – and this summer is a great time to start.
Miguel de Cervantes, author of 17th-century novel Don Quixote, believed that “forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory” and those planning to apply to Oxbridge this year would do well to heed his advice.
When it comes to assessing applicants, Cambridge and Oxford admissions officers are interested in one thing above all else: does the candidate demonstrate a passion and an intellectuality ability for his or her chosen subject? So when it comes to preparation, applicants should have two things uppermost in their minds: first, that it is never too early to start preparing; second, that their personal statement and interview must demonstrate a convincing knowledge and love of the subject they wish to study.
24th March 2016
How to ace an Oxbridge university interview
Admissions tutors at Oxford and Cambridge meet A-star students every day, make sure you’re head and shoulders above the rest with these handy interview tips.
The interview is your opportunity to express passion for your chosen subject. “The person that interviews you will likely be your tutor – at least for your first year,” says Jane Bennett-Rees, an Oxford graduate and former admissions researcher at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and now on the advisory board at admissions consultants Oxbridge Applications.
“Tutors want to see that you will be a joy to teach, that you’re deeply interested in your subject, and that you’re keen to learn,” she adds.
24th March 2016
What makes Oxbridge special?
History, reputation and high academic standards have earned Oxford and Cambridge a global reputation for excellence – but what makes their students’ experiences different to other UK universities?
A key difference at Oxford and Cambridge is their style of teaching. Alongside faculty lectures, classes and – depending on the course – lab work, students benefit from very small group sessions.
At Oxford, these are called tutorials; at Cambridge they’re known as supervisions. Both offer challenging, supportive, personalised environments and a level of individual attention most institutions can only envy.
24th March 2016
Is an Oxbridge university education right for you?
Oxford and Cambridge are ranked among the best universities in the world, so it’s hardly surprising that students are queuing up for places. But, as Jane Bennett-Rees, a former admissions researcher at Magdalene College, Cambridge, and now a member of the advisory board at admissions consultants, Oxbridge Applications, notes: “they’re not for everybody”.
So before you put in that application, you need to look beyond the prestige and the reputation to make an informed decision about whether Oxbridge is the best fit for you.
24th March 2016
Timeline: Oxbridge application guide
Age 15 to 16 (Year 11)
September to January
Make a realistic assessment of your academic ability. On average,applicants to Oxford achieve at least seven to eight A-star GCSEs – though this isn’t a formal prerequisite for applying. Use mock exams as a guide to find out how achievable these grades are. Keep an ear out for any outreach events and visits from Oxford or Cambridge representatives.
January to August
Begin thinking about A-level choices. Speak to careers advisers or sixth-form colleges to understand useful combinations of subjects. For example, further maths is important at least to AS-level if possible for physics, engineering or maths, say career advisers. This can also be a good time, for students seeking extra guidance, to book a Private Consultation with Oxbridge Applications to understand which A-levels they should be considering to maximise their chances of making a successful applications.
19th February 2016
Don’t train youngsters for Oxbridge, teacher argues
Jenny Brown, headmistress of St Albans High School for Girls, has spoken out against suggestions made by the Oxford Head of Admissions that preparation for entry into selective universities “must happen further down”.
Speaking to the Times Education Supplement last month, Samina Khan, Head of Oxford Admissions and a school governor, argued that schools should start preparing students for applications to Oxbridge and other top universities as early as Year 7.
“Let’s start in Year 7. Let’s start raising aspiration… let’s start showing them what they will need to have achieved.”
8th January 2016
Poor pupils ‘more likely’ to get an Oxford interview, says head of admissions
Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are “more likely” to get an interview at Oxford University, its head of admissions had said.
Samina Khan also said bright children need to start preparing for getting into Oxbridge from the age of 11, according to the head of Oxford admissions.
Asked if a pupil predicted top grades was more likely to get an interview at Oxford if they came from a disadvantaged home or low-performing school, she told the TES: “You are more likely to be looked at and shortlisted for an interview. All those indicators are giving us information about your academic journey in a particular context.”
29th September 2015
‘Scary’ female bosses are stopping women from having what’s theirs
The trope of tough female bosses may be putting women off from trying to break what’s left of the glass ceiling but Radhika Sanghani believes there’s a simpler solution.
New analysis from Oxbridge Applications has found boys are twice as likely as girls to be accepted on courses like maths and law. They blamed it on girls being ‘too self-critical’ and ‘over-rehearsing’ interviews.
This ‘perfectionist’ attitude is something girls tend to pick up at school, and it can burden them right through university admissions all the way up to hitting the glass ceiling at work.
25th September 2015
Girls ‘lack the confidence for Oxbridge’: Analysis finds male students are twice as likely to be accepted on some courses
Too many girls are damaging their chances of getting into Oxbridge as they lack confidence amid evidence of a ‘worrying gender gap’.
A new analysis shows male students are almost twice as likely as their female counterparts to be accepted on some of the elite universities’ degree courses.
Education experts warn that girls could be undermining their success rates because they often have little faith in their abilities, ‘over-rehearse’ for interviews and are ‘too self-critical’.
Oxbridge Applications, an admissions consultancy, examined acceptance figures across subjects at Oxford and Cambridge over the last three years.
4th August 2015
The top five types of Oxbridge applicants
Oxford has discouraged the use of over-the-top claims just to make a quick impression because applicants have more than a few seconds given in a talent show to make an impression.
The warning came as competition for an Oxbridge place has intensified. Applications to Cambridge were 16,750 last year and a record 17,000 at Oxford. Less than one in five candidates are ultimately successful.
Oxbridge Applications, which helps students apply to Oxbridge, has compiled the most common type of applicants.
4th August 2015
Oxbridge Applications: Cut the talent show-inspired personal statements, hopefuls told
TV talent shows are inspiring Oxbridge hopefuls to come up with increasingly outlandish applications in an effort to get noticed, tutors have complained.
Rising competition to secure a place at Oxford or Cambridge is leading anxious students to claim they are experts on the financial crisis or Greek debt partly as a result of Britain’s “X-factor culture”.
Some examples include claims from medical students they wanted to become doctors because of the life-threatening illnesses that afflicted their loved ones, and solutions from would-be economists on solving the Greek crisis.
25th June 2015
Oxbridge applicants let down by poor personal statements
Students applying to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge often fall at the first hurdle of the personal statement, according to a company that runs an Oxbridge preparation access scheme.
Rebecca Williams, head of programmes at consultants Oxbridge Applications, says students turn the personal statement into “a patchwork of mini essays”.
It is crucial that students demonstrate wide reading of their subject outside the syllabus, “but they shouldn’t try to make analytical points about the academic ideas they raise; they should use them to demonstrate their interest in the subject”, Williams says.
16th March 2015
Five myths about getting into Oxbridge
The competition for Oxbridge places has seen parents parachute their children into comprehensives to study for their A-levels in the hope that their privileged education will not count against them.
But is it actually true that the universities of Oxford and Cambridge discriminate against private school pupils?
According to education consultancy, Oxbridge Applications, the answer is ‘no’. In fact, this is just one of many ‘myths’ which surround the Oxbridge application process….
15th March 2015
Parents moving their children from private to state school to try and get them into Oxbridge
A growing number of parents are pulling their children out of independent schools after GCSEs and sending them to local state sixth forms in the “mistaken belief” that Oxbridge practices positive discrimination, a consultancy has said.
“Historically there’s been a concern that state school pupils were overlooked by Oxbridge so it may come as a surprise to many to hear that there is now a widespread belief among parents of privately schooled pupils that their children will not be treated equally by admissions tutors,” said Lucinda Fraser of Oxbridge Applications…
9th September 2014
State School Pupils Need More Help To Get Into Oxbridge, Teachers and Experts Warn
Students from state-funded schools who aspire to Oxford and Cambridge need more help with the rigorous admissions process, according to a leading international consultancy.
State school students achieve lower grades in admissions test than those privately educated because they have insufficient knowledge about the process, according to Oxbridge Applications…
20th July 2014
Why Straight As Aren’t Good Enough For Oxbridge
Managing director of Oxbridge Applications, the student consultancy service, said undergraduates were increasingly prioritising quality in the era of higher fees.
She also said that Oxbridge was “an increasingly popular destination for international students who are looking to the UK and US to provide what they view as a world-class education”, adding: “With recent data collected showing a significant increase in international applicants seeking a place in the UK, it is unsurprising that Oxbridge in particular is experiencing new pressure on its admissions system.”
20th July 2014
‘Oxbridge Fame Is Well Deserved’
By consistently ranking as the top two universities in UK league tables, and among the top universities worldwide, Oxbridge consistently proves that its fame is deserved, and more than just prestige built over hundreds of years of history.
It is an increasingly popular destination for international students who are looking to the UK and US to provide what they view as a world-class education…
2nd July 2014
Chalk Talk: How not to slip up during university applications
If you are applying for a place at Oxford or Cambridge and the interviewer says: “Tell me about a banana,” you might feel a burning desire to reply, in John McEnroe-esque terms: “You cannot be serious!” But you should keep a straight face and answer the question, according to a new guide.
It is the time of year when first-year sixth-formers are starting to think about their university applications – particularly if they hope to study among the dreaming spires. Oxbridge Applications, a company that each year helps thousands of wannabes plot their course to an elite university, has just issued a number of tips on how to go about trying to ensure a place at the UK’s two most elite universities…
24th October 2013
Five students chasing every Oxbridge place next year
Figures show that as many as five students are chasing every undergraduate place at Oxford and Cambridge in 2014 despite a sharp rise in tuition fees.
According to figures, Cambridge applications are up by four per cent to more than 16,500, while demand for Oxford increased by around 1.5 per cent to 17,480.
Students had to submit applications to Oxbridge – as well medicine, dentistry and veterinary courses at other universities across the UK – in mid-October…
6th October 2013
Applying to Oxbridge: the 10 tips for success
There is no blue print for a successful Oxbridge applicant however the ability to think logically and laterally about your subject, to analyse challenging new ideas and be confident so that you can demonstrate your subject motivation, personality and the crucial ‘teachability’ quality are key.
Here then are Oxbridge Applications’ top ten tips for success:
1. Remember that the application process is there for you demonstrate what you can do and not to trip you up…
6th October 2013
Foreign demand for Oxbridge fuels competition for places
Just over a week before the deadline for applying to Oxford and Cambridge next year, figures showed that students from outside Britain account for more than a third of all undergraduate applicants – up from just over a quarter five years ago.
Oxford alone has seen a 62 per cent rise in the number of applications from mainland Europe and the rest of the world since 2008, it was revealed…
2nd October 2013
Oxford and Cambridge applications: How to do them right
Applying to Oxford or Cambridge is a challenging and exciting process which requires motivation, determination and passion about your subject as well as ability and focused preparation.
There is no blue print for a successful Oxbridge applicant however the ability to think logically and laterally about your subject, to analyse challenging new ideas and be confident so that you can demonstrate your subject motivation, personality and the crucial ‘teachability’ quality are key…
15th August 2013
Oxford and Cambridge: A Worldly Education
In a recent article , the New York Daily News reported that 11 of President Obama’s innermost circle were educated at Oxford University. In fact, of the top players in the administration, a greater number hold graduate degrees from Oxford than from US graduate schools. Nestled at the core of the Whitehouse and the Pentagon and wielding the power to influence policy worldwide, they are evidence of one thing: a degree from Oxford or Cambridge commands attention on an international scale.
At a time when emerging markets are jostling to become serious competitors to the major Western super-powers, there is one area of export in which the US and UK still dominate: Higher Education…
12th October 2012
Oxbridge admissions: universities to ‘raise bar on entry’
Rising numbers of students will be expected to score elite A* grades in A-levels for the first time to secure admission to Oxbridge, it was revealed.
Just days before the deadline to apply to the ancient institutions, it was also revealed that both universities are preparing to set more entry exams in addition to formal interviews.
Oxford alone will require almost nine-in-10 students to sit some form of aptitude test – up from around two-thirds in 2009…
12th October 2012
Last Minute Tips For Applying To Oxbridge And Perfecting Your Personal Statement
The UCAS deadline for Oxbridge applications is looming but if your mind still isn’t made up, we’ve got some tips and advice on hand to help you on your way.
Students applying to either Oxford or Cambridge have to submit their choices by Monday, including which college to apply for.
Laura Pickering, of Oxbridge Applications, offers some advice on picking your college, course and perfecting your personal statement…
5th October 2012
Five things you should know about Oxbridge applications
If you’re thinking of applying to Oxbridge, time is running out.
Panicked students across the country are polishing their personal statements ahead of this month’s deadline – but why is applying for Oxbridge any different to applying elsewhere?
Oxbridge applications expert Caroline Lindner explains…
8th July 2011
Starting on the right note
Certainly, in the battle for places at top universities, a strong music section on a CV can help. Rachel Spedding, executive director of Oxbridge Applications, which prepares and guides applicants through the Oxbridge exam and interview process, says “playing an instrument is extremely worthwhile” for candidates. “It demonstrates commitment and dedication, as well as creativity and intelligence. That said, last year Oxford University reaffirmed that acceptance ‘is a purely academic judgement’ so brilliance in music alone will not guarantee a place.” Spedding says the discipline needed for learning a musical instrument while juggling academic work can help with the pressures of applying for university…
2nd June 2011
Competition for places at university in 2012 is set to be tough. With a focus on Oxbridge, Rachel Spedding offers her advice on guiding your students through the application process come the autumn term.
With competition for places at the UK’s best universities at an all-time high, and tuition fees set to rise, this autumn the university application process will be a fraught one. Anxious students will need to navigate what feels like a process wracked with uncertainty…
17th February 2011
Are school students becoming spoon-fed exam machines?
But how will I know the answers if I don’t know what the questions will be?” This, believe it or not, is a question hundreds of Oxbridge applicants ask every year as they prepare for interview. The speed of the internet and the amount of information that can be accessed in a flash have contributed to a generation of school-leavers convinced that access to technology is all you need to answer questions and that being able to answer questions is all you need to succeed. Why should you think for yourself when there is a tool that can do it for you?
6th September 2010
Knowledge of a banana may be the key to Oxbridge entry
It is probably the most important day of your life. Your mind is racing and your hands are trembling at the thought of the erudite questions you are about to be asked, which will determine your future education, career and indeed the rest of your life. Then a man leans forward towards you and says: “Tell me about a banana.”
Welcome to the world of university interviewing, Oxbridge-style. The banana question has been unearthed by Rachel Spedding and Jane Welsh, the editors of a new book designed to help would-be Oxford and Cambridge students cope with the notoriously arduous admissions process…
3rd September 2010
Is Oxbridge still a preserve of the posh?
Admissions tutors claim the ‘old boy network’ is a thing of the past, but recently almost twice as many pupils from one independent school were accepted into Oxbridge as from the entire cohort of pupils eligible for free school meals. Hannah Frankel investigates a very common problem
Its dreaming spires have long been a symbol of excellence, but for some the apparently timeless appeal of Oxbridge is starting to wane. At one school in east London, the most able students no longer set their sights on going to Oxford or Cambridge…
6th January 2008
Alan Bennett Was Right About Getting Into Oxford
Students hunger for an Oxbridge degree because of the prestige, the top-notch teaching and the chance to count themselves among distinguished alumni who dominate government, media, law and business in the U.K. Cambridge, Oxford and Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, tied for second, after Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the 2007 rankings of the world’s best universities by the Times of London Higher Education Supplement…
13th October 2006
Are you Oxbridge material? Here’s how you can tell…
Why don’t we just have one ear in the middle of our face? What percentage of the world’s water is contained in a cow? Of all 19th-century politicians, who was most like Tony Blair? If you could attempt an answer to any of these questions then you might want to consider applying to study at Oxford or Cambridge.
The questions were faced by some of the 1,200 students who entered the notoriously rigorous Oxbridge interview process last year. A survey, conducted by Oxbridge Applications, a company that supports applicants for interviews at Oxford and Cambridge, suggests the universities’ reputation for asking unusual questions is alive and well.