Map Oxbridge Applications, 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR

You’ve thought about it and you’d like to apply to Oxford or Cambridge, fantastic! But what do you do now? Applying to the Oxbridge Universities can be a big task for any student, so to help break down the process, we’ve assembled this handy guide for you. Read on to find out what it takes to apply.



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1. Choose a Course

This seems like the most obvious step, but it’s incredibly important that you choose a course that you are interested in and would enjoy learning about for the next three or four years. Research the different courses that are available for each university and make sure to check out their faculty pages, as they will have information on what your academic life will be like. This includes details such as: what content you might learn, how many contact hours are typical for your course, the workload, and what exams will be like, etc.

In addition, check the requirements for each course and that you meet their standards. For international students (Oxford and Cambridge), it is also important to make sure that the university accepts whatever international qualifications you may have. Your course may require you to submit written work as part of your application; this could be either one or two school essays that you have completed.



2. Choose a College

You should also research which college you would like to apply to. This decision is personal preference (you can read more about how to choose a college here), but you should also make sure that the college offers the specific course that you wish to apply for.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a preference, you can make an open application, which means that you won’t specify a college. Do remember that your choice of college will NOT affect the outcome of your application, as both universities employ a pooling system whereby colleges can swap applicants to ensure that the students with the ebay potential from across the university are offered a place.



3. UCAS Application

You will also need to write a personal statement as part of the application process. In short, you will need to demonstrate your passion for your chosen subject and convince the admissions team why you are a good fit for their university. Crafting your personal statement can be challenging, but there are many resources available to support you. The UCAS application deadline is midway through October, so make sure that you do not miss this date!

Cambridge University also requires that you complete the 'My Cambridge Application' which is an additional questionnaire to fill in after your UCAS application and should be returned by the 23rd October 202.

At this stage, you will also need to check whether your course requires you to take an assessment. This means that you will need to register for and take any tests as part of your application. . Depending on which university you choose to apply to, the assessment may take place before or during interviews: Oxford’s admissions tests take place before the interview, while many of Cambridge’s tests happen during the interviews. We recommend getting onto this well before submitting your UCAS Application, as the deadline for registration for most pre-interview tests falls in September, with the tests themselves taking place in October (note that this is earlier than in other years due to the changes in admissions tests coming into effect from this year - read more about the changes here). 



4. Admission Test

If you are sitting a pre-interview admissions test (i.e. one that is conducted separately from the interviews in September), then you should have registered for this in September (even before the UCAS Oxbridge deadline). The test date itself will vary depending on which course you are applying to, and therefore which test you will be taking, but most of the tests will be sat in October (particularly if you are applying to Oxford).

This is slightly earlier in comparison with previous years due to the recent changes in Admissions Test providers (have a read of our dedicated blog article on the topic to find out more), so we recommend being ahead of the curve when it comes to registration and preparation for your admissions test. If you’re not sure what these tests might entail or how to prepare for them, we have dedicated resources and programmes (including free admissions test guides) available on our website



5. Interview

If the initial stages of your application are successful and you meet the academic criteria for your chosen course, you will be shortlisted for interviews. The interview questions are designed to give admissions tutors a feel for your problem-solving and critical thinking skills and how you communicate your thought process. While interviews will be new for most students, practising the process through mock interviews and running through as many questions as possible ahead of the interview itself makes for excellent preparation.



6. Receive your offer!

Should things be all well and good with every stage of the application process, you will receive an offer to study at your chosen university either at the beginning (Oxford) or towards the end (Cambridge) of January. This may be from the college you applied to, or another college that has chosen you from the pool of applicants. Now you can focus on revising for your exams and making sure you hit that offer!



Private Consultation

Private Consultations, led by senior members of the Oxbridge Applications team, help to shape students’ approach to their application.

Strategic Guidance

Our Private Consultations give you tailored strategic advice for any stage in the university application journey for students aged 14 and above.

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Our Oxbridge-graduate consultants are available between 9.00 am – 5.00 pm from Monday to Friday, with additional evening availability when requested.

Oxbridge Applications, 14 – 16 Waterloo Place, London, SW1Y 4AR

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