Map Oxbridge Applications, 58 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ

What are my Chances of Success if I Reapply to Oxford or Cambridge?

You opened up your response from the University of Oxford or Cambridge to find that it’s not the news that you’ve been hoping for… what next? There are two ways forward from this point: accept one of your other offers, or reapply to Oxbridge in the next cycle.

This is a very big decision, and one most certainly worth taking time to think through properly. Many applicants gain an “Oxbridge or nothing” mentality for years whilst considering their university careers and going through the application process. It can be difficult to abandon a dream that you’ve held for such a long time. In the same vein, the other offers you may have secured are probably also from excellent universities - offers which shouldn’t just be thrown away without proper consideration.

So let’s break it down a little.




Our Private Consultations provide in-depth evaluation, strategy and next steps to achieve results. Suitable for those aged 14 upwards.

Advantages of Reapplying

One of the main benefits of reapplying is that it is almost certain to make you a stronger candidate than you were the first time around. You’ve had at least a year longer than other candidates to research and read around your subject, you’ve had more time to refine your personal statement, and you’ve already been through the whole process (most importantly, the interviews) once before, so you know what’s coming in the months ahead. There’s also the advantage that you will have already made your A-level or equivalent grades to make a reapplication in the first place, so the worry of meeting your offer will be off your shoulders and you will be able to focus entirely on your application without undertaking your studies at the same time.


However, the thing that gives reapplicants the most edge in our experience is the fact that they have had a whole extra year to work on their skills, improve their knowledge of their subject, and think critically about why they want to do a certain course at a certain university. Think about it; if you’ve turned down up to four other excellent offers to reapply to the university that rejected you first time around, you’re certainly dedicated and think that this is the right path for you!


In our experience, we’ve found that reapplicants are, if anything, more dedicated and better prepared than the average first-time applicant, giving them a solid leg-up when it comes to the application process.


Disadvantages of Reapplying

Although this can be an excellent opportunity for you to develop both yourself and your knowledge of the subject you’d like to study at university, on the other hand this can feel like a burden to some students, with the emptiness of the year stretching out in front of them in an intimidating way. Equally, some subjects at university prefer applicants not to have done a gap year so that their knowledge is fresh from their A-level studies (this is particularly the case for science subjects such as medicine and maths).


This being said, if you spend your gap year working in a related field or staying on top of you knowledge, and can prove this to admissions tutors through your personal statement and interview, then this won’t necessarily be a problem. Spending a year out of education not engaging with academia in any way (either in an official way, such as through studying courses, or in an un-official capacity, such as through your own wider reading and research) can be a turn-off to application tutors. Due to the rigorous nature of applications to Oxford and Cambridge, tutors can usually sniff out those who have made the most of their gap year and those who have not!


In short, reapplying can increase your chances of success through the experience you have gained the first time around, provided that you use the extra time you have gained to improve your knowledge, stay in touch with the world of academia, and build on your application from the year before. Reapplication is not for everyone, and most candidates who don’t receive an offer from Oxford or Cambridge would be very happy at another university. It is, however, a path hundreds of students choose every year, and one we have guided many on. Without an academic schedule being provided by schooling, it’s essential to be thinking about and developing your reapplication in the right way, to make sure being a year older and more experienced becomes an advantage to your candidacy.

Private Consultation

Our Private Consultations, led by senior members of the Oxbridge Applications team, help to shape students’ approach to their application. We provide in-depth evaluation, strategy and next steps to achieve results.

Looking for Expert Advice on your application?

Get a bespoke, honest appraisal of your chances of success and tips on how to improve from one of our Oxbridge experts with our Private Consultation.

Oxbridge Applications Logo

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, 58 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AJ

Added to cart

View Cart