It’s no secret that the University of Oxford is one of the most desirable locations to spend your higher educational career. Attracting some of the most famous figures in history, and with a reputation as true powerhouses in almost every subject, some might be intimidated by their prestige and sheer academic rigor. However, you don’t need to be Superman to secure a spot here. All you need to do is put your mind to getting accepted, and this guide on starting and completing the admissions process.
Step One: Preparing to Apply
Oxford is unique in that students don’t apply for admission to the university directly. Rather, hopeful applicants select courses held in Oxford’s numerous colleges. The application process is on a faster timeline than other universities, so you need to move quickly.
Start your applications in June, and research the requirements for each course, some of which require or more entrance exams. You’ll need to provide identifying personal information, as well as your secondary school transcripts. It’s not a bad idea to include your academic honors and awards. You’ll also need to write a personal statement, and find an academic reference, such as a teacher, to vouch for you. You’ll need to get all of this in by early September, but when in doubt, refer to the official university website for official deadline dates.
Step Two: Course Examinations
By now, you should have an idea as to what your course requirements are. Official requirements vary per course, but could involve one to four entrance exams covering a wide array of skills, from memory to problem solving. The key to success is lots of practice, using as many resources as you can get your hands on. Brush up on the fundamentals, and commit as much knowledge to memory as you can. Once you feel ready, register for your courses, and find a testing center. All tests are held on the same day, with the exception of the Biomedical Sciences Admissions Test. Remember to breathe and do your absolute best, and once you get through that part, proceed directly to step three.
Step Three: Interviews
By now, you’ll have likely completed your admissions tests. However, you’re not out of the woods just yet. If you’re accepted, you might be asked to provide more materials for your courses, such as a writing sample, or an art portfolio. Most important of all, is your student interview. From the university itself, There are lots of myths about interviews at Oxford, but really they’re just conversations about your chosen subject – like a short tutorial – with someone who knows a lot about it.You’ll get an interview if you’re shortlisted from the entrance exams, so your interviewer will expect you to be thoroughly knowledgable, but the interview itself is more of a conversation about the subject at hand. Remember to breathe, and even if you don’t know the direct answer, do your best to use logic and reasoning to find a different angle.
Step Four: Official Decisions
If you’ve been accepted to study at Oxford, you’ll hear about it at the start of the new year. If you get accepted, congratulations in advance! Oxford will hold your application under several different kinds of offers. If you’ve been accepted under a conditional offer, it means that there’s some part of your application that is unfinished. Typically, this involves meeting some form of examination requirement, but your offer will be finalized once this component is complete. If not, your offer will be held as open, which just means you’ll have some minor administrative items to complete, and the university is finalizing your placement.
Applying to the University of Oxford may seem like a formidable task. It’s true that Oxford’s acceptance rates are low, but this is because they want their students to be the best they can possibly on every front, from academic ability to personal diversity. We hope that with this guide, you too can join their ranks, and accomplish your goal of studying at one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
For more information on the different admissions tests at Oxford, read this blog.