Oxford University is one of the most prestigious universities in the whole wide world. The second oldest university in the world and the oldest one in the English-speaking world, Oxford University is a dream destination for students and scholars all over.
The institution has been the alma-mater for iconic personalities, researchers, world leaders, and a host of other influential individuals. From renowned explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh to the great Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, Matthew Arnold, J.R.R. Tolkien, to reputed leaders such as Margaret Thatcher, Ang San Suu Kyi, Indira Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Benazir Bhutto, to the brilliant Stephen Hawking, Rupert Murdoch, Tim Berners-Lee, Edwin Hubble OU has enriched the minds and soul of humanity’s finest.
Gaining admission in such as premier institution like Oxford University and joining the ranks of such stalwarts is no easy feat. Oxford University offers undergraduate, graduate as well as continuing education programs for adult learners. As a result, competition is intense, with an undergraduate acceptance rate of only 14% in 2020. Getting through is, thus, a significant challenge requiring copious amounts of preparation, effort, and self-confidence.
This article aims to act as a handy study help resource for every aspiring Oxford University admittee. So read on for information, insights, and tips on how to become Oxonian.
The Oxford University Admissions Process
OU’s admission processes are distinctive from every other university out there. The Undergraduate and Post-Graduate admission processes differ substantially. Here’s a basic rundown of both processes.
OU offers a wide range of undergraduate courses for aspirants. From archaeology & history to modern languages, law, maths & science, computer science, theology, psychology, etc., the options are truly limitless.
The 2022 OU Undergraduate Admissions Process involved:
- Submitting a UCAS (University And Colleges Admissions Services) application. Here students chose their courses & colleges, delivered a personal statement, organised all academic references, and needed to find out whether they needed to take an entrance examination for their course. The final deadline was 15thOctober 2021, 6 p.m. GMT.
- If entrance tests were necessary, then applicants needed to confirm which tests they had to undertake. They needed to locate an appropriate test center for registration. GMT, 15th October 2021. Exams took place on 3rdNovember 2021.
Proper preparation and practice are a must for success.
- If any written work was necessary for the admission process, a student needed to check accordingly and submit everything by 10thNovember 2021.
- Cracking admission tests or submitting a stellar UCAS application does not guarantee admission. Applicants will be called for an interview between 1st& 20th December 2022 if their application has been shortlisted.
- Final decisions about getting an offer are to be communicated in January 2022.
The above is the undergraduate admission process for 2021-2022 from the OU website. The method may change for the next academic session.
Undergraduate selection criteria generally involve:
- Assessment of aptitude, technical skills, capacity to absorb & implement new ideas, the ability to think independently, and overall perseverance & enthusiasm
- Scores of admissions tests, performance in interviews, past examination records, and references & personal statements in the UCAS form.
Two OU colleges will interview candidates for an overall assessment of their strengths relative to all other applicants.
Next up is a rundown of the Oxford University graduate admission process.
Graduate Admissions Process
The Oxford University post-graduate division comprises four distinct divisions: The Humanities Division, the Mathematical, Physical & Life-Sciences Division, the Medical Sciences Division, and the Social Sciences Division.
All of the above divisions share a standard post-graduate admission process, as follows.
- Candidates need to note all relevant deadlines for application. According to OU, it is best to submit their application forms, along with all supporting documents, two weeks before the deadline.
Most graduate courses have a December deadline. However, OU suggests applying early, especially for international students and those who wish to avail an Oxford scholarship.
- Applicants need to create an account, which they may use to apply to multiple classes.
- Application forms are to be filled online. Under certain circumstances, OU also allows candidates to apply on paper, but they need to send a prior notice to the university’s Graduate Admissions department.
- Contact details, personal details, email & telephone numbers, home & correspondence addresses, etc., are essential information that needs to be filled out in detail.
- References play a critical role in the graduate admissions process. Therefore, applicants must register at least three referees for a successful application and submit at least two references or letters of recommendation within the application deadline. Specify the prerequisites in the LaTrobe referencing tool of Oxford
Academic and professional references are only acceptable. Types of references vary across departments and disciplines. References need to be submitted to the online reference system or directly by the referee within course deadlines, in English, and in PDF, JPEG, or PNG format.
- Qualifications for different post-graduate courses are a central aspect of graduate entry requirements. Candidates need to enter their degree, main & second subject, and actual or expected results. For those still pursuing their undergraduate degree, the expected date of completion must be mentioned.
Official course pages offer further details regarding the application process.
- Supporting documents for graduate admissions, such as letters of recommendation, in PDF format and the English language. All upload directly to the course application page and not more than 4 megabytes in size.
Necessary supporting documents and further details can be found on OU’s official graduate admissions page.
- Once all the above formalities are over, candidates should quickly recheck all submitted information and documents. After that, they must agree to applicable OU declarations and then proceed to payment & final submission.
Processing of application generally takes a few days. Candidates can access the Graduate Applicant Self Service to determine whether their application has been selected for assessment.
Gaining admissions in both undergraduate and post-graduate courses at Oxford University is significantly challenging simply because of low acceptance rates, limited seats, and many applicants. Numerous factors come into play during the admission process, in both cases, and the slightest flaw or limitation can prevent selection.
Besides a stellar academic record, acing UG admissions tests & interviews are crucial for any UG applicant. For PG candidates, strong references, impeccable undergraduate record, and unique academic endeavors boost the probability of selection to a large extent.
Following are some tips for aspirants regarding cracking Oxford University UG admissions tests & interviews.
5 Tips To Crack Oxford University’s Undergraduate Tests & Interviews
- Tests are tricky but not exceedingly tough. Be it maths, physics, or English; one must be through with all essential concepts & knowledge, with skills sharpened to a point. Be ready for a wide variety of intelligent questions that are not at all very difficult to solve.
- Practice is essential, especially for math and science students, as many questions require substantial brainstorming and work. Practice well for months for effective time management.
- OU interview panellists look for something different in each candidate. Do not recite what you have learned in your school or college. Instead, showcase your uniqueness and communicate the reason why you chose a particular course. Show them why you deserve admission and what you bring to the plate.
- Practical communication skills are essential. Also necessary is a good knowledge about the contents of the course you have applied for. One should also stay abreast with the latest happenings in their field of application and the world at large.
- Finally, an applicant must possess confidence in their abilities and put in the effort. Whatever be the chances of selection, one should always give their best in every aspect of the selection process.
Samina Khan, Director of Admissions at Oxford University, says that, no matter what a candidate’s educational or socio-economic background, interviews should always be considered an opportunity to showcase one’s interest and relevant abilities. In an interview with a reputed Asian newspaper, Ms. Khan says that all the quirky questions asked during the interviewing stage have a specific purpose. OU tests the mettle, presence of mind, knowledge, character, and personality of a candidate through these tough & quirky questions.
She adds that tough interviews are a gauntlet that offers students to highlight their actual ability and potential. In addition, they encourage candidates to use their knowledge unconventionally and apply critical thinking to solve new problems.
All in all, getting through to Oxford University is a feat unto itself. So start your preparations a year earlier, maintain a checklist of all essential documents & admission nuances, visit the university’s page for the latest updates and use this article for quick reference.