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University of St. Andrews Acceptance Rate

alicemorganalicemorgan 0 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hello all!
I recently received offers from a few UK universities, conditionals from UCL and Cambridge, and an unconditional from St. Andrews.
Its a bit of an odd question but I was wondering if anyone had the admission statistics for non-UK citizens? I'm aware that its less selective for American and International applicants but if anyone could direct me to solid data that would be nice.


In Short:
What is the acceptance rate for international applicants (US ones specifically)? And how does St Andrews maintain its reputation despite its lower standards for US applicants?
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Replies to: University of St. Andrews Acceptance Rate

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6367 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,415 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    So, I am trying to figure out what you are looking for from your question? Are you trying to figure out relative prestige?

    The problem with looking at acceptance rates is that the basis is so different than the US. Lots of US student look at Oxbridge acceptance rates and wonder why it is so much 'easier' to get into Oxbridge than (say) Duke. But as you know, UK students can only apply to 5 universities, and they can only apply to either Ox or Bridge. Admissions standards are specific: if you don't have an AAB you are simply not getting into Course Q, and the vast majority apply on the basis of scores predicted by their teachers/schools- and those teachers/schools play a heavy part in what 5 the student chooses.

    So, St Andrews overall admissions rate is just under 40%. In the US that would not be a selective college; in the UK it is. According to the Daily Telegraph, it is the 9th most competitive college in the UK (after Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, LSE, Durham, Warwick, UCL, and Bristol). For international students the admissions rate ranges from 60ish to 80% (source here). And even that doesn't tell the whole story. At St Andrews, Scottish students tuition (not room & board) is just L1600 pa, where English students pay L9000 pa and international students pay L16,000 pa. And, the admissions standards are not particularly lower for international students than for UK students- but there are a lot fewer people (proportionately) vying for them.

    In the meantime, I am wondering how you recently received a conditional offer from Cambridge, as their offers come out in January.
    edited December 2015
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  • sattutsattut 977 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,053 Senior Member
    If you got a conditional from Cambridge, you should be able to get into better US schools than St. Andrews.
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  • sattutsattut 977 replies76 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,053 Senior Member
    http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings

    These are rankings of UK universities. The first column, entry standard is probably the most important. St. Andrews in 6th in entry standards. Remember, this is a smaller country and Oxbridge has a lot of students.
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  • sadovayasadovaya 140 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 143 Junior Member
    @sattut You don't know much about UK universities. St Andrews is one of the UK's best universities and easily on par with the best American universities. Americans tend to have an inflated opinion of their own universities, not shared by others. In the UK, acceptance rates don't influence rankings the way they do in the US. Rankings tend to be based on A-level and UCAS points.
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  • sadovayasadovaya 140 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 143 Junior Member
    @collegemom3717 Several students at my school received conditional offers from Cambridge last week. They were students who are the equivalent of "post A level", i.e., they've already taken 3-5 AP exams.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6367 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,415 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    @sadovaya, unless they were applying for courses in which the STEP exam (which is in June) is required, if they are applying post-A level their offers should be unconditional (never mind that they shouldn't still be in school....). US students typically apply with 3-5 (or more APs), but they are not considered post-A level, and often get offers conditional on further APs. If they are US students in the final year of secondary school, then I can't think how they got their offers a month earlier than all the other applicants. Which is all I said about the OP: I am curious as to how some applicants are hearing a month early. I know that it has happened at both Ox & Cam- a tutor will tell an applicant 'on the qt' but it is rare and frowned on.

    Also, while St A's is an excellent university, it is a bit of a stretch to say that it is on a par with the 'best' American universities- it is not a HYPSM. Shanghai rankings -which is neither US nor UK- puts it in the 300-400 category. Even the Times ranking linked above puts it at 86 in the world, behind UK unis such as Manchester and Glasgow and strong but not top tier unis in the US such as UNC-CH and UWi-M.
    edited December 2015
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  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 1074 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,099 Senior Member
    OP and the other poster's friends might have had their interviews then. I wonder if either (a) they misunderstood something that was said, or (b) as full-pay internationals maybe they got an off-the-record intimation that they would be getting a place? Were these offers in writing? I wonder if they were from the same college or in the same subject?
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  • sansculottessansculottes 162 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    Cambridge offers go out in January?
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6367 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,415 Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    Yes. From the Cambridge website:

    January: Decisions for all applicants

    Monday 11 January 2016 We will post decision letters to all applicants who had interviews in Cambridge, overseas interview candidates, and affiliated applicants. This is a University-wide posting date.

    Tuesday 12 January 2016 (from 9am) We will send decision emails to all applicants who had interviews in Cambridge, overseas interview candidates, and affiliated applicants. Please note that this will take some time - some of you will not receive your email until the afternoon.

    (emphasis added)

    Hence my surprise at hearing that a number of applicants have apparently been made offers.
    edited December 2015
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  • sansculottessansculottes 162 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    Yeah sorry my question mark was questioning the OP - that's exactly what I thought.
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  • sadovayasadovaya 140 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 143 Junior Member
    @colllegemom3717 I think "rankings" are a very poor way of comparing universities. You cite Harvard. It is primarily a research university; St Andrews is primarily undergraduate. So are Oxford and Cambridge. As for when universities notify applicants, the UK isn't the US. There are no hard and fast rules. If an Oxbridge college really wants a college, they will make an offer early. They do it every year.
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  • sansculottessansculottes 162 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    I'm pretty sure that's not true - the notification date for Oxford this year is January 6th, and even though most tutors have already made up their minds, they're not allowed to tell applicants early.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 12668 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,697 Senior Member
    Acceptance rates are a poor way to look at things.

    I'd say that St. Andrews is similar to Dartmouth and W&M and somewhere between Dartmouth and W&M in prestige.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6367 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,415 Senior Member
    @sadovaya, this:
    As for when universities notify applicants, the UK isn't the US. There are no hard and fast rules. If an Oxbridge college really wants a college, they will make an offer early. They do it every year.

    is simply not true. I posted Cambridge's statement above, and I spoke to an Oxford admissions person today who confirmed that except for Choral/Organ scholars (who are selected in September), early offers are NOT made.

    So unless @alicemorgan and the 'several students at your school' are Choral/Organ scholars, I simply don't believe that they got actual offers from Cambridge before Christmas They may have had interviews, they may be sure they have it in the bag, they may have a contact who knows admissions decisions who whispered it to them (or the GC at your school) on the qt- but without more than your say-so, I don't believe that they have official offers from Oxford or Cambridge.

    Moreover, given that Cambridge only accepts about 50 US students per year, for your school to have 'several' (= 3-5?) acceptances would suggest that nearly 10% of Cambridge US admissions come from your school. Over a 5 year period, Exeter managed 1 each to Cambridge and Oxford; Horace Mann 'less than 10' to Oxford; Hotchkiss 4 to Oxford and none to Cambridge; Andover 5 (3yr total) to Oxford, none to Cambridge...you get the picture: these schools are getting one or two students in per year- and many more to Oxford than Cambridge. No matter how top drawer your school is, I doubt that it beats those schools.

    I have put some time into addressing this because other applicants will read your posts and believe them. Oxford's offers went out Wednesday, Cambridge's go out next week. It is unfair - and unkind- to get students who are already on tenterhooks more wound up by saying that offers can go out early or to assert things as fact that are simply not true. If you have actual evidence that what you are saying is true- that offers go out early 'every year', that you or 'several students' in your class have actual offers, provide it and I will apologize and recant. Otherwise, other CC'ers should trust that Oxford and Cambridge stand by their posted offer dates.
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  • Brexit99Brexit99 101 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    @collegemom3717 I love your reference to "HYPSM", That's so very American. British universities are very different from American ones, so to compare them is way off.

    Also, it is now late February but you are absolutely wrong when you state that Oxbridge do not make offers until January. It IS standard practice for Oxbridge colleges to notify schools that certain students are likely to be admitted. This is a long standing informal practice but limited (essentially) to British "public" schools.
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  • Brexit99Brexit99 101 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    @sansculottes This is the UK, not the US. There is nothing barring any university from communicating decisions early. Ask any tutor at Eton, Harrow, Winchester, or Charterhouse. Feedback occurs all the time.
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  • boomtingboomting 689 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 716 Member
    With regards to the original question, the only place which publishes acceptance rates is http://university.which.co.uk/ They have bought the data from UCAS, and Which? is a well respected consumer organisation, so it is reliable. You'll find that the acceptance rate varies wildly from subject to subject at the same university.

    However, it's worth realising that acceptance rates simply cannot be compared to US acceptance rates. This is because you only get 5 options on UCAS, meaning that
    a) students can't apply to 15-20 different universities, scattergun style, as they do in the US
    b) students are somewhat self-selecting in terms of the universities that they apply to - they will only apply to those which they have a plausible chance of getting in to.
    c) UK government policy (allowing universities to offer as many places as they like) combined with a demographic dip (i.e. there are fewer British 17/18 year olds in existence than there were a few years ago, and this will continue to drop for the next few years) meaning that acceptance rates will have gone up (and, frankly, universities are now competing for students rather than the other way around) but this is absolutely not related to the quality of the degree on offer.

    All of this means that acceptance rates in the UK are far higher than they are in the US - but that doesn't mean it's any easier to get into Oxbridge than HYP.
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  • KajonKajon 4349 replies130 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    I am not challenging what previous posters have said, only sharing our experience.

    My son was accepted into a Masters program at 2 top UK schools. One of the schools sent him an email about 1 1/2 months prior to the official communication date letting him know that he would be accepted, but that because of a site wide published date it would not be official until that time. The other school has a preselection link and if your stats do not match their criteria, you should not bother to apply. This, I assume, alters the look of acceptance stats since less students are rejected.

    For undergrad, I rather like the UK way of only allowing 5 college selections and only allowing an app to either Oxford or Cambridge not to both. It shows respect of the system and of fellow applicants by self selecting.

    Many times you can dig around on the schools website and find the "profile" of last years class.
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  • KajonKajon 4349 replies130 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    @alicemorgon - perhaps you can find a more current listing, but here is the 2013 stats from Cambridge. Congrats on your acceptances. Very nice!

    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/files/publications/undergrad_admissions_statistics_2013_cycle.pdf
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