Oxford as a US Student?

Are you the student or the parent?

@VickiSoCal I am the parent trying to figure out whether it makes sense to apply. I actually like the process outlined in the Oxford website. Unlike US college’s “Hollistic” approach, Oxford’s admission is very straight forward, emphasizing academic performance. I believe students from US all have very competitive resumes, standardized tests should not be an issue, yet chances to get into medicine is close to none. Why?

Partly a different education system. A British applicant might only have been studying mathematics, physics, and chemistry, and nothing else, since the age of 16, with no extra curricular activities to speak of. US high school education is much more generalist and can’t compete in terms of depth.

@really123, I am only speculating, but it might come down to BMAT/interview performance. I seem to recall that most courses routinely interview 3-4x the number of students that they will make offers to. If the hard cap on international medics is 12 per year, I could see them taking the top international 30-40 performers on the BMAT as their shortlisting process. That seems like a pretty high bar to me. Then it becomes a question on how well you perform on the interview. I have to admit that in my son’s year and in the class starting this fall, I was shocked by the number of kids who did extremely well on the MAT (math is my frame of reference given my son) who did not receive offers. Some of the unsuccessful applicants who posted their admissions feedback over on The Student Room didn’t totally crash and burn on the interviews either (6+ to 7 out of 9 interview score). So I could see that if there were a bunch of mediocre interview scores among the international pool that they don’t use their full quota each year. My impression is that the AP/SAT scores are more of a screen than a real difference maker in the overall candidate evaluation.

I think that this is backwards: of course they could fill the spaces- if they wanted to. Amongst other things, Oxbridge take a lot of flack for giving medicine spaces to foreigners while turning away highly qualified citizens- so they only do it when somebody really catches their eye. Remember, these are state supported, not independent, institutions. It’s not a quota in the sense that they are supposed to fill it, it’s a ceiling that they may not exceed.

Also agree with @HazeGrey: AP/SAT scores are mostly a filter, and an assurance that a minimum level of competence in the subject has been achieved (and tbh, the standard of US education -and APs in general- is widely believed to be materially less than the UK standard- even though, as @HazeGrey & I have seen, our kids were well able for the level of work). The interview thing is also real: I have talked to tutors about the process, and there are a lot of variables that are not necessarily obvious (for example, does the applicant seem ‘teachable’ in the Oxford tutorial format)

It won’t satisfy your itch for Oxford ‘prestige’, but the University of Buckingham now has an independent medical school, which has no cap on student places. It’s a 5 year degree, and is pricey (~£30K/pa tuition + living), and they are only in year 2 (it launched in 2015), but it builds on a pre-existing base and is fully accredited. It is also competitive- they had 500 applicants for ~70 places in the first year; dk the numbers from the second intake year.


But again, @really123, why would you even consider a medical degree from outside the US if you are an American who realistically can only practice medicine in the US?

If you really want that 6Y MD program, look at UMKC:

It is not for the faint of heart, however. There are those who go through it who complain that they miss out on the typical American college undergrad experience as they are studying or in classes/labs all the time and there is no break either as they conduct classes in the summer (which is how they manage to fit 8 years of education in to 6).

Even stellar UK/EU applicants may not get in to a UK uni medical program. Getting in to just an ordinary UK uni medical program is evidently as difficult as getting in to Oxbridge in another subject, and they take almost nobody from outside the UK.

Here are all the American programs that have 6Y MD programs (though I don’t know anything about most of them):

You have to google “complete list ba md program” to get a list of all early assurance programs (though you are typically required to keep an extremely high GPA in undergrad to stay in the program):

The US 6-year MD programs are also hard to get into. To have a shot, you basically need pretty much all As in all AP classes, with probably corresponding AP scores and then close to 1600 SATs, and close to 800 math and science SAT IIs. Plus you have to shadow doctors and stuff like that. You do avoid being premed. It is actually reasonably close to what British medical programs are looking for.

Thanks all for your reply. We are looking for prestigious medical programs with short duration. Oxford fits perfectly on paper. But seems its admission process is not very friendly to international students and there are quite a few hurdles for US students to cross if they want to practice medicine in US after graduation. As all suggested, applying Oxford medicine does not seem to be a viable path. Probably many people realized this so they did not bother to apply.
Being the parent of an elite US boarding school, I have seen so many talented kids. The academic vigor we have is nothing less than UK standard. Sadly, it is really their loss.

…of course, that’s not how the parents of the equally talented, hardworking UK kids who are trying to win those same spots (and who really will practice in the UK, not just take their degree and leave) see it.

It is REALLY their loss if they allocate a place and spend public funds in order to educate a doctor (even overseas tuition at Oxford would NOT come anywhere close to what educating a doctor really costs) who they then lose to the US. There is a reason so many countries have caps on the number of international students in their med schools.