Questions on Acceptance to Oxford

<p>Hi, I'm a student at one of the best prep schools in the country and I'm looking into applying to Oxford. On the website, it says that Oxford doesn't look at the whole package but really the grades and exam results. Can anyone take me through a step by step process on how Oxford runs its admission? Thank you</p>

<p>Ok this might take a while but I'll atempt to do it!
1. You have to apply through UCAS</a> - Home
2. Oxford and Cambridge are famous for mostly caring about academics and not so much about extracurriculars, so your Personal Statement (application essay) has to be at least 60% academics related.
3. When applying to the UK, you will have to apply to a certain course within the universities (e.g. Econ&Management), and in Oxford's case you need to apply to a college of your choice within the University (e.g Pembroke, Brasenose etc.) This is also why you have to express your desire to study your course in your essay and write on how you believe what you have studied at HS will make you a better candidate for the course and as your essay has to hold all the info use some of your ec's which you believe to be relevant (there is a limit of 4000 characters with spaces or 47 lines depending on which one comes first! so watch out)
4. You need to apply before the deadline posted on ucas.com (usually its around 15th of October)
5. After your application has been sent off, I believe Oxford will require a dissertation type essay on a subject related to the course you intend to study and again they will have to recieve it before the deadline they set.
6. If you recieve an interview it will mean that you have gotten through the first round! And in addition to this they will probably require you take an aditional test.
7. Finally you will recieve a reply no later than the 1st week of January.
8. Oxford has a 'pool' system much like being waitlisted so you may be made to wait or youll get acceptede or rejected!</p>

<p>Wow, that seems like a very intense admission process... thank you so much, now I need to know what it takes to make the best possible app for me.</p>

<p>RMammadov has gotten most of the important points, but a few more details to consider:</p>

<p>What course (major) do you plan on applying for? Certain courses will require you to take a separate test, such as the TSA (Thinking Skills Assessment) for Economics and Management and for Politics, Philosophy, and Economics or the Aptitude Test in Mathematics. Here's a list of the courses offered, with links to entrance requirements: Introducing</a> our courses - University of Oxford.</p>

<p>While Oxford is known for its college system, you are not obliged to select a college at the time you apply. There is an option called Open Application, in which a computer randomly assigns you to a college that is 'undersubscribed' for the course you applied for. There is a chance that even if you receive an offer, it is not to the college you originally applied to, so don't stress too much about the college choice, unless you particularly do or don't want something.</p>

<p>The main admissions criterion will be AP scores, which is essentially the American equivalent of the A-levels. You should have (either taken or currently taking) at least three AP exams relevant to the course you want to study. If you want to study Physics, having just Spanish Language, Art History, and Human Geography, for instance, would be insufficient; you would want Calculus (preferably BC), Physics (preferably C), and Chemistry. </p>

<p>After you are invited to interview, you are NOT required to sit another exam besides any questions you might get asked at the interview itself. As an overseas applicant, you may be allowed to interview via Skype rather than in person (I think it depends on college, though; I had mine with Skype though). You'll get your decision before Christmas; the interviews are held the first few weeks of December.</p>

<p>It's really hard to get in Oxbridge. It's a miracle that I managed to get an offer from Cambridge, considering the fact I go to a public high school in California. The high school is your typical high school, nothing special. The top 5% end up going to UC Berkeley. Occasionally a few get into ivies. </p>

<p>So, my point is, you really need to know your subject well enough to do well on the interview. Coming from America is going to hurt you a bit, as many UK students already specialize in their subject at age 16.</p>

<p>If you have the SAT, SAT 2, and AP to make it to an Ivy, then you can make it to Oxbridge without any EC. It's not hard to get into Oxbridge, but there is a catch. There is no financial aid or scholarship, so get ready to pay full for three years.</p>

<p>^^</p>

<p>This is almost but not quite right. Since US unis tend to admit based on the 'whole package' (including parental connections, extracurriculars, money) but Oxford cares only about academics/how smart you are, there are many people who go to HYP who were rejected from Oxford: they were not stupid, had great 'leadership' and sports, their parents went to Harvard, so they got into Harvard, but they just weren't smart enough for Oxford.</p>

<p>Also, there are some scholarships, but only for the very best students from overseas, and lots of them are not available to americans but only eg australians. So lots of the non-EU undergraduates will be on very prestigious full-ride scholarships.</p>

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there are many people who go to HYP who were rejected from Oxford: they were not stupid, had great 'leadership' and sports, their parents went to Harvard, so they got into Harvard, but they just weren't smart enough for Oxford.

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<p>While I'm sure there are many at HYP would would not have been accepted to Oxford, 1. I don't believe there are that many who applied to both and "only" got into HYP, 2. I'm sure it isn't because they "just weren't smart enough.", and 3. I'm sure more Oxford students would be rejected at Harvard than the other way around.</p>

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I'm sure more Oxford students would be rejected at Harvard than the other way around.

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<p>Why?</p>

<p>keepit</p>

<p>Because those accepted at Harvard must be amazing outside of the classroom as well as inside, and that's not the focus of U.K. colleges--or students.</p>

<p>Academically, I've been very unimpressed with most (not all) Harvard students I've met. Most of them seem above average or slightly better, with lots of 'leadership' etc.</p>

<p>The intellectual standard is a lot higher at Oxford, in part because who your parents are doesn't matter at all in the interview process.</p>

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Academically, I've been very unimpressed with most (not all) Harvard students I've met. Most of them seem above average or slightly better, with lots of 'leadership' etc.

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Well, I've never actually met a Harvard student, so for all I know, they just secretly bought Newsweek and hold parties 24/7 with the board of trustees' relatives.</p>

<p>
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The intellectual standard is a lot higher at Oxford, in part because who your parents are doesn't matter at all in the interview process.

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<p>In every country but the U.S. the State Universities are far superior to any private schools, if they even exist. As a result, we--those of us in the U.S.--can't say which school is "better" than another very easily, and most schools are free to admit who they want. Persons like George Bush prove this point. I won't concede that British students are superior to American students, just that one can't be sure how many of America's best students are at Harvard, et al.</p>

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In every country but the U.S. the State Universities are far superior to any private schools, if they even exist. As a result, we--those of us in the U.S.--can't say which school is "better" than another very easily, and most schools are free to admit who they want. Persons like George Bush prove this point. I won't concede that British students are superior to American students, just that one can't be sure how many of America's best students are at Harvard, et al.

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<p>I wouldn't say British students are superior to anyone, but university entrance criteria in the US/UK are quite different. The top colleges in the US put a lot of emphasis on non-academic selection criteria (including race, legacy connections, building a "well-rounded" freshman class, etc). Using some of these criteria would actually be illegal in Britain (e.g. race), so in general Oxbridge students get admitted because of their academic ability and not much else. None of this means UK students are necessarily smarter or US students are necessarily more well-rounded; the systems are just different.</p>

<p>There have certainly been questionable admissions practices at top universities in Britain, though. Several members of the British royal family went to Cambridge despite not having the grades normally required. Prince Charles (the intellectual equal of Bush) went to Cambridge, but more recent royals like Prince William have been decent enough not to take Oxbridge places without earning them.</p>

<p>Everyone seems to ignore the fact that 1%-2% of school leavers get into Oxbridge in the UK versus .2% of Americans who get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT combined in the States. 2% of school leavers in the States is equivalent to 30,000 students. Oxbridge is equivalent to the top 20 schools or so in the States, simply because of the sheer number of American high school graduates.</p>

<p>There is only one university in the US I'd put up against Oxford for the intelligence of its students: Caltech. </p>

<p>Caltech selects based on pure academic ability too, unlike the crap that Harvard considers.</p>

<p>Harvard (and Yale/Princeton etc) admissions are the most class-ridden thing I've ever seen. It's an embarrassment. I mean, theh openly (openly!) give you preference if your parents are rich or famous or went to Harvard etc themselves.</p>

<p>All these things are illegal and not done in the UK.</p>

<p>And admissions in the UK is not class-ridden? Let me put it this way: Upper class students in the UK almost always go to private schools, including many elite boarding schools, where they are tutored to excel on their A-Levels and heavily prepped for their Oxbridge interviews. At some schools, over a quarter of the graduating class goes to Oxbridge. There is not a single secondary school in the States, not even Exeter, where a quarter of the class goes to Harvard, Yale and Princeton. In other words, in the UK, the higher education system privileges the privileged. No wonder Harvard says it wants to educate the leaders of the next generation, regardless of their backgrounds and academic preparation.</p>

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There is not a single secondary school in the States, not even Exeter, where a quarter of the class goes to Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

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<p>You yourself pointed out that Oxbridge takes more undergrad students than HYP does, so this is not a meaningful comparison. You would have to compare Oxbridge with "the top 20 schools or so in the States" (I haven't actually checked your figures, but those were your words).</p>

<p>I've personally met students who went to top universities in either the UK or the US (and some who studied at both), and from both countries a few of the students I met were brilliant, most were fairly bright and pleasant but not outstanding, and a small number were just plain thick. I don't think either system churns out better graduates than the other, and there's no point trying to completely discredit one education system to make the other one look better.</p>

<p>There's no denying that well-off students are at an advantage over poorer ones when applying to Oxford and Cambridge. However, I would find it hard to argue that the Ivy League is any more meritocratic. Put it this way: even the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't buy a place for his son Euan at Oxford, who despite the best academic preparation didn't qualify for a place (Tony himself got into Oxford back in the early 70s after going to an expensive prep school, but I doubt he would qualify now). Compare this to Harvard, where rich, well-connected families blatantly continue to buy their unqualified children in (think Jared Kushner, the Kennedys, Al Gore's son, etc etc)</p>

<p>BTW, after Euan Blair graduated with average grades from a second-tier UK university, he won a "merit based" scholarship to Yale and was also accepted for graduate study at Princeton and Harvard. He chose Yale and graduated from there in 2008. Coincidentally his father also lectured at Yale for a while after he retired from British politics. Neat, huh?</p>

<p>There's a fascinating book by Daniel Golden about how money influences undergrad admissions at certain schools in the US (not all of them, of course). I think it's called "The Price of Admission", and there are some videos of the author's speeches floating around the Internet as well. It's interesting that not everyone would agree with Golden that college admissions should be meritocratic. Most top colleges in the US are privately-run businesses with a focus on the bottom line, so you'll get some people who argue that being able to get a few million dollars for letting in academically unqualified brats is a net positive for the university. Who knows?</p>

<p>It is absolutely true that a minority of students at top American schools get into the schools for reasons other than academic merit. But the rest of the admits are stronger academically on average than their peers at Oxbridge. The top 1% of school leavers in the UK are pretty much guaranteed a spot at Oxbridge. The top 1% of school leavers in the States have a very low chance of making it over the Harvard, Yale and Princeton hurdle. Most need to be in the top half of one percent to have a chance, and then the majority are still turned away.</p>

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The top 1% of school leavers in the UK are pretty much guaranteed a spot at Oxbridge.

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<p>Not entirely, but there is some truth to that. Certainly the top 1% of UK high school students have a better shot at Oxbridge than the top 1% of US students would with HYP. Partly because Oxbridge admissions are more one-dimensional and hence easier to predict, and partly because of larger student numbers in the US.</p>

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But the rest of the admits are stronger academically on average than their peers at Oxbridge.

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<p>I think this depends on how you define "their peers at Oxbridge". If you mean the people who got into HYP purely on academic merit vs the top 5% at Oxbridge, I doubt there's much difference (and that would be a fair comparison based on the bigger US population and the fact that so many HYP students are "hooked" in some way, i.e. didn't get in on pure academics).</p>

<p>On the other hand, if you mean the academic superstars of the Ivy League vs the average student taken from the whole of the Oxford/Cambridge student population, that's not a fair comparison for the reasons I mentioned above. Just like it wouldn't be fair to compare the best students at Oxbridge against everyone at HYP, including all the under-qualified people who somehow got in (my impression is that they are not a small minority).</p>

<p>As for the average student at HYP vs the average student at Oxbridge, I don't know. HYP undergrads are a smaller and more exclusive percentage of the US population, but far more students are at Oxbridge purely because of academic achievements, and Oxbridge are also a stronger magnet for the best UK students than HYP are for the best US students. I'm inclined to think it balances out. Certainly there are some geniuses and stupid people at both.</p>

<p>I will say one thing for the best US students I've met, though. In general, they're much more proactive in life, and conscious about taking part in extracurricular activities and enriching experiences and how it will look on their r</p>

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BTW, after Euan Blair graduated with average grades from a second-tier UK university

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<p>He got very good grades actually and Bristol is one of the best universities in the country.</p>