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A thread on how (relatively) easy it is to get an offer from a UK university

CollegeRep18CollegeRep18 Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
edited February 14 in United Kingdom
*British Universities by Offer Rates (2017 entry)*

1. University of Oxford - 23.0%
2. University of Cambridge - 31.2%
3. London School of Economics - 38.4%
4. University of St Andrews - 42.3%
5. Imperial College London - 43.6%
6. University of Edinburgh - 50.4%
7. University College London - 62.9%
8. King’s College London - 69.7%
9. University of Manchester - 70.1%
10. University of Bristol - 71.3%
10. University of Glasgow - 71.3%
12. University of Leeds - 73.5%
13. Durham University - 74.2%
14. Loughborough University - 77.9%
15. University of Southampton - 78.5%
16. Cardiff University - 79.0%
17. University of Bath - 80.1%
18. Queen Mary, Univ. of London - 81.6%
19. University of Birmingham - 81.8%
20. University of Warwick - 82.1%
21. University of Nottingham - 82.2%
22. University of York - 83.8%
23. University of Sheffield - 84.0%
24. Queen’s University Belfast - 86.0%
25. University of Liverpool - 87.6%
26. Newcastle University - 87.9%
27. University of Exeter - 89.7%
28. Lancaster University - 91.3%

Came across a list which revealed the offer rates (i.e. the proportion of all applicants who get an offer) for British universities and it's a lot higher than you may expect.

Of course, the UK admissions system and US admissions is not directly comparable (e.g. applicants can only apply to 5 universities so are 'self-selecting' and usually only to universities they have a reasonable chance of meeting the entry requirements for, the majority of applicants applying only with predicted grades etc.) but this will be some useful information for any prospective applicants.

UK universities are currently undergoing marketisation due to the withdrawal of public funding and rather than applicants competing for places at universities, universities are competing for students since the cap on student numbers was lifted in 2014. I used to work in US admissions so it is interesting to see how UK universities are adapting to a more Americanized view of students.

Some interesting articles to provide some context:
- https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2018/feb/01/whats-driving-decisions-in-universities
- https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2017/sep/27/clearing-2017-what-worked-for-universities
- https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jan/31/vice-chancellors-fearful-about-financial-outlook-for-uk-higher-education
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Replies to: A thread on how (relatively) easy it is to get an offer from a UK university

  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,615 Senior Member
    Oxbridge aside...
    It would be really interesting to look at the international only stats. US full pay applicants would be very attractive and the offers based on AP and SAT/ACT look very kind compared to A level and IB offers. The other aspect of self selection with UK students is that they self select well before 18, so even to do A levels (jr and sr year) they have been sifted. UK students are now oft quoted as having the highest debt for student loans, quite a bit higher than the normally quoted average of 30K USD for US students.
    I bet more and more UK unis will offer 4 yr type degrees to accommodate US students with less rigour. Seems smart enough. Australia has been selling Uni spots for years but throws in citizenship at the end for many. Maybe the UK will have to think that way too.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    edited February 14
    Other than Oxbridge and LSE (and maybe Imperial), an American who meets the minimum requirements has a good chance of getting in.

    However, the minimum requirements at top UK unis (typically some collection of 5's in relevant AP's*) would be met by only a small percentage of American HS grads.

    * Outside of St. A's, which is most American in their admissions system.

    (Also, I consider only Oxbridge and LSE . . . and Imperial in reputation but not resources) to be Ivy-equivalents; St A's/UCL/Edinburgh/KCL/Warwick/Durham=W&M/UMich/UCLA/UNC/NYU/UCSD.

  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    But yes, the UK (or even the very cheap U of London distance degrees) may be good options for kids who can handle the British style of undergrad education (heavily self-study-based; almost like grad-school-lite except with final exams determining almost your entire marks).
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 2,615 Senior Member
    If anyone looks at distance make sure you check out the Open University vs Uni of London online etc. Open University is well established over decades well before the internet was even dreamed of.
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 858 Member
    The offer rates for Americans at Oxford and Cambridge are much lower than for UK students at around 11% (see https://public.tableau.com/views/UoO_UG_Admissions2/NationalityandDomicile?:embed=y&:display_count=yes&:showTabs=y&:showVizHome=no and https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/files/publications/undergrad_admissions_statistics_2016_cycle.pdf). 50% of these students take up their offer at Cambridge and 60% at Oxford.

    Similar data is presumably available for other universities if anyone cares to look.
  • CollegeRep18CollegeRep18 Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    Good find! I imagine that Oxford/Cambridge (and courses in Medicine/Vet Med/Dentistry) will be the exception for offer rates being lower for US students than for UK students.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    @CollegeRep18, well, it really makes no sense for an American to go get a medical degree in the UK.

  • elguapo1elguapo1 Registered User Posts: 401 Member
    edited February 15
    UK kids are self selecting and only allowed 5 university choices, so the universities themselves will have far fewer applications, and on the whole their intakes are much larger. I think I remember Oxbridge combined will receive around 35k applications for around 10k places, Harvard received 40k + apps for 2k places. Also the stats will vary between course, PPE at Oxford will be less than 10% whereas Classics is around 40%, IR at St A's is more selective than Psychology etc
  • CollegeRep18CollegeRep18 Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    For 2017, Oxford received 20.5k applications for 3.3k places and Cambridge received 17.2k applications for 3.5k places, although Cambridge usually has higher entry requirements (e.g. across all courses, min. entry requirements for Camb is A*AA but is AAA for Oxford).

    What's interesting is that technically they no longer have a 'set' number of places but have decided to maintain the same number of intake each year. The majority of other universities have decided to expand their intake by 20-30% compared to 3/4 years ago.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    Oxbridge want to maintain the tutorial system, which requires grad students/profs so expanding much is difficult. Also the collegiate system, and there are space limitations there too. Other UK unis have given up on the idea of weekly tutorials and are expanding to take in more higher-fee internationals (Oxbridge also aren't as desperate for the money).
  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,916 Senior Member
    Interesting. Which uni's would those be that are moving away from tutorials?

    So far at St. Andrews my daughter has had weekly tutorials in all classes, and they are not being taught by grad students, but by full PhD'.s.

    A combination of post-doc researchers and permanent lecturers/professors. 2 chemistry and one math tutorial a week.

    The only grad students she's encountered have been assisting in the labs. Typically with 40 or 50 first years in the lab at once, they will have one full PhD coordinating and several grad students wandering around helping. Pretty similar to my experience as a grad student lab assistant in US university. Can't leave first years too unsupervised in the labs. She has 2 chemistry labs and one math lab a week. Math lab is in a computer lab and has a couple of grad students answering questions about the projects.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,643 Senior Member
    @VickiSoCal, approx how many people in a tutorial does your daughter have- and do you know if that is similar across subjects at StA's? (I know some unis have a lot of variation in numbers by subject, but don't know what is 'typical')
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 858 Member
    edited February 15
    Plenty of tutorials at Oxbridge are/were done by grad students too. In my experience (as a math undergraduate) about half of them overall. But it was very dependent on the area of interest and if they had a college fellow specializing in that topic. In the first year tutorials for the vast majority of general courses were given by college fellows. But by the third year more than 50% were taught by grad students in my case, less for some other friends where there was an alignment of focus with a particular teaching fellow.

    I also did a lot of tutorials for undergraduates as a PhD student, typically ~5 a week in my second and third year. Pretty good money as it was on top of the research grant - no compulsion to do it, so money was the incentive for participation by PhD students (whereas college teaching fellows had a quota of tutorials to conduct as part of their fellowship, there were separate fellowships given for teaching and research respectively).

    I do think a lot of the desire not to expand at Oxbridge is also driven by accommodation and the rest of the college experience. Increasing the size of medieval dining halls is pretty much impossible for example - a pretty hard limit on class size at my college was imposed by needing to fit everyone in the hall for matriculation dinner. Colleges do compete somewhat amongst themselves to offer people accommodation in college (or annexes) all three years, i.e. it correlates with popularity in admissions, especially for those having centrally located sites. That's unlike many other universities. But agree they don't need the money as much either.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,755 Senior Member
    @VickiSoCal, I probably should say other English unis besides Oxbridge, then.

    Do note that St. A's is also relatively small with relatively few grad students for a British uni, so it's possible that they can still offer profs teaching individualized tutorials (1-2 students per tutorial).

    At most other British Unis, tutorials either occur a few times a term (so just to go over academic progress) or if they are weekly, they are more like TA/discussion sections in the US with a bunch of undergrads.
  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,916 Senior Member
    They range from 4 to 6 students in her first yaer tutorials. The largest class and tutorial size is O Chem as both the the bio and chem first years take that. She has also found that signing up for Friday can get you in the smallest sections. :-)
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