Putting an Oxbridge
application into context
Some early considerations
• The UCAS system is the medium through which
you apply to universities in the UK, and hence
your application to an Oxford or Cambridge
College is part of this process as well as an
entity in itself. The Universities and Colleges
Admissions Service is based in Cheltenham.
• We are an all-in electronic application school,
using the on-line version. The cost is £19 per
• You will be completing your application
from the start of the Autumn term and
working to completion in advance of the
October 15th deadline.
• Do plenty of research on courses and universities.
• League Tables are a start but don’t take small
differences in ranking as too significant. Always look at
how the rankings are scored. There are several versions
of League tables.
• There is a huge amount of information on
• Look over Prospectuses. Get your own copies.
• Read objective accounts of universities; listen to
• Visit universities when you can.
• Short list and then decide on choices.
1 in 5!
• Be realistic about the possibility of
rejection by Oxbridge by being positive
about your other university and subject
choices. You may well be going to one of
• The general sequence of choice is of
subject of study before place of study.
Wishing to apply for Oxford or Cambridge
may superficially contradict that principle,
of course. The bottom line of your
application is that you have to write a
Personal Statement which in reality starts
with I wish to study X because …
• You can apply for up to five choices on the UCAS form.
• There should be real consistency in the courses
• Candidates for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary
Science need only to make four choices.
• Your chosen universities do not see where else you
• Once you have received all your replies, you make one
Firm and one Insurance choice from your offers, and
reject the rest. This will be around February/March/April
• If all goes well with your A-levels, you will go to your
UCAS SYSTEM 2
• The UCAS Tariff is the expression of the results that
you need in order to satisfy any university’s entrance
• However, the top or selecting universities will still
require individual A-level grades: the lower or
recruiting universities give points-based offers.
• An A grade at A-level is worth 120 points for a six-unit
award. A B is worth 100 points, and so on. Standard
offers are based on 3 A-levels only – assume unless
told otherwise that General Studies will not be included,
nor as a rule will a single AS level. A few of the selecting
universities have recently taken to giving an AS target in
the offer in addition to 3 A-levels.
UCAS SYSTEM 3
• An Admissions Tutor looks primarily at certain evidence
to select candidates.
• Most important are the School’s predicted grades
and the School’s reference. You will know your A–level
predictions before you apply: unless you are predicted
AAA, an Oxbridge application is likely to be fruitless.
• Your Personal Statement provides important support
material. For an Oxbridge application, it is instrumental in
getting you to the next stage of an Interview. For most
non-Oxbridge applications, it may well be a substitute for
• A “count back” to your GCSE grades is also
important. Some departments of some universities may
formally use GCSE scores to rank candidates.
OFFERS & PLACES
• Bear in mind that a university department
only has so many places available. Good
universities are oversubscribed, and will
select; you may find yourself on the wrong
side of a numbers game. Incidentally,
universities will make more offers than it
has places available. If you satisfy that
offer by making the grades you are asked
to obtain, then you are in!
HAMPTON DESTINATIONS 2009
• Top 10 universities 59% (we used to have
1/3 here) 15% up on last year! Highest
• Top 25 universities 92% ( used to be 2/3)
same as last year.
• Very impressive statistics, especially on
Top 10 universities.
HAMPTON DESTINATIONS 2009
Main destinations are
• NOTTINGHAM 19 pupils.
• OXFORD 18
• BRISTOL 10
• BATH 9
• MANCHESTER 9
• DURHAM 8
• WARWICK 8
• LEEDS 7
• SOUTHAMPTON 7
• CAMBRIDGE 6
• YORK 6
• IMPERIAL 5
• Oxbridge a remarkable 24, even one place up
• Oxford 18!
• Bristol continues to regain its previous
• Nottingham again a dominant.
• York has come from nowhere!
• Predictable popularity of metropolitan provincial
• Constituent colleges of University of London
Is 2009 going to be typical?
Of those who are taking up places in 2009 or 2010,
• 88 % are going to their Firm Choice
• 10% are going to Insurance Offer (higher than usual)
• 2% are going through Clearing or another choice.
• 25 are resitting/reapplying/applying. This is considerably up on
previous years, and reflects the well reported occurrence this year of
more applicants and limited extra places. Basically, if boys did not
meet their offers, there was little flexibility in the system!!
• 30% of the year group are taking a Gap Year
(deferred/resitting/reapplying/applying), which is 5% higher than last