The University of Oxford is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and because of that, it has a bit of a different application process. So if you’re looking to apply to Oxford, but you’re not sure where to start, here’s what you need to know about the University of Oxford application process.

University of Oxford application process

University of Oxford
Source: University of Oxford

The basics 

Anyone wanting to study at the University of Oxford will need to apply to the university a year before their course starts. To do so, you need to complete an online UCAS application form, which you can begin to fill out from June. You can then submit your application from early September. Applications must be completed and submitted by15th October.

What to do before you apply

Once you have decided you’d like to study at the University of Oxford, you need to pick which course you’d like to apply for. You can only apply to study one course at the university, and you must also bear in mind that you cannot apply to both Cambridge and Oxford in the same year.

After browsing the courses available, be sure to check out the admission requirements for your course. You should also take some time to research the different colleges and decide whether to make an open application, or whether you’d like to express interest in a particular college.

What will you need for the UCAS application? 

UCAS application oxford
Source: UCAS

When filling out your UCAS application, you will need your personal details (i.e. email address, name, address), details about your education and current qualifications (your GCSE results, primary and secondary schools), your personal statement and your academic reference. Once this is all filled in, you’ll need to pay a fee to UCAS to cover your application.

Admissions test

Most of the courses at the University of Oxford will require you to take a test as part of your application. You will need to register for your test yourself, as it is not done by UCAS and is not automatic.

The tests are administered by Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing, and you can find out here whether or not your course requires an admissions test, and you can continue to register for your test. You will need a test candidate entry number from your school or test centre as proof of entry.


As part of your application process, you may be invited to an interview in December. This will either be online or in person. Be prepared to talk about your abilities, skill and experience (the things you have included on your personal statement) and why you want to study the course you’ve applied for. You will, however, mostly be asked general questions on the course and its contents to test your knowledge.

When will you know? 

You will find out whether or not if you were successful in your application by the end of January.

Our tips for the University of Oxford application process

Oxford university applications
Source: Britidh GQ

1. Make yourself interesting 

In your personal statement and your interview, be sure to name drop things that you’ve looked at related to your course. Ensure these are removed from the curriculum you’re currently studying. For example, don’t talk too much about how you loved Of Mice and Men, but do mention the TED talk you watched about decolonizing literature.

2. Make your personal statement work for you 

In your personal statement, the general rule of thumb is that two-thirds of the content should be academic. This means talking about your coursework, exams and curriculum, and what you’ve enjoyed about them. It may also include things like any extra-curricular projects (i.e. Extended Project Qualification) that you have completed.

3. Try some past papers 

The admissions tests are sometimes a little different to other tests that you might have taken. It is definitely worth working through a few past papers before you attend your actual test. This will give you an idea of the style of questions you’ll be asked, as well as a chance to practice answering them.

4. Practice for your interview 

There are plenty of people’s experiences of Oxbridge interviews online, and your 6th Form or college is likely to have some tips or practise questions. Chat with teachers and friends and practise talking about ideas you have around your subject, particularly any interesting or niche ideas.

5. Be tactical in your choice of college

Finally, if you are going to specify your college in your application, it’s worth doing some research around which colleges are the most applied to. For example, at Cambridge, King’s College is over-applied to every year, so often has the most rejected applications.