At GT Scholars, over the past few years, we’ve helped hundreds of young people aspiring to get into Oxbridge. In this blog, we’ll be sharing some need-to-know information about increasing your child’s chances of being accepted into an Oxbridge College.
Why Should You Apply to Oxbridge?
It is a common misconception that Oxbridge is only open to families of the elite and the rare child who understands quantum physics at age of three! However, this is definitely a misconception. Oxford and Cambridge University, just like any other university in the world, are places of learning for individuals with a curious mind.
So, what’s the difference between Oxbridge and many other universities? It’s the high standard of education, the rich history and the many traditions that Oxbridge has kept, dating back hundreds of years. Alumni from these institutions have gone on to become some of the world’s greatest contributors to modern society.
There’s no denying that the quality of education at Oxbridge is what makes them two of the highest-ranked universities in the world. Being offered admission to study at either of them is quite an achievement in itself.
What Are the Admission Rates at Oxbridge?
There’s no denying that almost every student aspires to study at one of these prestigious universities. This means applications are extremely high. Below is a table of applications and admission rates to both universities for the 2021 term.
With an average admission rate of about 17% overall, it’s quite intimidating. And, there are various factors to consider, like the 80 different courses that one could apply for. The admission rate within these courses ranges from 4% to 50%. Looking at these statistics, it is clear that only the best-prepared students are accepted.
How Does the Oxbridge College System Work?
This structure at Oxbridge is unique. Oxford and Cambridge are made of different colleges. There are 45 in Oxford and 31 in Cambridge to be exact. Colleges are a collection of historic buildings that form little communities where students live on campus.
This setup gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in their studies by being surrounded by like-minded individuals. This adds to their personal development and growth.
This college system works because it allows students to live amongst each other forming a support structure, socially and academically. It also has the essentials that students require to excel in their chosen studies such as 24-hour libraries and computer centres. Colleges can house between 300 to 500 students, which is a combination of both undergraduates and graduates studying different subjects.
Choosing the Right College
All students at Oxbridge become part of a department or faculty and college or hall. When filling out an application, applicants are asked to choose a college they would like to be part of. This will not affect their field of study and is based on their preference.
Each college has different attributes that appeal to students. Some of the factors to consider are the size of the colleges, funding and facilities, accommodation and access.
Applicants are not guaranteed a place at their preferred college, and they may even get offers from other colleges. Students can also state on their application, for the admissions department to find a college best suited to their application.
We suggest doing research on each college and finding the one that resonates with your child. Click on the link for a list of colleges for Oxford and Cambridge and what they entail.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”.
This means that in order to achieve what we set out to do, we must prepare – “Sharpen the axe”. When put this into the context of trying to get into Oxbridge the sharpening of the tools is the most vital step in achieving this goal.
How Can I Increase My Child’s Chances of Getting In?
Support from parents and teachers is vital in preparing children for Oxbridge. Below are some ways that they can help
Start preparation early
To study at Oxbridge, it is not just the early bird that catches the worm, but the early, prepared bird. Dr Samina Khan, head of student admissions at Oxford, believes that children should start preparing for Oxbridge at the age of 11, and not just when they reach the sixth form.
Children need ample time to develop and master their passion for subjects. This helps to give them an advantage over others during interviews and applications. Thus, parents should make sure that their aspiring children start preparation early.
Provide additional resources
To stand out, prospective students need to show true mastery of and passion for the subject that relates to their desired degree programme. To develop this mastery, students should go over and beyond their high school curriculum.
Their parents can support them by funding their specific extracurricular activities, providing them with books and research resources, and allowing them to do voluntary or even paid work.
For example, if a student wants to study medicine at Oxbridge, their parents can fund extra science classes, provide them with books and supplies that will increase their skills. They can also encourage them to volunteer at hospitals and other health facilities.
Inform them of their choices
It is important that children are not just prepared for Oxbridge, but also prepared for the journey to Oxbridge. Children need to know what they need to achieve and how much work they will need to put in for them to realise their aspirations.
Informing children well in advance of the responsibilities of choosing Oxbridge can help to avoid building too much pressure on them during preparation.
Pressure on any person has damaging effects, but pressure on children to achieve something has lasting negative effects on their young minds and their future. It is also important to know the difference between informing and discouraging children, as you do not want to discourage a child from having aspirations.
Take a tour of Oxbridge
Parents can encourage an interest in Oxbridge by visiting the institutions with their children. Dr Khan noted that children are growing up in an age of Harry Potter, where the traditions and historical appeal of Hogwarts are appreciated and desired.
Unlike Hogwarts, Oxford and Cambridge are real places of learning. But they still have the charm and beauty of tradition and magical gothic architecture. Visiting would create a desire that will encourage children to earnestly put their minds to get a place. Follow the link for more information on visiting and tour times for Oxford or Cambridge.
Do your own research
The application process is difficult and lengthy. There are forms to fill out and documents to get and interviews to prepare for. It is a daunting task for a child. Parents have more experience with filling out forms and doing interviews. So, they should find out what they need and start collecting documents well in advance so as to decrease the load on their child. Parents should also do research on funding, scholarships, accommodation and other matters well in advance to prepare accordingly.
Get them a mentor
Parents may not know everything. Perhaps they did not go to Oxbridge or they did not go to university at all. And they may not know how to advise their aspiring children. Thus, getting a mentor for their children would do wonders in providing them with all the necessary skills and knowledge they’ll need.
The mentor could be an Oxbridge alumnus or even educated in the field of interest. This could help them with the application process, with resources of interest. It can also help to guide them in the right direction and boost their confidence.
Enrol them in a course or workshop
With 46 000 undergraduate applicants, it would make sense that many prospective students are seeking help when applying to Oxbridge. Thus, there are many courses and workshops available that provide valuable assistance such as developing an outstanding personal statement and how to prepare for interviews. These courses and workshops can also provide important insider information and bursary opportunities.
Parents provide a vital support system when their children are applying to any university. This support system becomes even more important when applying to Oxbridge due to the high number of applicants, which creates a considerable amount of pressure on children. As you can see, there are several ways parents can make an Oxbridge education possible for their child, which can almost guarantee them to have a bright and prosperous future.
The best way to increase your child’s chances of getting into Oxbridge is to be prepared. Learn as much as you can about the application process, courses and key dates. Speak to Oxbridge students and alumni about their journeys into Oxbridge and what helped them gain entry to these universities.
GT Scholars know the importance of preparing students for Oxbridge and want to be a helpful part of the journey. We provide a one-day course on how to get into Oxbridge which includes working with Oxbridge graduates, admissions professionals and interview professionals that will show your child how to develop an outstanding personal statement and how to choose a degree course for their chosen career. They will also support your child with preparing for interviews and give advice on A-level subjects and grades required for specific universities and specific courses.
To find out more about the How to Get Into Oxbridge course, contact us here. We also provide an excellent mentorship programme that employs a variety of well-educated and knowledgeable mentors that will give your child the edge over any other Oxbridge applicant. You can find out more about the mentorship programme here.