Demystifying Oxbridge: 10 things you may not know about Oxbridge

Demystifying Oxbridge: 10 things you may not know about Oxbridge

Oxbridge is the collective term used to identify two of the most prestigious universities in the UK and the world: the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

They are two of the oldest universities in the UK and the world. Along with prestige, these are two of the most selective universities in the world. They receive thousands of undergraduate applications from all around the world every year. Here are 10 interesting facts about Oxbridge:

1. They are two of the oldest universities in the UK and in the world.

Both were founded more than 800 years ago, with Oxford established in 1096 and Cambridge in 1208. They have educated many of Britain’s most prominent scientists, writers and politicians throughout history and other notable figures worldwide.

2. The rivalry between the two universities has a long and interesting history.

These two universities have a famous rivalry that started centuries ago. The University of Cambridge was founded by scholars taking refuge from hostile Oxford townspeople, so they never got along. Today, this antagonism is more of a friendly competition celebrated yearly in varsity matches such as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.

3. You will need three or four solid As or A*s to get in.

Most people do 3 or 4 A-levels, and just a few do more than that. But to get into Oxbridge, it is the quality of A-levels that matters, not the quantity. The typical course at these universities will require at least A*AA results.


4. It does not cost more to go to Oxbridge.

Most people think studying at Oxbridge is more expensive than any other university. However, the cost is the same as other universities. Furthermore, all colleges provide on-site accommodation for at least part of your course, and both universities offer financial support packages for students from low-income backgrounds.


5. Oxbridge admits more state school pupils than independent school pupils.

Interestingly, both Oxford and Cambridge admit more state school pupils (57.7% and 63% of undergraduate admissions in 2011, respectively) than independent or private school pupils.


6. Applicants, students and staff come from many different backgrounds.

Oxford and Cambridge are populated by students, tutors and staff from various backgrounds, races, classes, cultures and nationalities. Many people assume that Oxbridge will only accept you if you come from a prestigious or wealthy background. 


7. The interview is probably easier than you think.

Some students spend much time practising for their discussion, and some even attend special classes to help them prepare. But many students can pass the interview without attending special classes since what matters is that the interviewers can see how you think and if you show an interest and enthusiasm for your subject.


8. You will need to start preparing early.

Many parents that think about their child going to Oxbridge start preparing them from a young age – some as early as 3 years old! You don’t have to start that early, but it is advisable to start from the age of 10 or 11. You need to work hard and get good SAT grades, making getting good As and A*s at the GCSE level in secondary school easier. This, in turn, will make it easier for you to get As and A*s at A-level. Read our blog to learn more about how you can help prepare your child for Oxbridge.


9. You will need to apply and choose your course early.

The application date for Oxbridge is usually very early in the academic year of Year 13. Thus, you should probably use the summer at the end of Year 12 to prepare your personal statement and research which university and course you wish to apply for as much as possible. As mentioned, the competition for Oxbridge is very high, so make sure you choose four or five other universities as a backup plan.


10. Other universities in the world are as good.

Remember that dozens of other excellent universities exist in the UK and abroad. If you are studying a specialist subject, you may prefer to apply to a specialist college or university. The Russell Group and Ivy League universities are known to be some of the best in the UK and the US. If you look at university league tables worldwide, you will find that Oxford and Cambridge are only sometimes in the first spot – so stay open-minded.

GT Scholars know the importance of preparing students for Oxbridge and want to be a valuable part of the journey. We provide a one-day course on how to get into Oxbridge. In the course, you will work with Oxbridge graduates, admissions professionals and interview professionals to show your child how to develop an outstanding personal statement and choose a degree course for their chosen career. They will also support your child with preparing for interviews and advise on A-level subjects and grades required for specific universities and courses.

Contact us here to learn more about the How to Get Into Oxbridge course. 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.


GT Scholars