The 2010-11 Oxbridge application process has now moved into the next phase. 62 Salopians applied to Oxford or Cambridge this year, with the majority (39) favouring Oxford. The process is now incredibly competitive, with more, and better prepared candidates applying every year, whilst unfortunately the number of places at each institution does not increase. Election is now entirely based on academic grounds.
Although both institutions are aiming to select the best of an academic elite, with GCSE grades and predicted A-level grades not being deemed fit for purpose in determining the selection, the process at the two universities is now slightly different. Cambridge University makes extensive use of the scaled marks (UMS) awarded at AS level whilst Oxford has gone down the route of “extra tests” for entry to many of its courses. A major change with the past has been the interview. It used to be the case that both universities interviewed nearly everyone who applied. This is no longer the case. Indeed with Oxford, the proportion of students actually interviewed may be as low as 30% of the applicants on some courses, but those that are called for interview, will be interviewed twice. The final difference is in the timing of their decision making. Oxford announces its decisions just before Christmas, while in the case of Cambridge students generally do not know their fate until after Christmas. Some students at Cambridge who do not make their first-choice college may be put into “the Pool”. Further interviews may follow at a second college, but in any case decisions about such candidates may not be made until later in January.
We are currently at the stage where many students are currently away at interview, with others ready to travel early next week. We wish them the very best of luck.