First, we must ask the question: What is Oxbridge? Oxbridge is the shortened form of Oxford and Cambridge, the two oldest, wealthiest, and most distinguished universities in the United Kingdom. As of 2018, less than 1% of individuals applying to undergraduate courses through the UCAS platform were admitted to these institutions. In comparison to other British universities, it is used to collectively refer to them and to describe more commonly aspects that identify them frequently with meanings of higher social and academic status, or elitism.
Both Oxford and Cambridge believe that choosing the degree you want to study, and not the university to which you choose to apply, is the most significant choice to make.
Oxford and Cambridge prefer to run conventional academic courses with a concentration on small-group teaching, and the assessment is most frequently based on a 100 per cent review.
Okay, but why can’t you apply to Oxford and Cambridge at the same time? The short answer is one basic rule, namely supply and demand, which is an economic model in microeconomics. If you want to learn more about microeconomics I recommend reading our article on What Can You Do With An Economics Degree?.
Both institutions know that they are going to get an abundance of applications, therefore imposing the rule of applying only to Oxford or Cambridge in the same year make students think more about their future choice and potential academic trajectory. Moreover, it gives the two universities the advantage of interviewing only the people that truly desire to attend there.
Which of the two should you choose?
It just boils down to what you’re looking for to study. While both universities provide great educational programs across a wide variety of arts and sciences, they will provide significantly different course options through their outstanding teaching facilities, so make sure you look into the course offerings and choose the right one for you.
There are some degree courses that are available for both universities, and others are available only for one. Therefore, before you decide to apply make sure to check each undergraduate program and curriculum on their website for detailed descriptions of the courses they provide. One point of note is that whilst there may be two courses of the same or very similar names in both universities, the two courses themselves may be different in terms of the modules and content involved. The ultimate decision is yours – make sure that you clearly research the specifics of the courses and see which one suits your needs and ambitions better.
The application process is somewhat different for both, but the fundamental distinctions are:
Cambridge require certain students to complete the Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA), among with their UCAS application. There’s more! Cambridge will also demand ALL of their applicants to complete an online Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ), which they claim in order to make sure that they have consistent information about every single one of their prospect students.
On the contrary, Oxford is not that demanding and does not actually ask their potential students to complete any extra assignments. Generally, they demand their prospect future students to take a written exam or assessment as part of their application process. However, this is only occuring when a student’s application is shortlisted!
Interview process for Oxbridge
Although the experience of and student in the interview process would be personal, the general intent, format and flow of these interviews is actually very similar in all of the above-mentioned universities. They work a lot like a mini lesson or supervision, which if you’re not acquainted with at this stage, you will find it common practice in your university experience. In general, students would be given a little passage to read, or maybe even set up a little challenge, which they would then be able to address with the interviewer.
The key aim of these interviews is to give interviewers a sense of how each particular student uses their current experience and personal skills to answer the question/s they are asked, as well as how they interpret the information available.