Guidance for applicants with SpLDs | University of Oxford

Guidance for applicants with SpLDs

We welcome applications from students with disabilities, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), and many can demonstrate the academic ability and potential to succeed in Oxford.

Making your application

UCAS application

Please do tell us about your SpLD when you complete your UCAS application at www.ucas.com. There is a specific section where you can give the details. Alternatively, you might like to contact the college which is considering your application. Sometimes people think that it will count against their application if they declare an SpLD, but this is not the case. We only ask you to tell us so that we can offer support if it is needed. This support might include alternative arrangements which could help you during the application process, so do please tell us.

Pre-interview tests

If you need to take one or more of our pre-interview tests as part of your application, you can be considered for whatever alternative arrangements you usually have for public exams (that is, your GCSEs and A-levels, or other equivalent qualifications). For example, this may be extra time, or a large print copy of the test paper. Lots of students do this, so please don’t miss out: make sure you mention your requests when you register for your test or tests.

Interviews

If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited to come to Oxford for an interview (arrangements may be different for international students). Please see our interview page for general information on how to prepare for your interview and what you can expect. These webpages include sample interview questions and videos of mock interviews.

Tips to help you at your interview

Before the interview:

  • We strongly recommend that you visit Oxford on an Open Day, if you can. This will give you the chance to have a look around, and visit departments and colleges. This will help you to be familiar with the city, and will be particularly helpful if finding your way is not your strength. Open days also give you the chance to meet tutors and admissions staff, and to talk to current students. Information about studying at Oxford with an SpLD can be obtained from any of the departments and colleges you visit, or from the Disability Advisory Service
  • If you need to go to several locations across the city, allow plenty of time.
  • There will be current students working in the colleges during interviews, so if you need any help or directions, please ask. That is what the student helpers are for. It’s quite common for student helpers to accompany candidates to the right place for their interview, not just those with an SpLD or a disability.

During the interview

  • Tutors understand that anyone might feel nervous about their interview. They will want to help you relax, so that you can do your best.
  • It’s fine to ask the interviewer to repeat any question.
  • If you prefer, take in a pad on which to note key points of questions, so you can address each one.
  • Take your time. If you need to think about an answer for a few moments, that is entirely acceptable.
  • If you are asked to read something aloud, ask if you can read it quietly to yourself first to get an overview.
  • If you are asked to write but know your handwriting is sometimes difficult to read, offer to read it back to interviewers.
  • Most importantly, do not worry. Tutors will be aware of your particular circumstances if you have made them clear on your application. Remember that many students with SpLDs have been to Oxford before. The interviewers are looking for your strengths and your potential to study here, not to find your specific difficulties.

After the interview

If you are offered a place at Oxford, please contact the Disability Advisory Service as soon as possible. You can visit our Disability Advisory Service website to find out about the range of support that is available at Oxford.  You will need an up-to-date diagnostic assessment report describing your SpLD for when you come to Oxford. Please call us or see our website for details of the requirements.

If you are a UK student we also strongly recommend that you make an early application for the Disabled Students’ Allowance. This will help you to access support at Oxford and ensure you are prepared to start your studies in the best possible way. See our website and also www.gov.uk/disabled-students-allowances-dsas for further information. Arrangements are different for non-UK students so again, please see our website.

For further information

For general questions about applying to Oxford, please contact us at study@ox.ac.uk.

For further information about the support available to students with SpLDs, please visit the Disability Advisory Service website.