Guidance for applicants with disabilities and SpLDs | University of Oxford

Guidance for applicants with disabilities and SpLDs

We welcome applications from students with disabilities, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, and other Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs). Having a disability is no bar to becoming a successful Oxford student; our Disability Advisory Service (DAS) has over 3500 students currently registered, and more than 1000 of these have declared an SpLD.

Whether your disability is seen or unseen we can provide the support you need at all stages of the application process and for the duration of your studies at the University.

Making your application

Whatever your particular circumstances, the earlier we know about your individual requirements then the sooner we can begin to meet them. Sometimes people think that it will count against their application if they declare disability but this is not the case. We only ask you to tell us so that we can offer support if it is needed - all our admissions decisions are based on academic merit alone and the University makes reasonable adjustments to facilitate access.

When you let us know that you have a disability we'll get in touch with you to discuss any support you need. This will be carefully and individually tailored but may include the following:

  • Pre-application advice
  • 1:1 meetings at open days
  • Help with interview arrangements for shortlisted applicants
  • Arranging study needs assessments
  • Help with DSA applications
  • Organising alternative exam arrangements
  • Provision of specialist equipment
  • Help with travel costs

Get in touch to find out more:

UCAS application

Please tell us about your disability on your UCAS form - UCAS has some good advice about how best to do this. You might also want to contact the college you're applying to and let them know; check our college pages for their contact details. 

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.


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. This information includes sample interview questions and videos of demonstration interviews.

It's a really good idea to contact your college before your interview if you will need specific adjustments, for instance materials in alternative or accessible formats, extra time for written tests, or adjustments to the interview timings.

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 a disability or 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 a disability or SpLD.

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 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

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