Guidance for students with disabilities | University of Oxford

Guidance for students with disabilities

We welcome applications from students with disabilities who can demonstrate the academic ability and potential to succeed in Oxford. There are over 2,000 students with disabilities at Oxford including, for example, those with sensory or mobility impairments, long-term health conditions, specific learning difficulties, autistic spectrum conditions or mental health difficulties.

Making your application

UCAS application

Please do tell us about your disability 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 a disability, but this is not the case. We only ask you to tell us so that we can offer support if it is needed and facilitate access to the application process.

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 examination 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 so that they can be considered in good time.

Interviews

If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited to come to Oxford for an interview (arrangements may be different for international students). If you have not yet done so at this point, please contact your college to discuss any arrangements you might need to support you both at the interview itself and during your interview stay in Oxford. 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. Open days also give you the chance to meet tutors and admissions staff, and to talk to current students. If you need to go to several locations across the city, allow plenty of time.

Please let us know in advance if you have any access requests that we might put in place to make your open day visit go smoothly. Please contact the Disability Co-ordinator in your college or department if you would like to speak to them directly during your visit- Disability Contacts.

If an Open Day visit is not possible due to your disability a personal visit can be considered. This would give you an opportunity to discuss informally what support might be provided, if you were to study at Oxford. For a personal visit we would wish to plan well in advance so we can make appropriate arrangements.  Please contact the Disability Advisory Service for more information. We are happy to facilitate a visit to up to three colleges or departments.

During your stay in Oxford for interview

Individual colleges will let you know about the general plan for your stay. If you have any questions about the plans before you arrive, please contact the college for further information. 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.

During your stay, we can put in place any reasonable steps to meet your needs. For example, this might include:

  • printed information in an alternative form (e.g. audio tape; large print; Braille; other)
  • provision of a support worker – for example a sign language interpreter
  • permission for an individual carer to stay with you in Oxford
  • a designated student helper to assist with orientation and organising your time during your stay
  • permission to bring a support animal (a guide dog or hearing support animal)  
  • wheelchair access throughout the visit
  • any dietary or dining requirements

This is not an exhaustive list; please be in touch to plan your own stay.

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.
  • 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 disabilities have been to Oxford before and the interviewers are simply looking for your strengths and your potential to study here.

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 on-course support that is available at Oxford and the process to obtain it, including the medical or professional evidence needed to help us understand your disability and consider your requests for support.

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 our Admissions Information Centre, the Admissions i.

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