Oxford is for you | University of Oxford
Students in St Antony's College
Students in front of the Zaha Hadid-designed Investcorp building in St Antony's College
Credit: OUImages / John Cairns

Oxford is for you

Oxford students come from all over the world and from all kinds of backgrounds and this is one of the best things about being a student here. However, as you would expect from somewhere offering a world-class education, the academic standards are very high and the workload more demanding than at some other universitiesIs Oxford right for you? Asking yourself the questions below might help you decide.

I think the common denominator that I find at Oxford is the ability to think deeply... It's the ability to look at anything - whether it's a newspaper article, a piece of research or an object - and instinctively start considering the theory behind it, the potential impacts on a wider level, your own position and thoughts about it, what other people might think... It's the ability to absolutely refuse to take things at face value.


 About you

  • Do you love one of our courses?

  • Are you on target to meet our admission requirements?

  • Do you like the idea of personalised and interactive tutorial teaching?

  • Do you recognise the following in yourself?

Qualities of an Oxford student

These are some of the qualities our students think are important in Oxford applicants.

If this sounds like you - please apply!

If you're still not sure and would like to know more, then here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep exploring our website
  • Go to our outreach calendar to find out about all the events we run for prospective applicants both in Oxford and near you
  • Come and visit - ideally during one of our University-wide Open Days.

As a disabled student

Whether your disability is seen or unseen, the earlier we know about your particular requirements, the sooner we can begin to meet them. Please be assured that our admissions decisions are only based on academic merit and potential and the University makes reasonable adjustments to facilitate access. Your support will be carefully and individually tailored but may include the following:

  • pre-application advice
  • 1:1 meetings at open day

If you are shortlisted for an interview, please make sure you let us know if you would like help with interview arrangements.

If you receive an offer of a place to study here, the Disability Advisory Service (DAS) can provide help with:

  • DSA (Disabled Students' Allowance) applications
  • arranging study needs assessments
  • organising alternative exam arrangements
  • provision of specialist equipment, software and study support workers
  • travel arrangements and costs.

Read more about applying to Oxford as a disabled student.


As a care leaver

We will work with you to make sure you have the support you need during your studies and can really enjoy your student life. This will include:

  • help to secure 365-day accommodation
  • access to receive a Crankstart Scholarship or the standard Oxford bursary and tuition fee support, and a dedicated care leavers bursary of up to £3,000
  • your own support coordinator to discuss any concerns and to act as a link between you and your Local Authority

Contact Alexandra Lyons at care@admin.ox.ac.uk for confidential advice and guidance.

Read more about applying to Oxford.

I’d always had an interest in attending university; poor performance in secondary schooling and then the fulfilment of parental responsibilities precluded an orthodox route to higher education for me, however. Much later in life l returned to education, studying part-time in the evenings or at weekends whist still working. Having completed a two-year course, I then applied for a full-time BA at Oxford and am now living in Harris Manchester College...and, it must be said, feeling very much at home already.


As a mature student

If you will be 21 or over at the start of your course then you are officially a mature student.

Oxford is looking for the best and brightest candidates, irrespective of their age or background. Coming to university as a mature student can be both exhilarating and challenging and your experiences are likely to be different to those of younger students. So whether you have been to university before or not, there is plenty of support on offer to help you extend your qualifications, improve your employment prospects or pursue an academic interest for its own sake. Our application process for mature students is exactly the same as for all other undergraduates and you are welcome to apply to any college. Below are some answers to common questions from those thinking of applying as a mature student.

Do any colleges only take mature students?

Yes. Harris Manchester college and Wycliffe Hall only take mature students, although other colleges will have a mixture students of all ages.

What if I haven't been in education for a while?

Formal academic qualifications must be undertaken within the three years before you apply. See our admission requirements and further guidance for mature students. If you haven't done any formal studying for longer than three years then it's a good idea to take another qualification to refresh your study skills.

Will you take my work experience and life skills into account?

Yes, the tutors assessing your application will take these into account but this will not replace the need for having undertaken formal academic qualifications within three years before you apply.

Can I apply for a second undergraduate degree?

Yes, you can apply for a second undergraduate degree or equivalent level qualification (ELQ), but please be aware that this may have funding implications.

Do I have to live in Oxford?

Yes. Residence in or near Oxford city during term time is compulsory for full-time undergraduates: either in college, in other accommodation within six miles of the city centre, or within 25 miles if it is your family home.

Read more about applying as a mature student.

As an international student

Our students come from over 150 countries and we hugely value the benefits which this diversity brings to our academic community. The application process is exactly the same for you as for all other candidates.

Will you accept my qualifications?

Oxford may accept school-leaving qualifications and scores from your country – if they are equivalent to the attainment of very high grades in three or more British A-levels: otherwise you may need to undertake further study.


Is my English good enough?

Teaching at Oxford is all in English (unless specific to a language course) so you will need a high standard of written and spoken English. You may be required to take an English test to prove your fluency.

Our Language Centre offers English classes in advanced writing and communications skills.


Do I have to come to Oxford if I’m shortlisted for interview?

Shortlisted candidates are invited to interview in Oxford during December and you are strongly advised to attend if you can. If you live far away, you may be offered a Skype interview but this is at the discretion of admissions tutors.

All shortlisted candidates for Medicine must come to Oxford for interview.

Read more about interview arrangements.

What support is available when I arrive?

Our Student Information and Immigration team offers:

  • an orientation programme
  • immigration and visa advice.


Around 19% of our undergraduates are from outside the UK and there are student societies representing most countries in the world.

Do you run events in my country?

Our student recruitment team runs events in several countries for international students, their teachers and advisors.

For more information about applying as an international student, please visit our International Students page.