Disadvantage

This page focuses on the backgrounds of UK-domiciled students who apply to Oxford, are made offers, and are admitted. The figures relate to differing levels of socio-economic advantage and progression to higher education across the UK, and are derived from the ACORN and POLAR5 demographic systems.

ACORN is a postcode-based tool that categorises the UK’s population by level of socio-economic advantage. POLAR is a similar tool that measures how likely young people are to participate in higher education based on where they live. The ACORN and POLAR systems are widely recognised measures used by the regulator to set admissions targets for universities including Oxford.

These systems are explained in more detail in Undergraduate Admissions Statistics - Notes and definitions

University-level data

The tables below show the number of applications, offers and students admitted from the two most socio-economically disadvantaged groups (ACORN categories 4 and 56) and the two groups of young people least likely to progress to higher education (POLAR quintiles 1 and 2).

  • In 2020, 15.9% of UK students admitted to Oxford came from the two most socioeconomically disadvantaged groups (ACORN categories 4 and 56). This is an increase of 7.7 percentage points from 2016.

Socio-economic disadvantage: UK applications to Oxford, offers made and students admitted from ACORN categories 4 and 56, 2016–2020

 ApplicationsOffersStudents admittedACORN 4 and 5 Proportion of total UK students admitted7
20202,31649546715.9%
20192,09741831312.2%
20181,87237928911.3%
20171,66034926910.6%
20161,3512722168.2%
  • In 2020, 15.6% of UK students admitted to Oxford were from the two groups with lowest progression to higher education (POLAR quintiles 1 and 2). This is an increase of 4.2 percentage points from 2016.

Areas of low progression to higher education: UK applications to Oxford, offers made and students admitted from POLAR quintiles 1 and 2, 2016–2020

 ApplicationsOffersStudents admittedPOLAR 1 and 2 Proportion of total UK students admitted7
20202,12347845415.6%
20192,07947135514.0%
20181,85340433013.1%
20171,70240532412.9%
20161,49935229911.4%

5. POLAR classification is periodically reviewed. See Undergraduate Admissions Statistics - Notes and definitions for classifications used throughout the Annual Admissions Statistical Report.
6. This data includes ACORN Category 4 – Financially Stretched (excluding Type 34 – Student flats and halls of residence) and ACORN Category 5 – Urban Adversity.
7. Excluding students whose ACORN/POLAR status is not known.

Context

Breakdown of students who achieve AAA or better at A-level by socio-economic group (all UK universities, 2018 UK intake)*

Bar chart showing: 87.5% live in more advantaged areas (other ACORN categories) and 12.5% live in less advantaged areas (ACORN categories 4 and 5)

Oxford University (2020 UK intake)**

Bar chart showing: 84.1% live in more advantaged areas (other ACORN categories) and 15.9% live in less advantaged areas (ACORN categories 4 and 5)

*Most recent available national data covers 2018 intake: defined as first-year, first-degree, UK-domiciled undergraduate students, academic year 2018/19. AAA+ pool includes equivalent Scottish qualifications. Excludes those whose ACORN status is not known. Excludes Type 34 from ACORN category 4 – Type 34 appears in ‘other ACORN categories’. See note on HESA data for full citation.

Breakdown of students who achieve AAA or better at A-level, by areas with different likelihood of progression to higher education (all UK universities, 2018 UK intake)*

Bar chart showing: 85.6% from areas with greater likelihood of progression to higher education (other POLAR quintiles) and 14.4% from areas with lower likelihood of progression to higher education (POLAR quintiles 1 and 2)

Oxford University (2020 UK intake)**

Bar chart showing: 84.4% from areas with greater likelihood of progression to higher education (other POLAR quintiles) and 15.6% from areas with lower likelihood of progression to higher education (POLAR quintiles 1 and 2)

*Most recent available national data covers 2018 intake: defined as first-year, first-degree, UK-domiciled undergraduate students, academic year 2018/19. AAA+ pool includes equivalent Scottish qualifications. Excludes those whose ACORN status is not known. See note on HESA data for full citation.

**Excluding students whose ACORN/POLAR status is not known.

For further information on all Oxford's admissions statistics, including by course and by college, please read the Annual Admissions Statistical Report.

You may also be interested to see detailed statistics relating to disadvantage, and information on the household income of applicants

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