How can they prepare for university? | University of Oxford
students at a summer school
Students at the UNIQ summer school.
(Credit: John Cairns)

How can they prepare for university?

We know that children are born with curiosity about their world, and this is how they learn. Our curiosity is a huge natural talent. We’re sure you know children with endless questions. We also know that teachers are very busy, trying to help many children with many different needs, and sometimes talented students can become bored at school. So, how can you help feed the hungry brains in your family?

Firstly, please don’t think you have to have all the answers! Just talking about what interests children can really help, and it can be good for them to feel like they are the expert. It might result in even more questions, but it will also mean they keep thinking. You can also suggest where they might find more information - and not just in books. Don’t worry if they seem only interested in one thing - knowing a lot about a few things, rather than a little about a lot is just another way of learning. What’s important is that they continue to love learning.

Here are a few ideas for hungry brains:

Under 16
  • Try out Oxplore, our free educational website for 11-18 year olds which explores some of those big questions we know they love.
  • Explore together: on TV, in books, magazines and online.
  • Look for YouTube videos on their favourite topics.
  • Check out videos of some of Oxford’s latest discoveries.
  • Go to events at any local museums: these are often free.
  • Find out about holiday programmes in your area; some are free and funded by local councils.
  • Talk about new experiences with them

Over 16

  • Explore MOOCs (Massive Open and Online Courses), other online courses and lectures.
  • Encourage them to look at online magazines.
  • Check out some Ted Talks on topics they are interested in.
  • Look at the HuffPost, an online newspaper with lots of young writers.
  • Delve into some suggested reading for the subject they are interested in.

We know that it can be difficult for your child to decide which university to apply to, and where they would be happiest. To help them feel more confident about applying to Oxford, we run thousands of free events each year, both in Oxford and around the UK.

Are there events we can attend?

What about programmes where they can stay in Oxford?

  • Find out more about UNIQ, our free programme for Year 12 students at UK state schools.
  • Find out more about Target Oxbridge if your child is black or mixed race and from African and Caribbean heritage.
Are there places online we can use?

Is there anything specific to my area?
Every school and college in the UK has a specific contact at the University. Groups of Oxford colleges work together to connect with different regions of the country, and provide support that is suited to local needs. This means that, wherever they live, your child can access support and information about applying to university.