Prospective undergraduates | University of Oxford
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Prospective undergraduates

Decisions on offers to begin studying an undergraduate course at Oxford in 2021 were announced on 12 January. Congratulations to everyone who received an offer. 

FAQs for current offer holders

I am holding an offer to begin my undergraduate course at Oxford in the 2021/22 academic year. Where can I find more information?

Over the coming months, the college which made your offer will be in contact with you. You will also receive regular newsletters from the University giving you tips and insights into student life at Oxford and letting you know how to prepare for the start of your course next October. In addition, you can always look at our Oxford Students website for further information. 

Will Oxford accept the grades which offer holders receive this year?

If you receive an offer but have not yet completed all your current qualifications, it is likely that this offer will be conditional. Normally, meeting these conditions involves achieving certain examination results and where examinations are going ahead as planned, we expect these conditions to be met. In countries where the normal examinations have been cancelled for 2021, we will expect the conditions of your offer to be met by the alternative assessment put in place by examination boards and examination regulators. While details of the assessment system that will replace summer examinations are still being finalised in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and some other countries, Oxford remains committed to a fair and flexible admissions process which will aim to ensure no students are disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular those from under-represented and less advantaged backgrounds. We are following government announcements closely and will provide more information as soon as we can. 

However, whatever changes occur, providing you meet all the conditions of your offer with us by the deadline stipulated by UCAS, your offer will be confirmed and you will be accepted by the University. This applies to all our offer holders, wherever you are currently studying in the world.

Do I have to pass the science practical component of any science A-levels I am taking in order to meet the conditions of my offer?

In normal circumstances, if you have taken any science A-levels, we would expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement. However, we are aware that students may not have had the chance to complete their practical tasks due to the pandemic. If this is the case, or you have other extenuating circumstances that mean you are not able to gain a pass grade for the endorsement, this requirement may be waived. As in other years, we will seek evidence of extenuating circumstances from your school. 

I am a private candidate* holding an offer to start studying in October. What are my options?

We realise that due to the situation with COVID-19, private candidates might be particularly concerned about the awarding of qualifications this year. We are waiting for guidance to be published by OfQual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) and encourage you to get in touch with your Examination Board(s) if you need further clarification at this time. We are monitoring OfQual's advice to private candidates and will publish any updates for offer holders or prospective applicants on this webpage as soon as we can. 

*Private candidates include those who may have been planning to sit exams at a school or college or other exam centre but who were being educated at home, by distance learning or studying independently. 

I am holding an offer for undergraduate study beginning in October 2021 which includes meeting an English language requirement. How do I fulfil this condition if my usual test centres are currently closed?

If you already hold an English language certificate that meets our English language requirements, please send it to the college that made you an offer. The alternative options set out below only apply to offer holders who have not yet taken the required English language test and their usual centre is closed due to COVID-19. 

  • If normal testing arrangements are available in your country and you will be able to meet our deadline of 31 July, then you should take a recognised English language test and send evidence of certification to the college that made you an offer.
  • If normal testing arrangements are suspended in your country then, where possible, you should take the TOEFL iBT (Home Edition). You will need to achieve the same scores as for the standard IBT.
  • If you are unable to take the TOEFL iBT and you require an English language certificate for visa purposes, please contact the college who you made you an offer.
  • If you are unable to take the TOEFL iBT and you do not require an English language certificate for visa purposes, you have the following three options:  
  1. We will accept English language certificates taken within three years of the start of your academic course and ask you to take a compulsory in-term Academic English course.
  2. We will accept Standard Level scores for courses requiring Higher Level and ask you to take a compulsory in-term Academic English course.
  3. We will consider waiving your English language requirement and ask you to take a compulsory in-term Academic English courseIf you think this is your only option, please contact the college who made you an offer.

You can also view the information above as a chart (Undergraduate English language requirements PDF).

How will COVID-19 impact my time as a student?

We are fully committed to delivering an outstanding academic experience to our students, to maintaining our focus on personalised teaching, and to the safety and wellbeing of our entire community. It is too early to say exactly what the situation will be in September 2021. However, we will send regular updates on our plans in line with government guidance and health advice.

FAQs for prospective applicants 

I am expecting to apply for undergraduate study starting in 2022/23 academic year. Where should I go for more information?

Offers for entry in 2022 will be made in January 2022. If you are planning to apply for a place to begin studying here next year, please note our UCAS deadline of 15 October, 2021 and read carefully the information on our Undergraduate Admissions website.  We also encourage you to sign-up to our regular newsletter, Choosing Oxford and follow us on Twitter (@OxOutreach) and Instagram (@studyatOxford) to help you get a feel for what studying here might be like.

I am a private candidate* planning on applying to Oxford for entry in 2022. What are my options?

We realise that due to the situation with COVID-19, private candidates might be particularly concerned about the awarding of qualifications this year. We are waiting for guidance to be published by OfQual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) and encourage you to get in touch with your examination board(s) if you need further clarification at this time. We are monitoring OfQual's advice to private candidates and will publish any updates for offer holders or prospective applicants on this webpage as soon as we can. 

*Private candidates include those who may have been planning to sit exams at a school or college or other exam centre but who were being educated at home, by distance learning or studying independently. 

I will be applying for a course starting in the 2022/23 academic year, after I have received my A-level (or equivalent) qualifications. Will Oxford accept the grades awarded to students this year?

In countries where the normal examinations have been cancelled for 2021, we will recognise the alternative assessment put in place by examination boards and examination regulators. Oxford is committed to a fair and flexible admissions process which will aim to ensure no students are disadvantaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular those from under-represented and less advantaged backgrounds.

We encourage you to include any information in your application that you would like to be taken into consideration when your application is assessed. UCAS has advice on how to detail the impact of COVID-19 in an academic reference and this will be updated over the coming months for 2022-entry. For information about how to apply to one of our undergraduate courses, please see our admissions website and guide for applicants. We also encourage you to sign up to our prospective newsletterChoosing Oxford

I will be applying for a course starting in the 2022/23 academic year, after I have received my A-level (or equivalent) qualifications. What if I am unhappy with the grades I receive?

If A-level (or equivalent) students are unhappy with their results, and they choose to retake these exams, Oxford will not consider these sittings as retakes and so this will not disadvantage an application. Please note, however, that you will still need to declare the results of all official or public examinations, including the grades awarded in 2021, in the 'Education' section of your UCAS form

We encourage you also to include any information in your application that you would like to be taken into consideration when your application is assessed. UCAS has advice on how to detail the impact of COVID-19 in an academic reference and this will be updated over the coming months for 2022-entry. For information about how to apply to one of our undergraduate courses, please see our admissions website and guide for applicants. We also encourage you to sign up to our prospective newsletterChoosing Oxford

Do I have to pass the science practical component of any science A-levels I am taking in order to meet the conditions of any offer made to me in January 2022?

In normal circumstances, if you have taken any science A-levels, we would expect you to take and pass the practical component in addition to meeting any overall grade requirement. However, we are aware that students may not have had the chance to complete their practical tasks due to the pandemic. If this is the case, and you receive an offer to study at Oxford, you should contact the college offering you your place to discuss this requirement. 

I will be receiving my GCSE grades in summer 2021 and I am thinking about applying to Oxford in the future. What if I am unhappy with the GCSE grades I receive, will this affect the competitiveness of my application?

If you have taken GCSEs, then they will be considered as part of your application. However, they are just one aspect that we look at. Tutors will also consider your achieved or predicted grades at A-level (or other equivalent qualifications), your UCAS personal statement, academic reference and any written work or results from written tests required for your course. If your application is shortlisted, your performance at interview will also be taken into account.

For those who will receive GCSE grades in 2021, we will take into account the difficult circumstances in which these grades were issued when we assess your application. We encourage you to include any information in your application that you would like to be taken into consideration when your application is assessed. UCAS has advice on how to detail the impact of COVID-19 in an academic reference and this will be updated over the coming months for 2022-entry.

If you are unhappy with your grades, we would advise you to focus on achieving highly in your A-level (or equivalent) exams, rather than retaking any GCSEs. Please follow our advice about personal statements and academic references which we update for each year of entry. 

I am thinking of applying to Oxford and want to attend an outreach event. Are these events still running?

As a result of developments with COVID-19, and in line with government guidance on social distancing, outreach events are currently taking place online rather than in-person, including our 2021 June and July Open Days. We remain strongly committed to providing opportunities for you to discover what it is like to study at Oxford and you can find out more about these via our outreach event calendar and from individual college and department websites.  In the meantime, please do everything you can to stay well and we hope to welcome you and your family on a visit to Oxford before too long.

I am unlikely to be able to arrange work or other subject-related experiences. Will this affect my application?

Tutors at Oxford are only interested in your academic ability and potential so in general there is no requirement for work experience or particular extracurricular activities. Please read our guide for applicants for more information about what makes a strong application. Extra reading or delving into your subject using the resources on our digital resource hub are great ways to demonstrate engagement with your subject which will support your application.

Candidates considering an application to study Medicine, may be interested in advice from the Medical Schools Council on relevant experience to study medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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