FAQs for undergraduate offer-holders | University of Oxford

FAQs for undergraduate offer-holders

Before reviewing these FAQs, you should first read the information about the University’s response to coronavirus on the student coronavirus information pages. A number of general FAQs are included on those pages.

If you are interested in applying for study at Oxford from the 2021-22 academic year onwards, please go to the information for undergraduate applicants.

We recognise that the current situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing uncertainty and difficulties, but please rest assured that we are committed to limiting any impact this will have on your ability to take up your place. We will support you in the best possible way through the admissions process, and are committed to excellent standards of education, despite the ongoing pandemic. Please find below answers to some of the frequently asked questions. As soon as we have further information, updates will be posted to this page, and we would encourage you to check this page regularly.

Meeting the conditions of your offer

You can read the University's latest statement on admissions for 2020 (24 August) in our news section or in the first FAQ below. 

See also our What happens when I receive my results? webpage for further information about what to do when you receive your grades.

What happens if I initially missed the conditions of my offer but am able to meet these conditions now that A-level results will match teachers' Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs)?

Having received A-level Centre Assessed Grades last Friday, Oxford University is delighted to announce that more offer holders have now had their places at the University confirmed.

Given our long-standing concerns regarding the Ofqual algorithm, tutors and staff in colleges and the University worked exceptionally hard this month to support offer holders who were not awarded the grades they required. Additional places were prioritised for those from disadvantaged backgrounds who were disproportionately affected by the method used this year to award grades. Using all the information available including from the University’s admissions process, careful review of each case had already resulted in offers being confirmed for over 300 students who missed their offer grades under the Ofqual algorithm.

We are now delighted to confirm places for approximately a further 120 students, all of whom have met the conditions of their offers through their Centre Assessed Grades. Our congratulations to them.

Inevitably this means we face capacity constraints within some colleges and on some of our academic courses. Our primary concern must be to minimise any risk from COVID-19 to the health of our students, staff and wider Oxford community whilst also preserving the quality and personalised nature of our teaching. A consequence of the additional number of places confirmed is that we have needed to offer deferred entry in 2021 to some students.

We recognise that some students who have received an offer of a place for 2020 may now have a reason for preferring to start their course in 2021. We encourage them to contact their college to express their interest in a deferred place. It may not be possible to accommodate all requests for deferrals but each case will be considered on its own merits and take into account the needs of the student and any capacity issues in the college or subject concerned. 

We warmly congratulate all our successful new students and look forward to welcoming a full and diverse cohort of students to Oxford this autumn, subject to public health conditions in force at that time.

Read about our detailed plans for students’ arrival to ensure they have a safe and successful year ahead, regardless of their background, personal circumstances, or how they have been directly affected by the pandemic.

Will students who miss their grades still be considered for a place at Oxford?

If you do not get the grades needed to meet the conditions of your offer, and you feel there are extenuating circumstances which may indicate that you should have your place confirmed despite missing your offer grades, you should follow normal procedures and contact the college that made you an offer or an open-offer.

Once we reach maximum capacity for our intake of undergraduates in 2020, we will have to offer deferred entry to 2021 for any additional candidates who appeal successfully and whose place is confirmed after 13 August. Our primary concern must be the health and safety of our students, staff and community and it will not otherwise be possible for us to meet ongoing social-distancing restrictions and other challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: if you did not meet the conditions of your offer by 13 August and you believe that deferring the start of your course until autumn 2021 would have serious consequences for you, then please contact now the college that made you an offer (or your underwriting college for open offer candidates) as a matter of urgency.

Further information is available on the undergraduate admissions website.

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 before the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. If this is the case, or you have other extenuating circumstances that mean you have been unable 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.

Will Oxford offer places to any students holding offers who achieve grades through the proposed autumn exam series?

It is not yet clear how the Government’s announcement that A-level results will not be based on the Ofqual algorithm but on teachers’ Centre Assessed Grades will affect the autumn series of exams. However, any students whose teacher-assessed or moderated grades do not enable them to meet the conditions of their offer and who choose to take examinations this autumn, or in June 2021, are welcome to reapply to us. You will need to reapply through UCAS by the 15 October 2020 deadline, and re-take any admissions test(s) required for the course you are applying to. Your application will be considered alongside others for 2021 entry, however, we will not consider the results of the exams you take in autumn or June 2021 as re-takes, so your application will not be disadvantaged by your summer results when admissions decisions are made.

Please note that applicants for Medicine would still need to achieve all the requirements of their conditional offer in a single examination sitting, so you would need to re-take all your qualifications and not just the one(s) in which you have missed your grade. Further information can be found on the Medicine admissions pages.

Will Oxford let offer holders defer their place to 2021 if they don’t wish to start in October 2020?

We are preparing to welcome more new undergraduates than usual in October 2020. For this reason some students who have qualified as a result of their Centre Assessed Grades have had their places deferred to 2021. If you have a place for 2020 and now have a reason why it would be better for you to defer the start of your course to October 2021, we would encourage you to make contact with  your college to discuss your circumstances with them. It may not be possible to accommodate all requests for deferrals but each case will be considered on its own merits and take into account the needs of the student and any capacity issues in the college or subject concerned.

Note: on  23rd  June 2020 the UK government announced changes to fees and funding eligibility  for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who start their study in 2021/22 academic year. Students holding an offer for 2020/21 who defer to 2021/22 would be subject to the new eligibility rules.  

The latest information on all areas relating to the UK’s departure from the EU  is available on our dedicated Oxford and the EU webpage . 

I am a private candidate* holding an offer for undergraduate study starting 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. Please get in touch with your college to make sure they are aware of your circumstances. There is  also specific advice for private candidates from Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) if you need further clarification. Private candidates who do not receive grades or are unhappy with the grades they receive in August, and who choose to take examinations this autumn, or in June 2021, are welcome to reapply to us. You will need to reapply through UCAS by the  15 October 2020 deadline, and retake any admissions test(s) required for the course you are applying to. Your application will be considered alongside others for 2021 entry. Do please note however that we will not consider the results of the exams you take in autumn or June 2021 as retakes, so your application will not be disadvantaged by any summer 2020 results when admissions decisions are made.  

*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.

For international students

I am holding an offer for undergraduate study beginning in October 2020 which includes meeting an English language requirement. How do I fulfil this condition when test centres are currently closed?

If you already hold an English language certificate that meets our English language requirements, please contact the college offering your place.

For undergraduate offer holders who have not yet taken their English language test, and depending on individual circumstances, we have made the following changes to our English language requirements. These changes are in response to test centres being currently closed in certain regions, so you should follow the advice given below, depending on where you live:

If normal testing arrangements are available in your country, then you should take a test to fulfil our English language requirements and send evidence of certification to Oxford University by the extended deadline of Monday 10 August 2020.

If normal testing arrangements are suspended in your country then, where possible, you should take the TOEFL iBT (Special Home Edition). You will need to achieve the same scores as for the standard IBT, detailed here.

If you are not able either to take an English language test in the normal way or to access the TOEFL iBT (Special Home Edition) and if you do not need an English language certificate for visa purposes, the following options might apply to you:

1. We will accept English language certificates taken within three years of the start of your academic course. We will also ask you to take a compulsory Academic English course during term time, as detailed here.

2. We will accept Standard Level scores for courses requiring Higher Level, and ask you to take a compulsory Academic English course during term time, as detailed here.

3. We will consider waiving your English Language requirement and ask you to take a compulsory Academic English course during term time, as detailed here. If you think this is your only option, please contact us at undergraduate.options@admin.ox.ac.uk as soon as you can.

If you are not able either to take an English language test in the normal way or to access the TOEFL iBT (Special Home Edition) and you do require an English language certificate for visa purposes, please contact us at undergraduate.options@admin.ox.ac.uk.

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

Joining the University

When will I receive a University card/gain access to key systems?

You should submit your card form in line with the guidance provided by your college. You will then receive your Single Sign On (SSO) within four days with an activation code in an e-mail from IT Services.

Once you have activated your SSO, you will then be able to access your Oxford e-mail, Student Self Service and other online resources.

Do I need to receive a physical card to gain access to key systems?

No. Access isn't dependent on a University card being physically received.

What library resources are available online and when will I be able to access these?

You will be able to access online resources once you have activated your Single Sign On. The Bodleian Libraries is working with tutors to ensure that reading lists are available in multiple formats including e-books. It has over 1.4 million items including copyright books and items in the public domain. It also offers a Scan & Deliver service, which gives you the chance to request items from our collection that are not available online, including its special collections.

What will happen with matriculation?

New students usually formally become members of the University through a 'matriculation' ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre. However, this cannot take place this year due to social distancing requirements. Instead, all new students will attend a Formal Welcome to the University by the Vice-Chancellor event online on Saturday 17 October, incorporating many of the traditions of the existing ceremony, but in a virtual form. All students will be matriculated 'in absentia' meaning it will not impact your status.

Accommodation 

Will all student accommodation be available to students, and when will I find out if I have a room?

We aim to offer as much student accommodation as possible, in line with government health advice. All first-year undergraduate students are normally guaranteed college accommodation, and your college will be in touch about this once your place has been confirmed.

Please refer to our accommodation arrangements for the 2020/21 academic year. 

Fees and funding

Is the University still awarding bursaries to Home/EU undergraduates who will be starting new courses in the 2020-21 academic year?

Crankstart Scholarships, Oxford Bursaries and associated targeted support are awarded based on the assessment of students’ household incomes by the UK government funding agencies for England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Assessments for Oxford funding will take place as usual ahead of the start of the new academic year in the autumn of 2020. Please refer to the Fees and Funding webpages for more information.

Will there be any changes to fees or funding arrangements?

No. We will ensure that students are able to take advantage of our world class academic teaching and meet the educational objectives of each programme. As such, all course fees and funding arrangements will be unchanged.

Will there be any changes to course fees and funding for EU students? 

If you are an EU fee status student starting in the academic year 2020/21, you are eligible for Home fees. You will retain this fee status and funding eligibility for the duration of your course.  

The government has recently announced changes to fee status eligibility for EU students starting in the academic year 2021/22. Please note that EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for Home fees or postgraduate financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. This change will not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK or Ireland.

How do I open a bank account as a new European or International student?

See the Oxford bank guide for European and International Students with information about how to open a bank account this year. Most banks will now open accounts online and allow you to upload documents online as proof of your identify and your student status. If they require further identity checks, they may ask to do this on a telephone call or arrange an appointment at the bank for you.

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