Oxford skyline
The Oxford skyline.

Image credit: Oxford University/Nasir Hamid

Latest Oxford University admissions reveal progress on access

Oxford University today publishes its annual undergraduate admissions report, revealing steady progress in attracting students from a range of under-represented backgrounds

The new figures, for Oxford’s 2018 intake, show a solid foundation for the two major access initiatives announced by the University last month, which are due to accelerate the pace of change dramatically.

The report is being published for the second year, as part of the University’s commitment to greater openness about its admissions process. Detailed figures are given for undergraduate entry over the past five years, broken down by region, race, socio-economic background, gender and disability. There are also figures for every Oxford college and academic department.

Key figures from the report include:

  • Applying to Oxford is more competitive than ever, with 21,515 students chasing 3,309 places
  • The proportion of state school admissions rose to a record 60.5%
  • The proportion of successful Black and Minority Ethnic students was also the highest-ever, at 18.3%. Black students rose from 1.9% to 2.6% of all students admitted.
  • The proportion from areas of low progression to higher education rose to 13.1%
  • The proportion of students declaring a disability rose to 9.2% - up from 6% five years ago
  • For the second year running, women outnumbered men, at 51.2% of the intake

Early figures for 2019 entry show still more progress. Offers to state school pupils are up again, to 64.5%. Offers to students from areas of low progression to higher education is up to 13.8%. However, the University is determined to move faster.

In her introduction to the report, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Louise Richardson says: “It was precisely because of our concern that the pace of change was too slow that this year we are increasing the size of our flagship summer programme UNIQ by 50% to 1375 school pupils. We also announced the creation of two new programmes, Opportunity Oxford and Foundation Oxford, which we believe will significantly accelerate the pace of change. When both programmes are up and running in four years’ time we expect that one in four of those admitted to Oxford will be from a deprived background. The entire University community, colleges and halls, departments and divisions, have united behind a commitment to effect a sea change in our admissions practices.”

Opportunity Oxford will see the University introduce a study programme next year for students who have applied to the University in the normal way, are on course to gain the required grades, but need additional support to transition successfully from school to Oxford. It will comprise structured study at home plus two weeks of residential study at Oxford just before the start of the undergraduate term.

The University is also developing Foundation Oxford, a full year programme for students who have experienced personal disadvantage or severely disrupted education. Successful students will undertake a yearlong, bespoke, subject-specific programmes, building their capacity for independent study.

Once the two schemes are fully phased in, up to 250 new students will benefit every year. The proportion of students coming to Oxford from under-represented backgrounds will be boosted from 15% of the current UK intake to 25%. This represents a significant step change for the University and will be reflected in future years’ admission reports.