How to enroll in Oxford or Cambridge: tips for foreign students

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have always welcomed and welcome international students. For example, at the University of Cambridge, about 1000 students from 120 countries of the world study on the bachelor’s program today. In Oxford, the number of international students is higher, it makes up a third of all students of the educational institution. Students from 138 countries study here.

Very often we are asked the question, how to enroll in Oxford or Cambridge? Can students from other countries study at these universities? Of course, they can, but every student needs to understand that these educational institutions differ from other classical universities not only in their prestige and rating but also in the requirements for applicants. It’s not enough just to want to study at Oxford and Cambridge, you need to show that you can bring something to the development of science and directly to the university itself. After all, the reputation of each educational institution is built on the success and achievements of students. The educational plan at these universities is very challenging for students, so most students prefer to hire tutors and pay for essay to be more academically successful.

Before applying for admission to Oxford or Cambridge, think about whether these universities are really for you. The prestige and rating of educational institutions is not proof of your interest and motivation, think about how you can be useful to the university and what you can learn from a course. If you put the prestige and rating of the diploma in the first place – you are unlikely to be able to convince the admissions committee to accept your candidacy. Education in these educational institutions differs from other classical universities. Students apply for a bachelor’s program lasting from 3 to 4 years and choose from one to three subjects on which all further education is based.

Note that classical British universities do not give students general education subjects. It is believed that students should get this knowledge in high school. The selection of students at Oxford and Cambridge begins primarily with the consideration of the student’s academic success. The applicant must not only show excellent grades but also show their academic potential (the ability to learn and develop. In addition to the academic results, it is necessary to submit a motivation letter, letters of recommendation, and, if necessary, a written work on a topic previously established by the university.

Education at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge is based on the classical system of education, by attaching students to a curator who guides the student throughout the entire training process. Students attend lectures, seminars, practical classes, but the whole Oxbridge system is based on weekly meetings with the curator, and 2-3 other students, to exchange ideas about a week’s study at the university.

Both in Oxford and Cambridge, students study at one of the universities or colleges and live on their campus. These small groups of students consist of 30-70 teachers and 300-500 students.

Both universities are focused on research work. Therefore, if you want to study at Oxford or Cambridge, you need to understand that it will be necessary to work on conducting research, you will not just be lectured and given knowledge, you will be forced to learn something new through self-development, research.

One of the main criteria for applicants is a qualification or a diploma of secondary education. Unfortunately, universities do not accept all foreign certificates of secondary education, and students will not be able to enroll in these educational institutions after the Foundation program. If you are aiming to study at these universities, you first need to think about obtaining an international certificate of secondary education: A-level, IB, etc.

In addition to excellent academic results, students must provide proof of English language proficiency, namely, pass the English language exam: IELTS, TOEFL. The required result depends primarily on your course. For example, the requirements will be higher for those students who want to study English literature.

What to do if you “failed” the A-level exam

Very often I receive calls from concerned parents and students asking for help and advice: what should I do if a student “failed” the A-level exam?

First, I want to say that it is simply impossible not to pass the A-level exam or “fail” this exam. The only chance is simply not to show up. In our case, “failing” A-level means getting grades much lower than expected, instead of A, for example, D.


The result that you receive will affect the decision of the university to which you applied for admission. As you probably already know, highly rated universities in the UK require applicants to provide an “A” result in all subjects, and sometimes even ” A+”.

Therefore, the lower the rating of the university, the more chances you have to enroll in this university, providing a low A-level score.


And so, you received an exam result (lower than expected) and you were not accepted to the university. The most important thing, in this case, is not to panic. In any situation, you can find a way out.

Top Tips

Tip #1

Make sure that you have submitted documents to universities of different levels of requirements for applicants. Students who enroll in the first year of university in the UK must submit all application forms through the national online system UCAS. This system allows each student to choose from 5 higher educational institutions. Make sure that there are 2 highly rated universities on your list, 2 universities of a more average level (where you can say with confidence that you will enroll), and 1 backup option. Of course, all students do not like having a backup option, but this will not necessarily happen if your grades are good.

Tip #2

If you have received a refusal of admission from all the universities to which you applied, you have a chance to get into the university through the UCAS Clearing Service program. In August, universities have not recruited the required number of students to open an additional enrollment. It is important to understand that these educational institutions will not be in the top rankings. Carefully study the options offered by the UCAS Clearing Service system, if they are suitable for you, apply.

Tip #3

You can challenge the result of the exams only if you know for sure or are sure that you were incorrectly evaluated. You can challenge the result by applying to the center where the test was taken. Please note that your result will be rechecked and the score may be lower or higher.

Tip #4

Probably, it is suitable for many foreign students. You can take the Foundation preparatory program, as you will not be able to repeat the A-level program due to the rules for obtaining a student visa.

The preparatory program will allow you to correct your grades and enter higher-level universities, of course, if your result is good.

Tip #5

This option is ideal for those students who do not want to retake or challenge the test, as well as take an additional year of training.

The UK education system offers vocational training programs-BTEC HND course, which is taught in Colleges in the UK. The course provides an opportunity to gain professional skills during 2 years of study, after which a student can transfer to the university for the 3rd year and get a bachelor’s degree.


Back to top button