Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
x Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter

    Just wondering how come it is so much harder to get in to oxford than Cambridge...
    Both have world rebound reputations and are very prestigious, but oxford consistently gets a significantly higher proportion of applicants per place. For example, last year the Oxford Law acceptance rate was 15%, while it was 24% for Cambridge-quite a difference!
    Oxford also has a more rigorous admissions process with several interviews over several days and a significant shortlisting of applicant before they get to interview.
    I just wondered if anyone had any input as to why this might be the case? Obviously Oxford has more former Prime Ministers etc but is it really that much more prestigious?

    Cambridge generally has higher A Level entry requirements and ask for UMS so more of the weaker applicants would apply Oxford. I'm not saying that the people who get into Oxford are weaker than those who get into Cambridge, just that the applicant pool may be weaker. Also, Oxford is more known worldwide so probably gets more international applicants.
    Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play

    Simply due to places offered and it isn't necessarily harder to get into Oxford than Cambridge. For humanities courses, such as PPE, Oxford is also generally held in higher esteem than equivalent courses and the same goes for sciences/maths at Cambridge generally being viewed more highly than at Oxford. As a result, you end up having more confident and able students applying to a particular university than the other.

    Since this thread was bumped I might as well take the time to call out the OP for chattin' trash.

    Successful offerholders at Cambridge have higher achieved and predicted grades than their equivalents at Oxford. They also go on to achieve consistently higher UCAS tariffs. See the attached files. This is not to mention the use of UMS + the ability to write a second PQ in the supplementary questionnaire, which in itself requires Cambridge applicants to hold their own across a wider range of metrics.

    Oxford has a lower offer rate because it will take people who achieve AAA or 38 (IB) on results day. That's the standard offer. Cambridge typically wants A*AA or 40-42 in the IB. That means that Cambridge has to make more offers to compensate for the larger minority that won't make their offer grades.

    Having two interviews instead of one does not render the process more "rigorous". It's just one (literally, one) extra interview. The % interviewed point cuts both ways - it makes those who reach interview at Oxford feel better about themselves, but it allows for more applicants to Cambridge to be assessed thoroughly and completely.

    The number of PMs each university has produced is obviously irrelevant to determining the law faculty's admissions criteria.
    Attached Images
  1. File Type: pdf Cambridge Entry Data (2).pdf (333.7 KB, 13 views)
  2. Attached Files
  3. File Type: xlsx Oxford Entry Data (1).xlsx (48.5 KB, 12 views)

    The general notion is actually that if you're a weaker candidate you stand a higher chance of getting into Oxford than you do Cambridge, because of the different weighting placed on A-Level grades and UMS. Therefore, some candidates are dissuaded from applying to Cambridge because they aren't averaging 94+ UMS across their A-Levels and so believe they stand little chance of acceptance. Secondly, Cambridge offers are higher (often significantly higher) than Oxford offers. They therefore over-offer by a much larger number than Oxford, because many candidates won't meet their offers.

    Don't be fooled by what a superficial reading of the numbers may tell you! Back when I was going through the process a few years ago Cambridge was definitely regarded as the more rigorous application process and the one which was numerically more difficult to get into. Obviously, take words like 'more' here with a pinch of salt: both are world-class and an offer from either uni is extremely difficult to attain!

    I'd say that it is important to differentiate between admissions rates and "difficulty of entry", the latter of which is quite a subjective term. Cambridge looks more heavily at UMS and has a very high entry criteria (A*A*A for sciences + economics and A*AA for arts) compared with Oxford (which has A*AA-AAA for almost all courses). Therefore, it can be expected that the average academic ability of a Cambridge applicant would be higher, and so it would be expected that Cambridge rejects a smaller proportion than Oxford. Overall, as to which is genuinely harder to be admitted to, that it largely dependent upon your choice of course and your personal strengths.
Are you going to a festival?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.