Why does Oxford get 19% more applicants than Cambridge? Watch

A Rolling Stone
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Why is Oxford more popular than Cambridge as a university to apply to?

Does anyone have any personal experiences of why they chose one over the other, which might give an insight into why Oxford receives just under 20% more applicants than Cambridge?

Cambridge is surely the most historically-greatest uni in the world, whereas Oxford is mainly famous for educating politicians?

(NB. I went to neither so I have no dog in the game)
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topbomlover1
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I can't remember for sure, but I think it had to do that Oxford usually puts lower grade boundaries.
They both balance out though since more people apply to Oxford thinking they have a higher chance but it just makes it harder and only the best would ultimately be picked, just like in Cambridge.
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by topbomlover1)
I can't remember for sure, but I think it had to do that Oxford usually puts lower grade boundaries.
They both balance out though since more people apply to Oxford thinking they have a higher chance but it just makes it harder and only the best would ultimately be picked, just like in Cambridge.
Ah, I do actually remember thinking about applying to Biology at Oxford rather than NatSci at Cambridge because I thought I'd have a better chance (it also sounded a lot less intimidating), despite fanboying over Cambridge's contribution to the life sciences ever since i was young
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neveroddoreven
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Worldwide Oxford is more famous (minus a few countries like Singapore)
In the UK I reckon they're probably equally as famous.

As topbornlover1 said, it might just be the offer being lower at Oxford
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topbomlover1
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(Original post by topbomlover1)
I can't remember for sure, but I think it had to do that Oxford usually puts lower grade boundaries.
They both balance out though since more people apply to Oxford thinking they have a higher chance but it just makes it harder and only the best would ultimately be picked, just like in Cambridge.
Oops I meant to say grade requirements not boundaries lol. I was half asleep when I replied
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by topbomlover1)
Oops I meant to say grade requirements not boundaries lol. I was half asleep when I replied
i genuinely didn't notice as i completely understood what you meant lol
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AnIndividual
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(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
Why is Oxford more popular than Cambridge as a university to apply to?

Does anyone have any personal experiences of why they chose one over the other, which might give an insight into why Oxford receives just under 20% more applicants than Cambridge?

Cambridge is surely the most historically-greatest uni in the world, whereas Oxford is mainly famous for educating politicians?

(NB. I went to neither so I have no dog in the game)
I would think that it is for a few reasons: Firstly, I suspect that Oxford is more famous abroad due to the greater reputation of Oxford University Press and the wider use of the Oxford English Dictionary. At home, I suspect it also benefits from its association with PMs, especially with Cameron, May and Blair.

Oxford also doesn't make you declare AS module grades on your application which may make people think that admission is a bit easier. - ironically this slight imbalance would be offset by the greater number of applicants going for Oxford.

It also wouldn't surprise me if some choose to apply due to its affiliation with Harry Potter and the like. This, of course, would be for a tiny number of people, but I do know people who picked their Oxford college based on its appearance in the Harry Potter films, so I do think that sort of thing does have an impact.
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ironmanwilldie
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Oxford generally is seen as more prestigious by many if not most people. It tends to be the better of the two in international rankings.

It also has lower grade requirements (Oxford law is AAA compared to cambridge which is A*A*A for example)

I guess the mentality is that for most students where oxbridge is their most ambitious choice, they may as well apply to Oxford since its "better" and will have the more achievable requirement if they do indeed get an offer.
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by AnIndividual)
I would think that it is for a few reasons: Firstly, I suspect that Oxford is more famous abroad due to the greater reputation of Oxford University Press and the wider use of the Oxford English Dictionary. At home, I suspect it also benefits from its association with PMs, especially with Cameron, May and Blair.

Oxford also doesn't make you declare AS module grades on your application which may make people think that admission is a bit easier. - ironically this slight imbalance would be offset by the greater number of applicants going for Oxford.

It also wouldn't surprise me if some choose to apply due to its affiliation with Harry Potter and the like. This, of course, would be for a tiny number of people, but I do know people who picked their Oxford college based on its appearance in the Harry Potter films, so I do think that sort of thing does have an impact.
ah you make great points, except for Blair, May and Cameron being reasons why people want to go to Oxford rather than as reasons to avoid it like the plague! Try Maggie and I'll be happier lol

I think declaring AS grades is a good thing as it justifies why you deserve your predicted grades

and i am a very strong defender of people who pick uni for the 'superficial' reason of the beauty of the campus, i think living in a pretty place really gives you a greater sense of purpose. i'd have been really sad to have gone to a great uni like Warwick, which looks like a cross between a secondary school and a business park in Stevenage
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Paralove
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(Original post by ironmanwilldie)
Oxford generally is seen as more prestigious by many if not most people. It tends to be the better of the two in international rankings.

It also has lower grade requirements (Oxford law is AAA compared to cambridge which is A*A*A for example)

I guess the mentality is that for most students where oxbridge is their most ambitious choice, they may as well apply to Oxford since its "better" and will have the more achievable requirement if they do indeed get an offer.
The typical Cambridge offer for Law is A*AA, not A*A*A.
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ironmanwilldie
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(Original post by Paralove)
The typical Cambridge offer for Law is A*AA, not A*A*A.
My bad, I heard it went up for economics but didnt realise it didnt for law
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Paralove
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(Original post by ironmanwilldie)
My bad, I heard it went up for economics but didnt realise it didnt for law
Economics, yes, but the typical entry requirements for arts subjects generally is A*AA. For sciences, it's A*A*A, except for PBS which is A*AA.
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ironmanwilldie
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(Original post by Paralove)
Economics, yes, but the typical entry requirements for arts subjects generally is A*AA. For sciences, it's A*A*A, except for PBS which is A*AA.
Ahh right, I knew it was higher for sciences though.

My point still stands though; Cambridge is, in many comparable courses, one or two grade requirements higher than what is asked from Oxford
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AnIndividual
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(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
ah you make great points, except for Blair, May and Cameron being reasons why people want to go to Oxford rather than as reasons to avoid it like the plague! Try Maggie and I'll be happier lol

I think declaring AS grades is a good thing as it justifies why you deserve your predicted grades

and i am a very strong defender of people who pick uni for the 'superficial' reason of the beauty of the campus, i think living in a pretty place really gives you a greater sense of purpose. i'd have been really sad to have gone to a great uni like Warwick, which looks like a cross between a secondary school and a business park in Stevenage
Yes, I'm a great believer in being uplifted by your surroundings.

Also, the only reason I didn't mention Maggie was because most current applicants will have had more exposure to the three PMs that I mentioned as they were in power during our lifetimes lol.
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Doones
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(Original post by CollectiveSoul)
Why is Oxford more popular than Cambridge as a university to apply to?

Does anyone have any personal experiences of why they chose one over the other, which might give an insight into why Oxford receives just under 20% more applicants than Cambridge?

Cambridge is surely the most historically-greatest uni in the world, whereas Oxford is mainly famous for educating politicians?

(NB. I went to neither so I have no dog in the game)
As per the previous comments it's to some extent about slightly lower requirements at Oxford for many courses. Also, due to their (often misunderstood) treatment of UMS there's a perception that Cambridge admissions requirements are generally harder.

(Original post by neveroddoreven)
Worldwide Oxford is more famous (minus a few countries like Singapore)
In the UK I reckon they're probably equally as famous.
(Original post by AnIndividual)
I suspect that Oxford is more famous abroad due to the greater reputation of Oxford University Press and the wider use of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Nope, not that. Oxford has about 12,000 home applications and 7,000 non-UK. This compares with Cambridge's 10,000 UK and 6,800 non-UK. So it's a much bigger difference amonst UK applicants rather than overseas.

(Original post by AnIndividual)
Also, the only reason I didn't mention Maggie was because most current applicants will have had more exposure to the three PMs that I mentioned as they were in power during our lifetimes lol.
To be clear, you do know Thatcher went to Oxford? Cambridge hasn't had a prime minister since before WW2 (Baldwin).
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Oxford2018b
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Oxford accepts BTECs. That's why I applied and firmed Oxford ;')
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Doones
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(Original post by Oxford2018b)
Oxford accepts BTECs. That's why I applied and firmed Oxford ;'
So does Cambridge, for some courses. Cambridge are also more "welcoming" to AccessHE applicants.
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AnIndividual
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(Original post by Doonesbury)


To be clear, you do know Thatcher went to Oxford? Cambridge hasn't had a prime minister since before WW2 (Baldwin).
Yes. All I meant was that an 18-year old now who was born in 2000 will have lived through the Blair, Cameron and May premierships and may therefore associate Oxford with the PMs of their lifetime.
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Doones
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(Original post by AnIndividual)
Yes. All I meant was that an 18-year old now who was born in 2000 will have lived through the Blair, Cameron and May premierships and may therefore associate Oxford with the PMs of their lifetime.
Yes, I thought that was the case, just wasn't sure

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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Yes, I thought that was the case, just wasn't sure

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This has nothing to do with the original discussion but I've noticed that some posters have titles like 'PS reviewer' and you have the title 'section leader'. Do these mean that you hold a position within UCAS or that you're a teacher or does it come from getting lot's of rep?
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