Are you unsure of when the Oxbridge Interview invites are sent out, how you find out if you are successful and where the Interviews are held?
The waiting period between submitting your UCAS application on the 16th of October and receiving an Oxbridge Interview invitation is a nervous few weeks for applicants across the UK (and the world).
You’ve likely got many questions about the process and want to know exactly what happens during the next few weeks. In this guide, we take you through who gets invited to an Oxbridge Interview, how and when you will find out and where they are held (with some final advice at the end).
Who Gets Invited?
Each year, Oxford receives around 22,000 applications for 3,300 places. Oxford then shortlists around 10,000 candidates for Interviews, which is generally 40-45% of applicants every year. Cambridge, on the other hand, Interview a higher percentage of applicants, around 70%.
Oxford and Cambridge use their own selection criteria to invite the candidates with the strongest potential. This is through assessing the main components from your application:
- Personal Statement (admission tutors will identify your motivation, passion, suitability and evidence of interest).
- Admissions Tests (used to explore your potential to achieve in an academically demanding undergraduate degree course).
- Other parts of your UCAS application including the Letter of Recommendation and References.
It might sound obvious, but only those who are shortlisted get an Interview, there are no exceptions to this.
When and How Do I Find Out?
Oxbridge Interviews are held in December, although some Oxbridge applicants may be invited back in January for a second round of Interviews at another college. There are usually multiple Interviews on the same day, usually with different interviewers. As Oxbridge Interviews run from December into January, it is crucial that you keep the weeks free from any commitments, just in case. You will find out if you need to be interviewed in January after the decisions are out.
You will normally be given 2 weeks’ notice before your Interview – so you will hear back by late November, but it is useful to begin preparing for the Interview before you’re officially invited to give you as much preparation time as possible. Some students are sent invites with just one week’s notice, so for Oxford applicants, it may be worth reading their provisional timetable here.
Interview invites are sent via email or letter so don’t spend your time refreshing UCAS every day in November. Your invitation will likely come from the college you applied to but if you submitted an open application, the letter or email will be sent from the college you have now been allocated to.
Make sure you are aware of any at-Interview Assessments. Cambridge has a list of all at-Interview Assessments for each subject here. For Oxford, read through the relevant course page to see if you will need to sit a pre-Interview Assessment.
International Interview Dates
Cambridge state that Interviews by the International Interviews Team generally happens in October and November. Interviews by the Colleges take place in December. For Oxford, the dates have not been posted so it is worth getting in touch with their Admissions Office to see when they are.
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Where Will The Oxbridge Interviews Take Place?
The Interviews will usually take place at the college you applied to but currently they are all online.
Oxford Online Interviews
Oxford use Microsoft Teams for their online Interviews, so make sure you have all systems in place so the Interview runs smoothly, such as having the necessary technology. Find out what sort of technology you’ll need (the list is found on Oxford’s Website) a few weeks prior to the Interview and check to see if your school can provide you with it.
Cambridge Online Interviews
Cambridge online Interviews are very similar but the University tends to use either Zoom or Whereby. Both Oxbridge Universities will provide you with all the information you need on how the Interview will run and what you need to do on the day, including how to join the online Interviews.
Oxford applicants may have additional Interviews at another college than the one they applied to. Do not read too much into this. It is neither a good nor a bad sign, and it does not always mean that you were unsuccessful in your Interviews at the first college. Cambridge applicants may get ‘pooled’ (be required to have another set of Interviews in January at a different college).
Aside from the pandemic, if you are travelling from far away, most Oxbridge colleges provide free accommodation and food, if you need to arrive the night before your Interview.
Never sit back and wait for your Interview invitation. Early preparation is the proven way to score highly in your Oxbridge Interviews.
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