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The universities of Oxford and Cambridge are two of the leading universities in the UK and in the world. At the undergraduate level, candidates can only apply to one of the two universities. Both universities are comprised of individual colleges that students apply to and live in upon entry. As a result, young people should carefully consider which college they wish to attend in addition to whether they are better suited to Oxford or Cambridge.

Entry to Oxbridge is typically a two or three-tiered process. The Oxbridge application deadline is October 15th. This is three months before the deadline for other universities.

Candidates may be invited to take a subject-specific entrance test. Depending on an applicant’s prospective degree and college, this entrance exam is in the October-November period of the final year of secondary school or on the day of interview.

The interview stage is crucial for entry to Oxbridge. In Oxford, students typically stay overnight at their college whereas in Cambridge, the interview process is a daylong. Candidates coming from a distance would be advised to stay overnight at a nearby hotel.

“Pooling” is a common practice at both Oxford and Cambridge due to the collegiate system. It occurs when a college cannot offer a particular candidate a place but believes they should be considered elsewhere due to their outstanding grades, interview or entrance exam performance.

As students stay overnight during the interview process in Oxford, pooling usually happens during this time. As a result, a candidate may attend interviews at three colleges in Oxford over the same weekend.

In Cambridge, students are called for additional interviews, granted that other colleges have sufficient capacity to offer further places, in January.