Oxford Beats Cambridge in Race to Win Applicants

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge has extended to student applications with Oxford University achieving over 2,400 more undergraduate entrance applications than Cambridge.

In total 19,124 applicants applied to study at Oxford compared to 16,719 wanting to get into Cambridge, this is despite Oxford having 300 fewer places available at 3,200.

Although some may describe the rivalry in applications small-minded, director of the UK's Higher Education Policy Institute Nick Hillman, describes how it actually helps ensure that the two universities continue to be world-class.

Jointly the two institutions saw a record number of applications with 35,843 prospective students applying for the 2016-17 academic year, up from the 34,799 who applied the year before.

Although it's not totally clear what caused the increase this year, it's hoped that the rise in numbers was partly to do with the renewed pressure on top universities in the UK to broaden access to students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as ethnic minorities.

The widening gap in applications between Oxford and Cambridge can partly be explained by a toughening in Cambridge's admission process whereby students need to have at least two A* for nearly half of the courses at the University.