Teachers' e-guide

Supporting your Oxford Candidates

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How will my student know if he/she has been shortlisted for interview?

Many excellent candidates apply each year, and most of them have a good personal statement, a glowing reference and top predicted grades. With many applications for each place at Oxford, it just isn’t possible to interview everyone. Tutors review each UCAS application, along with any admissions tests or written work required for the subject, and then decide on a shortlist of candidates who will be invited to interview. We interview those who we believe have the greatest academic potential to succeed at Oxford.

For some courses, over 90% of candidates are shortlisted for interview. In other subjects, particularly those that are most heavily oversubscribed, a smaller proportion of candidates will be shortlisted – in some cases less than 50%.

Broadly speaking, we interview approximately three candidates per place for each course. You can find the short listing statistics and overall success rates for each course in the undergraduate prospectus.

Sadly, this does mean that some candidates will be disappointed, as their applications will not be considered beyond the shortlisting stage. However, it also means that those candidates who have been identified as having the strongest ability and potential may have more than one interview at their first college, and increasingly at more than one college. If your candidate is unsuccessful, it is possible to request feedback, but this is not available until January.

Towards the end of November your student will receive an email or a letter indicating whether or not they have been invited for interview. If they have been invited, the letter or email will include practical details of the interview and further information.

If students holding a passport from the European Economic Area are shortlisted and invited to interview in December, they must attend the interview in Oxford if they would like their application to be considered. 

Students holding a passport from a country outside the European Economic Area will be given the option to come to Oxford for interview. We understand that students from other parts of the world may not be able to travel to interview at short notice, or may experience difficulties in obtaining a visitor visa (if required). Further information on interview arrangements for international applicants can be found here.

All shortlisted applicants for Medicine and Fine Art will be invited to come to Oxford for an interview in December. If they are shortlisted, they must attend this interview in Oxford if they would like their application to be considered.

Please note that your student will probably be interviewed at the college to which they applied, or the college to which they were allocated, if they made an open application. However, in some cases the application may be referred to another college. This can happen if a college is significantly oversubscribed for the particular subject that year, and will be made clear in the letter inviting the student to interview. This is not in any way an indication that we consider them a weaker candidate.

In some subjects all shortlisted candidates will automatically be scheduled to have an interview at a second college prior to their arrival in Oxford. For other subjects, they may be offered the opportunity to have interviews at a second or even a third college.

Please reassure students that if they are called for a second or third interview, this does not necessarily mean that they will not be offered a place at the first college, it just means that those additional colleges will also be considering them.