Oxbridge- likelihood of getting college applied for?

(15 Posts)
gospa Mon 20-May-19 19:51:38

I know it is probably a ‘it depends’ answer but are there any pointers? Any difference between Oxford and Cambridge for example? Any statistics on the percentage that end up in their first choice college?

DS is going to apply to one or the other - we haven’t visited Oxford yet. The particular college set up is a consideration for him - he has ASD. He would much prefer a more modern college, and because of a restricted diet wants reasonable self catering options, rather than a college where you pay upfront for meals. The other thing that he wants is a college which provides accommodation for the whole course.

From what I understand an applicant doesn’t write anything about why they have a chosen a particular college in their application do they? Not that it would be much help if DS wrote he had a chosen a college because of great kitchen facilities!

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goodbyestranger Mon 20-May-19 20:23:10

None of my DC have ever been asked at interview why they chose their college either.

It's impossible to put a number on how likely an applicant is to get their college of choice because so much depends on course and the vagaries of applicant numbers in any given year.

As far as Oxford goes, the annual statistics do show which colleges tend to import/ retain more than others. It's probably fair to say that the stronger the application the more likely the first choice college is to hang onto that person but I don't think even that is an absolute.

I've no idea about Cambridge but because of the different nature of pooling there my amateur hunch is that an applicant is more likely to be placed in their college of choice.

Dancingdreamer Mon 20-May-19 21:51:31

The best way to assess your chances of getting into a college of your choice is to look at the application statistics which are available for both Oxford and Cambridge by college and course. Some colleges are massively oversubscribed for certain subjects so you can infer that your chances of being pooled may be higher than for a less popular college. However, college popularity can change from year to year or you may just be unlucky and come up against a particularly strong bunch of applicants for one college one year and then get pooled.

If your DC has specific needs based on a registered disability, I would discuss this with the University and the college. At Oxford there is a Disability Advisory Service where you can discuss the specific support your DC needs. I expect there will be a similar service at Cambridge.

gospa Mon 20-May-19 23:15:03

Thanks goodbye and dancing. I dug around and found the statistics produced by Oxford for 2017 admissions. It says that around a third of successful applicants were allocated a college other than the one they applied to.

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ErrolTheDragon Tue 21-May-19 01:31:39

The stats for Cambridge are here, including a graph generator which lets you drill into specifics quite well.


It looks to me like overall, about 20% of the offers were pool last year

AtiaoftheJulii Tue 21-May-19 07:37:50

It says that around a third of successful applicants were allocated a college other than the one they applied to.

There are more specific figures available, but as said above, they do change every year.

Best to just contact whichever college it is if he gets an offer and talk to them then. Every college will have a disabilities tutor (may be called something else).

My dd's college cooked a specific meal every night for a friend of hers on the autistic spectrum (he was eating the same thing for every dinner - don't know if he still does) as their self catering facilities aren't great. So arrangements can be made.

gospa Tue 21-May-19 08:27:14

Thanks Errol

Atiao - yes, I did find figures for individual Oxford colleges but I know they vary year on year. That is interesting about your DD’s ASD friend having a particular meal cooked for him - I hadn’t thought about meal provision from that angle. That is definitely something to explore as although DS can prepare himself meals, it would be an additional task, especially when living away from home for the first time.

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ErrolTheDragon Tue 21-May-19 08:38:06

Re accommodation for the whole course - afaik that's very much the norm at Cambridge, although some of it after the first year may be in houses owned or sublet from the college. DDs college didn't have quite enough rooms last year so she was in a house - it was good, with the advantages of a house (proper kitchen with oven and freezer!) but not the disadvantages (no having to deal with the landlord directly, utilities included and fixed rent regardless of the number of occupants.)

I don't believe I've heard of any college having 'great' kitchen facilities, it's probably more a matter of trying to avoid the more dire ones.

Ethelswith Tue 21-May-19 08:41:15

One thing to check, when a college says it offers accommodation throughout, is what sort of accommodation they include when asserting that.

Do they include satellite blocks? DIgs from a pool arranged/managed by the college?

Yes, choose a college for initial application that you expect would be a good fit. But if offered a different one, then go and talk to them. As offer holders, you'll be able to visit again and go into the nuts and bolts (catering, facilities, pastoral care etc) And find out what support can be offered, such as arrangements to live on-site throughout, or in one of the more modern buildings (less pretty, but often better facilities)

gospa Tue 21-May-19 09:09:00

I’ve just had fun playing with that graph generator Errol! Luckily DS would prefer a more modern college to a very old one in terms of living environment- so that does increase the chances of at least some reasonable kitchen facilities. The former women’s colleges generally have better kitchens. I hope that’s partly because they are generally on larger sites away from the centre!

Yes Ethelswith - I have had in mind that as long as the college had some suitable accommodation it would be a reasonable adjustment to allocate it to DS because of his ASD, even if,say, it was usually for third year students. But I’m balancing that against DS preferring to be with his ‘year group’ - he wants to fit in. So the most suitable colleges are those that have at least some suitable accommodation for each year of the course.

From my research so far it seems fewer Oxford colleges offer accommodation throughout the course.

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ErrolTheDragon Tue 21-May-19 09:25:01

The graph generator is quite fun - and (if you've not already figured this out) clicking on areas of the bar charts gives the actual numbers for the category represented.

DD is in one of the remaining women's colleges, and while its kitchens are reckoned to be better than at many of the older colleges, the ones in the first year block were very small, had a cooker and fridge but no freezer. (She came home with a craving for frozen peas!grin)

OhYouBadBadKitten Wed 22-May-19 21:57:02

I agree with others, talk to the disability officer. When students apply to cambridge they have an additional form to submit after they submit the ucas form, it's called the SAQ and on it they can put an additional personal statement. One question he could ask is if it would be appropriate to put information about why he has chosen that particular college on there.

bluerememberedhills Wed 22-May-19 22:36:36

To back up other posters - Ds had to apply to the disability section of SFE as well as Ucas. He also phoned the college admissions and asked to speak to the people who dealt with disabilities ( of all kinds) They were fabulous. I can only urge you to speak to any college admissions people and talk about your son's specific requirements - In my ( Ds's ) experience - they are fabulous and will be incredibly helpful

user1496959500 Wed 22-May-19 22:42:23

For Cambridge, modern up hill colleges like Girton and Fitz all have greater chance of being accepted directly rather than pooled as they get fewer applications but have reasonable accommodation.

gospa Fri 24-May-19 10:37:58

Thank you. Yes user Fitzwilliam is one the list of preferred colleges.

badkitten and blueremembered - can you tell me when DS notifies unis of his ASD? I think you can disclose it on the UCAS form? Then would it be appropriate to ring up the disability advisor of the college he’s applying to give details of his ASD? Or should that wait until/if he’s called to interview? Or not until/if he gets an offer?

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