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ยป Making an Application

Making an Application

Library, Peck and the Radcliffe Camera. Photo: Ralph Williamson

The admissions process to the University of Oxford is uniform across all colleges, with college tutors in each subject making judgements and decisions based on a commonly agreed set of subject-specific criteria.

The tutors at Christ Church admit students solely on the basis of their academic abilities and potential, assessing achievement in the light of individual circumstances. We invest a great deal of time and effort into the selection of our students, and each applicant to Christ Church can expect his or her application to be considered very carefully.

We seek to admit the students who are best suited to the courses we offer and the way in which we teach them. Our tutors have to make very fine distinctions amongst many, very well-qualified applicants, which means they take into account all the information available to them. 

Your academic record and personal statement are important to us, as is the reference written by your teachers. Alongside evidence of a high level of achievement in examinations, we expect our candidates to have read widely around their subjects of interest, outside their school or college curriculum. You may also be required to submit written work or sit a written test for some subjects.

Although many of our successful candidates pursue interests outside their academic studies, extracurricular activities unrelated to your subject do not form part of our selection criteria or selection process. Specific details and requirements relating to the admissions process may change from time to time, so you are encouraged to check the University’s admissions web pages for the most up-to-date

Interviews at Christ Church

A distinctive feature of the Oxford application process is the interview. Although it may seem to be a daunting experience, it is the best way for our tutors to assess your suitability for your chosen course. We assess performance at interview alongside all the other information available to us, and thus the interview is just one part of the overall admissions process.

Typically, when applying to Christ Church, you can expect at least two interviews, each with at least two interviewers. Most subjects will ask you to stay in Oxford for two or three days, during which time you may have interviews at other colleges as well; in some subjects, this is automatic. This is in order to ensure that the top applicants to Oxford are awarded places at the University in their chosen course, irrespective of the college to which they have applied.

Interviews are not intended to intimidate or catch you out, but to challenge you in order to bring out your potential. We are keen to find out not just what you already know, but whether you have or are likely to develop the intellectual qualities needed to study your subject at university level.

The format and content of interviews varies from subject to subject, although they are all academic in focus, designed to mimic a tutorial. You may be asked questions related to your school or college work, or to a particular academic interest mentioned in your personal statement or raised by written work you may have submitted. You may be given something to read beforehand or something to examine in the interview, such as a poem, a newspaper article, a photograph, a legal statute, a tray of butterflies or shells, or a mathematical or technical problem. In all cases we are not looking for instant, ‘right’ answers, but rather for ideas that will provide the basis for a discussion. We are particularly interested in the way in which you approach our questions and formulate your responses. Each week at university you will be asked to grapple with new concepts, so seeing how you process and respond to unfamiliar ideas or materials gives us a good indication of how you will manage on the course. An Oxford interview is definitely not a rerun of University challenge. Do not expect quick-fire questions and points to be deducted for incorrect answers!

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