Can You Apply to Oxford and Cambridge?


  1. Which is better, Oxford or Cambridge?
  2. Why can you not apply to both Cambridge and Oxford?
  3. Are Oxford and Cambridge the same?
  4. Is Oxford or Cambridge harder to get into?
  5. Is Oxford or Cambridge more prestigious?


When you’re looking for the next step in your child’s educational journey, you may be considering Oxford or Cambridge university. If so, you’ve probably got a lot of questions, ‘Can you apply to both Oxford and Cambridge?’ ‘What is the Oxbridge application process?’, ‘What percentage of applicants get through the Oxbridge admission process?’ And many more. Read on for our complete Oxbridge guide.👇university

Which is better, Oxford or Cambridge?


Oxford vs Cambridge is a long-standing rivalry, and that’s not just in the boat race! 🚣 It’s perhaps no surprise when you consider that both universities were founded over 800 years ago and used to be the only two universities in England! The short answer is that they are both competitive and to say which one is better is very hard to answer.🤔

According to the World University Rankings in 2021, there was a difference between Oxford and Cambridge. Oxford ranked 5th in the world while Cambridge ranked 7th. But, of course, there are other things which should be considered. It really comes down to a combination of what subject you want to study to where you’d prefer to live and all things in between!

It’s a good idea to go to an open day with your child so that they can decide for themselves. Oxford and Cambridge have totally different vibes. Here are some more comparisons that might help you guide your son or daughter:👇



·        Offers joint honours

·        Humanities courses considered slightly better, especially PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics)

·        Offers Art and Design (not at Cambridge)

·        Interviews around 20-40% of students

·        Fantastic resources such as the Bodleian Library

·        All colleges are all mixed-gender

·        City feel with lively nightlife


·        Doesn’t offer joint honours

·        Known for strong engineering and science courses (especially Natural Sciences)

·        Offers Architecture and Veterinary Medicine (not at Oxford)

·        Interviews around 80% of students

·        Footlights comedy group and Varsity newspaper

·        Two colleges are still women-only

·        Small-town feel


Why can you not apply to both Cambridge and Oxford?


One of the most frequently-asked questions is, ‘Can you apply to Oxford and Cambridge?’ 

The answer is simply, if you are applying to Oxford, you cannot apply to Cambridge and vice versa. This is due to the fact that every year both universities get inundated with applications. 

The rule of having to choose one or the other makes students really think about their future and what they want to do. Many parents get a private tutor to increase their child’s chances of success. If this is something you’d like to consider, why not book a trial lesson with one of our experienced GoStudent tutors?

Choosing just one of the prestigious universities also sends a message to Oxford and Cambridge that the students who have gone through the long Oxbridge application process really do want to be there.💪


Are Oxford and Cambridge the same?


No they aren’t, for some of the reasons in the table above.

Having said this, and despite their rivalry, Oxford and Cambridge do have many things in common.

  •       Prestigious
  •       Collegiate system structure 🏫
  •       Approximately 20,000 students
  •       8-week terms (other universities have 10-14-week terms)
  •       Same cost 💰 for undergraduate UK students £9,250 a year (Oxford generally costs more for international students but this depends on the course and you’ll need an overall IELTS score of 7 or equivalent for both universities)
  •       Personalised teaching in small groups
  •       Around 60 miles from London
  •       Only pay for accommodation during term-time 🏠
  •       Great business courses
  •       Strong rowing team!


Is Oxford or Cambridge harder to get into?


Oxbridge admission is notoriously difficult, even for a high-performing student 😰. Your chances of getting an offer are around 17%. In 2021, this broke down to 4,245 out of 22,788 for Cambridge and 3,932 out of 23,414 for Oxford. This means that in this academic year, your child would have had a slightly higher percentage of getting into Cambridge.

However, if you are called up for an interview, there is a difference between Oxford and Cambridge. One in three Oxford applicants will be successful whereas one in four Cambridge applicants will be successful.


Is Oxford or Cambridge more prestigious?


The rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge is well-known. But which do British people regard as the most prestigious? According to a YouGov survey, around 41% thought Oxford deserved this accolade, with Cambridge trailing at 23%.  

Whether or not your child is successful in the Oxbridge application process, one thing’s for sure. If they don’t apply, they will have 0% chance of going! Therefore, what’s the harm in applying? Even though they can’t apply to both Oxford and Cambridge, 17% is much higher than 0%. 👍If they have the ability, study effectively and are well-prepared for the process, they might just be one of the lucky few! If they aren’t, you can at least say they tried, and that’s much braver than not putting in an Oxbridge application at all!💪

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