Archives: FAQ | Varsity Education

Which flight should I book?

Once we confirm your place on the course, we’ll send you an information pack with full details of suggested arrival and departure times as well as our airport transfer times (from London Heathrow Airport only).

Of course, you’re also welcome to make your way to Cambridge or Oxford independently if you wish.


Are airport transfers included in the course fee?

Yes, airport transfers are complimentary on both arrival and departure days – from London Heathrow Airport only.

Please note: we’re sorry but we cannot provide transfers for other family members also visiting the UK.


What happens on arrival at Heathrow?

Varsity Education staff will be waiting (with a sign and a smile!) to meet and greet you in the arrivals hall. Then you’ll travel with us along with your fellow students on a private bus directly to the college.


What if I’m making my own way to the college?

A friendly member of staff from Varsity Education will be waiting to greet you at the Porter’s Lodge. You can arrive by train or car, depending on what you’ve arranged and agreed with your parents or guardians.

Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee any parking at or near the colleges.


What happens when I first arrive at the college?

Following registration, we’ll give you a welcome pack and show you to your room.

In the evening, you’ll be introduced to your fellow students and Varsity staff, and get to know everyone through a few fun and informal games and activities before and after dinner.

Most of all, we’ll make sure you feel happy, comfortable and ready to make the most of your course.


Where will I be staying?

In 2018, our two Cambridge programmes will be held in Clare College, located on the River Cam in central Cambridge. The Oxford programme will be held in the historic grounds of Somerville College, Oxford.

At both Oxford and Cambridge, you’ll be staying in purpose-built college accommodation alongside all other students and our welfare staff, where current undergraduates usually stay. Students are paired in same-sex twin rooms, on same-sex corridors. All accommodation features free WiFi and a study area for each student.

It may be possible to upgrade to a single room – please contact us if you would like a single room or would like more information on our accommodation.


Can I stay in the same room as my friend?

Yes, you can ask to stay in the same twin room as a friend of the same gender (once you’ve both have been accepted onto the programme).

In fact, we offer a discount to students who apply with a friend – so please contact us for more information.


Are boys and girls housed separately?

Boys and girls stay on separate floors from each other. In addition, students aren’t permitted to access the floor (or rooms) of the opposite sex.


What should I bring?

We’ll send you a full information pack prior to the course which includes a detailed list of essentials to pack. Bedding will be provided.

Meanwhile, you should definitely bring a laptop or portable device for class work and homework (Wi-Fi is available in the colleges and accommodation).


Are all meals included in the course fee?

All of our programmes include complimentary breakfast and dinner (a range of hot and cold options) in the college dining hall.

At lunchtime, students visit local eateries with their friends.


Do you cater for people with special dietary requirements?

Yes, we can cater for specific dietary requirements, including vegetarian, nut-free and halal options – so we simply ask you to provide details of your dietary needs before the course begins.


Are there laundry facilities available?

Yes, there are coin-operated laundry facilities available at all of our accommodation. You just need to provide your own detergent.


When & how do I apply?

Firstly, there’s NO application deadline – places are simply allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Applying is quick and easy. Candidates complete an online application form of personal details, academic background and a short personal statement. Then you need to pay a £500 non-refundable deposit (using a credit/debit card) to secure your place. This will obviously be fully refunded if your application proves unsuccessful.

We’ll contact you within two or three working days to schedule a short telephone/Skype interview.


How do I pay for the course?

Once we’ve confirmed your place on the course, you’ll receive the invoice for the outstanding fees.

We’ll provide the relevant details so you can easily make payment by bank transfer. The outstanding course fees must be received at least two months prior to the course start date.


What’s included in the course fee?

All tuition, accommodation and meals (except lunch) are included. It also covers private bus transfers from Heathrow and planned activities during your course.

Flights, travel insurance and any applicable visa fees are not included.


Do I need any specific qualifications?

No, there are no specific minimum academic requirements. We accept students from across the world and acknowledge your wide range of academic backgrounds.

However, our programmes are ideally suited to those of you with a real passion for learning; who are keen to develop your knowledge within an intensive academic environment.

To attend the course, you must be able to speak, read and write English fluently. English is the course language and we expect you to conduct your studies and socialise in English during your time here.


How old do I need to be?

Our courses are open to all students aged 15-18 years old. Unfortunately, we’re unable to accept students who fall outside this age range.


What subjects can I study?

Each student studies two core subjects – which means a unique opportunity for you to experience two potential Oxbridge degree courses.

For example, popular combinations include Law and International Relations, and Medicine and Biological Sciences. The full list of available subject combinations is here.


If I change my mind about my subject choices, is it possible to switch?

We want you to get the most from your experience so we’ll certainly try our best to accommodate any requests.

However, this won’t always be possible due to the popularity of certain subjects. So please think carefully before applying to avoid disappointment.


How can I gain an academic scholarship place?

As a not-for-profit organisation, we offer scholarships and bursaries for all of our programmes.

Our scholarship scheme is the largest offered by any independent Oxbridge preparatory course – it helps top-performing students from all over the world attend our programmes by offering a partial scholarship (covering between 20% and 50% of the full course fees).

Meanwhile, our bursary scheme is designed for students who do not have the financial means to attend one of our programmes. The bursary covers 100% of the fees, including tuition, accommodation and meals (excluding lunch). These are both highly competitive schemes – please visit here for more details on applying.


Is travel insurance necessary?

Yes, we strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance for the duration of the course. It’s also advisable to ensure your insurance covers last-minute cancellation in case of illness.

The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) entitles EU citizens to receive state provided medical care in the UK. Please bear in mind that EHIC is not an alternative to comprehensive travel insurance.


How much money should I bring?

Spending money varies from student to student but you should only need a small amount for lunch, snacks, souvenirs and gifts.

As lunch isn’t provided, we suggest you allow £5-£10 per day for this. Please arrive with some cash (pounds sterling) for the first few days.

Oxford and Cambridge both have many banks and ATMs to withdraw money.


Do I need a visa to travel to the UK?

You can check whether you require a visa at https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.

Please be aware that it is your responsibility to apply for appropriate travel documentation such as visas, if required.

Depending on the country, visa applications can take around 20 working days and be applied for up to three months before the course start date.

Those requiring a visa will probably need a standard visitor visa. You should not apply for a Tier 4 Student or Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa.

When your place has been confirmed and your course fees received, you’ll be issued with a registration letter. You may require this letter when applying for a UK visa.


What’s a typical day like?

After breakfast in Hall together, you’ll attend morning classes in both of your subjects (in small groups) before purchasing lunch at one of the many lovely cafes nearby.

Then you’ll have seminars/workshops to develop key university skills and develop academic curiosity (alongside weekly Oxbridge-style tutorials to deepen subject knowledge one-to-one).

Following a communal dinner, you can participate in some fun evening activities (from croquet to quiz nights!). Not to mention sports, cycle tours and museum visits – discover more here.


How many days will I spend studying?

Overall, you’ll spend 10 days in college and two days on full-day excursions.


Do I receive a certificate on completion of the course?

Absolutely! On the last day of your course, we’ll present your certificate at the graduation ceremony.

Not only will it include written feedback from your tutors to share with your school and family, it should prove an impressive addition to your curriculum vitae/résumé, too…