This year Times Higher Education ranked Oxford and Cambridge as the best universities in the world, the first time in the publication’s history that it has ranked two UK institutions in first and second place.
Oxford has now led Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings for the second year in a row, while Cambridge has risen from fourth to second place. Asides from one other British university – Imperial College London in eighth position – the rest of the top ten is made up of American universities and one Swiss university.
Times Higher Education have been operating for almost five decades and their rankings are considered to be the most influential in the world. As well as providing a list of the top 1000 universities by their overall score, you can drill down into specific countries and subjects. Click here to visit the World University Rankings 2018 page.
It’s clear that Oxford and Cambridge provide an excellent educational experience to their students, and that a degree from these prestigious institutions is highly regarded by employers and postgraduate admissions tutors. But of course, gaining admission to one of these elite universities is highly competitive and academically demanding.
34% of successful A-level applicants to Oxford in 2016 had A* A* A* or above, while 26% had A* A* A and 22% had A* A A. Excellent grades are clearly a pre-requisite to admissions success. But even with the highest possible grades, the admissions process is still highly competitive, with a success rate of 43.6% for the 2220 triple A* applicants. This means that – even with the very best exam results – a well written personal statement, strong interview performance and success in the admissions tests are absolutely vital to guarantee an offer.
For international students, gaining a coveted place is even more competitive. The overall international student admissions success rate was 9% for Oxford and 12% for Cambridge. However, this varies by subject. Just 1.6% of the international students who applied for medicine at Oxford, and only 4.8% who applied for civil engineering, were successful. With this in mind, thoroughly understanding the admissions processes, knowing what Oxford and Cambridge are looking for and developing your interview, critical thinking, essay and personal statement writing skills could make all the difference between clinching a place at the world’s best universities and missing out.
Varsity Education’s summer and winter courses combine a choice of two subjects taught exclusively by Oxbridge academics with comprehensive admissions skills workshops and personalised advice. For more information about our programmes, click the links below:
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