Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) are world renowned institutions that barely need an introduction and it’s always the hot topic of what are the differences between oxford and Cambridge. They are universities that have lived in young individual’s dreams as well as continued to stay on the top of the global leaderboard in higher education. However they can be easily paired together and prospective students can be left wondering what the difference between Oxford and Cambridge really is, and whether they are universities that they should be applying to.
What prospective students need to know?
Strangely enough, students are not able to apply to both institutions in the same academic year or admissions round, meaning students need to decide which university they wish to apply to for that year. Also, both universities are world renowned for an array of subjects, from arts to science and STEMM subjects, therefore which institution a student chooses to apply to be an entirely personal decision. The undergraduate prospectus or website for the institution will have more information about which courses are on offer – even courses with similar titles could include different areas of study.
Teaching methods are composed of lecturers, classes and laboratory work if it is appropriate for their degree course. Students also benefit from personalised teaching with experts in their field; Oxford refers to the sessions as ‘tutorials’ whilst Cambridge ‘Supervisions’. Terms are short but hectic for students and the population is made up of individuals from all areas, ages and walks of life – but they do seem to share the same outlook.
The University of Oxford
Oxford has produced 48 Nobel Laureates, 60 heads of state and government and 26 British Prime ministers, as well as ex-president Bill Clinton, beloved author Dr. Seuss and the infamous J. R. R. Tolkien. Oxford is seen as bigger and livelier and slightly better known for its politics and humanities department.
The University of Cambridge
However, its friendly rival Cambridge has provided 89 Nobel Laureates – which is a world record), 40 heads of state and government, 14 British Prime Ministers, as well as providing a home for Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. Cambridge is found to be smaller and prettier than Oxford and thrives within science, engineering and STEMM courses.
Degree courses at Oxford and Cambridge
There are differences between Oxford and Cambridge in terms of courses – at Oxbridge tend to be quite academic and formal assessment is heavily reliant on examinations, and students may be required to prepare essays or work in advance of their personalised teaching time. As students are only able to choose one of the institutions throughout the application process it can be tough to pick between the two – but the only difference potential undergraduates will pick up on is within the pages of their prospectus’. The best way forward is for students to choose the course first and foremost.
The Oxbridge outlook
Both universities are proud to be committed to recruiting the brightest and most hard working students of all backgrounds – non-Eton college students are welcome. Oxford and Cambridge are also made up of individual colleges – a college will be the student’s home and where the majority of their teaching will take place for much of their time studying at university. Each college includes undergraduates and postgraduates studying a range of areas and schools. Students are able to apply for individual colleges, and may receive an offer from more than one in return, however, it is also possible to apply to the university through an open application if students wish not to choose an individual college.
How to apply to Oxford and Cambridge
Students wishing to apply to Oxford or Cambridge can do so via the UCAS online application system. However, Cambridge asks applicants to complete a Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) or Cambridge Online Preliminary Application (COPA) after their UCAS application. After this process, prospective students may need to attend a university interview and/or admission test. Contrary to beliefs about Oxbridge’s interview process – there are no weird tricks, mind games or riddles involved within this process. Usually students are asked to complete a task, or discussion so tutors can see how student’s think and act in new situations.
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