The University of Oxford is a very prestigious university, and it has been ranked as the best in the world for multiple years. For this reason, Oxford University is a ‘dream’ university for many students. Some students have no interest in going to Oxford, which is totally fine! However, when students apply for a place at university through UCAS Clearing, they may decide that they would like to study at the University of Oxford. Is this possible through Clearing?
You cannot receive a place from the University of Oxford through UCAS Clearing, UCAS Extra, or UCAS Adjustment. Oxford University states on their website that they “[do] not participate in UCAS Clearing”. This is also the case for the University of Cambridge. The reason for this is that Oxbridge universities are heavily oversubscribed (with Oxford receiving almost 24,000 undergraduate applications in 2022), so by Results Day, all of their spaces are filled.
This article will explain what UCAS Clearing, Extra, and Adjustment are, as well as whether University of Oxford participates in any of these. Keep reading to find out more!
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What is UCAS Clearing?
According to the UCAS website, linked here, “Clearing is how universities and colleges fill any places they still have on their courses.”
As a student, you can apply for a university course through Clearing if you apply after 30th June, you didn’t receive any offers or any offers you wanted to accept, you didn’t meet your offer conditions, or you declined your firm place.
Through Clearing, you can search for a course, and then contact universities or colleges you’re interested in and ask if they would accept you. For a full guide to UCAS Clearing, check out this Think Student article.
The Evening Standard reported in this article that more than 50,000 students find their places through UCAS Clearing each year!
What is UCAS Extra?
UCAS Extra is a service for students who included all five choices on their UCAS application, and have received decisions from all of them – however, students can only use Extra if none of their choices offered them a place or they declined all the offers they received.
UCAS Extra is similar to UCAS Clearing in that it allows students to apply to a course at a university with vacancies. With UCAS Extra you are able to have extra choices on top of your original 5 choices.
What is UCAS Adjustment?
UCAS Adjustment is quite different from both Clearing and UCAS Extra. As of the 2022 entry cycle, this service no longer exists – but it is often one of the post-Results Day services people ask about, so some information is included here.
As stated on the UCAS website, “Adjustment is an optional service for students who meet and exceed the conditions of their firm choice. It gives them an opportunity to reconsider where and what to study, without losing their secured place.”
Essentially, UCAS Adjustment was a service for students who did better than they expected when they received their results on Results Day.
If you accepted a firm offer from a university you didn’t particularly want, because you thought you wouldn’t be able to get the grades for your ideal university, you used to be able to use Adjustment to see if you can gain a place at your ideal university without losing your confirmed place.
The new system still allows you to do this – but there is not a separate Adjustment tool. Instead, you can use your higher grades to contact universities in Clearing.
Does Oxford University do UCAS Clearing?
Oxford University states on their website, linked here, that they do not participate in Clearing. This means that if you apply for a course and a university through Clearing, you will not be able to apply for a course at the University of Oxford.
The University of Oxford is one of the most prestigious and heavily oversubscribed universities in the world, so by the time Results Day arrives and all the offers have been confirmed, there are no more spaces for any students in Clearing.
The University of Oxford doesn’t participate in Clearing, not because they think students in Clearing aren’t good enough – it’s because there’s simply no space! Remember, your grades and which university you go to don’t define you.
Which universities participate in Clearing?
Most UK universities participate in Clearing. Universities will sign up to Clearing if they have vacant spaces on their courses, so which universities are available on Clearing may differ from year to year.
Even Russell Group universities, like for example Cardiff University, are available through Clearing.
However, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge do not sign up to Clearing at all. Similarly, heavily oversubscribed, competitive courses like Medicine, or Dentistry, will not always be available through Clearing.
Why doesn’t Oxford University do Clearing?
On their website, the University of Oxford states that “we routinely make more offers than there are places available, to ensure that all places are filled.” Additionally, as mentioned, the university is heavily oversubscribed for a limited number of places.
Both of these reasons mean that there are no free spaces by the time students have received their results, which is why Oxford University is not available on Clearing. You can read about this on this page of the Oxford University website.
This is also the case for the University of Cambridge.
Does Oxford University do UCAS Extra?
No, the University of Oxford does not participate in UCAS Extra.
Like Clearing, the University of Oxford will not take students who did not go through the application process, because Oxford is a highly competitive university.
However, the University of Oxford openly welcomes reapplicants, so if you don’t achieve a place in your first application, you can always reapply with your results.
Does Oxford University do UCAS Adjustment?
As mentioned, UCAS Adjustment is no longer offered by UCAS – so obviously, Oxford University can’t participate!
Even when the service was running, Oxford did not use UCAS Adjustment. In an interview with The Guardian, linked here, a spokesperson for the University of Oxford stated that Oxford University does not accept students through UCAS Adjustment.
They gave the reason that the university “wouldn’t make offers to students who hadn’t been through the full application and admissions process.” As the entry requirements and application process for the University of Oxford are very rigorous and sometimes quite stressful, Oxford only accepts students who have been through this process.
Overall, Oxford does not accept any students from any of UCAS’ post-Results Day services, as they have no extra spaces by this point.
What is an open offer for Oxford University?
Although Oxford University does not participate in any of the post-Results Day UCAS services, Oxford does offer “conditional open offers”.
Both Oxbridge universities (the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge) are divided down into colleges, unlike most UK universities which are one central campus. Because of this, when students receive an offer from either of these universities, it’s for a specific college within the university.
However, Oxbridge do give out “open offers”, which means that you have a place at university but not associated with a specific college. You will be allocated your college after getting your results.
Since Oxford colleges are oversubscribed as well as the university itself, it means that students don’t lose out on a place just because they applied to a specific college.
You can read more about open offers on this page of the University of Oxford website.