Fight for Oxbridge place tougher than ever after applications surge
8th November 2019
Competition for places at Oxford and Cambridge will be more intense than ever this year as both universities had a record number of applications.
There were 20,155 applications to Cambridge, the first time the number has exceeded 20,000 — up 5.6 per cent on last year. Oxford has had 23,350 applications, up from 23,013 last year. The record totals come despite a dip in the number of people aged 17 and 18.
The odds against getting a place are high for everyone. The two universities admit about 3,000 undergraduates each a year. They also require applicants to sit a test in their chosen subject and, if successful, take part in a challenging interview.
Applications to study at medical schools have also risen by 6 per cent compared with last year. There were 23,710 applications to medical schools for courses that had an early deadline of October 15. Of those, 18,500 came from prospective doctors within Britain, an increase of 5 per cent. The rise in interest to become a doctor comes after five new medical schools opened their doors within the past year. These include schools at the universities of Sunderland, Lincoln and Edge Hill, in Ormskirk, Lancashire. Other long-established medical schools have increased the number of places available.
See also: University Advice
Teenagers shouldn't be lured into studying maths and science A-levels just for high-paying jobs, warns headmistress private girls' school
Government figures published this month show the potential earnings attached to different A-level subjects - with higher outcomes often attached to STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) courses than the humanities and languages.
But Suzie Longstaff, headmistress of girls-only Putney High School, said that A-levels in subjects such as maths and economics may be 'highly prized' in terms of pay, but questioned the worth of students doing a course they do not find enjoyable.
And she suggested that the traditional careers landscape is changing, and many young people are looking for more from their working life than the traditional graduate job.
Ms Longstaff told the PA news agency: 'What we do know is that the traditional careers landscape is changing and at the same time, young people are looking for something more from their career than the traditional milk round graduate position and may even have several careers in their lifetimes.
'The increased hybridisation of jobs means that every subject has its value and I have always said: 'Do what you enjoy as that will lead you towards a degree and career that is interesting and meaningful for you'.'