Studying in Oxford as an International Student

Ever thought about studying in the UK? Thinking about applying to Oxbridge? When I applied to Oxford one of the things I would have found extremely helpful is an overview of all you need to know before, during, and after applying. I am Wiesje. I just finished my first year at Oxford and here I will tell you all you want to know. Because of course studying in the UK will practically be more complicated than staying close to home. But belief me, it is worth it!

Oxford, some facts:
33% of the students are internationals
17% of the undergraduates are internationals
Oxford houses students from 138 different countries

What and where?
Let’s start at the beginning: what course do you want to do and where? Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) are the universities in England ranked highest. They are currently number 3 and 6 on the World University Ranking. University College London (UCL) and Imperial College London closely follow them. If you are sure you want to try get into a certain place, but are not sure yet what course you want to apply for, just ask for a prospectus and mark all courses that seem interesting to you. When I did this, I ended up with about 12 potential courses, but you can only apply for one. Luckily I started doing this well before my penultimate year of High School, which gave me a good year and a halve to narrow down my selection to the course I’m studying now.

Start on time (about 2 years before you would like to start studying)

Your application
Applying to English universities is done through a website called UCAS ( This might seem complicated at first, but the site is very clear and has video instructions for every part of the application procedure.

Key features:

  • You can apply for Cambridge OR Oxford, but not for both
  • You can apply for up to 5 universities in the UK (just not both Cambridge and oxford)
  • The deadline for your application October 15.

If you see this deadline and don’t think “What? But that’s so early!” then read it again and tak our your diary. Because indeed, this means that your application needs to be completely finished just after the beginning of your last year of High School (If your academic year is similar to that in the EU/UK). I just cannot stress enough how important it is to start on time with arranging all the paperwork you need.

What you need before applying in UCAS:

  • CV
  • Personal Statement
  • Reference letter from a teacher
  • Your expected grades

Your personal statement has a maximum of 4000 characters, is of course written in English, and is the most important part of your application. In your personal statement you show who you are, why you have what it takes to excel in Oxford, and that you are passionate about the subject of the course. Take the time to write, rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite your personal statement until it’s perfect. Ask your English teacher, parents and friends to read it and give you feedback. There is a lot of information available on the web on how to write the perfect personal statement. See the links in the box for some good resources.

About personal statements

General tips:
For specific courses:
Modern Languages:

If you need help with your personal statement, click here.


Also, it is a good thing to get an internationally acknowledged certificate stating your English proficiency (IELTS/TOEFL/PTE/CAE/CPE). I sat a CAE exam in my penultimate year of High School, and an A in that exam is enough to be seen as proficient. Don’t worry if you did not get your A or did not start early enough to plan an exam before the application deadline. You can still apply for your course, but Oxford will probably ask you to sit an exam to test your proficiency. On the basis of this the university might advise you to take extra language classes during your course.

For some subjects, the university will ask you to sit one or two exams. For my course, PPL (Psychology, Philosophy & Linguistics), I sat two exams: the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) and the Modern Languages Admission Test (MLAT). These exams take place at the British Council in your country. Don’t worry too much about the exams, for they are not the only thing you will be selected on, but do take care to do the best you can. Practice papers and papers of previous years are online.

Once you’ve finished your application the waiting begins. Between 4 and 16 December interviews take place in Oxford, where the tutors decide who they deem worthy of becoming their pupils. If you live too far away to fly over, you can request a Skype interview. If you get an invitation for an interview you’ve already done a pretty amazing job, for only 20-60 percent of the applicants gets invited. If you’re coming to Oxford for your interview, don’t worry too much. The college that invited you will provide you with a room and meals. Friendly “student runners” will be running around, wearing brightly coloured t-shirts, ready to answer all your questions and take you to the right place at the right time. During the interview, just make sure you present yourself as the intelligent person you are and don’t hide your passion for the course. Think out loud so that the tutors can follow your line of thought. Most of the time, there are no wrong or right answers (or the question is way to hard to be solved without help), but the tutors just want to see how you think. Oh, and if you said you read a book in your personal statement, make sure you’ve read it before the interview.

If you need more help with preparing for your interview, click here.

And then…
On the 11th of January, Oxford will send out results. You will receive a letter/email from the college where you had your interview (or a different college, if you did wel enough in your interview, but the college did not have enough open spaces) that states whether you are accepted or rejected. Did you get an offer? Congratulations! Just make sure that if it is a conditional offer, you actually get the marks that Oxford asks for. Done that? Now enjoy your summer holiday and, if you can, start working your way down the reading list that your tutors will undoubtedly send you.

The academic year in Oxford consists of 3 terms each lasting 8 weeks and does not start until October. The academic year of 2016-2017 consists of Michaelmas term from the 9th of October till the 3rd of December, Hilary term from the 15th of January till the 11th of March and Trinity term from the 23rd of April till the 17th of June. You can come to your college in the week before term starts (noughth week), but between the terms you and all of your stuff will have to leave college. Almost all colleges provide storage rooms for international students to leave your stuff over the break.

So once you’ve been through all this and you’ve made it till the end: congratulations! Now prepare for three (or four) years of extremely hard work, interesting talks, never-ending streams of deadlines, lots of fun, all-nighters to finish your work, deep discussions with you floor-mates, playing croquet for the first time, and the general atmosphere of intelligent minds buzzing about. Enjoy!

We Are Here To Help

We have hundreds of tutors available right now to help you improve and succeed. From a one hour session online to a full academic
year of face to face lessons, all it takes is five minutes for us to take down your information. We can then find you the most suitable tutors.

Eyup Ozcan
Eyup Ozcan
14:43 24 Feb 20
In the beginning of university terms I was struggling with a few assignments (statistics and research methods specifically). I had contacted many tutoring companies but non of them were able to meet my requirements i.e. some of them were just looking to get their money, some had conditions of how many session you could book and some didn't have the necessary qualifications that were suited for my needs.I had then found Tavistock tutors, they put me through with one of their best statistical tutors they had. I got an email straight away from her and we started working on the assignment and in a few sessions, the assignment was all up to date and I was ready to submit it with great confidence.Tavistock tutors is an amazing company that is worth the investment, they provide you with top class tutors, continuous support outside your lessons as well as being able to match you up with the correct tutor. whenever I need a tutor, all I do is message them on WhatsApp with my requirements and in a day or two, they've found me a perfect tutor.So far I've had great success with tutors in the fields of statistics and research methods as well as medicine related. Really happy with the services I've been given, don't be put of by the membership price, its worth it ;).read more
Muna Ali
Muna Ali
11:48 29 Jan 20
Great service, friendly staff and prompt customer service. Highly qualified selection of tutors and decent price for security and piece of mind.
natalie kanfer
natalie kanfer
15:32 21 Jan 20
By far the best tutoring agency I have ever worked with!
Elena Serena Piccardi
Elena Serena Piccardi
11:26 19 Oct 19
I have been working with Tavistock Tutors for 3 years.I tutor undergraduate and postgraduate students disciplines such as research methods/advanced research methods, SPSS, data analysis, psychology and I also offer support to clients interested in pursuing an academic career (cv and interview preparation).My experience with Tavistock Tutors has been exceptionally good since the very beginning. Each member of the team is striving to provide the best and most personalised service to both students and tutors. This approach helps students achieve their goals and be inspired by tutors, whilst supporting tutors' growth and development of teaching/tutoring skills.Each member of the Tavistock Tutors team is exceptionally passionate about the incredible work they do to help students succeed. Their organisation is fantastic across all the stages of the process: from informing tutors about potential tutoring requests, to communicating any additional personalised requests students might have, to dealing with requests from tutors themselves. Further, their communication is always so friendly and positive: I love interacting with each of them! 😊Overall, I believe this is the finest tutoring agency in London (and probably beyond London!). The tutors are exceptionally talented and a true inspiration for students! As one of the tutors, I cannot be happier I made the decision to join the team a few years ago! They truly made me a better person and supported my personal growth as an individual and as an more
Melodie Argi
Melodie Argi
08:14 18 Oct 19
Tavistock tutors is by far the best tutor agency is London. The tutor selection is of the highest quality. Handpicked from the British intellectual elite in all sorts of disciplines. The staff is wonderfully helpful as well as being extremely attentive to more
Henry Smith
Henry Smith
22:27 17 Oct 19
I have been employed as a tutor with Tavistock Tutors for over 5 years. I tutor mathematics and also help people with job preparation for different career routes (cv, cover letter, interview preparation and online test prep). They are simply a wonderful team of individuals who work collectively and strive to deliver the best possible service to both clients and their tutors. They work doggedly to achieve results. They are particularly honest and their feedback to tutors on how to improve is tailored, concise and always highly constructive. Even after 5 yrs, they only put me forward as a tutor if they think I am the absolute best they can find otherwise they are honest with me and explain why I was not put forward. I think this transparency is a huge reason for their success and keeps the best tutors on their books for years. Their communication on what a client wants is also clinically precise and effective and the team go out of their way to provide potential interests/passions of the client to help the tutor prepare accordingly for the lessons and nurture that interaction. Simply the finest agency and I have tutored with some of the best. World-class tutors and utmost confidentiality with respect to their clientele. I cannot be happier to work for them, a dream job with a team whose capacity for kindness, empathy and boundless intellect never ceases to amaze me. Their work ethic inspires me to relentlessly push myself to be a better tutor with their encouragement and constructive more
Albert Tam
Albert Tam
20:50 17 Oct 19
Best tutors in London! Great experience and amazing customer service. Highly recommend, my tutors were all fantastic and a huge help. Really recommend Tavistock Tutors as I never had to worry about not getting the highest quality tutors unlike other agencies and online more
16:13 17 Oct 19
I’ve used Tavistock multiple times and they never disappoint!I used them for myself secondary school, whilst at university and even now whilst working. Their service is second to none as are their tutors.I highly recommend them to anyone looking to better themselves academically or more
13:22 06 Oct 19
Why most reviewers have one contribution, namely to the Tavistock Tutors?High standards ? Mate get a real job rather than living off other's qualifications.Reality Check(See photos attached - that is the owner “looking for me” 1.5 years after leaving London and while my name and photo was on first page of Tavistock Tutor website...)read more
Jonathan Aaron
Jonathan Aaron
16:39 01 Aug 19
Amazing experience, the tutor was reliable, knowledgeable and reasonably priced and the company was both professional and reliable. Definitely will be using them again!read more
David T
David T
16:34 01 Aug 19
I used Tavistock for some Corporate Finance and Financial Modelling training at my firm. They were extremely helpful and the trainer, Simon, was of top quality, experience and charged a fair price. Thank you!read more
Olivia Pluss
Olivia Pluss
11:05 13 Jun 19
I had a fantastic experience with my tutor Elena and Tavistock Tutors. They were very well organized and made the entire experience so seamless and easy for me. I passed my assignment with great marks and the experience was much less stressful than if I had tried to complete the assignment without Elena's more
J Mathews
J Mathews
11:27 22 May 19
My child used Glenda for HL biology. Glenda was outstanding. I would not hesitate to recommend her. Extremely intelligent, always prepared, knows how to teach/very helpful, and also just a nice person. Also, I would use Tavistock again for sure because we had such success with more
Alan Radford
Alan Radford
09:34 09 May 19
Tavistock Tutors were a delight to deal with, and highly professional at all times. They provided my daughter with an excellent tutor at very short notice - after my having approached them on a Thursday urgently requesting a tutor for that weekend. Tavistock Tutors immediately gave the matter their attention; they appreciated the urgency and responded quickly and efficiently, and helped to set my daughter up with exactly the right sort of tutor. Fantastic!read more
Sophie Taieb
Sophie Taieb
12:55 29 Mar 19
Very happy with Tavistock tutors services. They provide a wide range of tutors, from all backgrounds and for all types of needs. My uni son needed some help in research and methodology. We found a perfectly suited tutor in less than 3 days. He is very knowledgeable, punctual, open minded and brings the support needed to my son. I would definitely recommend Tavistock tutorsread more
Next Reviews

How to analyse form in an English essay (13+/GCSE/A-level)

Stuck on analysing form in literature? Tavistock Tutors are here to help…
Whether one is helping a student analyse a play or article, a proper consideration of form is crucial. Yet 'form' is a...

6 Reasons To Hire A Tutor For Your Child

Most children will come across several challenges with learning during their school journey. The desire of most parents is to boost their kids enthusiasm for learning, build educational self-esteem an...

How To Utilize Your Summer Holidays?

Holidays are the best period for many students as they are free from their daily school activities. You’ll never get such blissfully long holidays when you’re working — so make the most of them....

Call Now Button