Frequently asked questions (or ask a question of your own here)

Prospective applicants, teachers and parents can register here. Students at Oxford and Cambridge interested in mentoring can register here.
We regularly confer with students and faculty representatives from both Oxford and Cambridge; however, we are fully independent of the universities. The Clydeside committee is a team of 13 Scottish Oxford undergraduates, while our mentor network consists of over 250 current and former students from both Oxford and Cambridge. Click here to find out more.
We've received generous donations from The Magdalen College Trust and the Junior Common Rooms (JCRs) of Brasenose, Keble, Pembroke and St. John's College at Oxford University. We are fully independent of our donors.
As an Oxford/Cambridge student you apply to SAAS for your tuition fee loan and living cost grant/loan - the same way you would if you were going to university in Scotland. You will receive the same amount for your living cost grant/loan which is decided by your family’s income as if you were going to any other university.

The crucial point is that while Oxford and Cambridge have tuition fees nothing is paid upfront. It is a pay as you earn system so you only start repaying it once you reach a high minimum income threshold. What’s more, whatever you haven’t paid back after 30 years after the end of your degree is wiped entirely. This guide from Money Saving Expert explains this well:

Oxford University and Cambridge University have generous funding schemes for additional funding for students from low-income families. Follow these links to find out more about the universities’ funding:

Furthermore, if you were to arrive at Oxbridge and find yourself in unexpected financial hardship, you will be eligible to apply for a Financial Hardship Grant. This is available at both universities, both offering up to £2000 in one year.

During your time at Oxford or Cambridge, you could be eligible for additional funding from travel grants, depending on your college and department.

We believe the best way to find out about fees, living costs and bursaries is to speak to the experts: Oxbridge students themselves. A mentor or member of our committee is always happy to discuss funding options with prospective applicants, teachers and parents.
We have compiled a bank or resources and links to other access schemes. Click here to access our Resources page.
We operate a strict GDPR compliant data protection policy and will never share your data with any third party organisation. You can request to have your data deleted by The Clydeside Project at any time after joining. Otherwise, any data we hold on you is automatically deleted 3 months following the conclusion of your Oxbridge application. Click here to read our Data Protection Policy.

Writing a personal statement

The personal statement is intended as a sort of ‘first impression’ to the admissions tutors of your suitability to study the course you have applied for. Your suitability is measured by two variables: (1) your academic ability and (2) how keen you are to study this particular course. For this reason, it is crucial to write your personal statement on (1) your academic achievements and (2) the research you conducted that confirmed your choice.

Academic achievements may be prizes or awards you have received, although we would strongly advise against listing your SQA grades. However, if you have a high number or straight A Band-1s (A1s) and are applying to Oxford it is advisable to make a brief reference to this. This is not necessary for Cambridge, as you are asked for your Bands in the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ).

Prior research on your course is likely to be articles, books or research journals you have read in addition to your schoolwork. For more vocational courses - such as Medicine - it may be helpful to include how this related to any work experience placements you have secured. It must be stressed, however, that work experience will not count for anything alone. The admissions tutors are much more concerned with your future academic potential than your past opportunities.
It’s important to remember that your personal statement is only one part of your whole application. You should give yourself enough time that you are able to go away and come back to it at a later day, but generally 3 drafts should be enough.
The limit is 4000 characters, which generally works out at around 700 words.

Sitting the admissions test

Most likely, yes. Look at these pages for more information on what test you will need to sit: Oxford and Cambridge.
Even though the admissions tests are technically aptitude tests which aim to establish how well you would cope at Oxbridge, it can be really useful to know what to expect when you come to sit the test, in terms of both timing and content. The tests for STEM subjects are mainly based on the A-level syllabus, so while you will have covered some topics at Higher / Advanced Higher, it’s essential to check what material you'll be expected to be familiar with.
Just like you would for any other exam. There are free past papers available online; most come with worked solutions too.
It is likely that your school is an Authorised Test Centre, so you can usually take the test there. If not, this page has information on all of the test centres which are local to you. You can also ask that your school registers as an Authorised Test Centre on this page.

The interview

Both Oxford and Cambridge are planning on conducting interviews remotely this year due to Covid-19. For further updates - see here (Cambridge), and here (Oxford).

Oxford: You will receive a letter or email saying whether or not you have been offered an interview, generally between mid-November and early December.

Cambridge: Emails inviting applicants to interview will be sent out between the 17th and 25th of November.
Generally speaking, the interview style at both of the universities is similar; the main difference is the structure of the interviewing system as a whole. Both universities use a ‘pooling’ system to reallocate some applicants to a different college from their original choice, in order to ensure that every student gets a fair chance at interviews.

At Oxford, you will be expected to stay for a few days; during this time, you might interview at more than one college. At Cambridge, you will only be interviewed by one college in December. However, you may be notified a couple of weeks later that you have been entered into the ‘winter pool’, which gives other colleges the opportunity to review your application and invite you for an interview in January.
It can be useful to bring down a copy of your personal statement - and any books which you have mentioned in it - and any written work which you submitted as part of your application, so that you can remind yourself of the kind of things which you might be asked about in the interview.
Don’t worry about what you wear – anything that you feel comfortable in is fine. You don’t need to be too formal eg. a suit, but most people do opt to wear something relatively smart. Your interview experience will differ depending on which course and college you apply to. The best way to find out what to expect from an interview is to speak to someone who has done it before themselves – an Oxbridge student.
At Oxford, meals and accommodation will be provided by the college for free for the whole time that you are being interviewed (most likely 3-4 days). At Cambridge, although you will only have an interview on one day, it is likely that they will be able to provide overnight accommodation at the college for students who live too far away to travel there and back within the day.
There are train stations in the centre of both Oxford and Cambridge which are walking distances from most colleges. Both universities offer financial support for those who fit certain criteria – follow these links for Oxford and Cambridge for more information on how to apply.
Any admissions tests for Oxford applications are sat before your interview. Some courses / colleges at Cambridge require you to sit an at-interview test; follow this link for further information.

The offer

You will receive an email or letter saying whether or not you have been offered a place by the end of January
Your Cambridge offer will depend on which course you have applied for. Any course which asks for A*AA at A-level usually equates to an offer of A1, A2, A2 at Advanced Higher. Those which ask for A*A*A at A-level will usually ask for A1, A1, A2 at Advanced Higher. Your college may make you an offer of AAA (i.e. A2, A2, A2), as has happened in the past with Scottish applicants for Natural Sciences and Law. Follow this link for more information on specific courses.
Generally, an Oxford offer will be AAB or AA at Advanced Higher. The offer may additionally stipulate any Highers you are studying: e.g. AA at Advanced Higher + A at Higher. This system is designed to accommodate offer-holders whose schools do not offer many Advanced Highers.
Your college will make the final decision regarding your place and there is often significant leeway here but it is essential that you make contact with them to appeal.

If you are a Scottish state school offer-holder we would advise that you contact us immediately if you know you have missed your offer (i.e. on SQA results day). We can then advise you on how you can make the best case to your college (Contact us).