Are you a creative thinker who questions the world around them? Do you have a passion for a subject? Do you want to gain an outstanding education in a progressive, open-minded college that celebrates diversity? This might be the place for you.

Before you apply, it's important to know that Oxford applications work a bit differently from other universities. You start in the same way using the UCAS system, but we have an earlier deadline - October 15 - and you have the option of nominating a college of your choice. You might also be asked to submit samples of schoolwork or sit an admissions test as part of your application. If you're shortlisted, we'll ask you to attend one or more interviews.

Interviews and tests can sound daunting, but there is plenty of information and help available. Below you can find out more about each step of applying.


Ilona Clayton
Ilona Clayton, Undergraduate (History & German)
I hadn't visited Somerville before I applied, but when I arrived for interviews I knew immediately that it was the right decision. I felt at home and I loved the relaxed atmosphere.
When can I apply?

You can apply before you've done your final school qualifications, or afterwards - we welcome applications from those taking a gap year. For some courses, you'll need to be studying specific subjects in order to qualify, and whatever you wish to study, you'll need an excellent academic record. If we make you an offer, this will either be conditional if you haven't yet sat your final school exams, or unconditional if you have.

Admissions Tests

So many people apply to Oxford that we can't interview everyone, and therefore most courses use some form of admissions test to help us decide who to interview. These range from written papers like the Thinking Skills Assessment, to submitting some examples of your work such as essays.

It's important not to worry about these too much. Our tests are deliberately structured so that they don't require special preparation and can demonstrate your raw potential, and there are plenty of past papers and other resources available on the University's admissions tests website to help you succeed on the day.

As the requirements vary from course to course, it's important to check what you need to do for your subject as soon as you can.

Don't forget to register for any admissions tests that you require! UCAS will not automatically enrol you when you apply to Oxford, so don't get caught out. To register, you need to let your school know which tests you need to sit before the October 15th deadline and they will enrol you.


If you are shortlisted after your admissions tests, we'll invite you to Somerville for one or more interviews. We'll put you up for free in college if interviews are happening in person, or arrange interviews on Teams if admissions are happening virtually (as they will be in December 2021).

Interviews have an infamous reputation, but you have no reason to worry. Our friendly and professional tutors will talk to you about areas of your subject or work through a problem or scenario with you. Generally, the interview will begin by giving you a short period of time to read through several problems, talking points, or short extracts of scholarship, before a discussion with two tutors on the problems or ideas. No special preparation or coaching is required - the focus is less on what you already know and more on how you handle new ideas.

Somerville participates in the university's annual Remote Interview Workshops, which are open to all state-school pupils applying to Oxford. These happen on Teams in November, before the interviews begin and include general interview advice as well as subject specific sessions, involving mock interviews and discussion of sample questions. The event is free. More information is sent out to eligible schools nearer the time.