The David Game Oxbridge Programme (DGOP)
Oxbridge are seeking students who will thrive in their unique teaching environment. Competition for places is high, with less than 20% of applicants securing a place. Typically, 46,000 applicants are chasing 8,000 places at Oxbridge. The application process for Oxbridge is rigorous and different in that applicants are likely to have to sit an admissions test, submit examples of their work and attend an interview. Moreover, the deadline for applications is significantly earlier (15th October) and therefore it is essential that students begin preparing in good time if their applications are to be competitive.
What are Oxbridge looking for?
Oxbridge want curious and highly driven students with a strong academic profile who will rise to the intellectual challenge. Most students applying to Oxbridge will have 7+ GCSEs at grade A and above. They will also require excellent A level grades (Oxford usually expect a minimum AAA for Arts and A* AA for STEM, Cambridge usually A*AA for Arts and A*A*A for STEM). However, exam grades only form part of the application.
‘Teachability’ and ‘fit’ Oxbridge teach in a very intense way. Terms are only 8 weeks long and the average Oxbridge student devotes 46 hours per week to academic study (and for that reason part time jobs are banned in term time). The notion of ‘teachability’ is the quality of being able to be taught in the Oxbridge system. Not every ‘bright’ student can do that, and that is why students need to possess more just excellent GCSE/ A Level grades. Oxbridge want to know that the applicant can be taught their way.
What does a student have to do to make a competitive application to Oxbridge?
The David Game Oxbridge Programme commences in the autumn term of year 12 and supports and prepares students at every stage of the application process. It includes the following:
Preliminary Talk and meetings in year 12: The Head of UCAS gives a talk at the beginning of the autumn term and meets with all students who have expressed an interest in applying to Oxbridge, determining their suitability.
Direction for ‘super-curricular’ activities: Oxbridge want to see evidence of wider reading and extra work on and beyond the subject syllabus. Super-curricular activities demonstrate subject interest, show the student can work independently and ultimately broaden subject knowledge. We enable, encourage and support super-curricular activities such as participation in essay competitions, Science Olympiads, Ted Talks, Oxbridge Engagement Days, Podcasts, BBC iwonder and engaging in university reading lists which can often provide a discussion point at interview when referenced in the personal statement.
Progress meetings: Students engage in multiple progress meetings throughout the year and during the summer to check they are moving forward with their applications.
Personal Statement workshops: Oxbridge want honest and authentic personal statements with at least 80% academic content. It should detail the interest in the course, relevant subjects studied and super-curricular activities. Applicants are given support and guidance to help them write an articulate and convincing personal statement. They are provided with a personal statement guide, exemplars and detailed feedback on how to improve their drafts.
Admissions test workshops and training: Oxbridge use admissions tests to help differentiate between well-qualified candidates. Registering on time and engaging in adequate preparation is therefore essential. Applicants will explore resources and practise past papers.
Supplementary work advice meetings: Some applicants may be asked to submit written work to support their applications. Students will meet with subject tutors and the Head of UCAS to discuss and choose the most appropriate work to submit.
Mock interviews: Oxbridge are looking for students who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable in their chosen subject. Students should demonstrate the ability to think critically and analytically and show openness and flexibility of thought. Students will engage in multiple mock interviews with the Head of UCAS and members of the senior leadership team. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to join the debating club to enhance and develop their critical thinking and discussion skills.