One in six applicants to Oxford and Cambridge University enlist the services of private company Oxbridge Applications.
The profit driven organisation sells Oxbridge admissions advice to applicants at prices ranging from £185 to £1500. Oxford Student newspaper Cherwell revealed that out of around 34,000 applicants, between 5000 and 6000 contact the company.
The company, which promises “a clear view of the Oxbridge admissions process,” offers services such Admissions Tests seminars, Private Consultations, Interview Preparations Days and an Interview and Test Weekend. Oxbridge Applications also states that out of those who opt for the Premier Service, which costs several thousand pounds, 53% of them are accepted in contrast to the 21% overall.
However, Andy McGowan (pictured above), Cambridge University Students’ Union Access Officer, told The Cambridge Student:
“By charging for information that both universities readily provide for free, profit-making companies such as Oxbridge Applications are preying on the hopes and fears of thousands of students keen to study at two of the world’s leading universities.
“By running ‘interview preparation’ days (and now weekends) and services which edit substantive parts of people’s personal statements, they are implying that there are secret things you need to know in order to get admitted to Cambridge or Oxford, something which is hugely damaging to access because it is just fundamentally untrue. It is not just about cost, it is about principle.”
He added “Cambridge is looking for academic potential and ability, not public speakers– admissions tutors can easily see those whose personal statements have been pretty much written for them or coached about what they ‘should’ say.
“Current undergraduates are brilliant at talking about life as a student and answering questions about student life, but this does not make them experts on the Oxbridge admissions process.”
Eleanor Dickinson – Deputy News Editor
Image – Mark Curtis