Oxford pulls in state students

December 20, 2002

Applications to Oxford University for 2002 entry rose by 16 per cent compared with last year, with applications from state school pupils growing by almost a quarter.

The number of state school pupils accepted also rose 6 per cent, against a 1 per cent increase for independent school students.

Overall, 11,097 students applied to Oxford last year and 3,393 were accepted. Of the acceptances, 54.3 per cent were from state schools, 45.7 per cent from independent schools.

But the success rate for applications from state school students fell from 35.8 per cent last year to 30.6 per. For independent school pupils, 35.9 per cent were accepted compared with 37.8 per cent last year.

A spokesperson for the university said: "State school pupils tend to apply for popular subjects such as economics and management, law and politics, philosophy and economics. Apart from medicine, they do not apply for the sciences in such numbers.

"Oxford prefers science students to have strong maths and often physics A levels and this isn't always possible for state school students."

Law had four times as many applications as places and 71 per cent of applications were from state schools compared with 29 per cent from independent schools.

Individual colleges, such as Brasenose, continued to attract few state school students - 40.2 per cent of applications to Brasenose were from state schools although the college accepted 49.2 per cent of its intake from state schools.

"Brasenose is strong in classics and again the subject mix of a college can affect its state-independent mix," a university spokesperson said.

It is possible to apply to Oxford University rather than to an individual college. While 1,233 chose to do this, only 13.1 per cent were successful, with some colleges taking as few as two students from this central pool and others taking as many as 170.

The university attributed some of its success at attracting state school pupils to its Oxford bursaries.

In June 2001, the university announced that bursaries of at least £2,000 would be available automatically to students on full-fee remission. In 2002, one in ten students was on a bursary.

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