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Oxford admissions interviews to stay online

The Admissions Committee (Part of the Conference of Colleges) has decided after a vote that future Oxford undergraduate interviews will remain online for the next five years. Interviews will follow the online model developed during the COVID pandemic, despite the University’s long-standing tradition of in-person interviewing.

After a lengthy consultation process, 24 colleges voted in favour of keeping interviews online for the next five years versus seven against. This decision comes as the University may also be moving admissions tests online following their new partnership Tata Consulting Services (TCS).

The decision to move interviews online was shared with some JCR and MCR presidents and students. Oriel students were informed in an email “future admissions rounds will be on-line”,  despite attempts made by both the students and members of the college’s administration to keep interviews in-person.

While responses to this are set to vary across colleges, Oriel has confirmed that it will attempt to offset any potentially negative impact on prospective and incoming students during the admissions process by maximising the opportunities available to visit the college “at other times during the year”.

Such concerns over the welfare and support available to offer-holders and prospective students have been echoed elsewhere, with students at St Hilda’s College voicing fears over the disparities that may emerge between students with different access requirements, stating that it was the equivalent of “kicking people out”. Without school access to computers or the resources necessary for online interviews, considerable concerns have been expressed over the move, although the University does offer equipment and technology to schools lacking.

In a statement to Cherwell, the University confirmed “The colleges of Oxford University have decided that forthcoming undergraduate admissions interviews will take place online. This follows extensive consultation carried out with stakeholders across the University and elsewhere, concerning the merits of both in person and online formats in admissions interviews, and the success of this format over the past three years. Oxford will continue to aim to deliver a consistent and high-quality experience for this part of the collegiate University’s application process. We are grateful to the many schools, colleges, parents and guardians who support their students for an Oxford interview”.

This article was updated at 10:45 on 21/05/2023 to include University comment.

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