Oxford or Cambridge: Which One Should You Apply To?


30th October 2023

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Oxford and Cambridge are two of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom, and arguably the world. They both have a rich history, a long list of notable alumni, and a reputation for academic excellence. But when it comes to choosing between the two, how do you decide which one is right for you? In this post, we’ll explore some of the key differences between Oxford and Cambridge to help you make an informed decision.


Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, with a history dating back over 800 years. It’s located in the city of Oxford, about 60 miles northwest of London. Oxford is known for its rigorous academic programs, particularly in the humanities and sciences. Some of its most famous departments include English, History, and Physics.

Oxford uses a tutorial system, which means that students have regular one-on-one meetings with their professors to discuss their work and receive feedback. This system allows for a more personalised and in-depth learning experience.


Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, founded just a few decades after Oxford. It’s located in the city of Cambridge, about 50 miles north of London. Cambridge is renowned for its strengths in both the sciences and the humanities, with particularly strong programs in Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Engineering.

Cambridge uses a supervision system, which is similar to the tutorial system at Oxford. Students have regular meetings with their supervisors to discuss their work and receive guidance. However, Cambridge also places a greater emphasis on lectures and laboratory work, particularly in the sciences.

Oxford or Cambridge: The Key Differences

  • Location: One of the most significant differences between the two universities is their location. Oxford has a more rural setting, with plenty of green spaces and historic buildings. Cambridge, on the other hand, is a smaller city with a more compact campus and a picturesque river running through it.
  • Colleges: Both Oxford and Cambridge are made up of individual colleges, which are essentially mini-communities within the university. However, there are some differences in how the colleges are structured and how they operate. For example, some colleges at Cambridge are exclusively for postgraduate students, while all colleges at Oxford admit both undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  • Courses: While both universities offer a wide range of courses, there are some differences in how they are structured and taught. For example, Cambridge offers a more flexible course structure, allowing students to switch between courses in their first year. Oxford’s courses tend to be more specialised from the start.


Both Oxford and Cambridge are excellent universities, and you can’t go wrong with either choice. The best university for you will depend on your personal preferences, your academic interests, and your learning style. Take the time to research the courses, colleges, and facilities at both universities and consider visiting them to get a feel for the atmosphere and culture.

Applying to Oxford or Cambridge is a competitive process, and your personal statement is a crucial part of your application. It’s your chance to showcase your achievements, interests, and motivations for wanting to study at your chosen university. If you need help crafting a personal statement that stands out from the crowd, we can help. Simply place your order or contact us to give yourself the best chance of success.