University of Oxford
University of Oxford header

Diverse backgrounds

Please let us know whether you think your university does enough to attract and cater for students from a diverse range of backgrounds?

2016

"The entry requirements are such that they take pupils on merit. However, it is often richer people who have better schooling, grades etc. Not really Oxford's fault."
"The diversity is currently probably lower than similar universities but there is a huge push on improving this. Each college is assigned an area of the country to target with access and outreach and will generally have multiple events every week (which students can get involved in) to this aim. There's a big push on making students from different backgrounds aware of the option of higher education as a whole, and finding the right thing for them, rather than pushing Oxford alone on to them."
"I did go to a summer school called UNIQ in year 12, which the university ran to encourage people from a wider variety of backgrounds (such as working-class) to apply to Oxford. There did seem to be a fair amount of people from private schools at this summer school though, so I'm not sure how well that worked. In regards to catering for students from a diverse range of backgrounds, I'm not sure I can really judge this very well as I'm white and from a relatively middle-class background."
"This is a big debate, one which Oxford is highly aware of. Part of the problem is that people who need to be better represented are discouraged from applying precisely because of this image. My advice is APPLY! Oxford does take people based on merit, and does understand circumstance. Don't be put off by Oxford's public school reputation, it exists, but it's no more than a strand."
"It's definitely improving, but the diversity problem for Oxford exists far lower down, at the level of the private schools. So it's hard to imagine how much they can really do. They need to accept more people from low economic backgrounds and state schools (excluding grammar schools), which I don't think they do enough of at the moment. The actual university doesn't do enough to dispel the myths about Oxford in terms of workload and student life."
"Does a lot of really good outreach work. However, the systemic disadvantages faced by students from non-wealthy non-white backgrounds mean that diversity isn't that high. There are lots of groups who promote diversity in the university though."
"It does offer a lot ranging from food choices, different activities and societies offering music and dance from other cultures, and book collections in the libraries."
"Oxford does have a problem with access and much needs to be done. Colleges run access and outreach events (eg subject study days in Oxford) and send students to deliver talks and sessions in state schools across the UK, but I'm not sure if this is enough. At the same time, the negative media coverage really doesn't help and detracts from ongoing efforts to encourage applications from low-income and minority students."
"It is something that Oxford is working on, with each college having an outreach region alongside the university roadshows and access events."
"More diverse than I expected, but it still feels like there is a disproportionate number of private school students, particularly from the highest achieving schools like Eton. Most colleges undertake access work inviting schools from all over to the university to experience life here and encourage them to apply despite their background, so I think it is improving."


Teachers and parents

Planning to discuss careers or university with teenagers? Get up to speed on their options and employability prospects with our help.

Explore options

Sign up for careers alerts and access to our careers publications

Sign up Sign in