How I decided between Oxford and Cambridge

It's a difficult one. 

Oxford and Cambridge are often just amalgamated into Oxbridge which often makes it difficult to know what separates them. If you have your sights on Oxbridge you have to make the choice. 

But how?

I initially had know idea as to how to go about answering that question. My younger sister suggested one day that Oxford must be better because it starts off the word 'Oxbridge'. Whilst I applauded her thought process, it's not quite as simple as that.

To try to find which you prefer these are some of things I would check off your list:

  • What are the courses like? 
    • Which has more of the things you'd be interested in?
    • Is one of them more challenging for you personally?
  • For some subjects it's useful to look at the breadth of the course e.g History and English- how far back can you study?
  • You absolutely must go and visit both places! I went just on a day in the summer holidays and then I went again for a proper open day
    • Be aware as well that the different colleges have different Open Days
  • Do you like the city or surrounding area?
  • Do you like the facilities both of the university and of the city
  • Cambridge is a smaller city then Oxford and the university and city are a lot more separate. You might prefer this, you might not
  • The landscape
  • How far away it is from home (although I wouldn't put too much stress on this point, at interviews there was a boy who'd travelled from Scotland over two days!)
  • You might want to consider the differing living costs although I found they were much of a muchness
    • Travel from home to uni
    • Living in or out and in what years
    • Travel expenses around the city (although both Oxford and Cambridge are known for having everything within easy walking or cycling distance)
Sometimes you might just know, straight away, without having to think too deeply about it. As cliched as it sounds I had a eureka moment quite quickly. It was the feel of Oxford that I loved. There was something about Cambridge that just wasn't... Oxford.

Also if you're still not sure don't force a decision, keep thinking it over, keep researching and absolutely make visits! They're both the top universities in the country and so often it's more about how you personally feel in that environment than anything else

P.S I've attached the current prospectus links so have a look!

                  Oxford prospectus                                        Cambridge prospectus


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