Oxbridge is an amalgamated name that is applied to Oxford and Cambridge Universities as well as the process of applying to them. As two of the world's most academic and revered institutions, their assessment process is understandably rigorous and specific to themselves.
Firstly, note that although applications are still made through UCAS the closing date for applications is in October, not January.
At Oxford, students can submit preferences for a college on their UCAS form or leave their college application open which means that a computer will allocate places. At Cambridge, students can either apply to a particular college or use the open application system. In both universities, all the colleges teach exactly the same content and are overseen by the university governing body.
Each college will not necessarily offer the same number of places for each degree or even teach certain subjects. Teaching is provided by the colleges 'in-house' and by the professors and tutors attached to each college.
Colleges have many variants: student age and college age, student sex, proximity to the rest of the campus, facilities, funding and architecture.
Once applications have been received by Oxford and Cambridge, all applicants are likely to be asked to submit either a transcript of recent work or enter some further information about themselves online.
Submissions are reviewed and invitations to attend an interview, which is held in early December, will be sent out in November.
Oxford interviews can be over two days, accommodation and meals are provided.
Cambridge interviews take place on the same day.
Successful candidates will receive confirmation of their offer in early January. Both the college and UCAS will make contact with details of the offer which will either be
Conditional- exams are still to be sat, so the offer is dependent on attaining certain grades.
Unconditional- exams have already been taken and the offer is based on known results.
For further information on Oxbridge entry read our Good Schools Guide commentary here.