Here are some frequently asked questions that are specific to Malaysians. If you still have any questions or concerns about applying to Oxford, please contact Chen Huang Loong, our Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be more than happy to answer them, or point you in the direction of someone who can.
- Do I necessarily need to apply to Oxford through UCAS? Can I apply to the University or my specific college of choice directly?
- Should I fly to Oxford for an interview or do it over Skype? How will either affect my chances?
- Malaysians seem to stand a better chance of getting into Cambridge than Oxford. Is this true?
- Where can I find scholarships to fund my studies?
- I’ve just completed my SPM or equivalent. What pre-university course should I do? Will doing it in Malaysia or abroad make a difference?
1. Do I necessarily need to apply to Oxford through UCAS? Can I apply to the University or my specific college of choice directly?
As far as undergraduate entrance in concerned, the only way to apply for Oxford/Cambridge is through the UCAS portal. Neither the constituent colleges nor the departments accept direct applications to their office. This applies even for portfolio-based subjects such as Music and Fine Art.
2. Should I fly to Oxford for an interview or do it over Skype? How will either affect my chances?
In our opinion (as well as in the opinion of the admissions tutors of the University), it is not necessary to fly to Oxford just for the admissions interview. While flying to Oxford will allow you to experience life in an Oxford college and get a glimpse into how tutorials may work in the future, the admissions tutors believe that these benefits are far outweighed by the potential downsides that may come about -- jet-lag, fatigue, and the lack of a familiar environment are among the factors noted to bog students down in terms of interview performance. A Skype interview will in no way reduce your chances of admission, and a significant portion of our current Malaysian Oxonians have been accepted with a Skype interview. All colleges in Oxford do accept Skype interviews, other than Medicine which requires the interviewee to be present in Oxford.
3. Malaysians seem to stand a better chance of getting into Cambridge than Oxford. Is this true?
No. The simple fact is that more Malaysians choose to apply to Cambridge than Oxford, for whatever obscure reasons. In 2012, 176 Malaysians applied to Oxford, while a staggering 269 applied to Cambridge (for undergraduate study). In that year, Oxford accepted 20 while Cambridge accepted 31 students. If you do the math, that’s an acceptance rate of about 11% for both universities. Oxford began publishing admission statistics by country since 2009, and Cambridge followed soon after in 2011. With all the data available, Malaysians maintain a steady success rate of about 10% every year, so really, you stand an equal chance of getting into either!
4. Where can I find scholarships to fund my studies?
Your best bet for a full scholarship will always be with organisations from Malaysia. Some of the companies and organisations that sponsor our current members include, in no particular order, JPA (Public Service Department), Yayasan Khazanah, the Ministry of Education (MyBrainSc Scholarship), Shell, and Maxis. The University of Oxford also provides a list of scholarships available to international students here, although these are very limited and far less generous.
In 2013, the Club compiled a list of major scholarships awarded by Malaysian organizations which you can access here - however, please do note that the list is by no means an exhaustive one, and that some details in the list may already be outdated because the scholarships scene is a highly dynamic one that changes drastically from year to year.
5. I’ve just completed my SPM or equivalent. What pre-university course should I do? Will doing it in Malaysia or abroad make a difference?
Most of the Malaysian students here in Oxford have previously done either the A Levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB). The STPM is also accepted by Oxford, although this is a far less common choice. A quick note for students in Chinese Independent High Schools - the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) will not be sufficient for you to apply to Oxford. For a full list of accepted international qualifications, see here. There are a great many schools, both in Malaysia and abroad, that provide an excellent pre-university education, and you stand a good chance to be admitted into Oxford regardless of where you go. Most of the Malaysians here have never studied abroad prior to coming to Oxford.