The University of Oxford is one of the world’s most prestigious institutions – attracting some of the most exceptional candidates to apply. In fact, many Prime Ministers studied at Oxford.

For many, attending Oxford is something to strive for. However, not everyone that receives an offer from Oxford choose to accept their place. While this may seem crazy to many, not everyone accepts the offer.

Instead, they decide to attend another University. In this article, we look at where applicants that rejected Oxford ended up going.


In the UK, all Universities use the UCAS system, which provides a centralised location for all applicants to choose their Universities.

Applicants set a “firm” and “insurance” choice after receiving offers. The information and statistics used within article comes courtesy of a Freedom of Information request.

All students who received an offer were eligible to attend the University of Oxford. Any student who opted not to “firm” up Oxford as their first choice are considered to have rejected the University of Oxford for the purposes of this article.

The Universities

Ten Universities were listed. Of course, by far the most common alternative to Oxford was their “Oxbridge” counterparts – the University of Cambridge. This world famous University has seen some of the world’s finest academics pass through their doors.

  • University of Cambridge

Four of the ten are situated in London. These are very well-known universities, with some of them world-renowned:

  • Imperial College
  • London School of Economics (LSE)
  • University College London (UCL)
  • King’s College London

Then there are three northern Universities. These three are strong institutions, but normally serve as an insurance choice to Oxford. The northern contingent consists of:

  • Newcastle University
  • University of Leeds
  • Durham University

The final two University’s are made up of a Midlands-based institution and one on the south coast!

  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Exeter

The Takeaway

Choosing a University is a difficult decision to make. Many dream of attending the University of Oxford, but as this article shows, it isn’t for everyone.

Hopefully, in reflection, every person within these statistics were happy with their choice!