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Which universities are the easiest to get into?

New UCAS data shows that some universities offer places to over 90% of those who apply – but less than a quarter of Oxford applicants get an offer.

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The fact that the application processes for some universities are more competitive than others is nothing new. Oxford and Cambridge are notoriously hard to get into, and the lower down you go in the uni league tables, the easier it gets – or so you might think.

We've crunched the numbers to reveal the percentage of students who receive an offer after applying to each university in the UK, proving once and for all which unis are the toughest nuts to crack.

Use the list and table below to see the offer rate for each uni – there are some surprises in there...

Heading to university soon? Check out our guide to surviving your time at uni.

Easiest UK universities to get into

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Based on the percentage of students who apply to each university and receive an offer, these are the easiest universities to get into:

  1. Aberystwyth University (96.1%)
  2. University College Birmingham (94.3%)
  3. University of Roehampton (93.9%)
  4. Bishop Grosseteste University (92.2%)
  5. University of Portsmouth (89.9%)
  6. York St John University (89.4%)
  7. Leeds Trinity University (89.0%)
  8. Nottingham Trent University (88.9%)
  9. Newman University, Birmingham (88.7%)
  10. University of Exeter (88.7%)
  11. St Mary's University, Twickenham (88.3%)
  12. University for the Creative Arts (88.2%)
  13. University of Sussex (88.0%)
  14. University of Lincoln (87.2%)
  15. University of Winchester (87.1%)
  16. Royal Holloway, University of London (86.5%)
  17. University of Kent (86.5%)
  18. Lancaster University (86.1%)
  19. Northumbria University (85.5%)
  20. Solent University (85.5%)

In total, four universities offer places to over 90% of applicants.

But what's most striking is the number of unis in this top 20 which also rank highly in the UK university league tables – in particular, Sussex and Lancaster. Both unis are no strangers to the top tier of the traditional university rankings, and with offer rates like these, they seem like a sensible choice for any applicant.

Worried about having enough money to make it through uni? Our guide to easy ways to make money quickly has everything you need.

Hardest UK universities to get into

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Once again based upon the percentage of offers made compared to the number of applications received, these are the hardest universities to get into in the UK:

  1. University of Oxford (21.8%)
  2. University of Cambridge (28.5%)
  3. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (35.2%)
  4. St George's, University of London (39.0%)
  5. University of the Arts London (41.9%)
  6. University of St Andrews (42.3%)
  7. Imperial College London (43.0%)
  8. The University of Edinburgh (43.8%)
  9. Leeds Arts University (46.7%)
  10. University of Dundee (48.8%)
  11. University of Strathclyde (48.9%)
  12. Arts University Bournemouth (52.1%)
  13. University College London (UCL) (52.3%)
  14. City, University of London (54.5%)
  15. Glasgow Caledonian University (54.5%)
  16. Edinburgh Napier University (55.8%)
  17. King's College London (56.1%)
  18. University of Glasgow (57.0%)
  19. University of the West of Scotland (57.0%)
  20. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (57.5%)

Something which definitely won't come as a surprise is the fact that Oxford and Cambridge have landed the top two spots for most difficult unis to get into – with Oxford offering places to less than a quarter of those who apply.

The average student who gets into Oxford has a whopping 205 UCAS points (roughly equivalent to two A*s and two As at A Level), while at Cambridge it's even higher at 212 points (roughly equivalent to three A*s and an A) – so clearly they're going for the best of the best.

However, it may reassure you to know that beyond Oxbridge, some of the very best unis in the UK are offering places to almost half of their applicants. The University of Edinburgh has an acceptance rate of 43.8%, while Imperial College London's figure stands at 43.0% – so if you think you can get the grades, it's worth applying!

More traditional league tables are worth looking at too – has your uni made it into the UK's top 10 this year?

University offer rates

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Of course, offer rates will also be hugely affected by the popularity of a university – the more popular it is, the more applications it'll receive, making places more competitive and offer rates lower. It's not all about great A Level grades and entry requirements.

In some cases, offer rates are low because universities have limited number of places or cater to a niche subject area. This is likely to be the case with the University of the Arts London and Leeds Arts University (two of only a few specialist arts universities in the UK), as well as St George's, University of London, which is exclusively a medical school.

But some of the best and most prestigious universities in the UK have higher offer rates than you'd expect – Durham and Warwick offer places to over 70% of those who apply, while Exeter offers places to 88.7% of applicants.

Taking all universities into consideration, the average offer rate is 72.53% – but use the table below to see how each university compares.

This data shows the offer rates for undergraduate applications across all age groups (not just 18-year-olds) to start in September 2019.

Full list of UK university offer rates

RankUniversityOffer rate
1University of Oxford21.8%
2University of Cambridge28.5%
3London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)35.2%
4St George's, University of London39.0%
5University of the Arts London41.9%
6University of St Andrews42.3%
7Imperial College London43.0%
8The University of Edinburgh43.8%
9Leeds Arts University46.7%
10University of Dundee48.8%
11University of Strathclyde48.9%
12Arts University Bournemouth52.1%
13UCL (University College London)52.3%
14City, University of London54.5%
14Glasgow Caledonian University54.5%
16Edinburgh Napier University55.8%
17King's College London56.1%
18University of Glasgow57.0%
18University of the West of Scotland57.0%
20Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh57.5%
21Ravensbourne University London58.1%
22University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)58.8%
23Anglia Ruskin University60.0%
24University of West London61.6%
25University of Manchester61.9%
26University of Bolton62.5%
27University of Stirling63.2%
28Plymouth College of Art63.3%
29Birmingham City University63.8%
30Falmouth University64.1%
31Queen Mary, University of London64.3%
32University of Greenwich64.7%
33University of Leeds64.9%
34Middlesex University65.5%
35Goldsmiths, University of London66.1%
36University of Surrey66.5%
37London South Bank University67.4%
38University of Southampton68.0%
39Norwich University of the Arts68.9%
40Manchester Metropolitan University69.6%
41University of Bristol69.8%
41Robert Gordon University69.8%
43University of Central Lancashire70.7%
44University of Aberdeen70.8%
45University of Warwick70.9%
46University of Hertfordshire71.2%
47University of East London71.4%
48Wrexham Glyndŵr University71.6%
49University of Essex71.7%
50Harper Adams University71.8%
51Edge Hill University72.2%
52Queens University Belfast72.3%
52University of Sunderland72.3%
54Teesside University72.4%
55Cardiff University72.5%
55Kingston University72.5%
57University of Brighton72.6%
58University of the West of England Bristol72.8%
58Coventry University72.8%
60University of Salford73.0%
61University of Birmingham73.2%
62University of South Wales73.3%
63Loughborough University73.5%
64University of Suffolk73.8%
65University of Nottingham74.2%
66University of Chichester74.8%
67University of Bath74.9%
68Sheffield Hallam University75.1%
69University of Leicester75.6%
70University of Chester75.8%
71Brunel University London76.2%
71University of Huddersfield76.2%
73University of Plymouth76.4%
74Durham University76.6%
75University of Northampton77.2%
76University of Liverpool77.8%
77University of Cumbria78.2%
78Leeds Beckett University78.6%
79Bournemouth University78.7%
79University of Sheffield78.7%
81University of Hull79.0%
81SOAS University of London79.0%
83Liverpool John Moores University79.1%
84Newcastle University79.2%
85University of Westminster, London79.6%
86University of Bedfordshire79.7%
86Oxford Brookes University79.7%
88Buckinghamshire New University80.0%
89Ulster University80.5%
90University of Derby80.7%
91University of Wales Trinity Saint David80.8%
92University of East Anglia80.9%
93Staffordshire University81.1%
93Swansea University81.1%
95University of Gloucestershire81.3%
96Bath Spa University81.5%
97University of York81.6%
98Heriot-Watt University81.8%
99Keele University82.2%
100University of Bradford82.3%
100De Montfort University82.3%
102Aston University82.5%
103London Metropolitan University83.6%
103University of Reading83.6%
105University of Wolverhampton83.7%
106University of Worcester84.2%
107Cardiff Metropolitan University84.4%
108Bangor University84.5%
108Canterbury Christ Church University84.5%
110Abertay University84.9%
111Plymouth Marjon University85.0%
112Liverpool Hope University85.2%
113Northumbria University Newcastle85.5%
113Solent University85.5%
115Lancaster University86.1%
116University of Kent86.5%
116Royal Holloway, University of London86.5%
118University of Winchester87.1%
119University of Lincoln87.2%
120University of Sussex88.0%
121University for the Creative Arts88.2%
122St Mary's University, Twickenham88.3%
123University of Exeter88.7%
123Newman University, Birmingham88.7%
125Nottingham Trent University88.9%
126Leeds Trinity University89.0%
127York St John University89.4%
128University of Portsmouth89.9%
129Bishop Grosseteste University92.2%
130University of Roehampton93.9%
131University College Birmingham94.3%
132Aberystwyth University96.1%

Going to university isn't all about the money, but we'd be lying if we said it wasn't a factor – so check out the graduate salary for your subject.


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