Applying to Oxford can seem to be a confusing process at the best of times, but applying when you identify with having a disability or long-term health condition brings even more things that you might consider when studying. At the same time, there are many provisions for students with disabilities and other resources within Oxford, college and the university environment that may aid you when making decisions about applying.
In this article, I will discuss things that you may want to consider and other provisions for helping you at Oxford University if you decide to apply. Of course, experiences differ and this is not an exhaustive list of all the resources. Some of these resources may be more relevant to some conditions than others and with may be relevant to students dealing physical, sensory, cognitive, mental and developmental disabilities, as well as those with chronic illnesses, mental health issues and specific learning difficulties.
If you choose to declare a disability or health condition on your application, or even once you have arrived in Oxford, it will not be looked at as a factor affecting you being admitted, but rather to make sure reasonable adjustments are made during interviews or your time at university if you get an offer. Even then, nobody will be told (such as tutors) without your consent. Disclosing can give you access to specialist support such as assistive technology, mentors, exam arrangements, and extended library loans.
Quite honestly, some colleges have better provisions for some disabilities than others. Some colleges with small and old, listed sites may not have step-free options for certain parts of the college (particularly not ideal if it’s the library or the hall), or hearing loops in certain spaces, or clear directions of accessibility information. While there is a lot of campaigning to make colleges accountable for improving, this is something that is taking time. To find out about disability provisions in a college, try contacting the individual colleges you are interested in and see if you can ask the disability coordinator or JCR/MCR disabilities rep. Another option would be to contact the DAS or Oxford Students’ Disability Community (OSDC) and see if they can find out information for you.
More on University disability provisions later in the week.