It Is THAT Time of the Year: Oxford Master’s/DPhil Application Decisions

By Nevena Skobic @nevenaskobic

Whilst saying goodbye to March, we have optimistically rolled our windows down, welcomed warm and sunny spring, and lured outside to get some fresh air. It seems like longer and sunny days have put smiles on people’s faces and made them temporarily forget about all their trepidations. Conversely, for the impatient Oxford master’s and DPhil applicants, March and April mean that they will finally find out whether they will be studying at Oxford University. In other words, they are amid the dreadful decisions period and need as much support as the prospective undergrads in January needed.


If you have been offered a place to study at the university, I would like to express the heartiest congratulations on your offer! You have worked diligently in the midst of the world pandemic to get to this point, and the hard work pays off indeed. If the offer is unconditional, you can finally relax, have some rest and celebrate with your friends and family (while being socially responsible, of course!). If it is a conditional one, I am sure it will bring about a massive motivational wave that will help you smash your final exams and receive your unconditional offer email. Whichever offer it is, you should be extremely proud of yourself!


However, I have to say that I am sorry for dedicating only one short passage to the offer-holders. I am asking for your understanding because I need to address those who have, unfortunately, been rejected.


If you have been rejected, I know that there are no comforting words that will make you feel better, but please remember that you should also be immensely proud of yourself for getting this far. Even thinking about applying to a world-class university and having that privilege is a validation of your hard work and sincere commitment; it is just that there are way too many applicants per place, so numerous amazing applicants have to be rejected.


Rejection is redirection. There is always an option of reapplying for the same course or completing your degree at other amazing unis and then applying for DPhil if you have been rejected from the master’s or applying for a postdoctoral position if your DPhil application has been unsuccessful. In the meantime, take your time to process your feelings and assess the available options. Everything happens for a reason and time heals everything, so I can assure you that, in a few years, you will be wondering why you were heartbroken so much. If you are still waiting or have been shortlisted, do not despair for you are still in the game. Whatever happens, you gave your best!


In the end, I would advise you all to watch this video made by an Oxford academic who has been rejected twice by both Oxford and Cambridge and then accepted to Oxford after the third attempt! If this is not inspiring, what is then?