Oxford is a truly beautiful city in the summertime and as the sun finally comes out and current MPP students depart for their Summer Projects, we are looking forward to welcoming a new class in a few short months. With our biggest ever incoming cohort and a stunning new building awaiting us, this is a pivotal time in the growth of the School. As someone who has only recently joined BSG it is a real privilege to be part of such a dynamic organisation during this exciting period.
Myself and Emily in the Admissions Team are hard at work ensuring our chosen candidates are able to join us in September as part of the MPP Class of 2015. As we work towards our first class of 120 students we are helping each candidate to pass the various milestones on the way to becoming an MPP student at BSG. Securing funding is a key concern and we are delighted that many of our incoming students have been awarded prestigious scholarships. Scholars will be joining us from a wide variety of schemes including Rhodes, Jardine-Oxford, Louis-Dreyfus Weidenfeld, Kwok, and Chevening. Thanks to these and other schemes, the best and brightest applicants will be able to study with us. We also really value the efforts that some prospective students put into their search for financial support – funding can come from a variety of different sources, and some students approach organisations and governments and secure help even if there is no set scholarship scheme.
Whilst securing funding is a major milestone for many, this is far from the final step in the admissions process. Students must also pass the academic conditions of their offer by sending us originals of their transcripts and providing a satisfactory English Language test score when required. Following this, they also need to sign their financial declaration form and return this to their college to satisfy the financial condition of their offer. Only then will their status switch to ‘unconditional’, allowing a University contract to be issued. Ensuring that students meet all their conditions by the corresponding deadlines is a major focus for us right now.
The process is the same for our DPhil candidates, who will make up the second intake of DPhil students at BSG. We have research students arriving from a range of different countries and backgrounds, maintaining our much-valued diversity even with a much smaller cohort.
Achieving an unconditional offer also allows us to begin issuing Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) numbers to students for their visa applications. As students will be joining us from all over the world this is another key milestone for our incoming class. We are only able to begin issuing CAS numbers three months before the start date of the course, which makes timings tight for some of our incoming students. The time which a visa application takes to process can vary wildly across countries and we are making students from the Middle East and North Africa region a priority as applications from some of these countries can take several months to be approved. The CAS number is a vital part of a student’s visa process and is the only part where BSG plays a direct role. The rest of the process is up to the student to complete, in consultation with the University of Oxford’s student immigration team should any issues arise.
Amidst all of the activity surrounding the incoming class we are also starting to look towards the next admissions cycle, which opens on September 1st for 2016 entry. If you have been considering applying please do get in touch with any questions you might have: we are always keen to hear from potential applicants and learn more about what has attracted you to the School. This time next year you could be one of the incoming class preparing to join us in our new home in Jericho, in the heart of Oxford. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter feed as we move into the new cycle and prepare to guide a new set of applicants through the admission process. The applicants whom we interact with are what make our jobs exciting and rewarding and we are already looking forward to getting to know a whole new applicant pool.