Open offers are offers made to candidates where a place at Oxford University and a College is guaranteed should they fulfil the conditions of the offer. However, the specific College is decided in August once the examination results for all candidates are available and it is known which Colleges have vacancies.
The number of open offer places needed each year is decided by the Department and Colleges, assuming enough individual Colleges are prepared to underwrite places. Colleges which offer to underwrite a place but are not asked to do so by the Department are treated entirely equivalently to the other underwriting Colleges.
Each pool candidate is underwritten by one College. In the event that the candidate cannot be placed elsewhere, that College guarantees to take the candidate even if they have no vacancies.
The minimum offer for an open offer candidate is the departmentally recommended offer.
No College can accept a candidate who has failed their conditional offer until all the open offer candidates who have met their offers have been placed.
The order of priority for Colleges wishing to take a pool candidate is:
- The underwriting College, if it has an unfilled place;
- Any other underwriting College, if it has an unfilled place;
- Any other College, if it has an unfilled place;
- The underwriting College, as an additional place;
- Any other College, as an additional place.
If no College wants to take a pool candidate who has met their conditional offer, then the order of priority is:
- They must be offered a place by any underwriting College, if it has an unfilled place;
- They must be offered a place by the College that underwrote their offer.