Do you need DofE to get into Oxbridge?

No, you don’t need to have done DofE (the Duke of Edinburgh Award) to get into Oxford University or Cambridge University (or any university), nor will it directly increase your chances of getting in. However, doing DofE might indirectly benefit your application/studies by helping you develop useful skills.

Oxbridge admissions tutors are generally interested in your academics, and getting lost on a motorway/falling in a muddy ditch in Wales is not particularly academic.

A fair number of Oxbridge students have probably done some form of DofE (based on my experience as a Cambridge student), though these will probably be Bronze rather than Gold.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do DofE. I did all three and I found them very useful. From my experience, they got easier as you did them – Bronze nearly finished me but Gold was fun.

Also, DofE might indirectly help you get into Oxbridge. You have to learn new skills, manage your time, make sacrifices, dedicate yourself, etc. These are good traits to have and these traits might help your studies, and thereby help you apply to Oxbridge.

If you’re an active person, you’re probably already doing the skills/volunteering/sports commitments already, so you’ll basically only need to do an expedition with some friends. On the expedition you also get to practise important skills that go beyond hiking such as:

  • Cooking: you might not have much experience with cooking before DofE, and you’ll probably want to cook a bit at university
  • Cooperating with people in stressful conditions: people will get moody after a day or two of hiking in the rain, and knowing how to get along with people in these situations is a genuinely valuable skill
  • Planning: you need to plan routes and meal plans for a few days
  • Map reading: I genuinely believe that people who do DofE get lost less

In conclusion, you don’t need DofE for Oxbridge, but I’d personally recommend it for other reasons.