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So what IS 'Oxbridge material'?

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    Supposing you get accepted. How do you know if you will 'fit in'?

    The thing is, I'm doing my UCAS now, and I don't know whether to apply for Oxford or choose another uni instead. I want to study Biological Sciences (for Zoology).

    Pros: I went to the Open Day, loved it, loved the uni, chose a college I will be happy in, everyone was helpful and friendly, will get great teaching there, will sound good when I add it as a network on Facebook, nice big city with lots to do, liked the teaching system.

    Cons: I get scared I'll hate it there. I consider myself just averagely clever, went to a ****** comprehensive but now a few years later washed that off me and am doing well in Biology etc. and LOVE the subject, definitely something I want to do - however I'm really into Zoology in particular and I get all itchy imagining myself at Oxford delving into biochemistry (which I suck at) for a required part of a module until I can specialise in what I like. I just guess I imagine myself really floundering there. Should I apply for just Zoology itself at another uni instead of general Biology? The reputation of Oxford is creeping me out. I get top marks when it comes to Zoology itself and am confident with it but at some other areas of Biology (biochemistry being the worst) I go right down and need loads of time to absorb it.

    Argh.

    So, yes. Will I hate it there? Or should I go for it - if they accept me they will help me out with any difficulties?
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    (Original post by Nambi)
    will sound good when I add it as a network on Facebook
    Go for it, in spite of this :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by JCM89)
    Go for it, in spite of this :rolleyes:
    Oh come on :p:
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    Applying doesn't mean you have to go. The application procedure is a little daunting and does involve more effort than just your regular UCAS application but I'd say it's worth trying for it.
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    (Original post by Nambi)
    Supposing you get accepted. How do you know if you will 'fit in'?

    The thing is, I'm doing my UCAS now, and I don't know whether to apply for Oxford or choose another uni instead. I want to study Biological Sciences (for Zoology).

    Pros: I went to the Open Day, loved it, loved the uni, chose a college I will be happy in, everyone was helpful and friendly, will get great teaching there, will sound good when I add it as a network on Facebook, nice big city with lots to do, liked the teaching system.

    Cons: I get scared I'll hate it there. I consider myself just averagely clever, went to a ****** comprehensive but now a few years later washed that off me and am doing well in Biology etc. and LOVE the subject, definitely something I want to do - however I'm really into Zoology in particular and I get all itchy imagining myself at Oxford delving into biochemistry (which I suck at) for a required part of a module until I can specialise in what I like. I just guess I imagine myself really floundering there. Should I apply for just Zoology itself at another uni instead of general Biology? The reputation of Oxford is creeping me out. I get top marks when it comes to Zoology itself and am confident with it but at some other areas of Biology (biochemistry being the worst) I go right down and need loads of time to absorb it.

    Argh.

    So, yes. Will I hate it there? Or should I go for it - if they accept me they will help me out with any difficulties?
    First of all just go for it. You never know till you try. Second of all, no matter how smart you think you are there's always someone smarter :p:
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    The great thing about the tutorial system is that they can give you extra support/slow things down when you're struggling.

    How much Zoology is there on the course before you get to specialise? How does that compare to the amount of Biochem? Can you completely specialise in Zoology later on and whereabouts does this come on the course?

    I don't really know what to say: I'm tempted to say you should go elsewhere and do a Zoology degree but then I'd just be ignoring my own experience over the last two years! :p: Like my sig says classical music isn't my area of expertise and as it turned out, I was **** at 60% of my first year course and didn't do well in the end of year exams. The nature of the tutorial system meant that my tutors spotted I was struggling pretty quickly and they were able to do various things to help me, including giving me individual tutorials rather than letting me flounder in a group of three, suggesting extra reading, etc.

    Once I got to second year, there was still stuff that I wasn't good at/completely hopeless at but there was much less of it (1/4 rather than 3/5!). The options available to me and changing things round a bit means that half my course is now popular music and the other half is classical, which suits me better :p:

    So I guess the real question is how much biochemistry you'd have to put up with until you can specialise and whether you think you can ride it out until then? :dontknow:

    Bekaboo did Biological Sciences, so she'll give you great advice!
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    ...
    A prospective Biologist for you on this thread!
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    A prospective Biologist for you on this thread!
    Thanks!
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    (Original post by Nambi)
    Pros: I went to the Open Day, loved it, loved the uni, chose a college I will be happy in, everyone was helpful and friendly, will get great teaching there, will sound good when I add it as a network on Facebook, nice big city with lots to do, liked the teaching system.
    All good solid reasons. You missed out, of course, that the 1st year field trip is amazing, and ensures that all of the biologists know each other very well and are a very sociable subject. There's also the fact that the research project kicks the ass of every single other university, but I guess you care less about that than you will in 3 years time!

    Cons: I get scared I'll hate it there. I consider myself just averagely clever, went to a ****** comprehensive but now a few years later washed that off me and am doing well in Biology etc. and LOVE the subject, definitely something I want to do - however I'm really into Zoology in particular and I get all itchy imagining myself at Oxford delving into biochemistry (which I suck at) for a required part of a module until I can specialise in what I like.
    And you're not alone in that. I remember freaking out about 1st year exams until Martin Speight (head of undergrad teaching - you may have heard a lecture by him if you went to the open day. Beardy, friendly, quite random - possesses a cuddly aphid!) pointed out that because we take Mods not Prelims (both 1st year Oxford exams) you only need to average 40% overall to pass. As it turns out I got 60 in cells and genes, but not having to worry makes the whole thing less painless.

    I wouldn't stress to much about it actually. If you're worried about struggling with the course then Alberts Molecular Biology of the Cell is your bible, and George Ratcliffe - dull as he is - gives the best lecture handouts of pretty much any lecturer I had at Oxford. You're in safe hands.

    I just guess I imagine myself really floundering there.
    I could tell you you won't. Or I could tell you the truth. That at least a third of us found ourselves completely lost in all the biochemistry practicals with no idea what was going on. After a particularly memorable incident 3 weeks in I came as close as a I ever did to transferring out of there. And then the weeks went on and I found that in that same practical everybody else (apart from the 20 or so who went on to major in Cell) was as lost as I was. You will flounder. You may cry. But you won't be alone, and I think it's a small price to pay, not least because the teaching is so good that you will get there, you will understand it and everything will be fine.

    Should I apply for just Zoology itself at another uni instead of general Biology? The reputation of Oxford is creeping me out. I get top marks when it comes to Zoology itself and am confident with it but at some other areas of Biology (biochemistry being the worst) I go right down and need loads of time to absorb it.
    :dontknow: Do you care about every mark being a 1st? If yes, then Oxford's not for you. If you can cope with a well balanced first year, where you discover some new passions (Mark Fricker's algae lectures are a force to be beheld!) and find that you really do hate some things, then you'll come out the other side, prepared to cope with things not always going well (which, let's be honest, will happen even if you do major in Zoology) and ready to get on with the bits you love. In your 2nd year you can spend as long as you like playing with the Wytham chicks, or monitoring the pregnant sows at the farm and doing behavioural work on the Isis ducks.

    The bottom line is yes you will struggle. But so will everybody else. And your tutor (which college btw?) will take you for cups of tea, and sit there awkwardly on the day you finally crack and start crying; and you'll spend some time poring over Alberts, and eventually you'll pass Cells just fine and then you'll never think about it again. But you'll be a stronger biologist because of it.

    Take it from someone who spent first year freaking out, and then came out of 2nd year exams with a 76 average (70% is a first): if you choose to take the challenge you will survive it.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any Qs
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    Wow. I know nothing about Biology but that was quite an inspirational post :yes:
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    The bottom line is yes you will struggle. But so will everybody else. And your tutor (which college btw?) will take you for cups of tea, and sit there awkwardly on the day you finally crack and start crying; and you'll spend some time poring over Alberts, and eventually you'll pass Cells just fine and then you'll never think about it again. But you'll be a stronger biologist because of it.

    Take it from someone who spent first year freaking out, and then came out of 2nd year exams with a 76 average (70% is a first): if you choose to take the challenge you will survive it.
    Thank you this helps a lot.

    It's Magdalen college. I think I just may be in love. I visited almost all of the colleges on the Open Day which do biology, this involved a lot of sprinting, lol, and was feeling as though none would 'click' til I went to Magdalen, the last one I fitted in on the day. The buildings, the atmosphere, the little river, the space, the DEER!!!! Perfect.

    Yes I saw Martin Speight, he was fantastic, made me feel very at ease, and his lecture was the best Open Day one I have been to on biology. I collared him afterwards regarding my chances of admission (I am a mature student and arts graduate studying science with the OU and have a rather strange application) and he was great and made me feel like I had a good chance of an interview.

    I guess my main problem is I just don't feel CLEVER. I associate Oxford with clever people whereas I am just a gal who likes animals.

    May I just ask - what kind of jobs do people go into if they specialise in Zoology at Oxford? I'm having trouble pinning this one down and it would be great if I could think of myself graduating and doing an actual career in something I love, instead of the zoology stopping at graduation!
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    (Original post by Nambi)
    I guess my main problem is I just don't feel CLEVER. I associate Oxford with clever people whereas I am just a gal who likes animals.
    You'd be surprised by how many Oxford and Cambridge students there are who feel as though they're not clever enough to be there. I certainly went the whole way through first year and part of my second year thinking this :yes:

    At the end of the day, I'm just a girl who likes both her classical populist stuff and her cheesy pop :yes:
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    (Original post by Nambi)
    Thank you this helps a lot.

    It's Magdalen college.
    Awesome! The tutor there, Angus Buckling, was new in my first year, and was my tutor for just that first year at Jesus. Academically speaking, my second tutor (Graham) had been through the Oxford system and had been a tutor for a few years, so it's no surprising that he was probably better for me, but Angus was fantastic at the pastoral side. Kate and I continued to go see him after he ceased to actually be our tutor, for cups of teas and support when we needed it (Graham used to scare us hehe!!)

    Yes I saw Martin Speight, he was fantastic, made me feel very at ease, and his lecture was the best Open Day one I have been to on biology. I collared him afterwards regarding my chances of admission (I am a mature student and arts graduate studying science with the OU and have a rather strange application) and he was great and made me feel like I had a good chance of an interview.
    Good good, that's Martin all over. I was quite interested in marine when I started, and 10 minutes into my first tute with him he was giving me info about where I could get my PADI and learn to dive hehe!

    I guess my main problem is I just don't feel CLEVER. I associate Oxford with clever people whereas I am just a gal who likes animals.

    May I just ask - what kind of jobs do people go into if they specialise in Zoology at Oxford? I'm having trouble pinning this one down and it would be great if I could think of myself graduating and doing an actual career in something I love, instead of the zoology stopping at graduation!
    To be honest the vast majority of them go on into further research. Out of my nearest and dearest, 10 (and me) have gone on to Masters or PhD. Then there's a pilot, a policy-maker, someone who's working for Earthwatch, someone who's gone to work in the city and an opera singer There's no emphasis on you must research or anything, and I'm always surprised when I count up how many of us have ended up on this path. Two of those in the 'research' block have been research assistants for this year, and I've had this year "off" working in a school, so it's not a case of other options not being open to you. I'm pretty sure a couple of people have ended up working for charities doing the science-to-inform-policy bit.
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    Don't think about it twice. Oxbridge is a huge opportunity, you wouldn't realize it unless you were living abroad and hearing of these awesome places with the best unis in the world and first class resources, etc. What's not to like? There's no such thing as a university where you know you will fit in. If you don't fit in, at least you know it's time well spent, rather than not fitting in at a worse uni. And you will fit in, chances are. Over 6,000 students. There must be at least tens of them who you'd like.

    What's to lose? Do it.
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    What is oxbridge material? I would say people with a drive to succeed and a passion for the subject. That's it. Everything else; race, social class, personality dosn't matter. You will find all types there I think.

    i really hate it when people say they "don't know if it's for them" because they feel anxious as if they won't fit in becasue they don't think they're smart enough or w/e. One of my best friends said this too me earlier this week and it's not true. She could get in I'm sure.

    Is oxbridge for you? it depends. If you think you wouldn't fit in because you don't think yor "clever" enough. Then that's not true. At all. and you shouldn't let it hold you back. At the end of the day that's what the exams and interviews are there to test. So all you have to do is get through them aha easy.

    If you don't think it's suited in general though that's different and only you can decide that if you think you'll enjoy your time there. but you really have to WANT to go there, like a real burning desire otherwise when the workload piles up you'll have nothing to help you get through it.

    I think as long as you go there not trying to be something your not you'll be fine. I'm heading there in october and during my interview it was pretty obvious I there was a LOT of really really clever people there (it dosn't help when you have a pretty northern accent haha . ) And yeah, there were a few (and only a few) who knew it too, and did take pleasure in rubbing it in your face but I just went with the attitude of " yeah, I know I'm probably not the cleverest person here. And no, I probably don't know everything you do but I work hard and I'm willing to learn, so you know what?..in the most decent possible way **** you "

    Why would you want to go to uni if you know everything already anyway?!

    I think that is only a very small minority though (and we don't talk to those ones), mostly the people are really nice and I think you'll get on with them.

    So if you want to apply, don't hold youself back and go for it.

    Sorry about the small essay here (if you've even managed to read it all aha), but this is a topic that really gets to me. Worst come to worst, and if you do get in and you find you don't like anyone else come find me and we can be average together
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    What I never understand is why people are more worried about fittingin at Oxbridge than they are for other universities. Why aren't people bricking it over whether they're "Leicester material"? You might hate it anywhere and you might love it anywhere.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    What I never understand is why people are more worried about fittingin at Oxbridge than they are for other universities. Why aren't people bricking it over whether they're "Leicester material"? You might hate it anywhere and you might love it anywhere.
    Because Oxford is Oxford

    It's in the Dark Materials trilogy and everything and Richard Dawkins went there

    It's scary and full of terribly clever people and I will go in there like a clown

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    (Original post by coldfusion)
    First of all just go for it. You never know till you try. Second of all, no matter how smart you think you are there's always someone smarter
    shutup,

    im the smartest
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    (Original post by Nambi)
    Supposing you get accepted. How do you know if you will 'fit in'?

    The thing is, I'm doing my UCAS now, and I don't know whether to apply for Oxford or choose another uni instead. I want to study Biological Sciences (for Zoology).

    Pros: I went to the Open Day, loved it, loved the uni, chose a college I will be happy in, everyone was helpful and friendly, will get great teaching there, will sound good when I add it as a network on Facebook, nice big city with lots to do, liked the teaching system.

    Cons: I get scared I'll hate it there. I consider myself just averagely clever, went to a ****** comprehensive but now a few years later washed that off me and am doing well in Biology etc. and LOVE the subject, definitely something I want to do - however I'm really into Zoology in particular and I get all itchy imagining myself at Oxford delving into biochemistry (which I suck at) for a required part of a module until I can specialise in what I like. I just guess I imagine myself really floundering there. Should I apply for just Zoology itself at another uni instead of general Biology? The reputation of Oxford is creeping me out. I get top marks when it comes to Zoology itself and am confident with it but at some other areas of Biology (biochemistry being the worst) I go right down and need loads of time to absorb it.

    Argh.

    So, yes. Will I hate it there? Or should I go for it - if they accept me they will help me out with any difficulties?
    Well... if you got the grades then definitely go for it! It would be a nice experience and of course, a challenge but I'm sure you're up for it..
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    What I never understand is why people are more worried about fittingin at Oxbridge than they are for other universities. Why aren't people bricking it over whether they're "Leicester material"? You might hate it anywhere and you might love it anywhere.
    They are - there's plenty of evidence in the "scared about going to uni"-threads in GUD. It's just that people who are worried about fitting in at Leicester (and most other places) seem to treat it as a general question of whether they'll fit in at university, whereas prospective Oxbridge students tend to treat it as an Oxbridge-specific worry. Even though it's probably the same thing.

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