k9markiii
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(Original post by roflcakes1)
Just out of interest - what reasons would you consider to be valid to reject Oxford for?

I'm really unsure about whether I'll take my offer at Oxford or not, but my teacher told me not to waste an opportunity that other people would do a lot to get, and my friend told me to think about my future - even if I don't feel like it's 100% right for me now, the advantage it will give me for future employers will outweigh the 3 years I spend there. Do you think that future prospects/the chance to study at Oxford is more important than other reasons that people might have for rejecting the offer?
Disagree with that completely. Go where you like the best and is most suitable for you. The relative prestige of Oxford isn't a good reason to not enjoy your time at university as much.
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redferry
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(Original post by On The Horizon)
What are you making this statement according to? League tables are erratic and no-one gives them any respect anymore; they're flawed and unreliable. You might also be getting confused with the fact that a lot of Oxbridge graduates carry on with postgraduate education, rather than jump straight into a career. Do you honestly think a Bristol graduate has better career prospects than an Oxford graduate? It doesn't work like that, assuming both candidates are otherwise equal: you can either assume they will have equal career expectations, or that the Oxford graduate may be more successful; certainly not the otherway around (but there would of course be exceptions).

People who apply tend to have a rough idea of what it is like, and after interviews and other assessments set by Oxbridge, if you have been given an offer it means that they think you (out of all the thousands that applied) have a great chance to do well there. There comes a point where you just have to expose bad advice for what it is.
http://bristol.tab.co.uk/2013/01/15/...te-employment/
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astro67
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The original report can be found at http://www.highfliers.co.uk/download/GMReport13.pdf (the table is on page 27) - a closer read than the author if Bristol's publication gave it will reveal that it says precisely nothing about the employability of graduates from various universities but simply ranks how many employers attend the job fairs in various universities. There's no indication that students at Universities where employers set up their stalls are any more successful when they then apply than anyone else. That's not to say that Oxford students are necessarily more successful in job applications than Bristol students. It's just that this report has nothing at all to say on that subject and this is woefully or wilfully misreported in the Bristol online tabloid. If I were a graduate recruiter with a fixed budget and an intake quality threshold that was satisfied by students at a wider range of Universities than the budget would cover, I'd probably go to the biggest Universities that met the quality threshold, not necessarily the best. This could maximise the number of likely applicants of an acceptable standard so I might well not attend job fairs at the Universities with the highest quality of students. I'm not saying that it is a given that Oxford students are a fundamentally superior form of life - far from it - but it seems clear to me that the data presented are potentially consistent with an entirely different interpretation.
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River85
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#24
(Original post by On The Horizon)
People who apply tend to have a rough idea of what it is like, and after interviews and other assessments set by Oxbridge, if you have been given an offer it means that they think you (out of all the thousands that applied) have a great chance to do well there. There comes a point where you just have to expose bad advice for what it is.
Yes, a point I made in my post. However, it doesn't say whether or not a person will necessarily enjoy the course. Only that they have the potential to successfully complete it.
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On The Horizon
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For you to assume that there is a review/source of information which can lay accurate claim to such a statement is, fairly gullible. The fact is, it is almost impossible to measure which Universities produce the most successful graduates: there are too many variables, and it is just never going to be reliable enough.

One can safely note, however, that Oxbridge graduates are among the most desired in the country; aside from Ivy League graduates perhaps, and specialist institutions for certain professions. Bristol is a good university, but does not surpass Oxbridge colleges in terms of quality of education (in general); and hence, there is no logical reason that it (Bristol) be a better preparation for a competitive career.
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livvy--26
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I think you should really analyse the reasons why you're not sure about studying @ Oxford...

For me, the main reason against taking up an offer like this is if you dont like the course. It might be the best course for said subject but if youre really not interested in what it covers, you won't enjoy it and you won't do as well as you could...
Having said that, the fact they gave you an offer means they think you could do well at the course they offer....

I also understand that people might want to exclude Oxbridge if they're particularly anxious and worry that the extra stress of such a demanding degree might not suit them. Without a doubt, oxbridge can be stressful. Some people thrive, most people learn to deal with it, but it just might not suit everyone.
Again, the problem with this is you'll never know if you could learn to deal with it if you don't give it a go.... There are a lot of support systems, and a very personal way of working with tutors mean that they keep a track of you; and you might find it more managable than you expect?

Personally, an offer from oxbridge was a bit intimidating, and certainly not the easy option, but I can't imagine being anywhere else now. Anyway, even if you don't end up enjoying it you could always transfer, as it's probably easier to transfer from oxbridge to another institution.
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Ambry
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#27
I think things to consider-
The distance. Say you live in Scotland where you can get educated for absolutely no cost, apart from maybe some living expenses, could encourage people to reject an offer.
And people might fear the workload a little.

There's also the possibility of bad circumstances coming up in life, but I guess it could be possible to defer if that situation arose.

*edited for - loving expenses XD*

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nexttime
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#28
(Original post by Ambry)
loving expenses
I rack up a lot of those.
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Ambry
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(Original post by nexttime)
I rack up a lot of those.
Damn I am spelling everything wrong today!
But I bet you are! XD


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scribble77
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#30
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I'm friends with someone who got an offer from Oxford and was a bit unsure as to whether to accept it or not. He accepted it, I believe mainly due to the pressure of people going 'well done, congratulations' all the time and he felt like he'd be stupid to not go. He's now dropped out of the course he started in September and will have to go through ucas all again.
Now I'm not saying don't try it, I'm just saying if you have doubts or if you visit somewhere else which you really prefer, don't feel obliged to accept Oxford just because it's Oxford. Similarly, if you felt comfortable there when you've been for open days and the like, try it
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xsindy
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#31
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Omg, I am in the same position as you! We can have a chat if you'd like?
I've made a list of all the pros and cons as to whether to go or not, you should do it too if you haven't already, it will really help to organise your thoughts on this :/

I would say think long and hard about this... I'd say this is the pivot of our lives... anything that comes after may depend on this one decision. Think about your other uni choices - will they suffice in terms of employability prospects in the future and how do they compare to Oxford?

I've been drawn into the stupidity of not wanting to go because I had plans to move out with my long term bf into the same uni campus... and he didn't apply to Oxford and I was assuming that I wouldn't get an offer...

I don't know, let me know how you get on!! We still have a few months left to decide xx
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SecretGarden
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#32
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#32
(Original post by River85)
What the heck is "liberal arts-esque advice" when it is at home?



Well, it's not necessarily a once in a lifetime chance, but nevermind.

And be miserable for three years which will undoubtedly have a negative affect on academic performance? Far better have a 2:1 degree from another Russell Group university than a 2:2 from Oxford.

I agree that Oxford can be a fantastic opportunity. With the increase in tuition fees it is only right that students want value in their education and the tuition system and quality of teaching at Oxford and Cambridge can help to provide that. I strongly advise the OP to seriously consider Oxford and not to dismiss it thinking that he/she will not fit in there. As already mentioned, if the worry is that the environment isn't right (too posh and cliquey) then this also exists as other universities. I don't know of a Russell Group university which isn't in some way cliquey or doesn't have its fair share of snobs. If the worry is that you aren't good enough, then discuss this with your teachers, have a look at your work. Remind yourself that Oxford gave you an offer so presumably must see potential.

However, if a person strongly prefers the course at another university then it's not absurd for them to go elsewhere. University can be a stressful time and it requires commitment. Far better make it easier for yourself and go with a course you think you will enjoy more. It can be particularly important if one is thinking of doing postgraduate study and another university will provide the more appropriate course/foundation for this. A number of Russell Group universities have departments of a comparable standard to Oxford and Cambridge, albeit it without certain aspects of teaching such as tutorials.

Oxford and Cambridge is not the be all and end all. I know you (On the Horizon) didn't attend Oxford and Cambridge for your undergraduate degree. Do you think it held you back?

Also, OP, don't think that by matriculating at Oxford you are commited to staying there for the three years. If you are genuinely unhappy then you can always leave and re-apply or transfer.

OP, can I ask what your reasons for applying to Oxford were? Were you attracted to the course and environment? Did you see the process of applying there as a challenge? Were you pressurised into applying?

sorry, do you or did you go to Oxford? you seem pretty anti-oxford?
there are many amazing universities but, whether people like it or not, i'm afraid Oxford does have a lot of prestige and is known around the WORLD! yes, you can do well ANYWHERE from Bournemouth to Bristol, but come on OXFORD UNIVERSITY- why would you reject that? if you don't get an offer then yeah, who cares- it isn't the be all and end all, but you're a little crazy if you reject such an opportunity. And why on Earth would you apply in the first place?!?
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River85
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#33
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(Original post by SecretGarden)
sorry, do you or did you go to Oxford? you seem pretty anti-oxford?
I am a graduate, but not of Oxford. I'm certainly not anti-Oxford. I considered applying there for an MA in History of Medicine (though I would have likely rejected it for Newcastle).

It as an excellent university and I stressed that it (and Cambridge) are able to provide a number of things that most other universities (and no other Russell Group universities as far as I'm aware) cannot, most notably the tutorial system.

There is a difference between being anti-Oxford and also saying that Oxford is not the be all and end all. There are universities with departments comparable to Oxford and Cambridge.

Moreoever, as has already been mentioned by current students, studying at Oxford or Cambridge can be very intense. Oxford and Cambridge have shorter terms than most other universities and students are expected to do essays for tutorials. There will be people, especially those with mental health conditions or other medical conditions, who perhaps feel this will be too intense for them despite the support that is offered. I haven't heard great things about Oxford's support for students with disabilities, though much of this dates back a few years now and I don't suppose it is any worse than many other Russel Group universities in this respect. My alma mater is/was not exactly the best.

I am not saying the OP shouldn't go to Oxford. Far from it. I'm asking why she applied there and what her concerns are about Oxford, as it seems she has them. Perhaps these concerns are unfounded and, by discussing them in this thread, she will perhaps really it could be a university she'll be very happy at. But at the same time I'm not going to force people into going to Oxford, or pretend that no other universities compare, as this is not the case.

And why on Earth would you apply in the first place?!?
Some people feel pressurised into applying by parents or teachers. Others apply just to see if they can get in. There's also a number of people who do apply, thinking it is the right for them, but then decide they prefer somewhere else for whatever reason.

Again, a reason for rejecting Oxford is simple; you significantly prefer the course and location at another university.
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River85
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(Original post by Tuerin)
UCL has a tutor system for English, at least. Not sure about other subjects.
What do you mean by tutor system? You mean provide a personal tutor in the department as this is quite common. For example, Durham have Senior Tutors at each college as well as a tutorial system with personal/student development tutors. These play a more a pastoral role. However, if you mean the same tutorial system as Oxford and Cambridge (ie. weekly one-on-one, or almost one-on-on supervisions with an academic that form a core part of teaching) then that is.
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astro67
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(Original post by Tuerin)
UCL has a tutor system for English, at least. Not sure about other subjects.
Every University has tutors but the 'tutorial system' at Oxford refers specifically to the phenomenon of weekly 1- or 2-person tutorials and accompanying weekly preparatory assignments experienced throughout the three or four years of most Oxford degrees. Oxford students typically have two of these each week. This is the main reason why Oxford spends nearly twice as much on undergraduate teaching than the revenue from tuition fees, even at £9000 p.a. In the context of the main discussion in this thread that isn't something everyone wants and it is not for anyone else to tell any individual that they should want it. It's important to correct any mistaken or inaccurate impressions people have of Oxford but as long as people have an accurate idea of what's on offer, they have an absolute right to prefer something else.

I'm not familiar with the method of teaching English at UCL but I'm pretty sure it's not close to what Oxford offers and isn't trying to be.
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River85
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(Original post by Tuerin)
I understand they have both of the forms you described in the English dept.
With single student tutorials? If so that's surprising, considering the size of UCL (and its not fantastic student satisfaction score). One would perhaps naively assume that a university with such a tutorial system would have more satisfied students.

All universities do have a tutorial system of sorts. At Durham some of my tutorial groups were as small as five students (though all would never turn up, sometimes only two).

There are some smaller, specialist colleges of the University of London who can offer a similar tutorial system to Oxford. I'm sure I remember Peter Vardy (of Heythrop College) telling me that tutorial groups were often as small as two students. This was 10 years ago, however, and Peter Vardy does talk out of his arse :p:

Peter Vardy's an academic at Heythrop, and author of a number of A-level Theology/Philosophy books. Not Peter Vardy the car salesman.
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River85
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(Original post by Tuerin)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ion-market-ucl

Surely number of staff:students would be a more appropriate place to look for likelihood of tutorials than student satisfaction?
Yes, and I wasn't using student satisfaction scores to suggest that UCL don't have them. Only suggesting that if they do have them then there must still be some issues with teaching quality or feedback or other things. For, if a university were able to offer weekly Oxford style tutorials, then this would only help to keep students satisfied providing the teaching offered is competent/the student is able to take enough from them.

The sub-title of this article demonstrates they certainly had 1:1 tutorials a year or so ago, and may still do, unless these 'plans' were executed. In any case, they surely still have intimate tutorials of some description.
Yes, did. Given the size of UCL and funding difficulties created over the last couple of years it probably wasn't sustainable, as I suspected. Moreoever these were only four tutorials a term, so this isn't the same as weekly tutorials at Oxford.
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River85
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(Original post by Tuerin)
How many do Oxford have in a term?
Well I'm not an Oxford student or graduate, so no expert, but they are weekly (as I've said numerous times). They may be with one or two additional students, but no more from that. All other universities do have weekly tutorials, but these may be in groups as small as three or four or as large as ten or more. Students at Oxford also produce weekly essays for tutorials which are then discussed and analysed during the tutorial.
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River85
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(Original post by Tuerin)
Yes, I know you said weekly - just wondering how many a term or, if you like, how many weeks in an Oxford term. To compare with UCL's four a term.
Well the term duration isn't going to be significantly different, not enough to mean that UCL's four a term is comparable to Oxford's weekly tutorials. It would mean a term at Oxford would only need to be four weeks in length which, considering there are only three terms in an academic year, is absurd.

You can check term dates on the websites, I think, though speaking as a Durham graduate (our terms, like Oxford's, are shorter than average) then probably around early October to mid December, mid January to mid March, and late April to June.

So, in short, Oxford will offer more tutorials in the first term than UCL in the entire academic year (as I think two modules are studied each term, but may be wrong).

And even if UCL did offer the same number of tutorials a term (which they don't), assuming they haven't reversed the decision to scrap them then they don't now offer them, which is the important thing. I'm talking about as things stand now.

A number of universities probably offered similar tutorial systems a long time ago. Just universities used to regularly interview for a wide number of subjects until not all that long ago. However, due to the numbers we now have in Higher Education, and funding pressures, things change. Oxford and Cambridge are still able to offer their tutorial/supervision system (and interview).

Moreoever comments on that article, which admittedly come from a small number of graduates whose views may not be representative, are mixed about the tutorials at UCL. In fact some are quite critical of the teaching quality.

As for student satisfaction I was speaking more generally. It does seem as though UCL's English student satisfaction is high.
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qwertyuiop1993
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(Original post by Tuerin)
Yes, I know you said weekly - just wondering how many a term or, if you like, how many weeks in an Oxford term. To compare with UCL's four a term.
Well an Oxford term is 8 weeks long and the number of tutorials varies by subject. I have 8 a term, while science subjects tend to have more: it's not that uncommon for someone to have 2-3 tutorials a week.

The difference between Oxford's tutorials and UCL's (former) tutorials is that tutorials at Oxford form the main part of the teaching, while at UCL it seemed like a supplementary thing.
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