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Duke of Edinburgh - Is it 'essential' for Oxbridge? Watch

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    (Original post by Nick Latham)
    Would the completion of bronze, silver or gold DofE courses be a vital help or a necessity for getting in to the higher universities? Right now I am in power to do the DofE, but I am debating whether it is worth it or not...
    Not at all.
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    Definitely not
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    No, not essential at all.

    I've got an A*AA offer to study Chemistry at Oxford, and I never did the DofE. Also, I've never done extra A levels (I did the usual 4AS's and 3A2's) so don't feel that you need DofE to 'compensate' for not doing 57 subjects to A level! I did do an extended project, but none of my Uni's ever asked me about it or included it in offers (take from that what you will...)

    What is essential is to do extra reading around the subject; have a read through some university level books for what you want to do - that way, when it comes to interview, you can really show them interest in the subject.

    If you don't really want to do the DofE, then my humble advice would be not to; fill up the 'extra stuff' space on your personal statement with something else (eg: talk about music or sports etc. I started volunteering for a couple of hours a week at a charity)

    However, if you do want to do it, then go for it! - it is still a good thing to talk about, and might act as a nice break from all of that extra reading that you are definately going to have to do...

    I know all of this reading sounds really tough, but its also a great way to find out if the subject is for you; if you find all of the books really boring, then imagine what it'll be like studying them for 3 or 4 years!

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Nick Latham)
    Would the completion of bronze, silver or gold DofE courses be a vital help or a necessity for getting in to the higher universities? Right now I am in power to do the DofE, but I am debating whether it is worth it or not...
    Of course not. Who gave you that idea?
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    (Original post by Nick Latham)
    Some very nice advice here, thanks a lot.

    Many of you are talking about the extra reading. I just looked this up on the Oxbridge websites to see what kind of things this involves doing. I am a bit confused, do they just want me to read the books they recommend for the according department, or will they expect further independent reading on the subject? (At this moment I am hoping to do Physics..)
    Nah, the books they tend to recommend on the website (at least for Cambridge) are textbooks they recommend you read in the Summer before you start, not pre-application. I would look/ask around TSR and ask your teachers if they know any interesting physics-related books aimed at roughly A-Level standard. I personally can recommend anything from OUP's 'Very Short Introduction' series (eg, A Very Short Introduction into Quantum Theory).
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    I did bronze and didnt even put it on my UCAS. I don't think it's all that vital if you've got other stuff that helps you stand out
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    (Original post by Nick Latham)
    Some very nice advice here, thanks a lot.

    Many of you are talking about the extra reading. I just looked this up on the Oxbridge websites to see what kind of things this involves doing. I am a bit confused, do they just want me to read the books they recommend for the according department, or will they expect further independent reading on the subject? (At this moment I am hoping to do Physics..)
    I read a couple of the books they recommended, most of which were a little dull/ aimed at those already with an offer to prepare before starting the course. I started by just reading popular science books/ books which gave a more interesting, sometimes slightly historical, view of the topics rather than in depth degree-level physics and mathematics. If you're interested in physics, I would recommend 'The Elegant Universe' by Brian Greene (and have a look at a few of his other books if you find it interesting), Why does E=mc^2 (and why should we care?)? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, and Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman as good places to start. They are generally very easy to follow, expand slightly on A level physics in some areas, and give a nice overview of the topics without any scary maths! Then, start reading books giving a bit more detail and maths on these topics. You may also want to subscribe to relevant magazines such as the New Scientist or Physics World, which are aimed at people interested in science but not experts. You can also join the Institute of Physics for free as a student, and they have a few more interesting things to read and opportunities to take part in various activities if you look around their site.
    Another good thing to do is go to any school trips offered to you to go to lectures, CERN, research centres, places like Diamond Light Source and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (who also offer work experience placements, which you may be interested in), as well as take part in any scientific competition available (Maths Challenges, Physics + Chemistry + Maths Olympiads, Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, various essay competitions offered by some local universities). Also, try to go to some summer schools (e.g. Headstart, Exeter Pre-University Physics course, UNIQ, Sutton Trust, Smallpiece Trust, Science + Engineering Summer School at Surrey Uni, Physics Summer School at Uni of Birmingham, European Space Camp, etc). Your school should hopefully have more information on some of these, and look them up on the web. Most of these are aimed at A level students, but I think some of the smallpiece trust ones are also available for some younger students (not sure if the deadline's passed yet though...).
    You should also think about doing a relevant extended project (usually done during your A2 year) and possibly a CREST award/ Nuffield Bursary Project (search online for more details).
    Hope this helps
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    Admissions tutors at various unis have told me that the specific nature of your extra-curricular activities doesn't really matter that much, they just want to see that you're well rounded and have hobbies. Basically as long as you aren't going to just go to uni, work 18 hours a day, get depressed and then drop out. If something you do in your spare time is somehow relevant to your course, then by all means mention it. But the idea that D of E is "essential" for Oxbridge is ridiculous.
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    (Original post by Nick Latham)
    Would the completion of bronze, silver or gold DofE courses be a vital help or a necessity for getting in to the higher universities? Right now I am in power to do the DofE, but I am debating whether it is worth it or not...
    This actually made me laugh, unis won't care but if you have time it's probably worth doing, just don't mention bronze or silver without gold as you look like a quitter then.
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    (Original post by CRIKEY12)
    I had the best chuckle at this one! Have you even seen the websites for Oxford and Cambridge? So wordy, hardly any links, no photos. I doubt they know how to even surf the net.
    Not sure how you came to this conclusion? I just counted 76 links and four photos (if you click on the tab things to change the image) all on the Oxford homepage...
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    (Original post by fluteflute)
    Not sure how you came to this conclusion? I just counted 76 links and four photos (if you click on the tab things to change the image) all on the Oxford homepage...
    I stand corrected. matbe they have been having a tweak at the website.- I will pootle off for a look
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    A bit late, but just to add, many Universities (not entirely certain about Oxbridge) actually have Duke of Edinburgh societies for those who haven't achieved their Gold Awards etc.

    It is by no means compulsory for any university - however, as mentioned, it would be helpful to do if you found the time, due to that whole "well-rounded" thing Universities search for. If you're going to Oxbridge, then you certainly have the academics; DofE is mostly just a means of justifying to Universities "Hey, look, I can be sporty, too! See?", so you can be the "well-rounded" individual they want. However, there are other ways to do that not involving D of E, and you most certainly don't need to show yourself as sporty anyway - that just gives you bonus marks in some Universities' eyes.
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    I think every tom **** & harry has a bronze DofE award these days, i don't think it's seen as very special anymore.
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    (Original post by Etular)
    [..] it would be helpful to do if you found the time, due to that whole "well-rounded" thing Universities search for. If you're going to Oxbridge, then you certainly have the academics; DofE is mostly just a means of justifying to Universities "Hey, look, I can be sporty, too! See?", so you can be the "well-rounded" individual they want. However, there are other ways to do that not involving D of E [...]
    This is less the case at Oxford and Cambridge - they don't mind as much as other unis about having 'well-rounded' students.
 
 
 
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