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My hypothetical gap year and applying to Oxbridge Watch

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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    Ooh, OK. Your choices are like mine and my friend's combined
    Did you visit Birm and Sussex? If so, what were your thoughts on the unis themselves, and the courses they offered?
    Also: why did you decide thatpsychology wasn't for you? It must have been very difficult pulling out of a uni that you loved and be faced with such uncertainty. I'm not meaning to make you feel bad btw; it was obvs the right thing to do and I think you're really brave!
    I agree with the advice
    I was a little silly with my application, tbh. I applied with a 'UCL or nothing' attitude, and never really intended to take up any other offers. I therefore didn't visit Birmingham or Sussex. Saying that, at the time I would say I preferred Sussex to Birmingham primarily because the course content appealed to me more (they have a Psychology course with a minor in CogNeuro, which I applied for originally before transferring my application to Medical Neuroscience). I do have a friend studying straight Psych at Sussex now, first year, who is enjoying it a lot.

    And thank you lol (most people would use the word foolish instead of brave I think :P). It's quite difficult to pinpoint my reasons looking back now. I think ultimately I felt like I'd got what I wanted out of psychology. My original interests were in research, and once my interest in psychology itself began to dwindle I saw no reason to study psychology if I wasn't interested in the field itself anymore post-degree. The little social psychology and related aspects I'd read up on in my own time alongside that which was part of the A Level course just bored the hell out of me, and I realised I wanted to study something more purely biology-based. I still love reading articles about research in psychology etc., and I would love to do a little bit of psychology if my uni course allows it in the future, but ultimately that's the end of psychology and me.
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    (Original post by Retrospect)
    I was a little silly with my application, tbh. I applied with a 'UCL or nothing' attitude, and never really intended to take up any other offers. I therefore didn't visit Birmingham or Sussex. Saying that, at the time I would say I preferred Sussex to Birmingham primarily because the course content appealed to me more (they have a Psychology course with a minor in CogNeuro, which I applied for originally before transferring my application to Medical Neuroscience). I do have a friend studying straight Psych at Sussex now, first year, who is enjoying it a lot.

    And thank you lol (most people would use the word foolish instead of brave I think :P). It's quite difficult to pinpoint my reasons looking back now. I think ultimately I felt like I'd got what I wanted out of psychology. My original interests were in research, and once my interest in psychology itself began to dwindle I saw no reason to study psychology if I wasn't interested in the field itself anymore post-degree. The little social psychology and related aspects I'd read up on in my own time alongside that which was part of the A Level course just bored the hell out of me, and I realised I wanted to study something more purely biology-based. I still love reading articles about research in psychology etc., and I would love to do a little bit of psychology if my uni course allows it in the future, but ultimately that's the end of psychology and me.
    Wow good thing you did get into UCL, then!
    Worryingly, I can see myself going down the same route as you re. falling out of love with Psych, which is extra pressure for me because ofc this is the last year before the fees rise. The usual ultimate goal of a psych degree is to become a researcher or practising psychologist. To do that, you needs to do lots of WEx and researchy stuff. I don't know if the prospect of doing that really *excites* me, since I'm more creative- and people-minded (and during WEx I was facing a computer at all times ) Even if the outcome is rewarding, would it have been worth it?
    But my alternative would be completely different to yours (English lit). I'm really scared
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    Wow good thing you did get into UCL, then!
    Worryingly, I can see myself going down the same route as you re. falling out of love with Psych, which is extra pressure for me because ofc this is the last year before the fees rise. The usual ultimate goal of a psych degree is to become a researcher or practising psychologist. To do that, you needs to do lots of WEx and researchy stuff. I don't know if the prospect of doing that really *excites* me, since I'm more creative- and people-minded (and during WEx I was facing a computer at all times ) Even if the outcome is rewarding, would it have been worth it?
    But my alternative would be completely different to yours (English lit). I'm really scared
    It's extremely difficult, and not something to take lightly. I think the whole UCAS app process is extremely rushed, and (to some extent) people feel pressurised to make life-changing decisions (because at the end of the day, they are) without really the right experience and judgement to be able to make such decisions. A lot of people I know applied to uni for the hell of it, for degrees they 'kind of liked the idea of', without giving it all much thought.

    In my experience what you are doing is good, because you are looking at the long-term and evaluating whether ultimately this is where you see yourself heading. I had quite a lot of abuse (if you can call it that) about turning down those offers and going down a different route, but it's ultimately your life and your degree. You are the one who is going to write CVs and apply for post-grad jobs. You have some great Psych offers already, now you just need to weigh up Psych vs English lit. (benefits of course content - would you enjoy studying x+y+z for 3 years, post-degree options) Would you be satisfied with having english as just a part-time hobby/interest (IDK if you're interested in writing etc. but if you are you can look at societies and clubs at uni, and your uni course may even let you take a module in another discipline s/a english lit., these are all things to consider), or vice versa with Psych?

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and let us know how it goes.
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    (Original post by Retrospect)
    It's extremely difficult, and not something to take lightly. I think the whole UCAS app process is extremely rushed, and (to some extent) people feel pressurised to make life-changing decisions (because at the end of the day, they are) without really the right experience and judgement to be able to make such decisions. A lot of people I know applied to uni for the hell of it, for degrees they 'kind of liked the idea of', without giving it all much thought.

    In my experience what you are doing is good, because you are looking at the long-term and evaluating whether ultimately this is where you see yourself heading. I had quite a lot of abuse (if you can call it that) about turning down those offers and going down a different route, but it's ultimately your life and your degree. You are the one who is going to write CVs and apply for post-grad jobs. You have some great Psych offers already, now you just need to weigh up Psych vs English lit. (benefits of course content - would you enjoy studying x+y+z for 3 years, post-degree options) Would you be satisfied with having english as just a part-time hobby/interest (IDK if you're interested in writing etc. but if you are you can look at societies and clubs at uni, and your uni course may even let you take a module in another discipline s/a english lit., these are all things to consider), or vice versa with Psych?

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and let us know how it goes.
    I was saying the same thing a few months ago! At my school we were prepped on our app at it as soon as AS levels were over; but not encouraged to think about future plans for uni /gap years in specific detail much before then. Indecisive people like myself could have really benefited from more talks, or opportunities to go on taster courses or more uni advice etc. I know there was always help on hand, and tbf they made lots of Y13s give us guidance- but in Y12, not being spoon-fed everything is something you have to get used to, so it was difficult to start making those decisions independently.

    And then the UCAS process itself. I think the Oxbridge/medicine/vet deadline is fair; however we should have been allowed more time to factor in our other choices! There's a risk you have to take when applying by the early deadline, and not everyone has the chance to pick well (as maybe you and I have shown). Also you should be allowed to submit more than one PS if you wish, no point writing a PS for two completely different subjects (because your interests may just be like that)

    I think I will wait and see what StAs has to say, how my Jan exams go, how much I like Birm/Sheff/Sussex, how I'm feeling vis a vis Eng lit v Psych and then think about it some more. I talked to some people today and a surprising number are also planning to take a year out (though it's explicitly to apply or reapply to Oxbridge). So at least I wouldn't be alone.

    Thanks a lot for the help. Will do! Best of luck to you too!
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    I will take on board the advice, thankyou.
    I'm sure it will be extremely rewarding! Can I ask how your school has links to such a programme?
    It was very brave of you to withdraw your application, I'd probably be umming and ahhing about it, and keep postponing. Out of interest, did you apply to Warw again this cycle?
    Hoping StAs are kind to me, I'd love to do the course there, only parents are definitely not happy about me gallivanting off to Scotland. But even they can't deny it could potentially be the best opportunity available to me.
    Ermm, I'm not sure how it started in all honesty, but it's almost a sister-school situation. We'd been fundraising for them in previous years and then last year they started this with gap year people going out there. It is a fairly unique thing I would imagine, although there's no reason why it couldn't work with other schools.

    I was indeed umming and ahhing a fair while. I ended up taking a fairly (very) in depth look at the specific details of the Oxford course before deciding to go for it! I did apply to Warwick again and they have actually given me an offer. I'd been anticipating they might reject me for pissing them about before, but evidently that wasn't the biggest concern on their mind!

    [Been up at Oxf interviews this week, hence the delay]
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    RE the gap year: the desire is still there but the shine is definitely wearing off. I guess it seemed a lot more appealing when I first posted because I was still smarting from rejection then and the fee rise didn't seem to matter so much; now it kinda does. I would only maybe reapply if I get at least 2 A*s, or if I suddenly decide something else is my true calling, or if StAs also reject me.

    It's just a shame really-- of all the areas to cut, that this should be one of them. Ah well. Hopefully the coalition can be persuaded to renege somehow... or from a more selfish POV, that I could be able to qualify for as much bursary/grant funding as possible.



    (Original post by tc92)
    Ermm, I'm not sure how it started in all honesty, but it's almost a sister-school situation. We'd been fundraising for them in previous years and then last year they started this with gap year people going out there. It is a fairly unique thing I would imagine, although there's no reason why it couldn't work with other schools.

    I was indeed umming and ahhing a fair while. I ended up taking a fairly (very) in depth look at the specific details of the Oxford course before deciding to go for it! I did apply to Warwick again and they have actually given me an offer. I'd been anticipating they might reject me for pissing them about before, but evidently that wasn't the biggest concern on their mind!

    [Been up at Oxf interviews this week, hence the delay]
    Well done on Warwick. And if you hadn't taken that risk, you would have kicked yourself afterwards forevermore... so good on you How did your interviews at Oxford go?
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    Well done on Warwick. And if you hadn't taken that risk, you would have kicked yourself afterwards forevermore... so good on you How did your interviews at Oxford go?
    Thanks. I got rejected by Oxford My history interview went well I think but French was fairly abysmal, I wasn't too surprised to get rejected after that. But still, I'd hoped already having 3 A*s in the bag might've helped me out but oh well. Part of me feels if I had gone for straight History I might've got in, but that's for another day. I'm looking at Durham now, partly being the usual residing place of Oxford rejects it seems! Have you heard any more yet?
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    (Original post by tc92)
    Thanks. I got rejected by Oxford My history interview went well I think but French was fairly abysmal, I wasn't too surprised to get rejected after that. But still, I'd hoped already having 3 A*s in the bag might've helped me out but oh well. Part of me feels if I had gone for straight History I might've got in, but that's for another day. I'm looking at Durham now, partly being the usual residing place of Oxford rejects it seems! Have you heard any more yet?
    Oh... Sorry to hear. You had the interview experience at least, and that's something to be proud of. And as this lady from Oxbridge applications said to me, it was more difficult than per usual this year.

    I hope you get good news from Durham!!

    Not a peep yet from anyone, except for Birmingham who keep spamming my inbox unnecessarily. Be expecting to hear from St Andrews earliest Jan 15th; so scared/ excited/ worried! That's the one, really- I've realised I'm more interested in drama and theatre and Shakespeare and literature, and at St As I can have my cake and eat it. Otherwise I'll be forced to reapply. Or, if I don't get the grades, then I'm not going for my insurance... pretty sure Birm/ Sheff/ Sussex wouldn't let me defect to a completely unrelated subject!

    To sum up, I'm still not entirely sure of anything, and I'm still holding out for departmental open days as that again may change everything. But at this stage, already I am having doubts for psych and have been doing so even as I was applying (October)- only it was too late by then (and had been "too late" for a long time before that). Also I've realised there are more 'pros' for me studying English than there are for psych... why didn't I think this through earlier So I think this is something stronger than simply "cold feet", and by goddd is it a headache. Anyways, sorry to have bored you.
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    I guess the lesson of this thread, boys and gals, issss: always plan beforehand!
    Especially when it comes to life-changing decisions such as these. You don't want to end up like me, on the fence and feeling unsure about and unprepared for everything. I certainly didn't envisage it panning out this way, always prided myself on doing thr right thing at the last minute... how wrong can you be! At least you guys next year won't have the agony of applying with the knowledge that your education could have been a third cheaper (as is my situation).
    Now, excuse me while I go drown in self-pity......
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    Shameless bump.
    I think you speak quickly and sorry, but I don't like the plan.
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    (Original post by ANARCHY__)
    I think you speak quickly and sorry, but I don't like the plan.
    ? Bit pedantic...

    That was 4 weeks ago, you (and even I) have no idea whether I 'bumped' 24 mins after the last post, or 24 hours. Everyone knows threads like these fall off the wagon if you don't update it from time to time, besides clearly I was pretty desperate for lots of advice at that time :rolleyes: - and still am I might add.

    Also, no point saying you "don't like the plan" and just leaving it at that! Would you care to say what it is you don't like? The whole thing, parts of it, or just what such a plan would entail?
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    I think you're underestimating how difficult all those things will be to attain.

    And then, I think you're putting too much on Oxbridge, if you get into somewhere you'd be willing to go next year if you got A*A*A say, go this year.
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    This thread seems a tad preemptive, but I just thought I'd plan ahead for once.

    Th

    Thankss
    Just don't get too hung up on Oxbridge. Sounds like a plan though, all the best!
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    ? Bit pedantic...

    That was 4 weeks ago, you (and even I) have no idea whether I 'bumped' 24 mins after the last post, or 24 hours. Everyone knows threads like these fall off the wagon if you don't update it from time to time, besides clearly I was pretty desperate for lots of advice at that time :rolleyes: - and still am I might add.

    Also, no point saying you "don't like the plan" and just leaving it at that! Would you care to say what it is you don't like? The whole thing, parts of it, or just what such a plan would entail?
    I didn't mean by the bump. Just the content of the post. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Heh..

    I don't like the whole thing. I think that you should have a list of things in which you're interested in, forget about Oxford or Cambridge for the moment and then just focus on those. Any essentials you put down and anything extraneous you omit. Otherwise, you'll spend a year learning nothing and doing a lot.
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    (Original post by High As A Kite)
    Just don't get too hung up on Oxbridge. Sounds like a plan though, all the best!
    Oxbridge was always a question mark, and I just wanted to know whether it plausible to even bother trying for it next cycle given my initial ideas. I wouldn't be too fussed if I reapplied and got rejected a second time (although it would hurt if it came pre-interview again) but only from the point of view that my pride would be dented, not that "my dreams would be over" or anything.

    Anyhoo thanks for the vote of confidence!

    (Original post by ANARCHY__)
    I didn't mean by the bump. Just the content of the post. It's not necessarily a bad thing. Heh..

    I don't like the whole thing. I think that you should have a list of things in which you're interested in, forget about Oxford or Cambridge for the moment and then just focus on those. Any essentials you put down and anything extraneous you omit. Otherwise, you'll spend a year learning nothing and doing a lot.
    Oh, well, that was quite misleading!

    I think you've been a bit harsh on my plan This is a list of things I'm interested in. The reason it's so long and full of "extraneous" stuff is because it is early days, and I can't commit to a gap year itself, let alone the little individual things within it! I wasn't planning to reapply solely for Oxbridge (despite the title and all) but wanted to see if you guys thought I could; now I know that's all irrelevant as it comes down to me, my preferences and what I achieve in my exams. I disagree about the 'learning nothing but doing a lot'-- as long as I'm doing something, I'll surely be learning from it...? One of my biggest fear is doing nothing with my life (as I have been this Christmas holiday!! ) so I'm trying to ask as much of myself as possible here *just in case*

    Still, any comments are very much appreciated
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    Oh, well, that was quite misleading!

    I think you've been a bit harsh on my plan This is a list of things I'm interested in. The reason it's so long and full of "extraneous" stuff is because it is early days, and I can't commit to a gap year itself, let alone the little individual things within it! I wasn't planning to reapply solely for Oxbridge (despite the title and all) but wanted to see if you guys thought I could; now I know that's all irrelevant as it comes down to me, my preferences and what I achieve in my exams. I disagree about the 'learning nothing but doing a lot'-- as long as I'm doing something, I'll surely be learning from it...? One of my biggest fear is doing nothing with my life (as I have been this Christmas holiday!! ) so I'm trying to ask as much of myself as possible here *just in case*

    Still, any comments are very much appreciated
    I see. Well, if it is a list of things you're interested in, then I'd whittle it down to lowest number possible and take only the most important things with you. I think you should take a gap year by all means but I still feel that if you're doing a lot for the sake of it (i.e. perhaps you're placing too much importance or necessity on it), then you shouldn't be doing that stuff at all (hence learning nothing and doing a lot). I don't think it's an easy task but I think it's a useful one to do. Whilst it might be your biggest fear to do nothing, what would happen if you did too much and missed the detail?
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    Really feel for your situation, and I am in a similiar one myself. I think I may be able to get A*A*A in Mathematics, Chemistry and English Lang/Lit respecitively this year, and am not so keen on the course I applied for, as I was rushed into it . Now that I think about it, I should have applied for Natural Sciences instead, and Nottingham is currently the only university I've applied to that allows me to transfer to that degree . I don't think I aimed high enough either, but that was due to poor GCSE results really. If I do pluck up the courage to withdraw my application and apply next year (bring on the fees :/) then I'd probably apply to Cambridge/UCL etc. I just know that if I had planned beforehand, and had been given more time and guidance, that I would have had a good chance at applying to Oxbridge and being confident with my application. If I withdraw my application this year, I'm not sure what I'd do in the Gap Year to strengthen my personal statement.

    I agree with whoever said that UCAS is a rushed process. I mean, this decision will effect the rest of my life? And I didn't even know GCSE's were important for university. Sometimes I hate my school for being so caught up in making sure everyone achieves A-C grades so that as a whole the school look great, but when it comes down to the actual students, they are lost. I know so many people who are applying to university just for the "ride".

    Anyway, yeah; get AAA and most likely go Nottingham as I know that I will not stand much of a chance at Oxbridge. Get A*A*A; either stick with Nottingham and hope that I can get into Oxbridge as a postgraduate (if I'm still up for it) or drop out and try Cambridge.

    Luckily Nottingham have given me two offers (AAA for Masters, ABB for Bachelors) so hopefully I'll be getting in, its just a case of is that what I want. Like you, I also have great expectations from friends and family, and always seem to disappoint. Getting into Oxbridge as opposed to just a "good uni" like Nottingham would really give me a huge boost in confidence.

    (Don't want to sound like I'm insulting Notts here :P, I bet its great, and its most likely where I'll end up anyway)
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    Bump
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    (Original post by xchiibieverlastingx)
    i smell
    Quoted to get your attention
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    How does this "hypothetical gap year and applying to Oxbridge" sound:

    - work experience in a law firm

    - charity work for Oxfam

    - two full fast-track A-levels of philosophy and economics

    - brief work for the Conservative Party (I am a member hehe)

    ???

    I am applying for law btw
 
 
 
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