Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by mlember)
    Hey

    I have a question about the UCAS reference letter.
    Namely, I am from a small European country and would have the possibility to get the letter of recommendation from the president.
    In this letter of recommendation he would refer to references from my teachers and people close to me. (For example: the candidate's English teacher tells me that he is...)
    In addition the president would explain how important it would be for the country if I were to be accepted to the university.

    Perhaps the fact that I will be applying to PPE would justify the choice of recommender? Or would it just be an useless waste of time and perhaps even hurt my application?
    LOL - looking to name drop your way into a place? Thinking that knowing a president makes you more qualified for PPE is like thinking that being able to see Russia from your house prepares you for international relations.

    The Brasenose person just posted what they want and why they want it. Plenty of international applicants have fancy friends, but if the fancy friend hasn't been in a position to know your work- including relative to your peers, the situation, how you are in an academic environment, etc, then it's no use to the people making the choice.

    And in the meantime I am trying to figure out what country in Europe is so tiny and how you could be so special that the very future of the country hinges on you getting a PPE degree from Oxford.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by DCDude)
    LOL - looking to name drop your way into a place? Thinking that knowing a president makes you more qualified for PPE is like thinking that being able to see Russia from your house prepares you for international relations.

    The Brasenose person just posted what they want and why they want it. Plenty of international applicants have fancy friends, but if the fancy friend hasn't been in a position to know your work- including relative to your peers, the situation, how you are in an academic environment, etc, then it's no use to the people making the choice.

    And in the meantime I am trying to figure out what country in Europe is so tiny and how you could be so special that the very future of the country hinges on you getting a PPE degree from Oxford.
    Hahahah....oh my god....'may I just reiterate that it is of the utmost importance to the future economic sustainability of our nation that this candidate be accepted to your PPE course, and that our future generations' welfare depends on your decision'.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Sure, I guess you could call it name dropping into a place. But I think having a fancy name on a bad application would make no difference. Of course I understand that academic excellence is the nr1 factor.
    But since the competition to join top universities is fierce ,especially in the UK, I was just thinking if it could give me the upper edge.

    And regarding my claim of it being important to the country, forget that. It was like 6am I was writing my personal statement and trying to figure out how to get the best possible reference letter.

    And indeed, the president would be only vaguely informed about my academic history.

    So your advice would be to scrap the idea and rather ask my English teacher?
    •  Official Rep
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
     Official Rep
    (Original post by mlember)
    Hey

    I have a question about the UCAS reference letter.
    Namely, I am from a small European country and would have the possibility to get the letter of recommendation from the president.
    In this letter of recommendation he would refer to references from my teachers and people close to me. (For example: the candidate's English teacher tells me that he is...)
    In addition the president would explain how important it would be for the country if I were to be accepted to the university.

    Perhaps the fact that I will be applying to PPE would justify the choice of recommender? Or would it just be an useless waste of time and perhaps even hurt my application?
    Please see our reply above to SLMS.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Only messing around.

    I'm sure an official adviser could be more helpful, but I would recommend considering who is best placed to explain the why you are suited to the course and the institution. Chances are that will be your teacher.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by mlember)
    Sure, I guess you could call it name dropping into a place. But I think having a fancy name on a bad application would make no difference. Of course I understand that academic excellence is the nr1 factor.
    But since the competition to join top universities is fierce ,especially in the UK, I was just thinking if it could give me the upper edge.

    And regarding my claim of it being important to the country, forget that. It was like 6am I was writing my personal statement and trying to figure out how to get the best possible reference letter.

    And indeed, the president would be only vaguely informed about my academic history.

    So your advice would be to scrap the idea and rather ask my English teacher?
    Use the teacher who can best articulate your academic nature. No point in having the president write it if he hasn't met you or doesn't know your academic capabilities.

    Oxford want academic integrity, there will be plenty of people applying (especially for PPE!) who will know the right people in the right places, but that doesn't necessarily meet what Oxford wants.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    2
    (Original post by fluteflute)
    I have to agree with colourtheory, the "Oxford looks lots at GCSE results" is a myth. There are a few cases where GCSEs are important, for very popular courses (particularly for Medicine). But Oriental Studies interviews 86% of candidates, in other words they interview practically everyone who makes a serious application. (I suspect many of the 14% they don't interview are people who have done badly on the aptitude test, for the courses that have an aptitude test, which Japanese currently doesn't.)

    The key thing for you is to work out which universities have the courses best suited to you. The college thing is a bit sad, but it's not the end of the world - remember that 25% of Oxbridge students are at a college they didn't initially apply to (and near enough all love their college).
    But what if you don't have stellar GCSE grades compared to everyone else who would be applying but they are stellar considering the fact that you've been self-taught and home-schooled in a third world country. And then on top of that, you have no AS grades to show for in the application? All you can give them are predicted grades even if they are A*AAA, you have no AS grades to show that they're not too far off. Do you think someone like that should even apply for a course like PPE or Law?
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hilrho)
    But what if you don't have stellar GCSE grades compared to everyone else who would be applying but they are stellar considering the fact that you've been self-taught and home-schooled in a third world country. And then on top of that, you have no AS grades to show for in the application? All you can give them are predicted grades even if they are A*AAA, you have no AS grades to show that they're not too far off. Do you think someone like that should even apply for a course like PPE or Law or E&M?
    For those courses, you have the TSA, LNAT and TSA respectively, which are tests that all applicants take, and inform who to interview. (So if you are at the required standard, that will give you a chance to show it.)
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MouseyBrown)
    Exactly; I expected the 'far out' colleges to be really remote, but in fact they are just less 'really close' to the centre.

    I'd have any of them!
    Offline

    2
    (Original post by fluteflute)
    For those courses, you have the TSA, LNAT and TSA respectively, which are tests that all applicants take, and inform who to interview. (So if you are at the required standard, that will give you a chance to show it.)
    So I could still apply with no AS grades, just predicted A-level grades?
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hilrho)
    So I could still apply with no AS grades, just predicted A-level grades?
    Yes certainly.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Hi all!
    GCSE grades - 3A* 5A 4B
    AS - hopefully AAAAA (not sure about A2)
    Course - English
    College - Merton

    Not really that confident in getting in but providing I get A's across my AS subjects will probably apply
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by fluteflute)
    Yes certainly.
    Sorry but judging by everything I was told at the open day by tutors and admissions advisors themselves, this and what you said about GCSEs is bad advice.

    Of course you can apply with poor GCSEs and no AS results, but it would definitely harm your chances. We were repeatedly told that GCSEs are used along with the HAT test to eliminate a third of applicants at the first stage of the process.

    AS grades themselves may be less important than predicted grades - a B or a C at AS can be made up for with a realistic A grade prediction - but they are still an indicator of where you are at and whether your predictions are realistic. How would they know otherwise?

    You can never say one aspect of an applications is essential, but, at least if you apply for History, GCSEs and AS levels are important, and you shouldn't tell people they are not.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    GCSE grades: 10 A*, 3 A, and a C in HLPQ
    A-Levels: Predicted AAAABB (not sure about that though) and currently doing an EPQ
    Course: Biomedical Sciences
    College: Probably a boring open application
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi there, I'm currently practicing for the Oxford TSA test and I'm blocked at questions 36 and 37 of the 2013 paper. Could anyone help out please?

    Here's the link to the paper: http://www.admissionstestingservice....-section-1.pdf

    Thanks.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MouseyBrown)
    Sorry but judging by everything I was told at the open day by tutors and admissions advisors themselves, this and what you said about GCSEs is bad advice.

    Of course you can apply with poor GCSEs and no AS results, but it would definitely harm your chances. We were repeatedly told that GCSEs are used along with the HAT test to eliminate a third of applicants at the first stage of the process.

    AS grades themselves may be less important than predicted grades - a B or a C at AS can be made up for with a realistic A grade prediction - but they are still an indicator of where you are at and whether your predictions are realistic. How would they know otherwise?

    You can never say one aspect of an applications is essential, but, at least if you apply for History, GCSEs and AS levels are important, and you shouldn't tell people they are not.
    I'm absolutely no expert, but I know from long discussions with my tutor at college that if a candidate does have 'extenutating circumstances' this will be explained in their reference and will be taken into account by tutors, which I think is what people are trying to ask about. In such a case, I reckon that if someone does really well in their admissions test, tutors will be able to see their potential even if there there are (valid) reasons for not-so-wonderful GCSE grades. Of course GCSEs and ASs are important, and reading back through posts I don't think fluteflute ever said that they weren't - he just explained that the admissions tests give you the chance to shine if there are reasons why your exams haven't. Plus, not everyone does A-levels - maybe there are even some types of qualification where there is no equivalent of AS at all...this doesn't stop people from applying (and getting in) though!

    Webpage found after some quick research:
    http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...e-requirements

    This explains that AS grades, if available, will form part of a candidates whole profile - a lack of them will not automatically eliminate you from the admissions process.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Is anyone applying to Oxford for Theology and Religion?
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MouseyBrown)
    Sorry but judging by everything I was told at the open day by tutors and admissions advisors themselves, this and what you said about GCSEs is bad advice.

    Of course you can apply with poor GCSEs and no AS results, but it would definitely harm your chances. We were repeatedly told that GCSEs are used along with the HAT test to eliminate a third of applicants at the first stage of the process.

    AS grades themselves may be less important than predicted grades - a B or a C at AS can be made up for with a realistic A grade prediction - but they are still an indicator of where you are at and whether your predictions are realistic. How would they know otherwise?

    You can never say one aspect of an applications is essential, but, at least if you apply for History, GCSEs and AS levels are important, and you shouldn't tell people they are not.
    The reason that AS grades aren't as important as GCSE's, admissions tests or interviews is because Oxford hasn't proven a link between them and doing well in their degrees, unlike Cambridge. Furthermore, many UK private schools don't certificate AS grades and so none of their pupils will apply with their AS grades on their applications. AS grades are going to become even less important probably as they've been basically removed from the curriculum.

    For History - the HAT and GCSEs are the main two factors used to decide whether to invite a candidate to interview, that means that an amazing HAT score can outweigh slightly less good GCSEs, but every application is different. There is no denying that GCSEs aren't important (and I'm sure fluteflute agrees with me), but his point was that you can make up for non-stellar GCSEs through other aspects of your application. Particularly if there are extenuating circumstances, or your GCSEs show that you achieved higher than the average at the school you attended.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by danniegee)
    Plus, not everyone does A-levels - maybe there are even some types of qualification where there is no equivalent of AS at all...this doesn't stop people from applying (and getting in) though!
    (Original post by Lucilou101)
    many UK private schools don't certificate AS grades and so none of their pupils will apply with their AS grades on their applications.
    Yes - applying without AS grades is not going to hurt an application even slightly. [As a sidenote, I know someone currently holding an offer for Classics who applied with AS grades of ABC!]

    (Original post by MouseyBrown)
    AS grades themselves may be less important than predicted grades - a B or a C at AS can be made up for with a realistic A grade prediction - but they are still an indicator of where you are at and whether your predictions are realistic. How would they know otherwise?
    Well maybe they could know through the HAT results and by interviewing you? (plus the teacher's reference)

    (Original post by MouseyBrown)
    We were repeatedly told that GCSEs are used along with the HAT test to eliminate a third of applicants at the first stage of the process.
    [..]

    You can never say one aspect of an applications is essential, but, at least if you apply for History, GCSEs [..] are important, and you shouldn't tell people they are not.
    This is the part of your post that is a reasonably fair criticism, but I still think my original comments were fair. The role of GCSEs within applying to Oxford is mostly clouded in mystery, with Medicine being a rare example of a subject providing transparency (note Medicine is rather special and you shouldn't try to extrapolate from Medicine to other courses). History is the only other course I can think of that publicly talks about how GCSEs are used in the process. I have no clue why they don't put this on their website (it makes me a bit angry that they don't actually) but yes they say that decisions on who to interview are made based on 30% A*s at GCSE and 70% on the HAT. I understand that to mean that good GCSEs are clearly a help for History applicants, but that doesn't mean you won't be interviewed if your GCSEs aren't the best. I should repeat the caveat that this is just for history - but I've not seen reasons to believe GCSEs play a bigger role for other courses.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    TOPIC: MEDICINE

    Suppose someone who has 12a* at GCSE, how well does he have to do in the BMAT to be called for interview. I think its around a third of applicants get an interview. Could anyone tell me quantitatively what BMAT score I should get in order to be pretty safe.

    Any help is much appreciated.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you like to hibernate through the winter months?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.