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    I know this will upset no end, but I'm going to express my regret of applying to Cambridge and not Oxford. I think it was a big mistake, competition is almost double for my course at Cambridge, and I think Oxford are generally a bit more hospitable in their selection process.


    What do you think?
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    Maths at Clare College, Cambridge.

    I chose Cambridge because I'd been to both and felt Clare was just the best ever, I think I fell in love with it. HOwever looking back I'd have still been ecstatic to goto Oxford, it just wasn't my absolute first choice.

    My reasoning is just that I think it's easier to get into Maths at Oxford, (about twice as easy) as it is at Cambridge. This is due to the reduced competition for Oxford, and because for me, the extended interview period with different colleges, and the addition of things like tests etc would allow me to demonstrate my abilities more. I just don't think the 15 mins with a couple of tutors is good enough criteria.
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    felt Clare was just the best ever, I think I fell in love with it
    I know all about doing that

    With regard to getting easier - number of applicants isn't necessarily a good indicator, there'd probably be more applicants to place at somewhere like Nottingham. Clare does tend to have high application to place averages, apparently there was a 5 to 1 ratio for my course the year I applied, so they might not be the easiest to get onto but going to a good college will always be more rewarding than choosing the easiest way in.
    Clare is pretty good about getting people they think are good enough but don't have the space for in via clearing... one of the people I met at interview went to Girton.

    The interviews are quite short at Clare, but you aren't necessarily going to get much more time at Oxford with their Dons, either way it's going to be difficult - if it wasn't it wouldn't be worth coming.

    All the mathmos I know at Clare are somewhat odd but really nice people, and the current second year's first year scores ranged from a couple of firsts through a lot of 2:1s to one 2:2 and one third - so there is variation.

    And besides, if you do get an place at Clare you're very unlikely to regret it. If you don't you can swear a bit and go round again to Ox if you must.

    Btw - did you get served some horrible looking coffee in the library common room whilst at interview at Clare? One of my friends (who doesn't drink coffee) wa serving and I thought it looked foul

    Best of luck,

    Alaric.
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    I know this will upset no end, but I'm going to express my regret of applying to Cambridge and not Oxford. I think it was a big mistake, competition is almost double for my course at Cambridge, and I think Oxford are generally a bit more hospitable in their selection process.


    What do you think?
    There are two issues here - the competition for places and the system used for selection.

    For some subject/college combinations competition is strong at both Cambridge and Oxford. So Oxford may be potentially easier if you are a mathematician but not if you are applying to say Balliol for PPE or Merton for History.

    The Oxford admissions system has the advantage of being shorter and arguably less painful i.e. all over by Christmas. It is however very intense and not all capable candidates perform well with its combination of several interviews over two or three days at one, two or sometimes three colleges. However I have the feeling that fewer people leave the Oxford interview unhappy with how they performed than at Cambridge. No scientific basis for that just people I know and reading assorted threads. Cambridge has a more formal pool than Oxford although the latter seems to be trying hard to make sure every interviewee is looked at by other colleges. In truth both need to do much more to make their admissions fairer - too much still depends on college choice. It's surely crazy that there should be any variation in the routes into the same course. Ultimately both universities will recognise that under their current systems they are not necessarily selecting the most able applicants but rather those who are best equipped to deal with their current system and the interview.
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    (Original post by scanner)
    So Oxford may be potentially easier if you are a mathematician
    I had an interview for cambridge this year (robinson college) while my best friend went for oxford (somerville), both for maths. She found her interviews weren't too bad but she said that the test that she had before the interviews was horrific and she struggled with most of the questions (dont know if any of you applied for oxford and had to do the test - she told me about the lightbulb question :eek: ).
    I didn't have any major problems with my interviews, my two subject ones seemed to focus alot on differential equations and graph sketching, and my test was on topics I had mostly covered already, apart from matrices.
    Comparing our interviews, cambridge seemed less intensive, although it may just have been my college. Then again, she did get an offer and I still haven't heard!!!

    Donna
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    (Original post by DonnaB041986)
    I had an interview for cambridge this year (robinson college) while my best friend went for oxford (somerville), both for maths. She found her interviews weren't too bad but she said that the test that she had before the interviews was horrific and she struggled with most of the questions (dont know if any of you applied for oxford and had to do the test - she told me about the lightbulb question :eek: ).
    I didn't have any major problems with my interviews, my two subject ones seemed to focus alot on differential equations and graph sketching, and my test was on topics I had mostly covered already, apart from matrices.
    Comparing our interviews, cambridge seemed less intensive, although it may just have been my college. Then again, she did get an offer and I still haven't heard!!!

    Donna
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    What offer did she get from Somerville?
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    (Original post by fishpaste)
    Maths at Clare College, Cambridge.

    I chose Cambridge because I'd been to both and felt Clare was just the best ever, I think I fell in love with it. HOwever looking back I'd have still been ecstatic to goto Oxford, it just wasn't my absolute first choice.

    My reasoning is just that I think it's easier to get into Maths at Oxford, (about twice as easy) as it is at Cambridge. This is due to the reduced competition for Oxford, and because for me, the extended interview period with different colleges, and the addition of things like tests etc would allow me to demonstrate my abilities more. I just don't think the 15 mins with a couple of tutors is good enough criteria.
    Perhaps you are right in your views, but as someone else said, you always have the option of reapplying to Oxford next year. Oxford maths does have the advantage of not requiring STEP grades, which place you under extra stress (one girls at my school last year had an offer for maths at St Johns, Cam, and was refused entry because she didn't get the STEP grades required. She's reapplied to Oxford this year).

    Regarding the idea that maths at Oxford is easier to get into, I'd be very interested to know if that's because Oxford seem to weed out more people before the interview stage, so that the competition has already been reduced by the time you get to interview, whereas Cambridge seem to interview more indiscriminately. Anyone know anything about this?
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    (Original post by Minta)
    Regarding the idea that maths at Oxford is easier to get into, I'd be very interested to know if that's because Oxford seem to weed out more people before the interview stage, so that the competition has already been reduced by the time you get to interview, whereas Cambridge seem to interview more indiscriminately. Anyone know anything about this?
    I think it is only significant if you applied to study medicine at Oxford (they interviewed about 35% of applicants) - otherwise I think that they interview about 90% for all other subjects (not positive though)?

    As for different admission procedures, I partly chose Oxford because I liked the idea of more than 1 interview because I felt I had a greater chance to prove myself. That said, the grilling I had at Ox (3 interviews & 1 test in 2 days) was exhausting and not well suited to others.
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    I think its unfair that we're not allowed to apply to oxford and cambridge...what right have they to do this? I can't imagine LSE or York or UCL or any other top university getting away with this.
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    (Original post by nero076)
    I think its unfair that we're not allowed to apply to oxford and cambridge...what right have they to do this? I can't imagine LSE or York or UCL or any other top university getting away with this.

    That rule is in place because otherwise the two unis think they'd have too much admin to cope with and too many people to interview. However, other unis seem to manage, and maybe Oxbridge should do the sensible thing of extending the interview period. Btw, you can waive this regulation if you apply for an organ scholarship at both unis, which doesn't seem very fair to me!
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    (Original post by Minta)
    Btw, you can waive this regulation if you apply for an organ scholarship at both unis, which doesn't seem very fair to me!
    Can you try this even if you can't play the organ?
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    (Original post by Minta)
    That rule is in place because otherwise the two unis think they'd have too much admin to cope with and too many people to interview. However, other unis seem to manage, and maybe Oxbridge should do the sensible thing of extending the interview period. Btw, you can waive this regulation if you apply for an organ scholarship at both unis, which doesn't seem very fair to me!
    Yes this isnt fair, they only get 3-4 applicants per places, so even if everybody who applied to one applied to the other (highly unlikely) the most they would get is say 7 applicants per places. Given that they would only interview say 5 of them, thats a lot less admin that other universities face.
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    (Original post by Tek)
    Can you try this even if you can't play the organ?
    Lol yeah - apply for an organ scholarship at Oxbridge and just happen to have a nasty accident before the audition which just happens to result in you spraining/breaking both hands/wrists.
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    I always thought the rule about not applying to both was so that they could have much smaller margins for error in the number of places they offer to the number they can take because they expect that applicant to go there if they get given an offer. Were they to allow both most people would surely get offers from both if the admissions procedures were reasonable and then have to choose, resulting in less balance.

    basically they like to think they have great rivalry, but they don't want to actually compete for students - so it's more than a little hypocritical.

    Alaric.
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    (Original post by Ensocopier)
    What offer did she get from Somerville?
    They want AAA

    Donna
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    That's true, other universities like Notts have to deal with much more uncertainty with the likes of Oxbridge, Warwick and London around, so I'm sure Oxbridge should be dealing with it too.
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    (Original post by scanner)
    There are two issues here - the competition for places and the system used for selection.

    For some subject/college combinations competition is strong at both Cambridge and Oxford. So Oxford may be potentially easier if you are a mathematician but not if you are applying to say Balliol for PPE or Merton for History.

    The Oxford admissions system has the advantage of being shorter and arguably less painful i.e. all over by Christmas. It is however very intense and not all capable candidates perform well with its combination of several interviews over two or three days at one, two or sometimes three colleges. However I have the feeling that fewer people leave the Oxford interview unhappy with how they performed than at Cambridge. No scientific basis for that just people I know and reading assorted threads. Cambridge has a more formal pool than Oxford although the latter seems to be trying hard to make sure every interviewee is looked at by other colleges. In truth both need to do much more to make their admissions fairer - too much still depends on college choice. It's surely crazy that there should be any variation in the routes into the same course. Ultimately both universities will recognise that under their current systems they are not necessarily selecting the most able applicants but rather those who are best equipped to deal with their current system and the interview.
    Yes, I appreciate that different courses have totally different reps at different colleges/unis. Also, I for one, am very glad I have no wish to do Law or Medicine, as that's a different league once again.

    Oxford seem very good for finding places for able candidates, I find it a horrid thought that able students are getting rejected from Cambridge because of red tape. I'm so impressed by some of the Oxford colleges who make a promise that all able students will be found places somewhere in the university.

    I do entirely agree that both need to do much more to make their admissions fairer, I've seen so many great candidates be rejected over lesser able ones, nevermind because the lesser able ones were more equipped, but just because of luck with interviewers and interview topics.

    For example, I will admit that in my interview, a problem came up which I was vaguely familiar, and feigning a bit of thinking seemed to get me a lot of kudos. Another problem I was so put off by the manner of the interviewer I was barely able to tackle it.

    I think the admissions process needs to take in more account of what teachers are saying, but not at all like the current system, if you know what I mean. As right now, it seems anybody applying to Oxbridge will suddenly get a better reference, better predictions because of that fact. Again, a personal example, I was allowed alot more access to my reference after it became known I'd make an application, I had quite a vicious remark by my maths teacher removed (created quite some controversey in the school!) .. as well as a few things added. It was clear the reference was just trying to aid my application, because it said things like "Alex is particularly skilled with the use of calculators!" (written by an English teacher).

    Wow, got a little off topic there :P

    My teachers are the only people who genuinally know how able each student in the class is, and if there could be some fair way to use this, I think it'd be great.
 
 
 
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