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Agrippina
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#1
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Hi there! This is directed mainly at current Oxford students reading English Lit, but if anyone else has any advice fire away!
I am currently in year 12 at a pretty good state school, and I really want to go to Oxford to study English Lit. However I'm not sure how good my chances of getting in are.... I could use some advice, so perhaps if you could glance over the info below and get back to me? Thanks!
- I was home educated from the age of 8 til I joined the Sixth Form last September and consequently I'm very self-motivated and am quite happy with independent study having done it most of my life.
- I'm taking AS levels English Lit, Music, Psychology, Geography and General studies, and planning to drop geography next year to end up with full A levels in the first three, and also take history at AS next year too.
- I do quite a bit of reading around my subject - e.g. other books by the authors I'm studying in class, etc.
- At the beginning of my A level study I was writing A grade essays for English Lit while everyone else was writing E or U grade essays.
- I got A for GCSE English Lit and A* with a top five mark for GCSE English Lang.
- I play the viola at grade 6 standard (just got Honours, woo-hoo!) and flute at grade 7, plus a bit of piano.
- I play and sing in numerous music groups both in and out of school.
- I am about to start working towards my Duke of Edinburgh Award.
- I have lots of interests besides English Lit - obviously classical music, but also archaeology, horses, etc.

So, realistically, what are my chances? I'd really appreciate any advice.
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Sazzle
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They might ask you why your English Lit was *only* an A.
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Tek
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Also your A Level subjects might not be particularly suited to an English Lit. degree.

Other than that, and your A at GCSE, I'd say you've got about the same chance as anyone else. We can't exactly say "oh it'll be about 1 in 2" now can we??
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username9816
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(Original post by Tek)
Also your A Level subjects might not be particularly suited to an English Lit. degree.

Other than that, and your A at GCSE, I'd say you've got about the same chance as anyone else. We can't exactly say "oh it'll be about 1 in 2" now can we??
music, psychology, geography - a lot of applicants will have better subjects than those.

and yes, ur english lang was ebtter than ur lit at gcse.
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Agrippina
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(Original post by bono)
music, psychology, geography - a lot of applicants will have better subjects than those.

and yes, ur english lang was ebtter than ur lit at gcse.
So what's the difference between Lang and Lit at degree level?
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Tek
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(Original post by Tek)
Also your A Level subjects might not be particularly suited to an English Lit. degree.

Other than that, and your A at GCSE, I'd say you've got about the same chance as anyone else. We can't exactly say "oh it'll be about 1 in 2" now can we??
Further to that, your GCSE results won't be up to the standard they expect from successful applicants; I don't know how much of a difference this will make.

Edit: Results can be found under the "Official Who Are You" thread.
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kildare
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They want people who read "widely and voraciously". That's their primary criterion.
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kildare
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(Original post by Eeyore)
So what's the difference between Lang and Lit at degree level?
At Oxford you study both.
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Agrippina
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(Original post by Tek)
Further to that, your GCSE results won't be up to the standard they expect from successful applicants; I don't know how much of a difference this will make.
I thought it was only A levels they took into consideration?
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Tek
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(Original post by Eeyore)
I thought it was only A levels they took into consideration?
Um, no.
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Geogger
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They take EVERYTHING into consideration!
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Agrippina
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(Original post by Tek)
Further to that, your GCSE results won't be up to the standard they expect from successful applicants; I don't know how much of a difference this will make.

Edit: Results can be found under the "Official Who Are You" thread.
btw I took all my GCSEs via distance from home and took the exams at a local school so I essentially taught myself the whole lot... which was quite an achievement for me and it would have been impossible to take any more.
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kildare
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Every English tutor I talked to told me "We want people who read. Nothing more, nothing less".
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Lucy
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Your GCSE grades aren't actually that bad - it's just that there aren't too many of them. Right now I would just concentrate on doing well in your AS exams and then you can make a decision after you get your results. I don't see why you shouldn't apply - your background reading is a positive sign and you have 6 choices so you might as well go for it if you're capable enough (as everyone always says "grades aren't everything")
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Agrippina
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(Original post by Lucy)
Your GCSE grades aren't actually that bad - it's just that there aren't too many of them. Right now I would just concentrate on doing well in your AS exams and then you can make a decision after you get your results. I don't see why you shouldn't apply - your background reading is a positive sign and you have 6 choices so you might as well go for it if you're capable enough (as everyone always says "grades aren't everything")
Thanks Lucy that's really encouraging, I was beginning to get rather upset...! My English Lit teachers are both being very helpful and giving me extension material to work through, and suggesting books for more background reading. I think I am capable of getting into Oxford and of handling the degree course I'm just worried that I won't look as capable on my UCAS form but that's not true
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Tek
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Why didn't you go to school then, instead of "teaching yourself?"
(Original post by Eeyore)
I think I am capable of getting into Oxford and of handling the degree course I'm just worried that I won't look as capable on my UCAS form but that's not true
Well that's what interviews are for.
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Ensocopier
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(Original post by Eeyore)
Thanks Lucy that's really encouraging, I was beginning to get rather upset...! My English Lit teachers are both being very helpful and giving me extension material to work through, and suggesting books for more background reading. I think I am capable of getting into Oxford and of handling the degree course I'm just worried that I won't look as capable on my UCAS form but that's not true
Theres a box on the Oxford form which allows you to give your background etc. Have you thought about which College. Somervilles nice, and are very keen on State school students etc.
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Lucy
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(Original post by Eeyore)
Thanks Lucy that's really encouraging, I was beginning to get rather upset...! My English Lit teachers are both being very helpful and giving me extension material to work through, and suggesting books for more background reading. I think I am capable of getting into Oxford and of handling the degree course I'm just worried that I won't look as capable on my UCAS form but that's not true
Just make sure your personal statement is dazzling. Also really do try to do amazingly well in your AS levels so that your referee can emphasise that you can cope well with exams which will hopefully dispel any worries the admissions tutors may have when looking at your GCSEs. That's all you can really do for your UCAS form .
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Agrippina
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(Original post by Ensocopier)
Theres a box on the Oxford form which allows you to give your background etc. Have you thought about which College. Somervilles nice, and are very keen on State school students etc.
I had started to think about colleges, but I'm not sure which are best for English Lit, or which would have the right attitudes towards me etc. Anyone got any recommendations? My viola teacher went to Brasenose (reading theology) and reckons I should go there.
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lou p lou
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(Original post by Lucy)
Just make sure your personal statement is dazzling. Also really do try to do amazingly well in your AS levels so that your referee can emphasise that you can cope well with exams which will hopefully dispel any worries the admissions tutors may have when looking at your GCSEs. That's all you can really do for your UCAS form .
errm, why aren't a nice peson Lucy? *sulks*

lou xxx
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