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My hypothetical gap year and applying to Oxbridge Watch

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    This thread seems a tad preemptive, but I just thought I'd plan ahead for once.

    The idea to take a year out and reapply for 2012 entry has been growing on me for some time. (It's also partially borne out of my belief that Oxford are going to reject me soon, and though it's so hypocritical of me, I can just see myself reapplying next year with a strengthened application).

    So this is my hypothetical gap year:
    • EDUCATION: I'm still planning to stick with psychology when I reapply; though this time I'd give English more consideration too. Either way, I'd take up Classics AS, maybe Biology AS and redo all of part of French/Maths AS. These are for personal enjoyment/ helping with my subjects/ ironing out dodgy grades reasons.
      I'd attend school lessons for the first month or so and then self-teach at home, maybe coming in once every 2-3 weeks to see teachers for progress. (it's going to feel a bit weird coming back to school... like I'm the ex-pupil who can never let go.. but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do)
      I am aware however, that by the time the next Oxbridge deadline rolls around (this is assuming I get AAA+ this year), I won't have the results of any of these new qualifications. So how does it work? Would they give me a conditional based on my AS results? Or is it dependent only on what I achieved at A2?


    • WORK EXPERIENCE: Important to get as much as possible. I have contacts at the IoP, my school could hopefully also set me up at other places, I'd write to uni depts + hospitals + clinics and ask for opportunities there. I'd also LOVE to do WEx or work abroad but we'll see about that. Also I'd put my name down for a bit of volunteering (need to give back)

    • UNI EXPERIENCE: Visit loads of unis, make better informed decisions this time round. Also to visit my friends/meet new ones and generally faff around!

    • WORK: .... Obviously find a real job and stop leeching off mum and dad. Tutoring would be a good idea (assuming anyone even wants to be taught by me)

    • STUDENT-RELATED: Attend more lectures, plays, workshops, conventions, museums, courses and keep on reading specialist magazines and journals, books and plays etc

    • DRAMA: Join a drama group and go to loads of plays/gigs! & Hopefully write some material of my own

    • TRAVEL: France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, US, China ??

    • APPEARANCE: Get my ass down to the gym. Grow my hair, my nails, boobs (seriously hellloo Mother Nature. did you forget about me?), improve my skin. Wardrobe and makeup overhaul.


    That was pretty fun to plan. I'm in the right mind to actually embark on it regardless of UCAS outcomes! Haha... All very ambitious too, but just my early thoughts really! (sadly knowing me I probably would end up only doing a few of these, and even fewer of these well)
    What do you think- especially regarding the education bullet point? Anything I ought to put in? Any other advice/tips if you've been there yourself?

    Thankss
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    have you even had your interview yet? back in my day they were in december.
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    (Original post by Square)
    have you even had your interview yet? back in my day they were in december.
    No I haven't. It's very possible they will reject me soon, if not then post-interview. But anyway that's besides the point, I'm wanting to focus on the future here. Please just humour me!
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    Seems like an OK plan. But don't lose your hopes for Oxford yet as you don't know you're not in yet!

    Also bear in mind that if you apply next year, even with a strengthened application you may not get in. Oxbridge is not the be all and end all of universities so don't focus your whole year on Oxford/ Cambridge - remember all of the other excellent universities out there!
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    (Original post by ily_em)
    Seems like an OK plan. But don't lose your hopes for Oxford yet as you don't know you're not in yet!

    Also bear in mind that if you apply next year, even with a strengthened application you may not get in. Oxbridge is not the be all and end all of universities so don't focus your whole year on Oxford/ Cambridge - remember all of the other excellent universities out there!
    Just 'OK'? lol. And heh, I haven't.. completely. But I'm never one to be positive anyway. It's got me thinking, is all.

    That is also a very good point. But it may be a risk I'll need to take.

    Wise words I know it sounds like I'm some sort of Oxbridge fanatic but that's not the case, I think. I simply like the idea of doing things all over again, better. And there's certain unis I would've rather applied to if I had the chance. (Plus it's a whole different kettle of fish if I plumped for English next year). I mean there's that and reaping the other benefits of a gap year, such as maturing and developing my identity away from friends/ environment I've grown used to.
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    (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
    Just 'OK'? lol. And heh, I haven't.. completely. But I'm never one to be positive anyway. It's got me thinking, is all.

    That is also a very good point. But it may be a risk I'll need to take.

    Wise words I know it sounds like I'm some sort of Oxbridge fanatic but that's not the case, I think. I simply like the idea of doing things all over again, better. And there's certain unis I would've rather applied to if I had the chance. (Plus it's a whole different kettle of fish if I plumped for English next year). I mean there's that and reaping the other benefits of a gap year, such as maturing and developing my identity away from friends/ environment I've grown used to.
    Not too sure about you retaking AS levels as I don't think unis are too keen on people doing A levels over three years You'd need to check that though!

    Good answer You are doing it for other reasons then. I was just making sure because I know people who were totally set on Oxbridge and were really crushed when they didn't get in, when there are unis that are just as good.
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    (Original post by ily_em)
    Not too sure about you retaking AS levels as I don't think unis are too keen on people doing A levels over three years You'd need to check that though!
    Ohh, I see. I did ring up Oxford and StAs and their advice was not to retake AS (because I'd dropped these subjects by then) because that might sabotage my actual A2s. So I'd be doing it with the view to improve what needed improving anyway. (I got Cs in French and Maths and would be much more comfortable with Bs)

    Good answer You are doing it for other reasons then. I was just making sure because I know people who were totally set on Oxbridge and were really crushed when they didn't get in, when there are unis that are just as good.
    Thanks!
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      (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
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      Or go this year so you won't have to pay higher fees?
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      (Original post by im so academic)
      Or go this year so you won't have to pay higher fees?
      Well, yes there's obviously that too, but at this stage we still don't know exactly what will happen.
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        (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
        Well, yes there's obviously that too, but at this stage we still don't know exactly what will happen.
        Well, it's more than likely it will be going up anyways.

        Honestly, if you get rejected by Oxford, I would take one of the other offers and run with it.

        In addition, how do you know if you're going to go to Oxbridge the second time around? What will you do then?

        :dontknow:
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        (Original post by im so academic)
        Well, it's more than likely it will be going up anyways.

        Honestly, if you get rejected by Oxford, I would take one of the other offers and run with it.

        In addition, how do you know if you're going to go to Oxbridge the second time around? What will you do then?

        :dontknow:
        True, but at this point it's still all speculation. Plus I'm sure I'm qualify for a fair no. of bursaries/schemes. So honestly.. cross that bridge when I come to it.

        Blimey, I'm not going to "run with" any old offer just because of the planned tuition fees hike! I'd have to really love the place. Btw it's not that I don't expect to love them, just I suppose I do want another shot at Oxford/Cambridge besides other things, and if it means I'll have to reapply, that's what I'll do.

        See above posts for the Oxbridge reapplication uncertainty thing.

        Anyways it's all just hypothetical, so like I said- humour me.
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        Shameless bump.
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        (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
        This thread seems a tad preemptive, but I just thought I'd plan ahead for once.

        The idea to take a year out and reapply for 2012 entry has been growing on me for some time. (It's also partially borne out of my belief that Oxford are going to reject me soon, and though it's so hypocritical of me, I can just see myself reapplying next year with a strengthened application).

        So this is my hypothetical gap year:
        • EDUCATION: I'm still planning to stick with psychology when I reapply; though this time I'd give English more consideration too. Either way, I'd take up Classics AS, maybe Biology AS and redo all of part of French/Maths AS. These are for personal enjoyment/ helping with my subjects/ ironing out dodgy grades reasons.
          I'd attend school lessons for the first month or so and then self-teach at home, maybe coming in once every 2-3 weeks to see teachers for progress. (it's going to feel a bit weird coming back to school... like I'm the ex-pupil who can never let go.. but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do)
          I am aware however, that by the time the next Oxbridge deadline rolls around (this is assuming I get AAA+ this year), I won't have the results of any of these new qualifications. So how does it work? Would they give me a conditional based on my AS results? Or is it dependent only on what I achieved at A2?


        • WORK EXPERIENCE: Important to get as much as possible. I have contacts at the IoP, my school could hopefully also set me up at other places, I'd write to uni depts + hospitals + clinics and ask for opportunities there. I'd also LOVE to do WEx or work abroad but we'll see about that. Also I'd put my name down for a bit of volunteering (need to give back)

        • UNI EXPERIENCE: Visit loads of unis, make better informed decisions this time round. Also to visit my friends/meet new ones and generally faff around!

        • WORK: .... Obviously find a real job and stop leeching off mum and dad. Tutoring would be a good idea (assuming anyone even wants to be taught by me)

        • STUDENT-RELATED: Attend more lectures, plays, workshops, conventions, museums, courses and keep on reading specialist magazines and journals, books and plays etc

        • DRAMA: Join a drama group and go to loads of plays/gigs! & Hopefully write some material of my own

        • TRAVEL: France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, US, China ??

        • APPEARANCE: Get my ass down to the gym. Grow my hair, my nails, boobs (seriously hellloo Mother Nature. did you forget about me?), improve my skin. Wardrobe and makeup overhaul.


        That was pretty fun to plan. I'm in the right mind to actually embark on it regardless of UCAS outcomes! Haha... All very ambitious too, but just my early thoughts really! (sadly knowing me I probably would end up only doing a few of these, and even fewer of these well)
        What do you think- especially regarding the education bullet point? Anything I ought to put in? Any other advice/tips if you've been there yourself?

        Thankss
        Hi, I am doing a very similar thing but for law, not psychology I wish you luck with it; your plan seems as rigorous and demanding as mine, if not more!

        I know three people who have got into Oxford by taking a gap year to do an extra A level/retakes, work experience and other relevant things, so you should be OK. Most people have insignificant gap years anyway so you will thus impress admissions tutors with what you propose to do!
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        (Original post by Alex-jc123)
        Hi, I am doing a very similar thing but for law, not psychology I wish you luck with it; your plan seems as rigorous and demanding as mine, if not more!
        Ooooh ok, what kind of things do you plan to do?
        Haha it's only a proposal. Plus I make lots of points on lots of lists that never come to fruition...

        I know three people who have got into Oxford by taking a gap year to do an extra A level/retakes, work experience and other relevant things, so you should be OK. Most people have insignificant gap years anyway so you will thus impress admissions tutors with what you propose to do!
        This is intriguing. When you say retakes, do you mean they retook AS/A2 modules? And did they take a gap year for the merit of taking one, because they wanted to take another gamble at UCAS or because it was necessary e.g. they got 5 rejections?

        Thanks for your input!
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        I thought that completing A-levels in more than 2 years seriously affects your chances of getting into oxbridge??
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        I'm applying to Oxford on gap year at the moment.
        Firstly, I hope you get in and need not worry about a gap year.
        If you do then definitely make the most of it. I'm going out to Africa in January till April, but so far I've been working very few hours a week tutoring which still pays very well (~£20 an hour). Originally, I'd thought I'd need lots of time for extra reading/studying for Oxford, which a) wasn't necessary timewise; and b) simply did not happen. I now face a fairly fun-filled week of studying to prepare for interviews. But the Oxford application needn't take up that much of your time so you'd be able to take a full-time job if that's what you wanted (barring the days at interview and prep for exams etc).
        As others have said, try and make things relevant and productive. Studying or working in a productive manner (i.e. not shelf-stacking at Sainsburys) look good.

        However, Oxford isn't the be all and end all of unis, and there are others which are arguably better depending on your subject. IF you take a gap year, you will come under the new tuition fee system, whatever that turns out to be. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the system and whether it is fairer or not, you will come under that. Whether that influences your decision is a different question - it may be a fairer system moving you to take the year out anyway.

        But as I say, hopefully you won't be faced with that dilemma!
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        (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
        Ooooh ok, what kind of things do you plan to do?
        Haha it's only a proposal. Plus I make lots of points on lots of lists that never come to fruition...



        This is intriguing. When you say retakes, do you mean they retook AS/A2 modules? And did they take a gap year for the merit of taking one, because they wanted to take another gamble at UCAS or because it was necessary e.g. they got 5 rejections?

        Thanks for your input!
        Well, only one of the people who did this I know very well, and he retook 1 AS history module and 1 philosophy A2 module. He took a gap year because he desperately wanted to get into a top 10 university for philosophy, so he undertook work experience as a local librarian; did some brief human rights work in Africa; spent a while preparing to send written work to Oxford; and did other activities related to his desired degree choice.

        I myself am clueless as to how one applies to university in a gap year without the aid of a school/college, but I have a plan of all the things I am doing which will take up 7 days a week for 365 days a year

        Higher tier universities generally do not like people retaking modules, but if you can get A's and A*'s out of doing so then you should not be put off
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        (Original post by Alex-jc123)
        Well, only one of the people who did this I know very well, and he retook 1 AS history module and 1 philosophy A2 module. He took a gap year because he desperately wanted to get into a top 10 university for philosophy, so he undertook work experience as a local librarian; did some brief human rights work in Africa; spent a while preparing to send written work to Oxford; and did other activities related to his desired degree choice.

        I myself am clueless as to how one applies to university in a gap year without the aid of a school/college, but I have a plan of all the things I am doing which will take up 7 days a week for 365 days a year

        Higher tier universities generally do not like people retaking modules, but if you can get A's and A*'s out of doing so then you should not be put off
        Huh, I can't say I'm not surprised. When I get my rejection, I'll call them up and ask. Very well done to your friend though; it just goes to show, perseverance and sheer drive pulls off!-- And he did it all on his own? Do you think it might be different for me, since I intend on still involving teachers in my studies?

        Care to impart something of your plan?
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        Woah, woah, woah. That's a whole lot to take into consideration!

        Forgive me if any of this sounds presumptuous, but these are my initial thoughts after reading your post. Taking up extra AS subjects and resigning yourself to a whole more year of exams after you have just finished your A2s, purely for enjoyment, whilst on a gap year, fitting in work experience placements and travelling abroad and personal goals, is not impossible, but seemingly quite unnecessary at first glance. What is it about the Oxford course that attracts you so much that you are willing to potentially turn down 3+ other offers to study good Psych courses? If you are unsuccessful in your application this year, I recommend that you have a long think about what sort of thing you are looking to get out of an Oxford education, particularly with regards to the EP course.

        Secondly, when you say you will be contacting the IoP, hospitals and clinics etc., what sort of work experience will you be looking for? You say you have contact at IoP so you know better than me if it would be possible to get w/e there, but I imagine psych-related w/e at hospitals and clinics is pretty much a no-go for a post/A Level student.

        In conclusion - have a good think about whether, realistically, a gap year is definitely for you. It may sound incredibly appealing right now, but make sure you are taking it for the right reasons and that you plan it well. Good luck.
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        (Original post by xCHiiBiEverlastingx)
        Huh, I can't say I'm not surprised. When I get my rejection, I'll call them up and ask. Very well done to your friend though; it just goes to show, perseverance and sheer drive pulls off!-- And he did it all on his own? Do you think it might be different for me, since I intend on still involving teachers in my studies?

        Care to impart something of your plan?
        Perseverance indeed!

        I think that involving teachers full-time in your studies in a gap year is too cumbersome, because you should show some substantial evidence of self-determination and action; also, you should acquire work experience and do some charity work (both universities and employers regard it as impressive!).

        My plan:

        Acquire work experience in a law firm for 8 - 10 months; fulfil an entire maths A-level; travel to Mongolia (I know, it is gloomy; but it is cheap and unique haha) to do some international human rights law advocacy; prepare for the rigorous LNAT exam for Oxford, LSE, UCL and King's entry; read the Oxford Handbook of Jurisprudence (1,000 pages ha!); do some local government work for the Conservative Party; and, finally, carry out some brief charity work for the homeless and those with cancer.

        I may have some brief maths tuition once or twice a week, but I won't put it on my application I hope I have helped you in some way!
       
       
       
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