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    Hey everyone. Sorry if something like this has been posted before but if it has then I haven't seen it.

    I have decided that I want a career from a degree in politics, and at the minute I'm thinking of something to do with international relations - being diplomat for businesses appeals to me greatly, for instance working on fostering Anglo-American relations between companies. There's also the potential for a diplomatic job with the government, maybe working under the British government, EU or even the United Nations (hey, a boy can dream, right?).

    I consider myself to be academically bright as well as having a lot of useful skills needed for such a job, but given the academic side accompanied by great ambition, I would be thinking about top universities.

    PPE at Oxford is obviously a world renowned, very prestigious degree and you can do International Relations in second and third year through modules, I believe. However, Oxford is a long shot for me as my GCSE results were great but perhaps not Oxbridge material (5 A*s, 9As and a C in Welsh, which was horrible but compulsory)? Also, I'm doing Politics, French, Modern History and English (predicted As) at AS level but there's no Maths there. I got an A at GCSE, which sucked because I got 100% in the mocks, but the ability to learn is there even if the A level knowledge is not. Plus, I can always study outside of college! Another qualm I have with PPE at Oxford is that, as somebody who doesn't really want to get into frontline politics, something which the course is often associated with, would it perhaps be better for me to do a course which primarily focuses on International Relations?


    Thanks if you're still reading after all of that, a more concise version of my questions could be: are my GCSE grades Oxbridge material, if I'm going to drop French after AS to concentrate on the other three will that significantly lower my chances (I'm also doing the Welsh Baccalaureate, equivalent in UCAS points to an A at A2 level), and is PPE the best choice for my career plans (as I could always apply for I.R. at somewhere like LSE)?


    Thanks very much. Oh yes, and I'm planning on taking a scholarship gap year funded by my Rotary Club from 2012-13 (I'm in AS year now) to study in GA, USA for a year in a cultural exchange project with other international students accepted on to the scheme. This would would luckily coincide with the 2012 Presidential elections in a traditionally Republican state, and would be a great help towards having some first-hand experience of politics in a different country. Would this help me in applying to Oxford or not so much?


    Thanks very much
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    My advice would be to not let your GCSE results limit your options. Your grades are good enough very similar to my own in fact, and I got an interview for PPE at Oxford (in two days actually!). Saying that, your mind will change a million times before you decide what you want to do. If pol/econ/phil is something your genuinely interested in, regardless of what profession you want to go into... go for it! If u prefer the international relations course, go for somewhere that offers that. ultimately, how well you do in your degree depends on how motivated you are to do well - which is easier to be when you are passionate about what your studying!

    Best of luck with whatever you choose!
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    (Original post by abrarda1)
    My advice would be to not let your GCSE results limit your options. Your grades are good enough very similar to my own in fact, and I got an interview for PPE at Oxford (in two days actually!). Saying that, your mind will change a million times before you decide what you want to do. If pol/econ/phil is something your genuinely interested in, regardless of what profession you want to go into... go for it! If u prefer the international relations course, go for somewhere that offers that. ultimately, how well you do in your degree depends on how motivated you are to do well - which is easier to be when you are passionate about what your studying!

    Best of luck with whatever you choose!
    Thanks for the hasty reply. May I ask what you're doing now, and what kind of a career path you'd like to follow?

    Politics is definitely my passion. Philosophy sounds very interesting and something I plan on reading around regardless of my uni choices.

    Economics is not something that I've ever thought about. My PT is an Economics teacher and I talked about dropping French to do an AS in it next year but she suggested just doing 3 subjects. If I do well in August though, I will try and do Economics AS too, and if not I will read around it outside of college.

    Also, as an Oxford applicant do you think that the gap year I'm planning would have any bearing on my application to Oxford?
    I know that it would for other unis but I hear that they're strictly looking for academic potential and not extra-curricular things like DofE (which I'm doing). Having said that, the gap year has academic attributes as by the time my interview comes around, I may well know what I'm going to be studying in the USA - so I can say I'll be doing a year of US Politics, Economics etc.

    Sorry to bombard you with questions, and thank you for your well wishes.
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    Regarding the WBQ - it probably won't be accepted as an A grade A Level. In fact, only one University even recognised it for me, and that was for 20pts. I dropped it the moment I had an unconditional, it was the most useless qualification I've ever come across.
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    The route into the diplomatic service, as far as I understand it, is via the civil service fast stream. It's eye wateringly competitive but there won't be any specific advantage to doing IR. Your GCSEs are fine. You don't need A-level maths, although some people have claimed that individual tutors at Oxford have a preference for it. At any rate PPE anywhere else won't much care whether you've got it or not.

    The gap year sounds great but Oxford probably won't care that much directly about it. Basically they are looking for aptitude and enthusiasm for the subject. They have the interview process to do that, so unlike other Universities where they will have to just guess this from your PS and grades, the tutors can actually grill you themselves and see whether you're any good. Presumably you'll be doing a deferred entry, so the year in the US won't have much effect on how good you are at interview. On the other hand it will be a nice answer to the question 'What do you intend to do in your gap year' if that comes up...
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    Applying for PPE without Mathematics to at least A-Level is pretty hard. It is only "preferred" but you need to have a strong grasp on calculus and not having Mathematics is a big gap in your application.

    I should by applying to Oxford for 2012 entry with History, English Literature, Mathematics, Economics & Politics.

    (Probably just History, English Literature and Mathematics/Economics A2, though).
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    Would an AS in Economics next year fill the gap a bit with regards to Maths? Thanks everyone for your replies, and yes I've heard from a lot of people that the Welsh Bacc is a bit poo - but it's an asset for me in applying to the gap year as I would be an ambassador for Wales on the project, and so obviously, Welsh Bacc... it's just another CV thing which doesn't take up too much time...
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    If you're willing to put the massive amount of work in I'm sure you could achieve it. However PPE at Oxford is ridiculously competitive. I'd say go for it if you'll stay motivated enough. Maths could be considered important but it is definitely not the be all end all. More important for Oxford/Cambridge is showing that you're capable of reaching a very deep level in your thinking/reasoning and that you are really able to engage with the subject beyond the A level course. Also you have to perform well in the Oxford Thinking Skills Assessment(TSA), quite a difficult aptitude test in any case. Best of luck whatever your decision is though .
    P.S usually you have to be an awesome awesome candidate for Oxford to consider deferred entry. I wouldn't recommend that so much
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    PPE is a great course - if you feel it matches your interests i would deffo recommend it. Oxford is a fantastic uni (obviously) but it is hugely competitive and isn't the be all and end all as far as PPE goes, there are plenty of other institutions that offer the course now - many of these very respectable.
 
 
 
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