Oxford Law University Watch

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d.luffy
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Hi all,

I was just wondering if I wanted to apply to oxford university, I already know they want straight A's in A levels but what about IGCSE? what if you got low IGCSE'S and straight A's in A levels?

I mean low is like from C-B average.

Do they still accept you if you give them an excellent interview? and including that you will have had taken hard subjects like History, English Lit, French in A levels ( are really those subjects considered very well for top universities? that what I have been told... )

Thanks.
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Schott
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(Original post by d.luffy)
Hi all,

I was just wondering if I wanted to apply to oxford university, I already know they want straight A's in A levels but what about IGCSE? what if you got low IGCSE'S and straight A's in A levels?

I mean low is like from C-B average.

Do they still accept you if you give them an excellent interview? and including that you will have had taken hard subjects like History, English Lit, French in A levels ( are really those subjects considered very well for top universities? that what I have been told... )

Thanks.
Basically I think it lowers your chances considerably. It's not impossible or out of the question, but it means you would stand a much lower chance than most applicants (who themselves would never have a 'high chance' of getting in - no one does!)

You would stand a greater chance of getting an interview if you applied to Cambridge, as they interview a high proportion of their law applicants.
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IGotAQuestion
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I think on the site they say they want "excellent GCSEs" - I.E, 4a* and something.

Have a check
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jacketpotato
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Getting Bs and Cs in your GCSEs would be exceptionally low for Oxbridge. Realistically, most Oxbridge candidates have six A* at GCSE and four As at A-level as an absolute minimum. There are a lot of people from comprehensives with below-Oxbridge-average GCSEs but exceptionally good A-levels, however, but I think Bs and Cs are really pushing it.

I think you'd need to give Oxford an exceptionally good reason to take you if you have poor GCSEs. We are talking things that show really really exceptional aptitude (writing a book on law before you start...) and/or really exceptional AS-levels (i.e. 100% UMS or thereabouts in all your subjects), simply getting A grades at A-level and doing a good interview is not going to be enough.
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d.luffy
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
Getting Bs and Cs in your GCSEs would be exceptionally low for Oxbridge. Realistically, most Oxbridge candidates have six A* at GCSE and four As at A-level as an absolute minimum. There are a lot of people from comprehensives with below-Oxbridge-average GCSEs but exceptionally good A-levels, however, but I think Bs and Cs are really pushing it.

I think you'd need to give Oxford an exceptionally good reason to take you if you have poor GCSEs. We are talking things that show really really exceptional aptitude (writing a book on law before you start...) and/or really exceptional AS-levels (i.e. 100% UMS or thereabouts in all your subjects), simply getting A grades at A-level and doing a good interview is not going to be enough.
Oxbridge?? you mean Oxford?

I know that there will be much applicants with more subjects ...etc like more outstanding, but I am sure they gave someone a chance in Law there?? Like it's not about doing something to show them your capable of, they will let's say ''test'' you in the first term, and if you are capable to get excellent grades then isn't this showing them? Or they would need more then that?
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Tortious
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(Original post by d.luffy)
Oxbridge?? you mean Oxford?

I know that there will be much applicants with more subjects ...etc like more outstanding, but I am sure they gave someone a chance in Law there?? Like it's not about doing something to show them your capable of, they will let's say ''test'' you in the first term, and if you are capable to get excellent grades then isn't this showing them? Or they would need more then that?
Oxford/Cambridge, I think.

(Original post by tony_ron)
Basically I think it lowers your chances considerably. It's not impossible or out of the question, but it means you would stand a much lower chance than most applicants (who themselves would never have a 'high chance' of getting in - no one does!)

You would stand a greater chance of getting an interview if you applied to Cambridge, as they interview a high proportion of their law applicants.
I agree, although I think it's important to stress that getting an interview is only part of the process! As I understand it, Cambridge seems to place a greater emphasis on number crunching and statistics than Oxford does (it asks for all of your UMS scores for A Level) so that may be something to bear in mind.

Having said that, if you do extremely well at A Level and have extenuating circumstances to explain why you didn't perform as well as you could have at GCSE, they should take that into account.
d.luffy
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(Original post by Tortious)
Oxford/Cambridge, I think.



I agree, although I think it's important to stress that getting an interview is only part of the process! As I understand it, Cambridge seems to place a greater emphasis on number crunching and statistics than Oxford does (it asks for all of your UMS scores for A Level) so that may be something to bear in mind.

Having said that, if you do extremely well at A Level and have extenuating circumstances to explain why you didn't perform as well as you could have at GCSE, they should take that into account.
Although it's the 1st best university in UK, people don't prioritize Cambridge because they have a feeling on how soo much applicants get in there that yours get rejected...

Oxford maybe a little less.

Yes I do have a big and satisfying explanation on why I have performed so low in my grades. And you telling me that they take into account that's weird usually they won't believe what students are saying since it can be all lie...etc

How can you share your opinion if you have sent first your grades to the universities? They can reject you even before interviewing you....
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jacketpotato
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(Original post by d.luffy)
Oxbridge?? you mean Oxford?

I know that there will be much applicants with more subjects ...etc like more outstanding, but I am sure they gave someone a chance in Law there?? Like it's not about doing something to show them your capable of, they will let's say ''test'' you in the first term, and if you are capable to get excellent grades then isn't this showing them? Or they would need more then that?
The problem is everyone else also wants a chance. For every place, Oxford and Cambridge have 10 or more applicants all of whom will have straight A-grades at A-level, a bunch of A* at GCSE, a great personal statement and who interview reasonably well. It isn't realistic for everyone to do a term, there need to be good reasons why you have particular potential.
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(Original post by d.luffy)
Although it's the 1st best university in UK, people don't prioritize Cambridge because they have a feeling on how soo much applicants get in there that yours get rejected...

Oxford maybe a little less.

Yes I do have a big and satisfying explanation on why I have performed so low in my grades. And you telling me that they take into account that's weird usually they won't believe what students are saying since it can be all lie...etc

How can you share your opinion if you have sent first your grades to the universities? They can reject you even before interviewing you....
First of all, I wouldn't place too much store by league tables - Oxford and Cambridge take the top two spots, and it's pretty much random which way around they are. :p:

Second, all I meant is that it would be difficult for someone with your IGCSE grades to get in under normal circumstances. However, the University is most interested in taking the best students and as such it appreciates that sometimes those people have underperformed at GCSE/A Level for some reason. If you're that concerned that they might not take what you say seriously, you could always ask your UCAS referee to mention it - if they can say "he came to our college with poor GCSEs because...but since coming here he's worked hard and impressed his teachers with his passion and enthusiasm for his subjects..." (or something similar), that won't count against you.

In terms of giving an explanation, the way it works is that you complete a UCAS form (including Personal Statement) which is sent to all of the universities that you apply to. Cambridge then sends you an additional questionnaire called the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) which is very similar in style. It's completed online and asks for your UMS scores at A Level as well as what topics each module covered. There's also space for you to write an additional Personal Statement and say anything else that you think they should know when considering your application.

I'm not quite sure how Oxford does it, but if memory serves it sometimes involves writing a cover letter... :dontknow:
d.luffy
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We can't expect less from top universities on how they do there admission procedure, but I did get an idea on how it goes.

For example if I go to Oxford tutorial college, and do my A levels there and achieve straight A's....etc does this college help me get to oxford university since they are a part of that but specialized in sixth form? I got an offer there and I did tell them why my IGCSE were low...etc and we have made a deal to achieve a one year A level course and I was thinking if they can actually help me to go to university there, some people say that as a private candidate it is tougher to get in those universities since they don't have good backgrounds of there surrounding of teachers....etc
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Tortious
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(Original post by d.luffy)
We can't expect less from top universities on how they do there admission procedure, but I did get an idea on how it goes.

For example if I go to Oxford tutorial college, and do my A levels there and achieve straight A's....etc does this college help me get to oxford university since they are a part of that but specialized in sixth form? I got an offer there and I did tell them why my IGCSE were low...etc and we have made a deal to achieve a one year A level course and I was thinking if they can actually help me to go to university there, some people say that as a private candidate it is tougher to get in those universities since they don't have good backgrounds of there surrounding of teachers....etc
Just so you know, I'm 99% sure that "Oxford Tutorial College" is not part of Oxford University - it's just an independent sixth form which has confusingly chosen that name. There's absolutely no mention of an affiliation with Oxford university on OTC's "About OTC" page.

I can't really comment on whether going to a private school would increase your chances. All I can say is that Oxford and Cambridge are looking for the best people, and since private schools tend to teach more intensively, naturally more of the people with the top grades are from those backgrounds. However, on the flipside, if you're talented and are willing to work hard, you should be able to achieve wherever you choose to go, so don't feel obliged to go to a private school because "it's the only way you'll get in"...
d.luffy
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Oh really?? I looked it as an advantage if they were part of the oxford college to go the university ... I guess it's fake then.

I understand, but I am trying to find the best education possible so I wouldn't fail as I will only have one chance in an intensive one year and I can't mess it up since the least grade to expect is A's...
It's also a question of finance, as I am currently in egypt, private tutor here tends to be cheaper, but since I am going to start A levels, they don't have qualified tutors for English Lit + History + French, so I have to go somewhere in Europe, so far switzerland charges 65£ per hour, when I made the calculations, it was cheaper then oxford tutorial college at about 6000£ but haven't included accommodations...etc while in Switzerland I have free accommodations including food...etc as I will be living with my father and I would be working part time.

Do you guys think I should go to switzerland or to the sixth form college?
( Just wanted to ask that question at the same time you guys were helping me :P )
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(Original post by d.luffy)
Oh really?? I looked it as an advantage if they were part of the oxford college to go the university ... I guess it's fake then.

I understand, but I am trying to find the best education possible so I wouldn't fail as I will only have one chance in an intensive one year and I can't mess it up since the least grade to expect is A's...
It's also a question of finance, as I am currently in egypt, private tutor here tends to be cheaper, but since I am going to start A levels, they don't have qualified tutors for English Lit + History + French, so I have to go somewhere in Europe, so far switzerland charges 65£ per hour, when I made the calculations, it was cheaper then oxford tutorial college at about 6000£ but haven't included accommodations...etc while in Switzerland I have free accommodations including food...etc as I will be living with my father and I would be working part time.

Do you guys think I should go to switzerland or to the sixth form college?
( Just wanted to ask that question at the same time you guys were helping me :P )
I think the system in Britain is very different to in some foreign countries. Going to an A Level college in Oxford will NOT make it more likely you will get a place at Oxford University. I know in some countries, such as Japan, going to a high school or college affiliated with the University will help you to secure admission, but this is not the way it works in Britain. This is because the vast majority of our universities (including Oxford University) are public institutions. I believe only a small number of UK universities are privately-operated / for-profit (e.g. the University of Buckingham and BPP University College).

These tutorial colleges in Oxford (and Cambridge for that matter) are being clever and trading on the ignorance of those who do not understand the system - usually foreigners. They can call themselves 'Oxford' or 'Cambridge' because those are the cities in which they operate - NOT because they are anything to do with the universities. It is just perhaps unfortunate in this instance that the words Oxford and Cambridge are also synonymous with the universities that are also based in those cities.

There is an A Level college in Oxford called King's College, Oxford which has nothing to do with the University whatsoever (yet trades off the confusion caused from there being a King's College as part of the University of Cambridge). Similarly, in Oxford there is also an A Level college called St Clare's, Oxford. This is being similarly crafty in naming itself to appear as if it were an Oxford college, when in fact it most definitely isn't.

I have a friend at one of the language colleges from Portugal/Polynesia, and he said that although he knows it is not part of the University, he likes having it on his CV because people in his home countries don't really understand the difference.

Do not fall into the marketing trap!
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d.luffy
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(Original post by tony_ron)
I think the system in Britain is very different to in some foreign countries. Going to an A Level college in Oxford will NOT make it more likely you will get a place at Oxford University. I know in some countries, such as Japan, going to a high school or college affiliated with the University will help you to secure admission, but this is not the way it works in Britain. This is because the vast majority of our universities (including Oxford University) are public institutions. I believe only a small number of UK universities are privately-operated / for-profit (e.g. the University of Buckingham and BPP University College).

These tutorial colleges in Oxford (and Cambridge for that matter) are being clever and trading on the ignorance of those who do not understand the system - usually foreigners. They can call themselves 'Oxford' or 'Cambridge' because those are the cities in which they operate - NOT because they are anything to do with the universities. It is just perhaps unfortunate in this instance that the words Oxford and Cambridge are also synonymous with the universities that are also based in those cities.

There is an A Level college in Oxford called King's College, Oxford which has nothing to do with the University whatsoever (yet trades off the confusion caused from there being a King's College as part of the University of Cambridge). Similarly, in Oxford there is also an A Level college called St Clare's, Oxford. This is being similarly crafty in naming itself to appear as if it were an Oxford college, when in fact it most definitely isn't.

I have a friend at one of the language colleges from Portugal/Polynesia, and he said that although he knows it is not part of the University, he likes having it on his CV because people in his home countries don't really understand the difference.

Do not fall into the marketing trap!
Thanks alot, I really appreciate the neat answer you did for me, now I really do understand !
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Cast.Iron
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As a rule of thumb, I believe that Oxford are concerned more with GCSEs whereas Cambridge prefer you to have particularly high UMS marks at A-Level. That said, both institutions do prefer a good number of A*s at GCSE. It is also worth keeping in mind the fact that Cambridge interview a significantly greater percentage of their applicants which can mean that a weaker GCSE student has their chance to impress.

However, I do know a chap who has got an offer fro Cambridge who did not get the best GCSE grades. He is, however, sitting a lot of A-Levels and has outstanding predictions. TimmonaPortella or something like that (I cannot remember the exact username).

Also, Oxford do the LNAT and Cambridge do not. I think that I can safely say that I would not have received an offer from Oxford for that very reason seeing as I got only a bit over average. Besides, the CLT is way more fun .

Out of curiosity, why do you personally prefer Oxford over Cambridge?
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d.luffy
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(Original post by Cast.Iron)
As a rule of thumb, I believe that Oxford are concerned more with GCSEs whereas Cambridge prefer you to have particularly high UMS marks at A-Level. That said, both institutions do prefer a good number of A*s at GCSE. It is also worth keeping in mind the fact that Cambridge interview a significantly greater percentage of their applicants which can mean that a weaker GCSE student has their chance to impress.

However, I do know a chap who has got an offer fro Cambridge who did not get the best GCSE grades. He is, however, sitting a lot of A-Levels and has outstanding predictions. TimmonaPortella or something like that (I cannot remember the exact username).

Also, Oxford do the LNAT and Cambridge do not. I think that I can safely say that I would not have received an offer from Oxford for that very reason seeing as I got only a bit over average. Besides, the CLT is way more fun .

Out of curiosity, why do you personally prefer Oxford over Cambridge?
I have emailed them and they did tell me they don't have particular grades for an applicant but they did say that most of the students have A* - A's ...etc but I told them I had an issue during my IGCSE...etc and they told me to write it in the personal statement in UCAS, and that also I need to get 3 A's and that they are looking for essay subjects for Law... and the subjects which I am best at, though I am still thinking to take English Lit - History + french since I got low IGCSE with that subjects I can at least shine abit since they did tell me that they take personal problems into account and that they may do exceptions.

You know personally, alot of people dreams of going to Cambridge university...etc and everybody wants to go there, I want to go somewhere different, especially that my late grandfather liked that university since he wrote an accountant book and oxford did appreciate that book and gave him an official copyright...etc so from that moment I always had oxford in mind, though if I get to be in Cambridge instead it doesn't matter they are both the top.

I need a little advice from you guys please : as I will be finishing my IGCSE's in June, I have thought to take an intensive 1 year A level course, since I lost a year in grade 10 where I didn't do my Igcse's and in year 11 I failed 3 subjects due to school problems...etc and now I am retaking them, though as you know I can't afford to go below A's in A level, and the subjects I am taking are quite tough. Do you consider going for a one year intensive course? or you would rather do a 1 year and a half course ...etc like finish in 2012 November or 2013 January? I am sure I can pass french easily without putting much effort, including Eng Lit, though history will be the one which is going to hold me most since I like it but not much ... and this subject is very strong towards admission entry so ill have to give my best... what do you guys consider?
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(Original post by d.luffy)
I have emailed them and they did tell me they don't have particular grades for an applicant but they did say that most of the students have A* - A's ...etc but I told them I had an issue during my IGCSE...etc and they told me to write it in the personal statement in UCAS, and that also I need to get 3 A's and that they are looking for essay subjects for Law... and the subjects which I am best at, though I am still thinking to take English Lit - History + french since I got low IGCSE with that subjects I can at least shine abit since they did tell me that they take personal problems into account and that they may do exceptions.

You know personally, alot of people dreams of going to Cambridge university...etc and everybody wants to go there, I want to go somewhere different, especially that my late grandfather liked that university since he wrote an accountant book and oxford did appreciate that book and gave him an official copyright...etc so from that moment I always had oxford in mind, though if I get to be in Cambridge instead it doesn't matter they are both the top.

I need a little advice from you guys please : as I will be finishing my IGCSE's in June, I have thought to take an intensive 1 year A level course, since I lost a year in grade 10 where I didn't do my Igcse's and in year 11 I failed 3 subjects due to school problems...etc and now I am retaking them, though as you know I can't afford to go below A's in A level, and the subjects I am taking are quite tough. Do you consider going for a one year intensive course? or you would rather do a 1 year and a half course ...etc like finish in 2012 November or 2013 January? I am sure I can pass french easily without putting much effort, including Eng Lit, though history will be the one which is going to hold me most since I like it but not much ... and this subject is very strong towards admission entry so ill have to give my best... what do you guys consider?
By all means apply, but without sounding like a part-pooper I would be very cautious.

You have to understand that Law, above and beyond the vast majority of other undergraduate degrees, is highly competitive for entry. Your UCAS application only allows 5 university choices. With Cs and Bs in your IGCSEs your chances are not 'good' or 'high'. I would venture so far as to say they were 'below average' chances. So you should think very carefully before making your university choices. In the event that you do not gain admission to Oxford University, it is by no means certain that you will gain entry to any of your other choices - all of the top law schools will be looking for majority As and A*s at GCSE level.

If you really do want to try it then go for it, but be aware your chances are not healthy. I do wish you good luck though.

(I have tried to be realistic rather than pessimistic in this post.)
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d.luffy
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(Original post by tony_ron)
By all means apply, but without sounding like a part-pooper I would be very cautious.

You have to understand that Law, above and beyond the vast majority of other undergraduate degrees, is highly competitive for entry. Your UCAS application only allows 5 university choices. With Cs and Bs in your IGCSEs your chances are not 'good' or 'high'. I would venture so far as to say they were 'below average' chances. So you should think very carefully before making your university choices. In the event that you do not gain admission to Oxford University, it is by no means certain that you will gain entry to any of your other choices - all of the top law schools will be looking for majority As and A*s at GCSE level.

If you really do want to try it then go for it, but be aware your chances are not healthy. I do wish you good luck though.

(I have tried to be realistic rather than pessimistic in this post.)
I totally understand, but I have no time to resit them and I won't resit them anyways, but in those 5 universities, I think I would choose Oxford and cambridge then I would choose 3 other in a more lower like in the top 10's...etc I am sure they will make exceptions. Or at least I can be in contact with them and convince them since this works sometimes.
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(Original post by d.luffy)
I totally understand, but I have no time to resit them and I won't resit them anyways, but in those 5 universities, I think I would choose Oxford and cambridge then I would choose 3 other in a more lower like in the top 10's...etc I am sure they will make exceptions. Or at least I can be in contact with them and convince them since this works sometimes.
You may only apply for either Oxford or Cambridge. It is not possible to apply for both on UCAS in the same application cycle, so you must make a decision between them.

All of the law schools in the top-10 will be looking for As and A*s at GCSE, so perhaps have 2 of your 5 UCAS choices ranked in the 20-40 category. You can try telephoning the universities to attempt to convince them that your grades are an aberration from your usual ability, but I'm not sure this will usually work. After all, everyone is in the same boat, and there will be many, many impressive candidates who are all aiming for the same goal of admission to these universities.

To give you an example of how difficult it can be, when I applied for university, I was applying with 6 A grades at AS Level (excluding General Studies / Critical Thinking) and all A and A* grades at GCSE (except for 1 B grade). Although I was lucky enough to get into Cambridge University (and Oxford University in later years for my present course), I did not get into Durham University nor into Warwick University. The reason for this was predominantly my 'lower' GCSE grades - I had that B grade and apparently not enough A* grades ('only' had 3 - apparently 6 is around the desired mark). I say this to demonstrate that the top-10/15 universities are still highly, highly selective so applying with majority B/C grades is still a very risky game. As such, if you are set on applying to Oxford University I would therefore recommend you applied to a wide-range of other universities as well - particularly a few lower-ranked universities where GCSE grades will not place you outside the competition. This will prevent the situation where you could receive no offers owing to all of your university choices being too (similarly) high in their requirements.
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jacketpotato
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(Original post by d.luffy)
I totally understand, but I have no time to resit them and I won't resit them anyways, but in those 5 universities, I think I would choose Oxford and cambridge then I would choose 3 other in a more lower like in the top 10's...etc I am sure they will make exceptions. Or at least I can be in contact with them and convince them since this works sometimes.
Why should the world's top universities make an exception for you when they have 10 applicants for each place each of whom have all A-grades at A-level and a bunch of A* GCSEs? You need to have a convincing answer to this question.
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