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Need advice about Oxbridge Lifestyle & history course watch

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    Hey there

    2 things:

    I'm thinking of applying to Oxford later this year for a History course. I'm trying to decide whether to apply for just plain history (this way might be less work, and im pretty lazy, which id love), history and modern languages (i'm pretty good at them) or history and politics (this looks really intersesting, but its dead competitive, looks like a helluva lot of work and i think although it might be really intellectually stimulating, its just too uch work and too intense) - do you think i'd have a more rounded uni experience with just history?

    My other concern is that, going from the things posted on this forum, all the oxbridge students/ possible students seem like really intensely intelligent and educated people - it seems like loads of people were in the top 5 in the country for their subject or play piano or whatever (btw, although im not biased against independent school people - i just dont care about that kind of thing - its you guys that are the worst!!) The thing is, im from an inner city state school - 50+% of people dont speak english as their first language, and its really run down Spanish Harlem style - and i hate to say it but the quality of my education has been crap. Fortuantely my parents are quite well off so i dont want to make out as if im some guy from the gutter trying to make his way in the world, but still, i think that if i get to the interview/ oxford id really struggle, not because im intrinsically dumber than everyone else (although i probably am!) but because ive simply not been prepared for the whole oxbridge experience. Do you think its worth applying, when i might be signing myself up for 3 years of unadulterated labour (being as i am from scotland, i do enjoy the occasional social drink or two... ahem)

    If anyone could give me any advice on either of these points, that'd be great

    Cheers

    btw sorry about all the parentheses!
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    What GCSE grades + predicted grades have you got?
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    This is where the access scheme can help:

    http://www.oxford-access.org

    I volunteer for them. What the scheme aims to do is 'level the playing field' for applicants who may have been disadvantaged due to their educational background. They run a number of activities, such as shadowing days, special open days, mock interviews, personal statement session, etc, to help people who just won't get this help from their school. You also complete an extra form to send with the Oxford form, and on it your teacher has space to write an extended reference explaining any disadvantages you might have had in your education. Believe me, Oxford do not want people who know it all already; how can they teach people like that? They want people with potential. The access scheme can't guarantee that people get in, but it seems to be able to give them a better chance than they would have had.
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    (Original post by MrKeen)
    What GCSE grades + predicted grades have you got?
    Im scottish, but my standard grades were straight 1's (the equivalent of A* roughly), and for my highers im predicted 6 As.
    I dont want to make it out as if i'm really disadvantaged or anything - i'm a white male middle class heterosexual westerner - you can't really get any more advantaged than that - its just that from the way people blithely respond to really complex and complicated issues here I just don't think my background has prepared me to compete with people of this calibre.

    Is it really intellectually demanding at Oxford? And to what extent? How do people from state schools compare with those from private ones once they reach oxbridge? Or is it perhaps personality traits that make you a good oxford student (esp historian), eg you're really industrious or you like to debate and argue or you're particulary perceptive or what?
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    (Original post by AboveMyChamberD)
    Is it really intellectually demanding at Oxford? And to what extent? How do people from state schools compare with those from private ones once they reach oxbridge? Or is it perhaps personality traits that make you a good oxford student (esp historian), eg you're really industrious or you like to debate and argue or you're particulary perceptive or what?
    Hi

    Yes, Oxford is very intellectually demanding, but it's intellectually demanding for everyone who is here. What's the point of studying if it isn't going to stretch your mind and offer challenges?
    I'm from a (pretty crappy) state school in the north of England and I can honestly say that I don't feel there is any academic distinction between people like myself and those who have been to private schools. Of course, there are individuals here (from both sectors) who are exceptionally intelligent, and that is going to be the case at any top university, but most people here are just bright and hardworking. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that ex-state school students actually outperform those who have come from private schools, which is interesting. When I started I wasn't nearly as confident as I am now, and perhaps public school boys feel more at ease because they are more familiar with the environment. After a while, though, things seem to even out.
    At the end of the day, with those scores in your Highers you have the potential to be able to argue and debate just as well as anyone on this forum, and it's that potential that Oxford want to develop. So I'd say go for it!!!
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    (Original post by AboveMyChamberD)
    Hey there

    2 things:

    I'm thinking of applying to Oxford later this year for a History course. I'm trying to decide whether to apply for just plain history (this way might be less work, and im pretty lazy, which id love), history and modern languages (i'm pretty good at them) or history and politics (this looks really intersesting, but its dead competitive, looks like a helluva lot of work and i think although it might be really intellectually stimulating, its just too uch work and too intense) - do you think i'd have a more rounded uni experience with just history?

    My other concern is that, going from the things posted on this forum, all the oxbridge students/ possible students seem like really intensely intelligent and educated people - it seems like loads of people were in the top 5 in the country for their subject or play piano or whatever (btw, although im not biased against independent school people - i just dont care about that kind of thing - its you guys that are the worst!!) The thing is, im from an inner city state school - 50+% of people dont speak english as their first language, and its really run down Spanish Harlem style - and i hate to say it but the quality of my education has been crap. Fortuantely my parents are quite well off so i dont want to make out as if im some guy from the gutter trying to make his way in the world, but still, i think that if i get to the interview/ oxford id really struggle, not because im intrinsically dumber than everyone else (although i probably am!) but because ive simply not been prepared for the whole oxbridge experience. Do you think its worth applying, when i might be signing myself up for 3 years of unadulterated labour (being as i am from scotland, i do enjoy the occasional social drink or two... ahem)

    If anyone could give me any advice on either of these points, that'd be great

    Cheers

    btw sorry about all the parentheses!
    I don't think you should count on having less work by doing straight history. Generally speaking the joint subjects do not require significantly more work. If you don't want to work and for it to be intellectually demanding then maybe don't apply.

    Re. independent and state schools. No real differences at most colleges. Generally the highest perfomers seem to come from elite state schools not independent and I think the stats if published would support that. A good candidate from a poor school has a very good chance of getting in. Especially as Oxford needs to improve it figures for access very significantly in the next few years so that it can go to the maximum fees without falling foul of OFFA.
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    hey

    im a first year historian from oxford and what ive learnt from my friends is do not do joint schools!!!! in the end it works out the same amount of modules but they arent that great at spreading them out. My friend for example is doing french and history, last term she didnt have that much work, she did half a history module and a french module, this term on the other hand shes doing one and a half history modules as well as a french module whilst next term shes got no history at all! this term she will have had around 28 tutorials as opposed to my 12 and will have written around 24 essays (3 a week) as opposed to my 12 (one and a half a week), so although she had less work than me last term and she will next term she has been so stressed this term! my friends who do history and politics also have a similar problem, although not to the same extent, in that at times they are doing two essays a week as opposed to our one a half. I also know someone doing history and economics and again he had a pretty relaxed first term but this term hes got so much more to do! So as you can see, at oxford they arent too hot on spreading the workload with joint schools as they are with say single history, but i dont know what its like at cambridge
 
 
 
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